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Early December Hokkaido itinerary with kids

Singapore, Singapore
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61 posts
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Early December Hokkaido itinerary with kids

Dear All,

We are a family of four, including 2 kids, 7 & 9. We are would be in Hokkaido for 7 days from 1st - 7th dec and intending to rent a car. We have read about the advice against winter driving in this forum. A few questions here and appreciate valuable advice from the DEs or anyone:

1. Will the road conditions during early December be drivable? We do not have any winter driving experience but definitely more convenient mode of transport travelling with 2 young kids

2. Any suggestions on activities or places we should go during this period, suitable for kids?

Our tentative itinerary as follows:

Arrive Sapporo, resort bus to Niseko Hilton for 2 nights

Niseko Hilton bus to Otaru, 1 night

Otaru to Sapporo, 2 nights

1 more night to spare... Any suggestions? Onsen resort to recommend?

Thanks much in advance!

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Tohoku, Hokkaido
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1. Re: Early December Hokkaido itinerary with kids

Even outside winter months Sapporo and Otaru are best done without a car. Sapporo has an excellent subway system while Otaru can easily be explored on foot. And if transport is already arranged for Niseko there is no real need for driving.

For onsen experience consider an overnight stay in Noboribetsu. Again most lodgings there can arrange shuttle service to and from Sapporo and some are free.

For kids they may love a ride on the special Zoo Train from Sapporo to Asahiyama Zoo although early Dec maybe a bit too early for the popular penguin parade in the zoo.

Singapore, Singapore
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61 posts
26 reviews
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2. Re: Early December Hokkaido itinerary with kids

Thanks for your invaluable advice. When would we expect the penguin parade to start?

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Tohoku, Hokkaido
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3. Re: Early December Hokkaido itinerary with kids

Depending on the snow condition it varies each year, but mostly it won't start till mid Dec.

asahiyamazoomiyage.com/pengin-walk.html

Singapore
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4. Re: Early December Hokkaido itinerary with kids

There is onsen , outdoor type in niseko. Agree that a car is not required for this trip.

Sapporo I well connected by underground walkway . Lots of food n shopping n not as crowded compared to Tokyo downtown . Plus is nice snowy conditions.

Singapore, Singapore
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61 posts
26 reviews
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5. Re: Early December Hokkaido itinerary with kids

dear all,

I have now got 8-9 nights in Hokkaido, tentative itinerary as follows:-

day 1& 2

Tokyo fly to Chitose, Chitose to Niseko

day 3

Niseko to Otaru, 1 night in Otaru

day 4

Otaru to Sapporo, 1 night in Sapporo

day 5

Sapporo to Noboribetsu or Jozanbei (for Onsen Resort)

Day 6

Onsen Resort

Day 7

Onsen Resort to Sapporo

Day 8

Sapporo to Asahikawa Zoo, stay 1 night

Day 9

Asahikawa to Mombetsu, Ohtosk Seal Centre

Day 10

Mombetsu fly out to Tokyo

is the above itinerary realistic in terms of timing and doable by public transport? can the sequence be improved? thanks for much for any advice.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Tohoku, Hokkaido
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6,758 posts
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6. Re: Early December Hokkaido itinerary with kids

The plan looks fine. I suppose transport to and from Niseko has already been arranged and so is that for the “onsen resort”!? Otherwise it seems quite a bit of going in and out of Sapporo. If you can arrange to go to Noboribetsu or Jokanzei directly from Otaru, you can spend the 2 nights in Sapporo consecutively thus minimizing the change of hotels almost everyday.

Between Noboribetsu and Jokanzei I would choose Noboribetsu. And with 2 days there maybe you can do a side trip to Toya-ko as well.

Interesting to see that you are going to the east and flying out from Mombetsu. Just note that the bus journey from Asahikawa to Mombetsu is more than 3 hrs. BTW, I hope you are already aware of the ice-breaker cruise which normally doesn’t start till January. Anyway your kids will surely enjoy the visit to the seal nursery and hopefully end up being kissed by one! Just be sure to have coins with you upon arrival. There is no manned ticket counter, just coin operated wicket gates at the entrance.

Singapore, Singapore
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61 posts
26 reviews
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7. Re: Early December Hokkaido itinerary with kids

Hi William

Thanks for your kind advice.

We are planning based on JR route. Just wondering should I go clock wise this way:

Chitose airport - Shiraoi (Ainu Village) - Noboribetsu (night 1) - Noboribetsu (night 2) - Toya Ko (night 3) - niseko (night 4-5) - otaru (night 6) - Sapporo (night 7) - Sapporo day trip to Asahikawa then back to Sapporo (night 8) - jozanbei onsen resort (night 9) - fly out to Tokyo on day 10

Seal centre seems quite out of the way, is it worthwhile to make that trip?

Thanks much.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Tohoku, Hokkaido
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8. Re: Early December Hokkaido itinerary with kids

Indeed if it is not a must to fly out from Mombetsu, it would be wise to stick to the places on the west to cut short the long journey east.

Your latest route is good although personally I would consider an overnight stay in Asahikawa. Otaru and Jozankei on the other hand can be done as daytrips from Sapporo.

9. Re: Early December Hokkaido itinerary with kids

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