10-12 Days Hokkaido Itinerary Ideas

This itinerary idea is based on my last year’s trip to Hokkaido for 11 days with my family of four. Hopefully this could also give others planning trips to Hokkaido for similar periods an idea of where to start and where to go.

airplane-takeoffStarting point would usually be at Sapporo or Chitose where the international landing flights come into from all over the world. So Sapporo or Chitose would normally be the starting point of most itineraries in Hokkaido. And largely depending on the Season, and the MUST GO that one already has in mind, the time taken per place differs.

These are some of the places & activities that I intended to explore at my first point at Sapporo / Chitose … of course I didn’t managed to cover all and neither is the list exhaustive haha! I would probably have needed more days to do all these. I have also put the estimated time for each activity to help you plan better but this doesn’t account for the travelling time required to reach the destination. It is likely to take from 1/2hr to 1hr if you are staying around Sapporo / Chitose area.

As a reference, we covered on DAY 1 & 2: Visited Otaru, Odori Park, Shiroi Koibito Park. Yeah … it is not alot covered in 2 days, but I didn’t plan on rushing. This was supposed to be a relax trip, not a trip packed with activities  😉

DAY 3 & 4: Spent fully on Rusutsu Ski Resort and enjoyed immensely. Rusutsu Resort can be reached by Shuttle Service (reserved with the Resort in advance) from Sapporo or New Chitose Airport taking about 2hrs journey.

PlaceDescriptionTime to Plan for (Hr)
[Snowing at Otaru Canal] Otaru Canal & Sakaimachi Street
Nice eateries and snacks around. Recommended by locals to try to sushi here 🙂
Also don't miss the Music Box Museum, DIY Music Box (a few blocks away), Glass Workshops and more!
~ 1/2 day
Shiroi Koibito Cookies 1Ishiya Chocolate Factory (Shiroi Koibito Park)
The famous chocolate butter cookie that is commonly known also as 白色恋人 is a hot favourite among many! And something not to be missed if one hasn't tried it yet. At the Park & Chocolate Factory, one can see the actual production lines making the cookies live.
if baking activities are planned, it would be ~ 1/2 day
Odori ParkOdori Park
This is a public park situated smack across several blocks of offices and buildings like a green divide. This site is one of the 3 sites used for the Sapporo Snow Festival.
Sapporo Beer MuseumSapporo Beer Museum
The birth place of one of the most popular brand of beer in Hokkaido, Sapporo Beer. As the name suggest, this place tells you more about how beer came about in Japan. Beer sampling is available at a small fee as well.
Jozankei OnsenJozankei Onsen
Besides the onsen that is located in a beautiful mountainous area reachable only by bus or car. There are nice scenic spots nearby there: Hoheikyo Dam, Futami Suspension Bridge, Shiraito Falls, Pool of Maizuru, Nishiki Bridge, Yunotaki.
Likely to take 1-2 days to cover this place fully, but can be shorter if visiting sites are reduced and the wonderfulness of Onsen-ing is shortened
Mount-MoiwaMt. Moiwa
This is a popular mountain sightseeing spot over the city, a good spot to catch sunrise and sunset 🙂
~2-3 hrs
Rusutsu ResortRusutsu Resort
It is a wonderful and family-friendly place to go in all 4 seasons. Though I have yet to do a write-up of this excellent place yet :)))
Besides being close to Lake Toya & Niseko for scenic trips, it is also close to Mt. Yotei with fantastic views from the Yotei Observatory Deck! What's more, they also have an Amusement Park (available during non-Winter season) and many activities suitable for different seasons. I will give this place a MANY THUMBS UP!
1-3 days to really enjoy the scenery and the activities available there...
Tanukikoji Shopping ArcadeTanukikoji Shopping Arcade
This is a more traditional Japanese shopping arcade, walk all you can @ 1km long, with around 200 shops to shop till one drop! Tourist visits, Souvenir shops, Restaurants, Bars, you name it ...
~ 1-3hrs depending on the attractiveness of buying-spree to one 😉
Mitsui Shopping OutletMitsui Shopping Outlet
As the name suggests, Shopping haha! Many international brands can be found here like what a modern shopping mall must have!
~ 1-3hrs depending on the attractiveness of buying-spree to one 😉

[Sapporo to Noboribetsu by Train]

[Sapporo to Noboribetsu by Train, Credit Google Map]

Travelling and waiting for scheduled bus timing does take away a significant amount of time from the available days in a trip. The earliest return trip from Rusutsu Resort to Sapporo is 11:30am, 2hrs journey to Sapporo and another 2hrs journey from Sapporo to Noboribetsu by train. By the time we reached our hotel at Noboribetsu Grand Hotel, it was about 4pm. With little time left, and a little spent from hours of travelling, we hit the Onsen in the hotel … by the time we were revitalized,we had buffet dinner in the hotel and spent the remaining time shopping for snacks in the retail outlet that this hotel had. That was DAY 5.

