Hokkaido Itinerary Spring Travel Guide

Hokkaido Spring Itinerary | Travel Plan 2024

Lately, I have been asked to create 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, especially for newcomers. 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, what to experience including where to stay!

Here, spring has not been much attractive as it is in the winter and summer. It does mean a lot, want to know why? In spring, you still could book hotel’s room at a reasonable price, less traffic on the road and so on.

Cherry Blossoms have bloomed in Sapporo! Photo Credit: MIKI Yoshihito at Flickr.

A few weeks ago, I have published a post about Hokkaido summer itinerary. I kept that as simple as possible 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 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.

There is a complete itinerary for your spring trip to Sapporo. Read it here.

Day 1 – Arrival in Hakodate, Hokkaido from Tokyo

Hokkaido Shinkansen. Photo Credit: Moto “Club4AG” Miwa at Flickr.

I assume you are coming to Hokkaido from Tokyo. 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: Tokyo Station and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station.

It means getting to Hakodate from Tokyo is easy and fast! And according to my experience, a lot of visitors go to Hakodate to see its popular cherry blossoms spots from Honshu.

So, if you are one of them then your journey to Hakodate is really simple and hassle free now.

Fort Goryokaku, Hakodate. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

If you catch a Shinkansen (Bullet Train) in the early morning from Tokyo Station, I would definitely say that you could visit Fort Goryokaku, Motomachi, The Bay Area, Hakodate Park and Mount Hakodate.

Enjoy a lovely evening observing a great night view of Hakodate city from the observatory of Mount Hakodate. Stay the night in a hotel located near the Hakodate Station.

This hotel is a perfect choice for your overnight stay in the city.

Day 2 – Hakodate to Matsumae

Matsumae Castle and Cherry Blossoms in Hakodate, Hokkaido. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Take a direct bus from Hakodate Station to get to Matsumae and enjoy the bus ride for sure. Have a great time viewing sakura at Matsumae Park and its castle area.

Also visit the nearby sightseeing attractions and then take a train back to downtown Hokodate. In the evening, leave the city for Toyako from Hakodate station by taking a Hokuto limited express train. Stay the night there.

You can check into this hotel.

Day 3 – Toyako (Lake Toya) to Sapporo

Lake Toya. Photo Credit: Mr Hicks46 at Flickr.

Lake Toya is one of the most beautiful caldera lakes in Japan. The area is packed with hiking trails, and hotels that provide their guests wonderful hot spring baths.

In Toyako, you should explore the beauty of Lake Toya, visit Mount Usu by Usuzan Ropeway for an unforgettable outdoor adventure. Besides, pay a visit to Silo Viewing Platform, and Toyako Volcano Science Museum. They are worth visiting!

After the end of your day trip in Lake Toya, make you way to Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido. Stay overnight at this hotel, located adjacent to Sapporo Station.

If you want then you can spend one more day here in Toyako. A very good relaxing day!

Day 4 – Sapporo to Otaru

Otaru canal in evening time. Photo Credit: Chi King at Flickr.

Access to Otaru from Sapporo is not a daunting task. Along the JR Hakodate Main Line, there are several trains per hour that run between Sapporo Station and Otaru Otaru.

Otaru Aquarium, Otaru Canal, Mount Tengu, Sakaimachi Street, and Otaru City Museum are considered the main sightseeing attractions in the town.

Temiya Park is the best place to see cherry blossom in Otaru. Visit the park between late April and early May, and it will steal your heart away.

Even though Otaru is quite a popular holiday destination in the winter, you still would like to explore the town in the spring.

Get back to Sapporo in the evening so that you could have a nice dinner at Sapporo Beer Garden.

Day 5 – Sapporo to Asahikawa

You can see panguin at Asahiyama Zoo. Photo Credit: pelican at Flickr.

Now it is time to head to Asahikawa, the second largest city of Hokkaido. There are limited express trains that connect Sapporo with Asahikawa in every 30 minutes.

Two things you never ever forget to do when you travel to Asahikawa, they are: visiting Asahiyama Zoo, and having delicious Asahikawa ramen. Besides, a visit to Ueno Farm would be a great experience.

There are many restaurants around the train station that serve 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 the spring.

Roam around the city’s most popular attractions and visit Aeon Mall Asahikawa to buy some souvenirs.

In Asahikawa, you should stay in this hotel.

Day 6 – Asahikawa to Takinoue > Kamiyubetsu > Ozora

Drive your car to Takinoue Park to see Shibazakura, then head over to Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park. These two places would surly blow your mind as they are the wonders of spring in Hokkaido.

Stay overnight in Kitami area, and make your way to Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park in the next morning.

Park Hills is a nice looking guest house. Stay a night there.

Day 7 – Ozora to Akanko Onsen

Sightseeing boat at Lake Akan. Photo Credit: TravelingOtter at Flickr.

If you like the atmosphere of Takinoue Shibazakura Park, then I guess you would also like spending few hours in Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park. After that, directly head toward Lake Akan (Part of Akan National 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 that much far from Lake Akan.

Day 8 – Akanko Onsen to Kushiro

Red-crowned cranes in Kushiro. Photo Credit: Alastair Rae at Flickr.

In Kushiro, visitors usually go there for one big reason, what’s that? That’s for the graceful birds known as Red-crowned Crane or Japanese crane.

When you have enough time to visit Hokkaido, this is a kind of place to behold and you should not miss visiting it. Please note The Kushiro Shitsugen National Park is the best place for bird watching in the region.

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 get to the resort before late night and stay a night there.

Day 9 – Tomamu Resort -> Furano > Biei > Asahikawa

On the way to Unkai Terrace, Tomamu Resorts. Photo Credit: Kentaro Ohno at Flickr.

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.

Don’t forget to pay a visit to Farm Tomita, Furano Cheese Factory, and Furano Winery.

After the expedition, drive your car to Shikisai-no-Oka and then to Blue Pond. This is a lovely flower garden in Biei, and a perfect place to see early blooming spring flowers. Between late-April and early-May, you will see tulips, cherry blossoms and other flowers there.

I am sure you could reach to Asahikawa city before nightfall from there.

Hotel to stay in Asahikawa: JR Inn Asahikawa.

Day 10 – Asahikawa to Asahidake Onsen

Blue pond of Asahidake, Daisetsuzan National Park. Photo Credit: Boccaccio1 at Flickr.

Today you are going to explore the beauty of Daisetsuzan National Park. Hiking is great here especially in the summer and autumn.

Please take the Asahidake Ropeway and enjoy the view of surrounding vistas of the national Park. The ride itself is an amazing experience!

Then set off your journey to Sapporo by train. Stay overnight at Nest Hotel Sapporo Ekimae.

Day 11 – Sapporo in a day

Sakura at Nakajima Park, Sapporo.

Sapporo is the capital city of Hokkaido. I think you would like to see many spring flowers there! Visit at Nakajima Park, Hokkaido Shrine, Maruyama Park to see tons of cherry blossoms.

In addition, explore Odori park and participate in the lilac festival, which is held in mid May.

Please visit these places: Sapporo Clock Tower, Sapporo TV Tower, Mount Mowa Ropeway, Moerenuma Park, Sapporo Factory, Nijo Market and Susukino. Learn how to spend a day in Sapporo here.

Day 12 – Sapporo to New Chitose Airport

New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido. Photo Credit: [MARK’N MARKUS] at Flickr.
It is time to say “Goodbye to Hokkaido!” You know your departure time so If your flight is in the evening then you still have enough time to spend for shopping. At New Chitose Airport, there are many shops to buy things from to bring home.

If you want to have a farmstay experience in Furano, 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 stunning places, you will find out other top sightseeing attractions of the Hokkaido region.

I believe that a 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 build 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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