10 DAYS IN SNOW LAND!
For those who are lazy to read:
Went on a trip with Thye and his family to Hokkaido over the Chinese New Year and its SO beautiful!
It’s actually my first planned tour so the itinerary I’ve attached are actually given by the tour agency. However, if you all can get your own transport in Hokkaido, you can just extract out the places from this itinerary to go! THE SMELT ICE FISHING IS A MUST!!!
Cant provide a estimated cost of accommodation cause its all inclusive in the tour so… sorry guys! Also, note that there will not be any cheap hotels recommendation in this post as the entire tour costed quite a bomb + all the hotels were gorgeous!
Before we start, here are some tips:
- PACK WARMLY! Invest in really good down jackets and long john! If you are heading in winter period like us, its a must! There is one day that went down to -20 degrees that we were freezing despite 5-6 layers of clothes!
- Will advise you to book a few different hotels if you wish to explore around Hokkaido as some distance in between places is pretty far. For our tour, we changed hotels almost every night(we have our own transport and driver) so its a lil inconvenience but you all can space out for free and easy.
- Please at least book a night at a hotel with hot spring! You wont regret it! Also, its invigorating to soak in the hot spring in the winter. Lucky for us, we have hot springs at all the hotels we stayed!
- The onsens in Japan are separated by Male and Female, so if you’re a couple travelling there, do be prepared to soak alone. Thye got really bored that he said its the first time he showered for an hour everyday.
- PLEASE WEAR HIGH FRICTION SHOES/BOOTS OR GET PROPER SNOW SHOE PROTECTION AS ITS REALLY SLIPPERY THAT WE ALL SLIPPED A FEW TIMES NO JOKE.
Landed in the airport, got picked up by our driver and off we go to our first stop-Kushiro Marsh Observation Deck. Nothing much there except its our first time in a snow land so we were still awed by the scenery.
Then, its to the Kushiro Washo Seafood Market for lunch followed by the Akan International Crane Center before checking into our first hotel.
There is nothing much to do at the Akan International Crane Center either, just mainly people crowding around to see the famous Japanese Crane Bird which is by right very sacred in Japan.
Explored around our hotel area after that as its like a small village and there are shops around. There are even winter sports like snowmobile ride outside our hotel!
Back to rest for the night as everyone was tired out from the plane ride + the extreme cold weather.
For more details on our first hotel: Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings
Breakfast with a gorgeous view! I think Hokkaido is by far, the prettiest country I’ve ever travelled to. It just make the morning even better and I feel so so blessed to be here.
Checked out of the hotel and its to Mt.Iou to see an active volcano!!! The place here is pretty much like the sulphur valley I’ve went to in Hakone(read post here) just that for this, there is no sulphur smell and the snow makes the place 10x more beautiful.
We had the volcanic eggs too so I guess our lives had lengthen by quite abit haha.
Lunch at Shiretoko area and then its… Snow Shoe Walking Tour!
Its actually all our first time trying this and its quite fun just that certain snow area is really deep so you can “fall” into a hole anytime. You all should try this in Hokkaido if you can! Oh, please dress warmly from head to toes for this. Thye wore Red Wings boots and his toes were freezing max at the end of the tour.
Back to our hotel (the day in Hokkaido is pretty short so it gets real dark quickly) and off to onsen. The feeling of being out in the cold the entire day + soaking in the hot spring water in the night is just so, relaxing. This hotel has outdoor onsen too!
For more details of our 2nd hotel: Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi
Initial plan was to go drift ice walking + drift ice cruise however, we gotten news early in the morning that the ice wasn’t hard enough and they had to cancel the drift ice walking tour 🙁
So, we went to take the Norroko Train from Shiretoko to Abashiriand first.
Then, they brought us to this place where we get to make our own glass to make up for our drift ice walking activity.
Thankfully, we are still able to head to the drift ice cruise after that and omg, the view is spectacular!! See the photos below!
Went to a museum and slide down the snow slide. Dont think it looks pretty harmless ok its actually pretty scary cause at one point of time it went really fast.
Made our own glass cup!
This is a MUST-TRY! The view is magnificent!
Checked into the 3rd hotel and its literally WOW. There is a private onsen bath right outside our room and not only that, we had a 7-course dinner which got us stuffed by the 5th or 6th course.
Went for both the hotel onsen and our own private room onsen after that.
For more details of our 3rd hotel: Hokuten no Oka Abashiriko Tsuruga Resort
Checked out of our hotel and its to Smelt Ice fishing in Lake Abashiri near the area.
This is a must-try! Its one of my fav activities for the trip. We get to drill our own hole for fishing and they cooked the fishes we caught immediately after that so we get to eat like fresh hot fried shishamo in the cold and Thye’s sister actually caught a unique fish on one of her tries which according to our tour guide, its a very rare catch and brings good luck!
