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Hokkaido During Golden Week: should I change my plan?

Bangkok, Thailand
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Hokkaido During Golden Week: should I change my plan?

Hi, I booked my ticket to Hokkaido without knowing it's a Golden Week holiday in Japan. We will arrive Sapporo on April 29 and Leave on May 6. This is our rough plan. I am concerned about the difficulties to find hotel and train. so we are thinking of postponing it to end of may or june instead

Day 1 (29/4): Arrive Sapporo, travel to Hakodate. Sightseeing in Hakodate

Day 2: (30/4): Sightseeing in Hakodate. Go to see Sakura at the fort. Sleep in Hakodate.

Day 3: (1/5) Leave for Noboribetsu. Volcanic Activities. Sleep in Noboribetsu Onsen Town

Day 4: (2/5) Back to Sapporo, sightseeing. Sleep in Sapporo

Day 5: (3/5) Otaru. Sleep: Sapporo

Day 6: (4/5) Sapporo Sightseeing. Possible Day trip to Asahikawa (any flowers worth seeing that can be a day trip?)

Day 7: (5/5) Sapporo

Day 8; (6/5) Leave Sapporo

How does our plan look? How bad and congested is Hokkaido during Golden Week. I had looked at hotel and there are pretty busy. We haven't finalize details on our hotel and train yet and are thinking of postponing the trip if it's too busy since it will ruin the whole trip. Do you think it's worth moving in to perhaps late May or June so we see more of the Summer side of Hokkaido? Is there any flowers in late April, early May (except Sakura) around Furano/Biei area?

Thank you so much for your help.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Tohoku, Hokkaido
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1. Re: Hokkaido During Golden Week: should I change my plan?

Apart from the greenhouse lavender in Farm Tomita late April to early May may not be a good time for flowers in Furano and Biei. Outdoor lavender season will start in the second half of June together with other colourful flowers.

As you most probably know already your present time of visit is the cherry blossom season in Hokkaido and Matsumae Castle is indeed a popular sakura site. Another worthwhile destination is the Cherry Blossom Avenue near Shizunai which is roughly SE of Sapporo.

…hokkai.jp/kankoukyoukai/…gaigo-en03.htm

http://www.sakuranamiki.com/haru/annai.html

Sapporo, Japan
Destination Expert
for Sapporo, Hokkaido
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2. Re: Hokkaido During Golden Week: should I change my plan?

Hokkaido IS busy in GW, everywhere in Japan is, so trains and roads will be packed. Really apart from cherry blossom and spring green in yhe trees...not many other flowers.

If you can - I'd come later......

Amanda

Tokyo, Japan
2 posts
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3. Re: Hokkaido During Golden Week: should I change my plan?

I am also planning a 7-day trip to Hokkaido during GW. I will probably also visit the places as suggested. Knowing that everywhere will be busy, is it better to take the train or rent a car when travelling to those places?

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Tohoku, Hokkaido
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6,687 posts
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4. Re: Hokkaido During Golden Week: should I change my plan?

All the places listed on the OP’s initial plan are easily reached by public transports of train + bus. Sapporo has an excellent subway network while Otaru is best explored on foot so driving in Sapporo and Otaru are not recommended. But if you intend to go to Furano and Biei, sites in that region are more spread out and having your own wheels will definitely give you more flexibility to move around.

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: Hokkaido During Golden Week: should I change my plan?

If you are going to be there in Golden week, suggest you book your hotels now. Don't wait till the last minute.

Tokyo, Japan
2 posts
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6. Re: Hokkaido During Golden Week: should I change my plan?

Flight ticket is booked (great deal from AirAsia). Now my plan is:

30/4: Arr CTS at noon. Travel to Noboribetsu. Sightseeing and sleep in Onsen hotel

1/5: Leave for Hakodate. Sightseeing and sleep in Hakodate.

2/5: Day trip to Matsumae Castle for cherry blossoms. Sleep in Hakodate.

3/5: Leave for Lake Toya. Sleep in Lake Toya.

4/5: Leave for Sapporo. Sleep in Sapporo

5/5: Day trip to Otaru. Sleep in Sapporo

6/5: Another day trip or sightseeing at Sapporo? Sleep in Sapporo.

7/5: Leave for CTS flight at 09:35.

Consider this is not the flower season, I will not plan to go to Furano. Not sure what I can do on 6/5 though. Any advise on the above itinerary before I am going to book for hotel / onsen?

Another question is what type of train ticket I should buy. My partner will be coming from overseas and could get a Hokkiado Rail Pass. But I have a work visa so cannot use the rail pass. But there are different economical tickets available from JR which all seem a bit confusing as how to fit it into my itinerary. E.g. can I use the round trip ticket (R Ticket) and make stopover? Any advise please?

Sapporo, Japan
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for Sapporo, Hokkaido
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7. Re: Hokkaido During Golden Week: should I change my plan?

Hi

Not sure if you can do stop overs on the R ticket. My feeling is "no". It isn't a touring ticket, but an A to B ticket.

Have you checked out JR Hokkaido Working HOliday Pass?

…jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/…workingholiday.html

It would be Y19,000 for 3 days.

you could check at sapporo Station or your local JR to see if your visa would be ok for this.

On your last day - you could do day trip to a hot spring - Jozankei. Or go up to Asahikawa for the day.

Or just hang and enjoy things around the city.

Most important - GET the hotels booked right now!!!

Amanda

8. Re: Hokkaido During Golden Week: should I change my plan?

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