Whirlwind Tour around Hokkaido

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Flowers in Furano

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Shakotan Peninsula

We’ve just gotten back from an 8-day, 8-night trip to Hokkaido, Japan. It was amazing. Stunning natural beauty: lakes, mountains, rolling hills, volcanoes, fields of blooming flowers. Oh, and we saw bears! (More on that later. But seriously, bears!!)

Alex saw some pictures of lavender fields in full bloom, maybe two years ago in an inflight magazine (I know… who reads those things anyway?) and suggested a trip to see them this summer. After I googled lavender+Hokkaido, I was convinced we had to go see the lavender. But, the more I researched Hokkaido, the more I realized there was so much more to see in Hokkaido than just flowers. So what started as a long weekend trip to see the lavender fields in central Hokkaido turned into a (very ambitious) driving tour of (most of) Hokkaido (which is a surprisingly “large” island — well, actually, it’s Japan’s second largest). It wasn’t easy to plan, especially with trying to balance the amount of time we spent driving with actual sightseeing. And it would have been more manageable if Baby M didn’t want to crawl around all the time… We learned that she hated being confined in a carseat for long stretches from our road trip to Boseong, Korea a few weeks ago. But, by that time, it was already too late. Hotels were already booked. Our itinerary was already set.

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Blue Pond in Biei

Despite some long hauls in the car, we still managed to have a great time in Hokkaido. Oh, and it helped that my mom was in the backseat, entertaining Baby M! And, Baby M took all of her naps in her carseat, which was great (although sometimes this meant that we drove around aimlessly for an hour so that she would stay asleep).

In eight days, we went to:

  • Lake Toya
  • Shakotan Peninsula
  • Otaru
  • Daisetsuzan National Park (Hokkaido’s largest)
  • Shiretoko National Park/Shiretoko Peninsula
  • Akan National Park
  • Furano (for the flower fields)
  • Sapporo (we flew into and out of CTS New Chitose Sapporo airport)
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Our rough driving itinerary in Hokkaido

I wanted to write this quick “summary” in between loads of laundry. [Side note: anyone who has separate washer AND dryer units — I’m talking about you, people in the U.S.! — be thankful and enjoy doing your laundry. Those of us with a single unit that acts as both a washer and “dryer” — in quotes because it does a crappy job — it takes 2x the amount of time to get through one load of laundry!!] I’ll be writing more about each area of Hokkaido we visited, and provide some links and useful information on the sights! Stay tuned!

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Lake Mashu (park of Akan National Park)


Links: 

Day 1: Hokkaido Day 1: CTS Airport to Lake Toya

Day 2: Hokkaido Day 2: Nikka Distillery, Shakotan Peninsula, & Otaru

Day 3: Hokkaido Day 3: Daisetsuzan National Park & Sounkyo Onsen

Day 4: Hokkaido Day 4: Shiretoko Peninsula

Day 5: Hokkaido Day 5: Shiretoko Five Lakes & Akan National Park

Day 6: Hokkaido Day 6: Lake Akan & Long Drive to Furano

Day 7: Hokkaido Day 7: Furano & Biei

Day 8: Hokkaido Day 8: Sapporo

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