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Self Drive in Hokkaido

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Self Drive in Hokkaido 2007/6/26 21:41
Hokkaido
Hi Uji San,

We are planning 10 nights in Hokkaido in late Jul to Aug, can you help us to see if the driving itinerary from day 2 to day 9 is feasible?
1) Chitose to Sapporo
2)Sapporo-Lake Shikotsu-Tomakomai-Shiraoi-Noboribetsu(visit the bear ranch)-Lake Toya(view fireworks)
3)Laya Toya-Mt Showa Shinzan(by ropeway)-Mt Yotei-Niseko(take hot air balloon)
4)Niseko-Kutchan-Iwanai-Shakotan-Yoichi-Otaru-Sapporo
5)Sapporo-Furano-Biei-Asahikawa
6)Asahikawa-Sounkyo-Memambetsu-Lake Abashiri-Abashiri
Is mombetsu worth going?
7)Abasiri--Akan National Park--Shiretoko--Kushiro Marsh Land
Is it better to stay at Akan or Kushiro?
8)Kushiro--Nemuro--Takachigawa--Obihiro
Is Nemuro worth going? Otherwise we would drive from Kushiro to Sapporo
9)Obihiro-Otaru-Sapporo(return car)-Hakodate(by train)
10)Hakodate-Lake Onuma-Night View
11)Hakodate to Haneda

Is Wakkanai worth going? We did not put in our plan because it is too far.
We plan to take a train from Sapporo to Hakodate after we return car on day 10 evening.
What time is the last train to take from Sapporo Station and how much? We are not sure if is cheaper to take a train down than to drive down from Sapporo to Hakodate as there is a drop charge if we return car at different location.
Is parking in Hokkaido expensive?

Would greatly appreciate if you can advise us.

Arigatou Gozaimasu

by naturegal  

... 2007/6/27 13:21
I think you underestimate the driving distances in Hokkaido! I find that your itinerary is too packed. You will spend hours on the road almost on every single day.

I recommend to reduce the number of places you visit. And if you visit to see Eastern Hokkaido, it might be a good idea to fly into Eastern Hokkaido, such as Memanbetsu Airport, and then drive all the way to the east to leave through Hakodate Airport.

by Uji rate this post as useful

Wakkanai & Nemuro 2007/6/27 13:44
Yes, Wakkanai is worth visitng. Cape Soya is the northernmost point of Japan. The bus journey takes 45 minutes from Wakkanai station. Rishiri is worth seeing as well. The car ferry takes 1 hour and 45 minutes departing from Wakkanai pier just behind the ANA hotel. Wakkanai Onsen is a nice little local spa. The entrance ticket could be purchased at the bus terminal next to the train station.

Cape Nossapu is the easternmost point of Japan. On the clear day you may see the disputed island opposite the Cape. Some freshest seafoods can be found in Nemuro.

Both Wakkanai and Nemuro are fairly small towns. You may enjoy more going there by local train and buses.

by tju rate this post as useful

Self Drive in Hokkaido 2007/6/27 17:17
Tks for the advice!

Guess we have to miss Wakkanai because we intend to rent a car for 8 days to start from Sapporo. Seems that our schedule is too packed to fit in Wakkanai now.
We have already booked our flights to start from Sapporo as we thought that it is good starting point to get on the road. Also plan to go to Furano/Biei in July while the lavenders are still there. So if we only have 10 nights in Hokkaido, how can we finetune our itinerary now to make it more easy to achieve? We are ok to take out some of the places if we can't make it. We hope to go one round so that we can start and return the car at the same place to avoid the drop charge.

Are there any buses to take from Sapporo to Hakodate?
Is parking and toll expensive in Hokkaido?

by naturegal rate this post as useful

drop charge 2007/6/27 17:32
To give you some idea, I am picking up my Nissan from Hakodate and return in Sapporo, the drop charge is 7350 Yen. I think Toyato charge the same, this info is usually in all car rental website so you can check for your specific case.

Toll for expressway is rather expensive, a friend spent more on toll then petrol (I haven't done my trip yet so I don't know). In some areas, Highway and Expressway take about the same time and you get to see more along the highway.

by donna rate this post as useful

Self Drive in Hokkaido 2007/6/27 19:17
Hi Donna,

May I know how much is your car rental per day?

I made a booking with ToCoo!, the site that is highly recommended here but their drop charge is hefty.
Here's their policy:

Mazda Car Rental
Drop-off location Distance from the pick-up location
Within 50km: 3,200 Yen
Within 100km: 6,500 Yen
Every additional 50km
Vehicle: 2,500 yen
The estimated distance between Sapporo and Hokkaido is about 300km, that means the drop charge will be 16,500 yen. So your drop charge is really cheap.
May I know which rental company you are taking? Does it come with English GPS?

by naturegal rate this post as useful

... 2007/6/27 20:13
I rent with Tocoo as well, that's the drop off they are charging me, which is the same as what Nissan itself charges. Best to ask Tocoo directly for your locations and date, maybe that will make a difference.

