Oh, Hokkaido… What an indeed stunning prefecture! Planning one’s itinerary for this vast area was so difficult like choosing a favorite book out of the thousands read for a bookworm. (Well, honestly, not really.) It was just hard to choose where to go bearing in mind we only have 3 full days to stray around. Still, we’re assured this trip will definitely be memorable ‘coz why not? Hokkaido, as well as Japan as a whole, never disappoints. 😀
If you’d read my first travel guide (re: Budget, Tips, etc.) to this area, I had promised to share with you our detailed itinerary on which you’ll gonna know some tips or guides on easy access to this never-to-miss-spots.
- Farm Tomita. A flower farm that features seasonal flowers and famous for a vast lavender field and its lavender soft cream during summer.
- Access: A rental car is the easiest way to get there. Alternatively, there are sightseeing tour buses that visit the site during summer season.
- Tips:Be there as early as it opens. It surely gets crowded when tour buses arrive, bringing flocks of tourists. For your photo op, find the best spot for you to capture that IG-worthy shot. Farm Tomita is vast; look for the right angle and area where you could freely move.
- There are other lavender farms around Furano. Before we arrived at Tomita, we mistakenly entered a road to Furano winery but it gave us the opportunity to have some shots with these lovely scented flowers w/out anyone around to compete or bother.
- Try the lavender soft cream just for the sake of trying. There’s no special taste on it yet you can’t buy it just anywhere. So have it while you’re there.
Actual Time Visited: 9:00-11:00. (Opening hours:8:30-18:00)
2. Shirahige Falls. Standing at more than 30m tall, Shirahige Falls’ water flowing down the gaps between the rocks look like a white beard while the water from beneath the rocks and forcedly falls to the rocks below creates a splash of cobalt blue.
Actual Time Visited: 11:45-12:05. (Opening hours: 24 Hours)
3. Shirogane Blue Pond. A man-made pond resulted from the works made on Biei river to protect the town from volcanic mudflows since the 1988 Mt. Tokachi’s eruption happened. The turquoise-like color is thought to be a result from the presence of aluminum hydroxide in the water. It became famous after being used as a wallpaper for the MacBook Pro.
There’s not much to do and see aside from seeing the water’s color for yourself. You can park, walk towards the pond, take nice pictures then go in a matter of 10-15mins. Just enjoy the scenery and have your shots as souvenir.
Actual Time Visited: 12:15-12:30. (Opening hours: 24 Hours)
4. Patchwork Road. A field on a hilly area in the town of Biei. These beautiful landscapes along the road are product of the farmworks done by private owners. Most of the crops are barleys and wheat that are the main ingredients for beer-making.
5. Tree of Ken and Mary. This tree became famous being the shooting place for a TV commercial of Nissan Skyline “Ken & Mary” CM in 1976. Admission and parking are FREE of charge.
6. Mild Seven Hill. This hill became famous being the location for a tobacco commercial (Mild Seven) around 40 years ago.
Tree of Ken and Mary, Patchwork Road & Mild Seven Hills are just a short drive away to each other, together with Zerubu no hill, Hokusei-no-oka, Seven Stars Tree and other touristy trees you can pass by during your drive. We had driven through these spots for 2&1/2 hours. Drive-take a picture-next destination. Just that! 🙂
7. Shikisai no Oka. Has a panoramic and spectacular view across the 15 hectares of land in Biei. The flower gardens in Shikisai-no-oka is like paradise of seasonal blossoms any time of the year.
Entrance to the gardens is basically FREE but tourists are asks to donate 200 yen each to cover the cost of maintaining the beauty of the flower gardens. Donation boxes are easily seen at the entrance and every visitor is requested for cooperation in helping the staffs in running the facility.
Actual Time Visited: 16:00-16:45. (Opening hours: 8:30-18:00)
8. Ningle Terrace. A dramatic and beautiful collection of boutique cottages housing specialty arts and crafts along with their creators. It has been created using natural materials such as timbers and planks. When you see some photos online, Ningle Terrace looks really magical comes winter season.
Entrance is FREE and you can take unlimited photos OUTSIDE the cabins. Just be sure NOT to take any shot on creators’ crafts INSIDE as there are visible and clear warning signs posted everywhere.
Actual Time Visited: 17:30-18:45. (Opening hours: 12:00-20:45)
DAY2: Shakotan Peninsula and Otaru
- Cape Kamui. The most popular spot in Shakotan where you can have a 360 degree view of the Sea of Japan. Follow the Charenka Path trail about 800 m in total length and at 80m ASL. This trail however is a thrilling trail for altophobic people (just like me). Idk if I would be thankful for the temporary restriction of the path while we’re there. Anyway, we can still clearly see Kamuiiwa Rock so I think it’s still okay not to go. We just missed to see Kamui-misaki Lighthouse up-close.
Actual Time Visited: 9:00-10:30.
2. Cape Shakotan & Shimamui Coast. Offers wonderful views of the Sea of Japan. After passing thru a 30m long tunnel, a clear blue sea and rugged rocks will greet you. You can go to the coast from the observatory if you wish to look closely at the sea. The sea of Shakotan is the only designated marine park in Hokkaido. This beach is also chosen as one of the “100 Best Beaches of Japan“.
