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Snow Festival in Sapporo - February 2013

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Snow Festival in Sapporo - February 2013 2012/10/10 11:31
Hi
Need advise on my itinerary - a self tour on public transport during the snow festival in sapporo.

5/2 - Sapporo Snow Festival Opening
6/2 - Otaru - 1 night
7/2 - Asahikawa - 2 nights
9/2 - Furano - 1 night
11/2 - Sapporo Snow Festival Closing
12/2 - Noboribetsu - 1 night
13/2 - Niseko - 5 nights

1) Is there any special program in the Snow Festival Closing in Odori Park?
2) Is the above itinerary too hectic in winter?
Understand trains from Sapporo to Otaru and Asahikawa are very packed with people during winter.
Is bus a better means to travel in winter?
3) Should I include Lake Toya in my itinerary?
4) 5 days in Niseko - is it too many days? I am not a skier.
5) Should I spend more days in Furano?
5) Are there other better place of visits during winter instead of the above.

Thanks for helping out!

by anna111  

... 2012/10/10 18:41
What is the rest of your itinerary? Are you flying into Sapporo directly? Flying out of Sapporo? Seeing anything else in Japan?

1) Is there any special program in the Snow Festival Closing in Odori Park?

Not quite sure what you mean. I think there is the usual nightly show/concert. For us the most interesting thing was that once the official time for the Festival finished they went straight to work smashing up the snow and removing all the embedded lighting and started the removal/destruction process.

2) Is the above itinerary too hectic in winter?

Depends on your preferred pace but it looks ok to me.

Understand trains from Sapporo to Otaru and Asahikawa are very packed with people during winter.

Don't think so. Especially not on the dates you specify. We just day tripped from Sapporo to Otaru and back and it was fine. There are over 80 trains throughout the day going from Sapporo to Otaru on a normal day like today.

Note that your date for Otaru is too early for the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival Feb 8-17, so I'd move your Otaru stay later, maybe swap it with Asahikawa.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6706.html

Is bus a better means to travel in winter?

No.

3) Should I include Lake Toya in my itinerary?

What do you wish to do/see there?

4) 5 days in Niseko - is it too many days? I am not a skier.

Way too long if you are not a skier. I'd probably drop it entirely, but what do you wish to do there?

5) Should I spend more days in Furano?

Probably not unless you ski. What do you want to see there?

5) Are there other better place of visits during winter instead of the above.

We had an awesome time seeing the pack ice/drift ice off the coast of Abashiri. It is a long way to get there (5.5 hours each way) but the journey itself was pretty cool and we stayed overnight in Abashiri which was nice. The trip on the icebreaker ship was one of our highlights of our trip.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6865.html
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6868.html

We used the trains to enter and exit Hokkaido so we also spent a night in Hakodate which we really enjoyed (we have been back since). The morning markets are interesting and they have lots of squid and king crabs. The town has quite a few other sights including the view from Mt Hakodate and there is certainly enough for a day or two there for us. Some nice restaurants around town also.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5350.html

Enjoy your trip!

by GC3 rate this post as useful

Re: Snow Festival in Sapporo - February 2013 2012/10/10 20:35

Anna,

How about Sounkyo Hyoubaku Matsuri? If you are staying at Sounkaku Grand Hotel, you will get free courtesy bus to and from Asahikawa

by liem (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Snow Festival in Sapporo - February 2013 2012/10/12 18:45
Hey guys,
Thank you very much for responding. I definitely got to revise my itinerary to incorporate all your suggestions.
Yes, to and fro Haneda-Chitose-Haneda by flight.

cheers

by anna111 rate this post as useful

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