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Hokkaido itinerary and rail pass question

Hokkaido itinerary and rail pass question

Jul 22nd, 2008, 03:28 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 115
Hokkaido itinerary and rail pass question

Hi, For our december holiday (2 adults and 3 children) to Japan, we have planned the following and would appreciate any help in answering my questions:

Dec 20.21 Hakodate
Fly from Osaka to Hakodate.
Stay where? Any hotel can accommodate 5 in a Japanese room that is near the Station?

Dec 22 Otaru
Will take train to Sapporo

Dec 23,24,25 Furano
Is it fun to spend X'mas at the ski resort? Or is it better to spend it in Sapporo or perhaps another city in Hokkaido?

Dec 26 Otaru again

Dec 27 Tokyo

Since I will be taking quite a lot of JR trains, do I need some kind of rail pass? Some kind of local passes perhaps?

Thank you

chchtrain is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 09:00 AM
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Love your screen name

I don't know if any hotel in Japan would accommodate 5 in one room....

The Hakodate Kokusai Hotel in Hakodate is a 5 minute walk from the main train station. We stayed there in April. It's a nice modern hotel with all the comforts.

Situated one block from the morning fish market and a few blocks away from the Mt Hakodate ropeway it has the ideal location. Shopping is also 10 minute walk away.

If you do decide to stay there ask for a room in the new wing which are bigger than the ones in the old wing. Try the crab restaurant directly across the street for lunch or a quick dinner.

Your rail pass options depends on how you are going to get from Hakodate to Tokyo. Check here for the rail pass options. Take a look at the 7 day JR or the Hokkaido rail passes to see which one will be cheaper with your itinerary.


You can fly back from Hakodate using a special priced tourist airpass if you qualify....see here for information. Most use the Star Alliance or the Oneworld passes


Don't know about Christmas at a ski resort in Japan, sorry, others will chime in soon.


hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 10:31 PM
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"Dec 22 Otaru
Will take train to Sapporo"

I don't understand what that means. You are going from Osaka to Hakodate on the 20th and then from there to Otaru on the 21st and from Otaru make a day trip to Sapporo on the 22nd?

Why Otaru - twice?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 10:33 PM
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If I remember the JR lines correctly, then you would be going from Furano past the New Chitose Airport station and past Sapporo to get to Otaru. Then next day taking the train back thru Sapporo and out to the airport.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jul 24th, 2008, 04:16 AM
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Thank you for your feedback. I go to Otaru from Hakodate and come back to Otaru from Furano after Christmas. May skip Otaru after Furano and go straight from Furano to Chitose airport.
I wonder if Hakodate is worth visiting considering it is a 3.5 hour train ride to Sapporo. Should we skip Hakodate and just do Sapporo, Otaru and Furano?
How do I go to Lake Akan from Sapporo? If not to difficult, may skip Hakodate and substitute it with Lake Akan. (Ainu culture)
chchtrain is offline  
Jul 24th, 2008, 09:54 AM
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I have not been to Lake Akan yet.....we plan to go there in Oct of next year.

I would imagine that everywhere on Hokkaido, including Hakodate, will be cold and have snow on the ground by then. Hakodate may be your best chance of not having too much snow(unless thats what you want)

Have you thought about an over night in an onsen in Noboribestu instead?

There are several ryokan hotels there,including the Daiichi Takimotokan, which offer FREE bus transport to and from Sapporo.



You can stay in their sister hotel called the Takimoto Inn which is right across the street for a lot less money(about $60.00 US per person) and you can still use all the baths at Dai Ichi for free. You can see my recent trip report for details on Takimoto




hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Jul 24th, 2008, 11:41 PM
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I recommend skipping Hakodate and taking ht's advice on Noboribetsu Onsen.

I only passed through Toyako but it looked really nice.

There is also a string of ryokans in an onsen area near Otaru.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Feb 7th, 2009, 07:00 AM
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puttakka is offline  
Apr 11th, 2009, 01:54 PM
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I'd say "Yes" to Xmas in a ski resort. Furano is good...if you ski...if you dont...there isnt really much else to do in the hotel or the town...although they have a small pool and some minibus tours to local hot springs etc.
If you really want an apre ski mood like European or north American resorts, then it's better to choose a resort like Niseko which has a village (HIrafu) at the bottom of the slopes and many bars and restaurants.

Furano is really one big hotel outside a small Japanese town.
Other resorts are: Kiroro/Rusutsu/Sahoro/Tomamu - all good for families with kids because they are all in resorts with baby sitters and entertainment on site.

Happy trip planning!
AmandaH is offline  
May 14th, 2009, 01:06 PM
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hawaiiantraveler's reply was a big help with
the rail and air schedules. I am likewise
planning a trip to Japan including Hokkaido
but our time frame is more around cherry
blossom time, in case anyone is aware of day
tours from the Sapporo area or recommendation
which are is best to stay. We are also
considering taking the cruise from Tokyo to
Hokkaido instead of air. Any thoughts?
kmiami is offline  
May 14th, 2009, 02:17 PM
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Cherry blossom time on Hokkaido would range from late April through May.


There are free buses from Sapporo to domr resorts in Noboribetsu Onsen. There you can visit Daiichi Takimotokan which accepts day trippers in their onsens. The baths there are plentiful and some of the best I have ever seen. I think there are over 30 of them all with different types of water and temperatures. One of the men's rontenburo overlooks the "hells" of a volcanic crater. Day trippers are charged a much cheaper rate to use the facilities.


I hope AmandaH is following this thread. She is the Hokkaido expert and her advice would be very helpful to you.

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
May 14th, 2009, 02:19 PM
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should read to "some" resorts in Noboribetsu.....ooooops
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
May 19th, 2009, 03:56 PM
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I'm following this thread!
AmandaH is offline  
May 20th, 2009, 08:08 AM
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i like hakodate, and would visit again. if you want to stay in hakodate, how about a minshiku. i stayed in the nice day inn, close to the train station. we were the only guests there, maybe because it was mid-november. lol. we had a very large room to ourselves, with four bunk beds. saito-san, the inkeeper, mentioned that he had larger rooms upstairs, but i didn't go to see them.

i second hts and mrw reco about the noboribestu onsen. the rotenburo is the best.

ht, btw, ebisu station(you) is one stop from hiroo station(me), and two stops from roppongi, on the hibiya line.
kuranosuke is offline  
May 20th, 2009, 01:01 PM
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ken, I saw that on the Hibiya Line,lol. That is if we stay at the Westin with plan A. Plan B calls for 3 nights at the Keio in Shinjuku with air via JAL.....still conflicted. Will have to make decision by early June or so.....
hawaiiantraveler is offline  

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