From the parking lot, you can see this…
The tunnel is on the left while if you’re interested to hike up to the lighthouse, follow the right path. Also, there’s a donation box on the left where you can drop your 100yen.
There’s a famous sea urchin restaurant near the parking lot. It’s quite pricey but you can try if you want. Shakotan is known for delicious sea urchins.
Actual Time Visited: 11:00-12:30. (Opening hours: 24 Hours)
3. Shukutsu Panorama Observation Deck. One of the famous view spots in Otaru City to see the Sea of Japan and known for viewing both sunrise and sunset. From the Observation deck, you can see Otaru Aquarium nearby, Nishin Goten and the Hiyoriyama Lighthouse. If you’re lucky, you can also see sea lions resting on the sea rocks.
Actual Time Visited: 14:00-14:20. (Opening hours: 24 Hours)
6. Otaru Sakaimachi Street. A preserved merchant street in Otaru. The street has attractive and impressive Western style buildings that were built in late 1800s to house offices and shops of shipping and trading companies. The structures were preserved in been coverted into restos, cafes, souvenir shops, boutiques and museum. Sakaimachi street is just walking distance from Otaru Canal.
If you’re up to Letao’s products, they are literally everywhere. Also, at 5PM, Music Box Museum’s steam clock standing outside will be singing its top of the hour music. Don’t miss it! 🙂
Actual Time Visited: 15:30-17:30.
5. Otaru Canal. A historic site in Otaru which was a central part of the city’s port in the 1st half of 20th century. It was used for delivering goods to warehouses but later on became obsolete due to the change in docking rules. The canal makes for a pleasant stroll any hour of the day. It serves as the main site of the town’s Snow Light Path Festival during winter.
Actual Time Visited: 17:30-18:00.
DAY3: Sapporo City Daytour
First things first: (1) Download a subway map. (2) Purchase a one day subway pass at the nearest subway station ticket machine.
- Moerenuma Park. A 4km park in the outskirts of Sapporo. The park grounds are covered in attractive green space and have huge and impressive features that make it a very unique public space.
- Hours: 7:00-22:00 (May to mid October); 7:00-19:00 (mid November to mid April). Open EVERYDAY.
- Fee: Admission and parking are both FREE. Rental bike is available at 100 yen per hour.
- Access: Take the Toho subway line and get off at Kanjodori-higashi station. Next, take the local bus nos. 69 or 79 to park’s EAST entrance. One-way bus fare is at 210 yen.
Actual Time Visited: 9:30-11:45.
2. Sapporo Beer Garden & Museum. This museum introduces the history of beer in the country and the process of beer making. Hokkaido is the birthplace of beer in Japan and Sapporo Beer is one of the oldest and most popular beer brands in Japan.
- Hours: 11:30-20:00. Closed during Mondays, December 31 and a few irregular closing days.
- Fee: Admission is FREE (500 yen for the guided tour).
- Access: Take the Toho subway line and get off at Higashi-kuyakusho-mae station. Walk for 15 minutes following street signs or google maps on your phone. Alternatively, take the Loop 88 Factory Line bus from Odori station or Sapporo station (in front of Seibu Dep’t Store). Bus’ one-way fare is 210 yen.
- Tip: Get some English guide pamphlets near the entrance for instructions on what directions to follow if you opt for self guided tour. The exhibitions are offered for free; beer tastings are available at a minimum fee.
Actual Time Visited: 12:30-14:30. We had lunch @ Garden Grill.
3. Sapporo TV Tower. Stands at the heart of Sapporo city with an observation deck offering nice views of Odori Park and the surrounding city.
- Hours: 9:00-22:00 (May to mid October); 9:30-21:30 (mid October to April). It has infrequent and irregular closures for maintenance.
- Fee: JPY720 for observation deck.
- Access: Take the Toho subway line and get off at Exit number 27, a 1-min walk from Sapporo Municipal Subway Odori station.
Actual Time Visited: 15:00-15:30.
4. Mt. Moiwa. A popular sightseeing spot known for a magnificent view of Sapporo city. The view is beautiful after sunset.
- Hours: 10:30-22:00 (April to November); 11:00-22:00 (December to March). Occasionally closed for maintenance.
- Fee: JPY1,700 (ropeway and mini cable car rountrip), JPY1,100 (ropeway only), JPY600 (mini cable car only).
- Access: Take Nanboku subway line and get off at Susukino station. Then, take the city’s only streetcar line – depart from Nishi-yon-chome station and get off at Ropeway Iriguchi station. From there, ride the FREE shuttle bus which departs every 15 mins to the lower ropeway station.
Actual Time Visited: 16:30-18:00. We didn't wait for sunset since the gloomy weather during our visit can't be helped.
5. Former Hokkaido Government Office. The building was used for approx. 80 years until the new gov’t office currently in use was built. It is known as “red brick office”.
- Hours: 8:45-18:00. Closed from Dec 29 – Jan 3.
- Fee: FREE admission. Parking is not available.
- Access: Take Namboku/ Toho subway lines then get off at Sapporo station’s Exit 10. Walk for approximately 4 mins from the exit.
Actual Time Visited: 18:30-18:35. We went there beyond the open hours so yes, we didn't get the chance to check inside.
There you go! Quite lengthy, I know, but that wrapped up our 3 full days trip in Hokkaido. ❤
Enjoy and have fun!