The standard GPS is in Japanese but they are requesting English one for me subject to availability. I heard from many people that the phone number system is good enough so English GPS is not a must. Toyota might have newer/ English GPS and their rate is not that much higher compare to Nissan during peak season.

by donna rate this post as useful

Self Drive in Hokkaido 2007/6/27 23:36
Hi Donna,

We chose Mazda because it is cheaper than Nissan. We tried to email or sent our enquiries to Tocoo but they did not reply. They only commented that GPS with english is not available.
Have you book all your accomodations?
We are thinking of walking in for some places but not sure if that is safe or not.
Can share with us your itinerary?
Thanks!

by naturegal rate this post as useful

my itinerary 2007/6/28 01:10
Hi naturegal,

I am going to Hakodate, Lake Toya, Noboribetsu, Furano, Biei, Asahidake, Sounkyo, Otaru, and Sapporo in 13 days. Everyone travel in different style, some are more energetic and can travel fast paced; as you can see, I am the very slow type (and I donft like to drive at night).

I donft know the Japanesefs view on walk-in guests, I only know if you book a place which includes dinner, they will expect you to arrive on time so they can prepare meals. I am hoping to book all accommodations before I go so I can look for places I like within my budget. If you are going at peak season/ weekends, choices might be limited if you walk-in.

For my traveling period, Nissan is still offering low season rate while Mazda is on high season so Nissan will be cheaper for me. It usually takes Tocoo a few days to reply so they might get back to you soon.

Here is a website that I found very helpful, you can work out the driving time and distance between places so you can get better idea on how much you can cover in a day.

http://northern-road.jp/navi/eng/index.htm

Happy planning, this is my first time to Hokkaido and I am very excited about it :)

by donna rate this post as useful

Self drive in Hokkaido 2007/6/28 01:30
Hey Donna-san,

I am very excited too as this is the first time we are going Japan :)

I also use the link you sent to me to plan my driving routes. Maybe I am too ambitious :P

I search my accomodation using this link that you may find useful too:
http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/en/

Btw, which part of the earth are you from? I am from Singapore.

by naturegal rate this post as useful

hi again 2007/6/28 08:16
Morning naturegal,

It is interesting you are choosing Hokkaido as your first destination in Japan. The beauty of road trip is you can add or skip places as you go, depending on how you feel on the day.

Thanks for the link, I am glad we can share our trip planning. I am from Sydney!

by donna rate this post as useful

hello! 2007/6/28 14:45
Hi Donna,

We chose to start with Hokkaido as it seems pretty easy to drive around.

Yes, we love the freedom of road trip. We made a round trip at Tasmania 2 years ago and we enjoyed it very much.

Any idea how big is hokkaido compared to Tasmania?

Nice to meet you at this forum! :)

by naturegal rate this post as useful

... 2007/6/28 16:14
Tasmania and Hokkaido are comparable in size. Hokkaido is only a little bit larger.
by Uji rate this post as useful

.... 2007/6/28 16:55
Yes, Hokkaido is a bit bigger than Tasmania but it has 10 times the populations! I am sure there are a lot more to see and do in Hokkaido than in Tas :)
by donna rate this post as useful

tocoo! 2007/7/5 23:24
Hi Donna,

When is your travelling period?
I have a problem getting a response from tocoo. We intended to extend our car by one day and so we sent in our change reservation request. It has been more than one week already but we still have not received any reply from them.
Do you know any other way to get in touch with them?
Thanks!

by naturegal rate this post as useful

Singapore? 2007/7/11 10:09
Naturegal, when are you going Hokkaido? I'm from Singapore too and and I may be going with another friend to Hokkaido between late July to early Aug and your itinerary looks brilliant.
by Nick rate this post as useful

........... 2007/7/11 10:23
Hi nick,
we are going on 23 July but will arrive Sapporo on 25 July. How about you?
Our itinerary sounds a bit rush but we hope to cover as much during our 10 nights there.
by naturegal rate this post as useful

if i made 2007/7/11 17:37
day 1-4 might be almost same.
(i would go and see otaru day 4)

day 5
sapporo-furano-biei-sounkyo onsen

day 6
sounkyo-abashiri-shiretoko utoro onsen
(explore shiretoko)

day 7
shiretoko-notsuke peninshsula-kawayu onsen in akan national park
(go to lake mashu,lake kussharo and enjoy free onsen around lake kussharo)

day 8
kawayu-lake akan-kushiro marshland-kushiro

day 9
kushiro-tokachigawa onsen-sapporo

if you see any sign which you are interested on the way, you can go.

expressway is expensive but day 6 to day 9,you don't need to use it.coz not so different or no expressway^^
you may use..
day 4 otaru-sapporo
day 5 sapporo-mikasa(on the way to furano)
kamikawa aizan-soun kamikawa(on the way from biei to soun but it's free)


by moco rate this post as useful

Naturegal 2007/7/11 18:58
Cool. I should be leaving between 22-26 July for maybe 10-14 days. You're taknig Thai Airways I suppose hence the stopover?

But I can't quite decide yet whether we are gonig to Hokkaido only or just mainland japan w/o Hokkaido. Maybe our groups can meet up while we're there if you don't mind!

by Nick rate this post as useful

...... 2007/7/11 19:12
Oh, you got to fix your travelling dates soon as we are told seats were running out fast when we made our bookings with JAL more than 2 weeks ago.
We took up the $968 package by JAL including domestic flights to Hokkaido. If you are not going Hokkaido, Thai Airways is one of the cheapest and yes, you can stopover at Bangkok. Otherwise, you will have to take a train to Hakodate or Sapporo.
Sure, it is always nice to meet our own people in a foreign land!
Thanks Mocco for your kind advice too.
by naturegal rate this post as useful

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