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Driving Lake Toya to Niseko in mid Dec 2017/7/22 13:41
I was planning to rent a car from Chitose airport to Lake Toya, then to Niseko a day later.

The reason for driving to Toya from airport is due to the timing of my flight arrival at 1pm. If I take the JR or bus, the next available departure is 3pm and arrive at Toya station 4:36 and 5plus. From there I'd have to take the bus to the hotel in the dark. Hence thought driving will give time flexibility.

From Toya to Niseko by public transport will need a number of changes hence since i found 2 car rentals in Niseko Hirafu, thought of driving. However, have read that the roads from Lake Toya to Niseko Hirafu are winding roads and can have (surely have?) snow on the roads. Hence may not be advisable to drive.

So after the long story, I'm wondering if we get a 4WD, snow tires is a default must by the rental company, drive slowly and arrive before 4pm, is it really still not advisable to drive to Niseko?
Any other suggestions? Thanks.
by Bernie (guest)  

Re: Driving Lake Toya to Niseko in mid Dec 2017/7/23 01:50
I rented cars in Hokkaido the last two winters (December 2017 and January 2016). Without making any special requests, both times the car we rented was small but a 4WD with snow tires fitted and no problem to drive on the icy and snow covered roads that we encountered in Hokkaido. We drove up the windy mountain road to Lake Akan where on every curve you would slide a meter or so to the side, it was all very doable and only few roads were closed.

Take your time and leave early with such a hard deadline as you don't want to feel pressured and can attack the roads with the respect they deserve. Be soft on the brakes and the accelerator, otherwise don't worry, it is just ice and snow.

PS: make sure the get the correct international driving permit (1949 Geneva Convention) upfront, they do insist on that .
by Hoshisato rate this post as useful

Re: Driving Lake Toya to Niseko in mid Dec 2017/7/23 01:51
That was December 2016 :-)
by Hoshisato rate this post as useful

Re: Driving Lake Toya to Niseko in mid Dec 2017/7/23 09:21
Thanks! Noted the advice on brakes. We'll start early and drive slowly then. Was told to go at 30km/h and watch out for turns. And get the insurance coverage needed.
by Bernie (guest) rate this post as useful

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