Lately, I have been asked to make a suggested itinerary for those who are willing to visit Hokkaido in spring. I know it is not a big deal for me to do, but certainly for you. Visiting Hokkaido has always been a challenging destination for most of the backpackers and travelers. To make it simple for you, I have thought of many different routes, for example – where to start from, where to finish in time, what to see, including where to stay! Here, spring has not been much attractive as it is during the summer season. It does mean a lot, want to know why? In spring, you still could book hotel’s room at a reasonable price, less traffic in the road and so on.
A few weeks ago I have published a post about Hokkaido summer itinerary. I kept that as simple as I could and this time I would do the same for you. Though, some of the summer attractions will be missed in this post because here I will recommend only the best spring holiday destinations. Is it clear to you? You will get familiar with everything here soon. I request you to reorganize this itinerary with others. I do hope this is not the only itinerary you are going to rely on. Get ideas from other source as well but honestly I am thankful that you have come here for it. Let’s see what we find here.
Special Hokkaido Spring Itinerary: 12 Days
Day 1 – Arrival in Hakodate, Hokkaido from Aomori
I assume you are coming to Hokkaido from Aomori. Just take this as example; nothing is going to be wrong assuming so. Hokkaido Shinkansen has begun its journey on March 26, 2016 to a new route connecting two most important JR stations: Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto via the Seikan Tunnel. It means getting to Hakodate from Aomori is easy and fast. And according to my experience, a lot of visitors go to Hakodate to see its popular cherry blossoms spots from Aomori prefecture. So, if you are one of them then your journey to Hakodate is really simple and hassle free now.
If you catch the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) in the early morning from Shin-Aomori Station then I would definitely say that you could visit Fort Goryokaku, the Morning Market, Onuma Quasi National Park, Motomachi, Hakodate Park and Mount Hakodate. Enjoy a lovely evening observing a great night view of Hakodate city up from the Mount Hakodate. Stay the night in a hotel located near the Hakodate Station.
Day 2 – Hakodate to Matsumae
Take the direct bus from Hakodate Station to get to Matsumae and enjoy the bus ride. Have a great time viewing sakura at Matsumae Park and its castle area. Also visit the nearby sightseeing attractions and then get back to Hokodate. Leave it for Toyako from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station by taking the Hokuto limited express train. Stay the night there.
Day 3 – Toyako to Sapporo
In Toyako you should visit Lake Toya, Mount Usu, and its nearby attractions such as Shiraoi Ainu Museum (Porotokotan), Jigokudani (Noboribetsu), and Lake Shikotsuko. After end of your day 3 trip, head to the capital city Sapporo. Stay overnight and have some rest.
Day 4 – Sapporo to Otaru
Access to Otaru from Sapporo is not a daunting task at all. Along the JR Hakodate Main Line, there are several trains per hour run between Sapporo and Otaru. Here are the main tourist attractions of Otaru: Otaru Canal, Sakaimach Street, Kitaichi Glass Outlet, and Otaru city museum. Even though Otaru is a famous town of Hokkaido in winter season you would like to explore this town in spring as well. Get back to Sapporo in the evening so that you could have a dinner at a restaurant in Sapporo.
Day 5 – Sapporo to Asahikawa
Now it is time to head to the second largest city of Hokkaido – Asahikawa. There are limited express trains by JR Hakodate Line that connect Sapporo with Asahikawa in every 30 minutes. Three things you never ever forget to do when you travel to Asahikawa, they are: visiting Asahiyama Zoo, Asahikawa Ramen Village and having delicious Asahikawa ramen. In fact, there are many restaurants that serve this traditional style ramen. I recommend you to rent a car in Asahikawa that would help you to discover rest of the attractions which are widely popular in spring. Roam around the city and get back to your hotel’s room safely.
Day 6 – Asahikawa to Takinoue > Kamiyubetsu > Ozora
Drive your car to Takinoue Park to see Shibazakura then go to Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park. These two places would surly blow your mind as they are the wonders of spring in Hokkaido. Stay overnight in Ozora, and get prepared to travel to Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park in the next morning.
Day 7 – Ozora to Akanko Onsen
If you like the atmosphere of Takinoue Shibazakura Park then I guess you would also like spending few hours in Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park. Then directly head to Lake Akan (Part of Akan National Park) right after visiting the Shibazakura Park. Lake Akan offers you so many interesting things to do and see such as trekking, mountain climbing, fishing, sightseeing boat (cruise) trip and many more. Stay the night at Akanko Onsen which is located not very far from the mystic Lake Akan.
Day 8 – Akanko Onsen to Kushiro
In Kushiro, visitors usually get there for one big reason, what’s that? That’s for the graceful bird Red-crowned Crane or Japanese crane. When you have enough time to visit Hokkaido then this is a place that you must not miss visiting. The Kushiro Shitsugen National Park is the best place for bird watching. I have met with many photographers there before. All of them had one intention to take photographs of Japanese cranes. There are several Japanese crane viewpoints including a museum called Akan International Crane Center. Leave for Tomamu resorts and try to reach there before late night and stay overnight there.
Day 9 – Tomamu resorts to Furano > Biei > Asahikawa
Get up very early in the morning to visit Unkai Terrace (sea of clouds). You can enjoy a lovely morning there and have your breakfast at the café. Once you are done with it, I want you to move to Furano. Visit Farm Tomita, Furano Cheese Factory, and Furano Winery. Then directly drive your car to Shikisai-no-Oka. This is a lovely flower field in Biei and a perfect one to see spring flowers. I am sure you could reach to Asahikawa city before nightfall.
Day 10 – Asahikawa to Asahidake Onsen
This is a day only to explore the beauty of Daisetsuzan National Park. Hiking is great here especially in summer and autumn. Please take the Asahidake Ropeway and view gorgeous landscape of the national Park. Then set off your journey to the next destination – Sapporo city. Stay overnight there.
Day 11 – Sapporo: A Day Tour Experience
Sapporo is the capital city of Hokkaido. I think you would like to see spring flowers at Odori park as well as participate in lilac festival which is held in mid May. Please visit these places: Sapporo Beer Museum, Sapporo TV Tower, Mount Mowa Ropeway, Moerenuma Park, Sapporo Factory, Nijo Market and so on. Learn how to spend a day in Sapporo here.
Day 12 – Sapporo to New Chitose Airport
It is time to say “Goodbye” Hokkaido! You know your departure time so If your flight is in the evening then you still have enough time to do shopping in Sapporo.
If you want to have a farmstay experience in Furano then the best way to do is to skip visiting either Kushiro or Asahidake Onsen. This will give you a day to have a great farmstay experience in Furano area. This spring itinerary may not be a suitable one for you but just take it as an idea of a Hokkaido travel plan. In addition, by visiting all these places you will find out other top sightseeing attractions of the Hokkaido region. I believe that Self-drive trip to Hokkaido is just enjoying and it offers you a lot of freedom to move around in which time actually does not matter. You can move faster whenever you want to go or make your own itinerary deciding which one to visit and skip to save time and money. Please note that self-drive trip is the best way to explore the northern and eastern part of Hokkaido.
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