[Outdoor Onsen at Noboribetsu Grand Hotel]

[Outdoor Onsen at Noboribetsu Grand Hotel]

DAY 6: Visited Jigokudani (Hell Valley) & Bear Park with a distant view of Lake Kuttara. Attempted to go to Date Judaimura but I was very off in my timing haha … yup, we did made a wasted trip to Date Judaimura when it was about the theme park’s closing time  😳

PlaceDescriptionTime to Plan for (Hr)
Jigokudani Hell Valley 1Jigokudani (Hell Valley)
Jigokudani is also one of the few Geothermal Park that I think Japan has. Japan has active volcanos, lots of hot springs, though not so many Geothermal Parks like this.
~ 2-3hrs
Comparison of SizeNoboribetsu Bear Park
This is one of the few parks in Hokkaido where one gets to be up close and personal with Brown Bears, even feeding them. In the same compound, there is a small Ainu village replica as well as a Observatory atop the Bear Museum where one can see Lake Kuttara.
~ 2-3hrs
jidai-ninja Credit JLI Student BlogDate Jidaimura
This theme park reenacts the culture and lifestyle of the Edo period of Japan between the 16th to 18th century where Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and hundreds of powerful feudal lords.
So one gets to experience or see Samurais, Ninjas in action, as well as the beautiful Oirans (high status courtesans usually differentiated by their dressings) in a cultural setting of the Edo period.
~ 1/2 Day
Top of the Observatory overlooking Lake ToyaLake Kuttara
It's 1/2 an hour drive from Noboribetsu, a circular caldera lake in Shiraoi, part of Shikotsu-Tōya National Park. The lake is recognized as having the best water quality in all of Japan
Lake ToyaLake Toya
Lake Toya is part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park, featuring the Volcano Usu that last erupted in 2000 ... This beautiful scenery offers hiking and camping opportunities
~1-3hrs, more if hiking and camping option is included
Lake ShikotsukoLake Shikotsu
Sight-seeing cruises are available to tour the second deepest lake in Japan in glass-bottomed boats or speed boats. 3 campsites are also available around the lake.
Other places of interest nearby would include Koke no Domon, a moss canyon with lots of rich plant life that can only be viewed from an observatory, Marukoma Onsen (ryokan) with unique hot spring baths located right beside the lake shores,
~ 1/2 Day to 1 Day

DAY 7: We took a train from Noboribetsu to Asahikawa (passing by Sapporo again), taking about ~3hrs, followed by picking a car from Asahikawa to drive to Sounkyo (accessible only by car or bus – with limited time schedules) to save on bus waiting time especially when it was Winter then … plus another est 1hr20min scenic drive before reaching Sounkyo in early Afternoon.

[From Noboribetsu to Sounkyo via Car Pickup at Asahikawa]

[From Noboribetsu to Sounkyo via Car Pickup at Asahikawa, Credit Google Map]

Sounkyo is one of the access points to Daisetsuzan National Park (via Mt. Kurodake), Hokkaido largest National Park and one of the best spots for Autumn colors. Other access points include Daisetsu Kogen Onsen to Mt. Midoridaki and Ginsendai to Mt. Akadake.

Sounkyo Gorge also offers several hotspring baths, scenic views of 2 wonderful waterfalls: Ginga no Taki (Milky Way Falls) and Ryusei no Taki (Shooting Star Falls) and a beautiful rock formation further up, Obako, accessible only by car.

That was our DAY 7, 8 and 9: Enjoying more Onsens, going up Mt. Kurodake via Kurodake Ropeway, visiting the frozen waterfalls

DAY10: We made our way back to Chitose from Sounkyo via the same route of dropping off the car at Asahikawa, and then via train back to Chitose. It’s good that we planned as such. By then, floods had hit the coastal areas of northern Hokkaido, and severe snowstorm conditions occurred as far in-land as Sounkyo. Our drive back from Sounkyo to Asahikawa was caught in a White-out condition due to really severe snowstorm and took us longer than expected. Nevertheless, we made it to Chitose by afternoon after starting the journey early in the morning. The rest of the day was spent in relax-mode at a nearby shopping mall.

DAY11: Check out of Hotel at noon to New Chitose Airport. Explored Royce Chocolate World, and last minute shopping before boarding our flight back home.

That pretty much sums it all  😎

11 days in Hokkaido passes in a wink of an eye. Good times are fleeting lol … that’s why they are good.




Feel free to share your experience or comments