Hokkiado Scenic Guide 01 - Itinerary
Hokkaido- A wonderland that is known for its purest snow, skiing adventures and delicious Hokkaido snow crab. While this is hardly attainable in this time of the year, you must be wondering- what is more to enjoy? Indeed. In summer, mainlands in Japan are usually scorching hot just like in Singapore. Hokkaido is an exception due to its highland weather. It is cool in the Summer. That makes it perfect for a summer road trip! Also, for a city girl like myself; to slowly down my pace to enjoy the lush nature and alluring flower scents is rejuvenating. We all need a good break sometimes; this is one great place to experience the magic and splendour of nature.
SCENIC DRIVEWAYS [self drive only]
- Taisetsu-Furano Route | This far most my favourite route of the trip. I love the fact that I was able to stop by and explore various scenic locations as I go. Driving down Furano, I went by many beautiful lush spots and saw many various plantations. I was also able to visit various melon farms and fields that are uncommon unless you drove. Along the way, there are also hot springs, where you can soak yourself in a quiet relaxing bath while enjoying the scenery.
- Ueno Farm | Ueno Farm is a charming English-style garden with a wide variety of perennial plants and animals. It was a fun experience getting up close with birds. The farm garden is also divided into various segments like Gnome's Garden where you can find different landscapes of the garden. It's a private garden with a 400 yen entrance fee. It is worth the money because of it's huge variety of English flowers that you can rarely find in Asia.
- Asahiyama Zoo | One of the perks of visiting the zoo is being able to look at the adorable marine animals. Although there isn't any "Penguin Walk" in summer, you can still view them at close range. Besides that, you can also interact with the seals swimming up and down through the transparent glass tube.
- Farm Tomita | This is by far the best of the best flower farm I have visited. Flourished with Lavenders, you can smell the relaxing scent as you walk around the farm. End the stroll with a Lavender soft serve; you wouldn't regret it! Tip: The best season to visit the floral land is from Early July to Mid August.
- Shikisai No Oka (Biei) | A scenic beauty of nature, Shikisai No Oka is a favourite sightseeing spot. Planted with over 30 varieties of flowers, the farm is the biggest flower garden in Hokkaido. Activities included for families; Alpaca feeding, buggy driving, bike riding. Tip: Do remember to plan your vacation itinerary in advance as the flowers will only bloom in certain months.
- Blue Pond (Biei) | On the outskirts of the hot spring town of Shirogane, you can find the ever famous Blue Pond of Biei. Did you know that the Blue Pond was created by accident? The deep blue colour was, in fact, a result from natural minerals dissolving in the water. Nevertheless, it is a mystical place that I find it to be fascinating to visit. Tip: It gets really crowded with tourists from 10am to 2pm. Best to avoid peak timings as it gets extremely packed.
- Jozankei Farm |Want to experience being a fruit farmer for a day? Well, you can enjoy the experience, starting with strawberries like I did. Seasonal picking is also available, depending on the month that you visit. I had such a great time picking strawberries and eating them right away. Take a stroll along the fruit orchards as you go!
- Otaru Canal | Known as an "entrance of the north", the canal is surrounded with nostalgic warehouses and gas lamps. With its romantic scenery, it is also a prime spot for couples to stroll along at dusk.
- Shiroi Koibito Park | Renowned for its light sandwich cookie "White Lover", this is a tourist spot famous for souvenirs. Did you also know that it has a chocolate factory and a theme park? The factory field trip will take you into a cookie adventure where you can decorate or make your very own cookie.
- Ramen Yokocho | If you love ramen, visiting the famous Sapporo ramen alley will be a dream come true. Operated mostly as a small restaurant with only 8 seats, it is an intimate dining experience served with a flavourful bowl of noodles.
- Kaisen Robata Sanchi Chokuso | Kaisen Robata Sanchi Chokuso is a hidden gem in Sapporo known for its authentic seafood delights. Famous for their hearty portions of ikura, it will overflow from the bowl when it's served so that you'll be able to enjoy every bit of it. This dish is so exclusive that it is limited to one per table.
- Wagyu Beef Lodge Restaurant ‘Bibi’ | It is obvious why it is called Lodge Restaurant, the interior is built completely with logs! Besides the beautiful ambience, accompanied by a river view and swans, it also serves one of the best Wagyu Beef in Hokkaido. If you are someone who loves beef, you MUST VISIT this place.
- Kitakaro Otaru Honkan | This quaint pâtisserie is found on the Sakainachi Road, housed in a converted stone shop. Displayed with just a signboard and a couple of banners, I was drawn in by its alluring smell of baked puffs. Must try; Kita no Yume Dome, Baumkuchen
- Otaru Fukuzushi | Earlier that day, I happen to stumble upon this restaurant after touring around the Otaru Canal. Although, there is no English menu, the pictures on the menu make it easily identifiable. So, do make sure to remember your three favourite fishes!
- Otaru Kaisen Don En | Located in the midst of the sightseeing spots, it is hard to even miss this eatery. The most popular dish is Kaisen Hitsumabushi, which includes 11 kinds of seafood served on top of the rice. Did you know there are three different ways of eating it?
- Isezushi | Isezushi is the only One Michelin Star Sushiya (sushi bar) in Otaru, and I strongly recommend you to try! It is by far the highest rated sushi restaurant that has excellent quality sushi and is reasonably priced. Tip: Make an advanced booking even before flying over. The restaurant is always fully reserved, even for weekday lunches.
- Nijo Market | If you love Hokkaido seafood, this is the place! Located in the heart of Sapporo is the historical Nijo Fish Market that has the freshest variety of local products like crabs, shrimps and scallops. Tip: Go early before 12pm to catch a glimpse of their operations. Must try; Hokkaido Fresh Scallop, Chirashi and Hairy Crabs.
- Mitsui Outlet Shopping| This is one of the largest outlet malls in Hokkaido. From branded labels to streetwear, there is a wide variation of brands. However, as it is in a suburb area, it takes an estimated 40 minutes to drive from the city. Tip: Instead of searching for International brands like Nike or Adidas, go for Japan-local labels. Brands like Onitsuka Tiger offers designs that are only exclusively sold in Japan.
- Sakaimachi Road Shops | One of the well-known stores around will have to be Kitaichi Glass. It is a glass art shop, that is now split into sections like the glass hall, glass outlet store, and a crystal hall. Standing inside the dimmed warehouse, I was mesmerised by the beautiful shine of the place. Dotted with buildings, the Sakimachi Road is not only rich in heritage but in sweet delights. Tip: For those who prefer munching on snacks while sightseeing, I will recommend spending about 3 hours looking around the streets. Must try; "Pan Roll", LeTao "Double Fromage."