Japan, without a doubt has been my favourite country to visit all time. A place filled with really nice and friendly people. My Hokkaido trip had been really special because I went there with my girlfriend, came back with my fiancé!
It was our first time experiencing snow and we felt like little kids when we touched down at the airport. Looking at the surroundings filled with snow made us so excited!
We travelled in a group of 4 for the flexibility and mobility, so we decided to rent a car. We travelled from New Chitose Airport to Noboribetsu, to Lake Toya, to Otaru (passing by Mount Yotei), to Sapporo and finally back to New Chitose in 6D5N.
Driving in Hokkaido during winter was an amazing experience, however do be cautious as it can be dangerous. The scenery was outstanding, yet surreal. Especially during the way from Lake Toya to Otaru, passing by the magnificent view of Mount Yotei. It was the most beautiful road that I’ve ever driven on, it felt like I was in a movie.
Noboribetsu is known for their onsen (hot spring) and I highly recommend it. They have multiple types of hot spring water with different contents and temperature for different benefits. Apart from that is Hell Valley and Ninja village for sightseeing in the area.
Lake Toya has a beautiful view, and you are recommended to book a hotel facing the lake. It’s unbelievable to wake up in morning to a view like that! Looking into the large calming lake with mountains in the far background, coupled with the cooling breeze is rather relaxing. Slurp in ramen and udon to give you a nice warm comfort during the cold weather is a must-do experience.
As a lover of seafood, the seafood at Otaru was a highlight, there are many markets and sushi bars that sell fresh seafood and Omakase (chef’s recommend dishes).
Sapporo is the city area where you can do all your shopping and eating. If you like to have a view of the entire city at night, you can head to Mt. Moiwa Ropeway.
We did try snowboarding and skiing, it was our first time and it was kind of difficult to learn. But when you get the hang of it, it will be really fun and fulfilling. I would recommend you to do your own research on the basic techniques before going.
Something important to note is the operational hours during winter season of the attraction spots. Some of them starts closing from 4pm onwards, be sure to take that into account.
Driving around the beautiful island of Hokkaido in a group of 4 was really enjoyable. Warm people, unique culture, beautiful scenery and awesome food. I can’t wait to go back to Hokkaido again!