Trip reports and budgeting for my Aug 2015 road trip to Hokkaido with the parents.
While we were in Hokkaido mainly to fulfil Mum’s dream of seeing the colourful summer flower fields, we ended up doing a lot more than that. Highlights of my road trip include:
Sapporo and Otaru: Seafood lovers paradise
Yoichi distillary: Looking for the Angel’s Share
Niseko: Enjoying this well-known ski resort in green season
Lake Toya: Luxury resort overlooking the huge caldera lake
Furano: Vibrant Flower farms off the beaten path
Five star dining, cos we are foodies!
Biei: Traditional onsen hotel with kaiseki dinner
When to visit (summer)
This will depend on what flowers you would like to see. The height of the tourist season is in July and August as most of the flowers are in full bloom, especially the very popular lavender. Different flower farms are also popular for different types of flowers, so which farms you visit will also depend on the timing. For our family, we chose early September as we wanted to avoid the crowds and heat but still be in time for late blooming lavender. Coming from Singapore, summer heat is definitely not our thing for an enjoyable holiday.
For winter in Hokkaido, check out my most popular post on How to DIY your ski trip to Niseko, Hokkaido.
Flower and crop calendar
Details of the trip
Dates: 29 Aug 2015 – 4 Sep 2015
Number of pax: 4 adults
Total distance travelled by car: c.600km
Start point: New Chitose airport, Hokkaido, Japan
End point: Asahikawa airport, Hokkaido, Japan
Car (12 hours-daytrip from Sapporo): Group P-1 car (Nissan March) rented from Nissan Rent a Car (booked via ToCoo)
Car (75 hours with different drop off point): Group P-5 car (Nissan Wingroad) rented from Nissan Rent a Car (booked via ToCoo)
Navigation: English GPS (in-built in car) with backup by Google Maps (rent wifi egg)
Logistics assistance: 100% self-planned
My Itinerary (free&easy, self-drive)
Unlike my usual hair-raising adventures, this particular itinerary was crafted for a trip with my 60+ year old parents. It is very suitable for families with older folks and/or young children as the pace is very relaxed (read: plenty of opportunities for breaks / toilet stops / late starts) with more family-oriented activities. Due to the places we chose to visit, we flew into Hokkaido via Sapporo New Chitose airport and departed via Asahikawa airport. Click on the links below to go to corresponding trip report.
Day 0 SIN-HND 0805h-1605h. HND-CTS 1800h-1930h. O/N Sapporo (Richmond Hotel Sapporo Ekimae).
Day 1 R&R Sapporo: Tanuki Koji shopping arcade, Nijo seafood market, Sapporo beer museum. O/N Sapporo (Richmond Hotel Sapporo Ekimae).
Day 2 Day trip (self-drive) to Otaru and Nikka Yoichi distillery. O/N Sapporo (Richmond Hotel Sapporo Ekimae).
Day 3 Self-drive Sapporo to Niseko (100km/1.5h) to Lake Toya (55km/1h). O/N Lake Toya (Nonokaze Resort).
Day 4&5 Self-drive Lake Toya to Furano/Biei (300km/4.5h). Furano/Biei: Flower farms, Ningle terrace. O/N Biei (Yumoto hotel).
Day 6 Asahikawa-HND 1325h-1510h. Click here for Part II trip report (3N Tokyo + 1N Hakone).
Budgeting – details (per pax)
(USD1= JPY120 = c.SGD1.40 @Sep 2015)
– Accommodation (x6N incl. 6 breakfasts and 3 dinners): JPY57k
– Transport: JPY16k
– F&B*: JPY30k
>> TOTAL excluding airtix: JPY103k (c.USD860)
* Non-foodies may spend only half of this (we really go all out)
– Indicative Price for SIN-CTS return Air Tickets: From USD650/pax (promo ticket)
>> TOTAL including international airtix: c.USD1.5k/pax
Accommodation I used
(USD1= JPY120 = c.SGD1.40 @Sep2015)
1. Richmond Hotel Sapporo Ekimae, Sapporo (3 nights)
– Chain hotel near JR Sapporo (the main train interchange)
– Rate I paid: JPY5,500 pppn (twin share, incl. b/fast, Western room with ensuite toilet and bathroom) booked via booking dot com
– Facilities: free wifi in-room, paid parking
2. Lake Toya Nonokaze Resort, Lake Toya (1 night)
– luxury resort with all lake-facing rooms
– Rate I paid: JPY14,190 pppn (quad share, half board, Japanese-Western room, ensuite toilet and bathroom) booked via booking dot com
– Facilities: Free parking, indoor and outdoor onsen, free wifi in-room
– See my review of Nonokaze Resort (click Day 3 itinerary above)
3. Yumoto Hotel Shirogane Onsen, Biei (2 nights)
– 3-star traditional Japanese onsen hotel (10 min drive from Biei town centre)
– Rate I paid: JPY10,950 pppn (quad share, half board, Japanese tatami room, ensuite toilet and bathroom, onsen tax JPY150pppn) booked via booking dot com
– Facilities: Free parking, indoor and outdoor onsen, free wifi in lobby
– See my review of Yumoto hotel (click Day 4-5 itinerary above)
See also my other Japan self-drive trip reports and sample itineraries: