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My first solo trip Hokkaido (apr-may 2018)

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Old 07-07-2018, 02:37 PM   #1
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My first solo trip Hokkaido (apr-may 2018)

Have ended my first solo trip to Hokkaido quite sometime ago. hope through this thread I am able share some of my experiences and itinerary so others could reference it for their own trips.

How it started?
This was actually quite a random trip. I call it a random trip because I didn't plan to go anywhere this year, but I happen to chance upon the HWZ Japan forum one day and found kosongice and AHSS thread on Japan which give me this lightbulb moment of planning my first solo trip.

Where to go?
At first I was considering between the usual Japan itinerary of Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto but Hokkaido was always the place at the back of my head. I wanted to visit for as long as I can remember.Mainly from watching travel channel of the famed Hokkaido seafood. I wanted to try the amazing king crabs and scallops right from the source itself! the other factor that compel me with this choice was not wanting to go to a city, already being in a city state I wanted to see and do something different and hence this trip was born.

But first... a short summary of my trip.






route taken


total distance

I drove the entire trip , and would highly recommend those visiting Hokkaido to do so, you get to see so much more! (i.e wild foxes/deer and stop at interesting random places along the way) Mostly taking smaller country roads to save on toll as well as enjoy the drive and scenery along the way.

Rough breakdown
Flight $650
Hotel $896
Rental $178
Petrol $223 (2536.9KM 126.37L)
Insurance $41
cruise $97
Usuzan ropeway $17.69
Sapporo select deal $28.25
Lucky pierrot $8.62
Gokoyu tower $11.06
Koibito park $142
Potato farm $10
Moliere $178
Smaller items/food/others: ~$400?
Total : $2738

High cost?
Surprisingly, I didn't spend that much on this trip. on my last few days in Sapporo I was still left with ~$400 in cash. The bulk of my actual spending (excluding travel and accommodation) goes to buying souvenirs and a good meal at a local French restaurant. For me this trip was more of exploring and enjoying the scenery + photography trip hence during the day I was having some takeout and eating as I went along while having a proper sit down meal in the evening.

great weather, amazing scenery , friendly locals , heavenly food. what more can I ask for? one of my most memorable trips in a awhile. might return in winter for a different experience. Hokkaido Highly recommended!

special thanks to oceanicmanta for sharing valuable information on driving in Hokkaido. (will be sharing it to you guys in a later post).

trip inspired by:kosongice and AHSS
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Old 07-07-2018, 02:54 PM   #2
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Some tips for newbies
1) Don't pay full price at attractions, go online and do a search you will usually find that they have "coupon" for the event at a discounted price.
I got a discount coupon for Usuzan ropeway at a nearby lake information center,
if you are visiting Sapporo attractions get the Sapporo select deal(I brought at Sapporo tv tower) which allow you to visit 3 attractions at a single discounted rate.

2)To all foodies out there, if you are intend on visiting some of the more famous/crowded places, try booking in advance to reserve your place, they can be booked out pretty fast. Also check the dates of the place you are going , some place are closed 3-4 days of the week.
try https://tabelog.com/en/ for recommendation on local places to eat (credit to anyhowsaysay). Golden week is a really bad time since most of the places are closed.

3)for those intending to go in during spring time. I would suggest going later in spring (late may) to view Takinoue Park / asparagus harvesting.

4) Mobile data , I brought a StarHub happy roam after reading some of the threads on it. just ensure to have sufficient main balance $8(if I remember correctly) and download the StarHub APN thru the mobile app. I brought the $20 30 days 3.6GB plan but didn't actually finish it. For short trips might consider $15 30days 2.4GB or even $10 30days 1.2GB if mainly used data for google maps and search.

5)Considering to drive? if you are contemplating whether to drive, here are my thoughts.
- Do you drive regularly in SG or confident in your driving?
- Do you enjoy driving / don't mind driving through twisty mountain roads (there are quite a few)
- Do you like adventure?

if yes then go ahead and drive, you won't regret it!

Booked my vehicle from Jalan.net (using google translate) and as a first timer I was given a 5000 yen coupon. Similar to attractions , they seem to have a lot of coupon or deals going on all the time.