Then, its to some fox farm (you can skip this if you want, there is nothing much to see except fox and its super smelly inside due to the foxes’ dumps) and lunch at Aburitei which is one of our favourite meal cause.. finally not just sashimi and seafood but, WAGYU BEEF AND BBQ FOOD.
Checked into our 4th hotel earlier cause there is a snow festival near our hotel so we went to check out the place after that.
There was actually a snow storm that night and the weather was -20 degree!!!
For more details of our 4th hotel: Hotel Taisetsu
Checked out of the hotel and its all the way to Furano next!
Plans for today were the Asahiyama Zoo, Asahikawa Ramen Village, Otokoyama Sake Museum and Furano Marche. I will recommend the Zoo cause you get to see penguins WALKING through the Zoo and animals like Ostrich which you cant really see in SG.
Checked into our hotel after that and, finally a hotel where we stayed for 2 nights! Cause… its a skii resort and WE WERE GOING SKII-ING! Wooooo.
Spent the entire day going through ski-ing lessons and ski-ling down the slopes. One regret was that we didnt go up to the Mountain cause firstly, we were still pretty noob and I was really afraid of literally rolling down the mountain. Secondly, its either we wore the wrong socks or jeans but the ski shoes were pretty much rubbing against my leg and it hurt so much that I’ve difficulty even walking with it.
But oh well, I wouldnt mind doing it again and this time round, I will want to try the snowboarding! There were many kids and they all look super pro sliding and snowboarding down the mountain like there was no kick at all!
Dinner at a restaurant and its a 7 course meal again but this time round, we were all starving due to the energy used up that we managed to finish everything. Yup, I was NEVER hungry during the entire trip in Hokkaido, its insane.
Headed out to walk around the shopping village right behind the resort after dinner and that place is soooo serene and pretty!!!! It consist of many individual shops who sell handmade/handcrafted items. For people who love such ornaments, you MUST head there.
For more details of our ski-resort: New Furano Prince Hotel
Checked out of our final hotel in the “outskirt” area and its off to the City- Sapporo where its free and easy for the last 2 days and no more changing of hotel! But sadly, that also means the end of our onsen bath 🙁 I think I had super smooth skin now after consecutive 6 nights of soaking in the onsen haha.
The driver dropped us at the hotel and the next time we see him, it will be to the airport.
We stayed at Mecure Hotel in Hokkaido and the location is pretty convenient with food places around us. However, as we were really tired out from the past days of travelling around + the cold, we ended up taking cab(not cheap) most of the time.
First up, off to Otaru! Took the public train there and the Sankaku Fish Market was located right outside the station.
Then, its to the Otaru Canal and explored the entire shopping street around its area.
Back to the hotel in the night and we headed out for supper nearby our hotel cause there were many nice looking restaurant and we got so tempted to try them.
Had breakfast at a sushi restaurant near our hotel (told you the location was quite good) and then its off to their Snow Festival. There were tons of food stalls there that we were nonstop eating.
After that, back to the hotel cause Thye’s mum wasnt feeling very well so Thye and I went shopping ourselves. Went to the Sapporo Factory Outlet and its a must! They have shops like Nike, Addidas originals there. Think we did most of our shopping for the trip there.
Then, met up with Thye’s mum and sis and its off to the SAPPORO BEER MUSEUM!!
Actually, I was just looking forward to the BBQ instead of the museum cause you get to BBQ and drink Sapporo beer at the same time and it just feels so good in the cold cold weather. Oh, they are famous for their lamb BBQ there so do try it if you can!
Cabbed back to the hotel after that.
Woke up early in the morning to go to their fish market for some fresh seafood breakfast. Its something like the Tsujiki Market in Tokyo. There are other products there too like fruits etc.
Then, its off to one of their Shrine and shopping at Stellar Place Shopping Mall before heading back to the hotel to pack as our flight was in the night.
You can try this at one of the shops near the Shrine! I kind of love it cause its brown sugar inside!
Thye and I slipped out to the famous curry shop in Sapporo- Suage Soup Curry and Dining for late lunch in between packing and, no regrets!! The curry rice were soooo good!! Oh, do head there early or at non-peak timing cause the queue can be from level 2 to level 1! The shop is located at the 2nd level by the way.
Address: Japan, 〒064-0804 Hokkaido, Sapporo, Chuo, 南４西５ 都志松ビル
Waited for our driver to come and thennnnn, its home sweet home.
Although there were not much directions in this post as everything was pretty much covered by the tour agency, but I do hope the itinerary can help you in your planning!