Hokkaido in a Week - Japanspecialist
Meet beautiful Hokkaido, Japan's second-largest island, with undeniable seasonal charm.
Hokkaido is loved by nature lovers, winter sports enthusiasts and hikers for its wide range of nature reserves, volcanoes, caldera lakes, hot springs, the best powder snow and colourful flower fields.
The JR Hokkaido Rail Pass is one great way to travel around the island, but even more convenient is a rental car. Hokkaido has many areas of interesting cities and natural beauty: the vibrant Sapporo, Akan National Park, with its lakes and volcanoes, Daisetsu-zan National Park, with ski slopes and flower fields, and Kushiro Marsh - home to rare flora and fauna such as the famous Japanese cranes.
There are also many hot springs (onsen), plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy Japanese-style bathing in the hot spring water.
Your Hokkaido Island journey starts with a stay in Sapporo, a modern city that's easy to explore thanks to its four metro lines, trams and a straight-line map. The long Odori Park forms the centre of the city.
Once you have checked into your hotel, we recommend heading into town to begin exploring. For those who like to indulge, we suggest the fantastic Sapporo Beer Museum, where you can sample the local brews or a visit to the Shiroi Koibito Park, a museum devoted entirely to chocolate!
Other great options for this first day are a walk through the unique and modern Moerenuma Park or the Nijo Market, where you can enjoy some of the freshest fish at one of the many food stands. You can visit an open-air historical village museum to learn more about the history of Hokkaido, and in the evening, you can take a walk to Susukino, the city's vibrant entertainment district that lights up beautifully at night.
Today you visit Shikotsu-Toya National Park, around 90 minutes south of Sapporo. The area is named after the two beautiful lakes that make up the heart of the park. There are many beautiful hiking routes suitable for all types of walkers. Whilst in the area, you may also take a dip in one of the wonderful onsen (hot springs) to relax. Noboribetsu is a highly recommended spa village where you will find an impressive volcanic landscape known as Jigokudani, which means "Hell Valley".
If you have more time, then visit Hakodate. The town is located at the southern tip of the island and part of one of the main access routes. In addition to being a modern ferry port, this was also one of the first Japanese ports to be opened to foreign trade after the hermetic isolation of the Edo period. As a result, the city has relatively many western features. The Motomachi neighbourhood where the westerners lived and western Goryokaku are among the main attractions.
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and travel to the onsen village of Sounkyo located in Daisetsuzan, Hokkaido's largest national park, where you will spend two nights. Sounkyo Onsen is also known as "Sounbetsu" which means; the river with many waterfalls. This onsen village is ideally located in a picturesque gorge for those who want to explore the local nature.
A true highlight is a walk through the deep Sounkyo Gorge with its two beautiful waterfalls, Rysusie and Ginga no Taki (milky way waterfalls). And can best be reached by foot, bicycle or cable car, where you can admire the natural beauty of Hokkaido in all its glory.
Use today to uncover more of the park's treasures. Hokkaido's highest peak, at 2290 metres, is the smoking peak of Mt. Asahi, overlooking the plateau. Walk one of the many beautiful walking routes that run through the scenic landscape of the park.
You can also visit one of the other idyllic mountain villages for a complete hot spring experience, as the area is known for its many hot springs and it's the perfect base to start exploring the area.
Today you travel to the Shiretoko Peninsula, the gateway to the Shiretoko National Park. The park is truly a paradise for nature lovers and is filled with waterfalls, lakes and hot springs. Enjoy one of the onsens on the peninsula's east coast and try one with a Rausu River view. Visit Rausu Visitors Center and learn more about the Rausu Geyser and Kumanoyu Onsen (a natural hot spring you can enjoy for free).
Today you can go deeper into the park. Continue to the Shiretoko mountain pass to the west coast and enjoy the panoramic view along the way. After this, you can visit the scenic Shiretoko lakes, also known as the five lakes of five jewels. The five lakes are fed by the water of the underground springs from the Ido mountain and go to the beautiful Kamuiwakkayu hot falls, a long waterfall that gets warmer the higher you go.
It's also possible to take a cruise on the peninsula's west coast to admire this beautiful, rugged coast from the sea and get on a boat to spot whales and bears along the coastline.
Continue to Akan National Park, where you'll find several beautiful lakes known for their clear waters. In fact, Lake Mashu (in the east of the park) is seen by many as the clearest lake in the world and by far the most beautiful in Japan. In the northeast direction, you will find lake Kussharo, located in a large caldera. In the west, you will find Lake Akan. This lake is known for its green algae bulbs, called marimo.
There are still working volcanoes that you can visit or climb spread over the entire park. You can walk around to the smoking and steaming area of the volcano and see the yellow, sulphurous vents very close.
Today you will travel back to Sapporo for your return flight or domestic flight to Tokyo or Osaka.
Or you can choose to go for a few more days towards Kushiro, which is renowned for its fresh seafood. It's also the home area of wild Japanese red-crowned cranes. Several feeding places can be found near the villages of Tsurui and Akan so that the cranes can be seen all year round.
Length: 8 Days
Visiting places: Sapporo, Sounkyo (Daisetsuzan), Rausu (Shiretoko), Akan National Park
Departing from: Sapporo
Price: From EUR 1.095,- (learn more about prices)
- High seasons: 10 - 25 April, 25 June – 31 July, and 1 - 30 September
- Super high seasons: 15 March – 10 April, 25 April – 10 May, and 01 – 31 August
- Surcharges are applicable during high and super high seasons, please contact us for price details
- 2 nights in Japanese style ryokan in Sounkyo Onsen (Daisetsuzan National Park) incl. breakfast and dinner
- 2 nights in Japanese style ryokan in Rausu (Shiretoko Natonal Park) incl. breakfast and dinner
- 1 nights in Japanese style ryokan in Akan National Park (Shiretoko Natonal Park) incl. breakfast and dinner
- 7 Day Hokkaido Rail Pass OR rental car (compact car with automatic transmission, English navigation and insurance)
Instead of the Hokkaido Rail Pass for 7 days:
- Rent a Car from day 1 (Sapporo) until day 8 (Kushiro), cat. Compact, with basic insurance, automatic transmission, English navigation, and one-way drop-off charge.
- Surcharge on tour prices for this option is EUR 130
- Beverages during meals included (except tap-water and green tea)
- Meals not mentioned above
- Local city tax which needs to be paid on the spot
- Excursions and optional sightseeing tours
- Travel- and cancellation insurance