For the actual route itself, i set my google maps to avoid tolls and use country roads instead as advice by oceanicmanta, great idea! Roads are smooth and easy to drive with the exception on some of the roads which are crowded with trucks but generally speaking its smooth and not much to worry about.

if you are wondering, isn’t it a lot slower on country roads compared to highways? sure its slower but not by much. The main issue with country roads is that I tend to stop every few km if I see something thats interesting (this is a big “issue” as it added a few hours more into the drive rather then the route itself!)

For highways , nothing much to talk about. You take a ticket when entering and pay the toll fees after exiting the highway depending on how much you travelled.

P.S Navigation. From my limited experience the "english" GPS is only when you want to enter the mapcode/telephone no. buttons in english the rest of the navigation/settings largely in Jap. For a fuss free holiday experience, I strongly suggest using googlemaps since you can plot the places you want to go. its weird that my Sygic/here maps dosent have japan option on it.


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Old 07-07-2018, 03:04 PM   #3
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But first, layover at Bangkok.

fish soup at: Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Wat Phraya Krai, Khet Bang Kho Laem, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10120, Thailand https://goo.gl/maps/RAbU2si1U5Q2












sweet savoury seafood taste, recommend taking the butterfish. soft and sweet fish meat coupled with huge prawns



This stall is awarded 1 Michelin star (and no I didn't know until I saw the star being displayed in the shop)

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Old 07-07-2018, 03:17 PM   #4
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Nice.... A total of how many days?
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Old 07-07-2018, 03:25 PM   #5
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Nice.... A total of how many days?
Actual days in Japan 10 days. stay tune for the photos, hope you guys like it
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Old 07-07-2018, 03:39 PM   #6
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Day 1

pickup rental car and first destination is Furano Cheese Factory.















tried one of their black coloured cheese (charcoal?) really bitter. Besides cheese there is the ice milk factory, pizza factory, hands-on experience studio(reservation required).
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Old 07-07-2018, 05:13 PM   #7
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Farm Tomita https://goo.gl/maps/jTRhBgwskCU2. too early in the season to see flowers blooming but still managed to get some country road shots.

short stopover at Ningle Terrace https://goo.gl/maps/oY7T7BoQyuB2








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Old 07-07-2018, 05:13 PM   #8
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on route to farm Tomita

amazing scenery all around, my favourite is the red house with mountains in the background













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Old 08-07-2018, 11:47 AM   #9
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nice pics!


car rental only $178? tt is very cheap! how many days u drove? how much per day?
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Old 08-07-2018, 03:59 PM   #10
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Farm tomita. bad time to visit might be better during summer? nice little gallery slowing pictures of flowers and levenders blooming.







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Old 08-07-2018, 04:04 PM   #11
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Ramen at Asahikawa Abashiri Banya shoyu ramen https://goo.gl/maps/gXryBbWVFvE2





Having Asahikawa famous shoyu(soy sauce) ramen, very tasty but its a little salty and makes you thirsty easily. goes great with japanese beer

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Old 08-07-2018, 04:12 PM   #12
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first time in a japanese lawson. completely stuned by the variety of food,drinks and snacks offered.






hmm, sake in a milk carton? is this a norm anywhere else in the world?










so much mouth watering flavour of instant ramen. end up buying back some famous ramen (claims to be 1 michelin star )


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Old 08-07-2018, 04:20 PM   #13
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Day 2 Mt Daisetsuzan. wanted to take a hike on Daisetsuzan National Park. Mt Asahidake , tallest mountain in hokkaido.

japanese going about their day.






on the way to Mt Asahidake







no such luck. As you can see from the conditions... its still snowing and people are still skiing.




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Old 08-07-2018, 04:25 PM   #14
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onwards to probably hokkaido's most famous attraction, the blue pond.

random japanese shrine on the way to blue pond caught my eye, just had to stop over and get a shot of it.




I can understand why its one of hokkaido prized possession. seeing it through your screen probably dont do it justice.


A serene place even the locals love going there for a walk.

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Old 08-07-2018, 10:17 PM   #15
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drive or public tpt to blue pond?
can share how to get there by public tpt?
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