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Driving in winter in Hokkaido 2009/8/13 20:56
Hokkaido
How safe is it to drive in December in Hokkaido? Are the expressways kept free of snow by snow ploughs or can I expect jams and delays? I am planning to visit Daitsetsuzan, Akan, Abashiri, Utoro, shiretoko etc. I have driven to these places in summer and it was a breeze.
by ssn22 (guest)  

... 2009/8/14 10:07
How safe is it to drive in December in Hokkaido?

Depends on road conditions and your winter driving skills.

Many roads will be free of snow or cleared of snow, but some roads might be snow covered or even icy, which can be very dangerous.

Are the expressways kept free of snow by snow ploughs or can I expect jams and delays?

They are usually kept free of snow, but after a snow storm or multiple days of constant snow fall, it can happen that expressways are covered, too.

December is still relatively early in the winter, and in lower elevations and southern latitudes it is unlikely that you will encounter too many snow covered roads.

But it depends a lot on how much snow has fallen in the days before your arrival. If you are lucky, you might not encounter a single snow covered road. But if there was a lot of snow fall, most roads could be snow covered.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Thank you Uji 2009/8/14 11:03
Reassuring reply. Thank you Uji. I have driven a 2WD in California / Sierra Nevada Mountain Range / Yosemite last dec. Became proficent in mounting snow chains after a while. Would Asahidake Onsen remain open in Dec?
by ssn22 (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2009/8/14 11:08
Yesm Asahidake Onsen is open around the year. Only after a big storm, the road to the resort might temporarily be unpassable.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Rental Recommendation? 2009/8/14 11:19
Great! This would be my 3rd visit to Hokkaido in as many years. I previously rented the car from ToCoo. They are good. Are there even better recommendations for hokkaido? I plan to arrive at Chitose AP and probably take the train to Sapporo and rent from Sapporo. Thank you in Advance.
by ssn22 (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2009/8/14 11:24
Tocoo is difficult to beat in terms of cost and English reservation interface.

But for quality cars (all of them include GPS and ETC), I personally prefer Toyota Rentacar, although they are more expensive:
http://rent.toyota.co.jp/en/index.html
by Uji rate this post as useful

... 2009/8/14 11:36
Once again, thank you for your recommendation. You have been a great help Uji. I shall check Toyota's website and compare.
by ssn22 (guest) rate this post as useful

Tocoo - Toyota 2009/8/14 18:08
In July, we rented through Tocoo and got a Toyota with ETC in Sapporo. The Toyota rent-a-car is on the basement floor of the Prince Hotel, a couple of minutes' walk on the right as you exit Sapporo JR station.
by William5 rate this post as useful

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