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8 days from Hokkaido to Tokyo?

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25 posts
1 review
8 days from Hokkaido to Tokyo?

We are arriving Sapporo Dec 21st and will be in Tokyo Dec 29. 8 days in Hokkaido seem long. Where else should we visit on the way down to Tokyo? I'm thinking to visit Miyagi District to see 1 of the 3 wonder views of Japan - Matsushima but not sure where else to visit.

How long should we stay in Hokkaido perfecture? Is it good to spend xmas in Sapporo?

Thanks

8 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Tohoku, Hokkaido
Level Contributor
7,479 posts
1. Re: 8 days from Hokkaido to Tokyo?

With a side trip to Otaru it’s good to stay in Sapporo for 2-3 days to enjoy various Hokkaido cuisines. Even without spending a night in Otaru plan on staying late to take in its winter illumination.

2 popular destinations south of Sapporo are Noboribetsu and Toyako, each deserving an overnight stay. Again during winter time there is an illumination event in Toyako.

Before travelling on shinkansen back to Honshu Hakodate is also worth visiting. It would be best to stay there for a couple of days for a more leisurely tour around town. Hakodate will also be holding some winter illumination events during Dec.

The region of Tohoku has a lot to offer but with only a day or two Matsushima is indeed a good choice. Nearby Sendai is also worth considering. Actually if not staying overnight in Matsushima it can be done as a day trip from Sendai.

If you still have time to spare don’t forget the ever popular Nikko on your way back to Tokyo.

Level Contributor
25 posts
1 review
2. Re: 8 days from Hokkaido to Tokyo?

Thanks for the pointers. I'll check them out. Forgot I made this post and just saw your reply lol.

We are thinking to split the time between Hokkaido and Osaka, 4 days each. Do you think 4 days are enough for Hokkaido?

Tsukuba, Japan
Level Contributor
9,331 posts
313 reviews
3. Re: 8 days from Hokkaido to Tokyo?

I hope you understand that our crazy New Year Holidays are from Dec. 29 to Jan. 3, when many people return to their home town to cerebrate the New Year with their parents, relatives, or friends, so many long distance JR trains are extremely crowded during the Holidays. Therefore, you should not move long distance using JR during these Holidays, and if you move from Sapporo to Osaka or Sendai on Dec. 29, you should book your air flight ASAP. It's better to stay at Osaka or Sendai until Jan. 3. Most people start working from Jan. 4, so huge numbers of people return to their home on Jan. 2 or 3.

While most Japanese can book any long distance JR trains at any JR stations or at the websites from exactly 10am Japan Time 1 month before, foreign visitors had been allowed to book ONLY the long distance trains run by the JR East, not by other JR companies including JR West, JR Tokai, JR Hokkaido, JR Shikoku, JR Kyushu, until last October. Now, JR Tokai (JR Central in English) and JR West allow booking Tokaido Sanyo Shinkansen online by a Smartphone as follows, but this is now for ONLY people in the U.S.A, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Thailand.

https://smart-ex.jp/en/lp/app/

https:/…

If you book a train run by JR East during the Holidays, you should book it at exactly10am Japan Time 1 month before online from their website, as follows.

https:/…Menu.aspx

Therefore, I think it's better to stay at Osaka/Kyoto, and see only the Kansai Region (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, etc.) during the Holidays.

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
232 posts
45 reviews
4. Re: 8 days from Hokkaido to Tokyo?

I'd also recommend Hakodate. Two days is fine, but I think if you schedule your time well, you could do it in a day. I'm not sure about access to Mt. Hakodate during your times.

Edited: 13 October 2018, 16:21
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Tohoku, Hokkaido
Level Contributor
7,479 posts
5. Re: 8 days from Hokkaido to Tokyo?

Hokkaido is beautiful and it would take weeks for a detail exploration. We have been there 3 times totaling more than 6 weeks and still haven’t seen all we wanted to see! If you stick to your original plan to work yourself back to Honshu at least plan on allocating 6 days in Hokkaido, 2 for Sapporo and Otaru, 2 for Toyako and Noboribetsu and 2 for Hakodate.

Level Contributor
25 posts
1 review
6. Re: 8 days from Hokkaido to Tokyo?

Thanks mabei0123 for that info. I will need to make sure we can get to Tokyo on the 29th. Thanks for all the other replies. From all the info and looking up on tripadvisor and japan guide. I'm thinking to do

2 days in Sapporo, day trip to Otaru. How is Furano and Biei in December? Is the blue lagoon worth a visit in Biei that time of the year? I might need to stay 3 days if we visit Furano and Biei.

2 days in Noboribetsu, there is not much to do in Toyako so I'm debating to go there or not. Is 1 day is enough in Noboribetsu? It seems like there is onsen and some vocalno to visit.

2 days in Hakodate. We will spend Xmas Eve here. Should we spend 1 day or 2 days here? My partner who has been there said there wasn't much to do.

2 days in Sendai, day trip to Matsushima Bay and/or Yamadera Temple.

Stop by Nikko on the way to Tokyo if we have time or do a day trip to Nikko from Tokyo later.

What do you guys think of this itinerary? Should I visit further north of Hokkaido? I don't want to miss out any must visit in Hokkaido. Thank you!!!

Edited: 14 October 2018, 11:04
Tsukuba, Japan
Level Contributor
9,331 posts
313 reviews
7. Re: 8 days from Hokkaido to Tokyo?

It's better to move from Sendai to Tokyo on Dec. 28, because the Tohoku Shinkansen from Sendai to Tokyo is crowded very much with huge numbers of people moving from all Tohoku Region to Tokyo on Dec. 29. You cannot go to the best places in Hokkaido, which are in East Hokkaido, with snow everywhere in winter there.

Tsukuba, Japan
Level Contributor
9,331 posts
313 reviews
8. Re: 8 days from Hokkaido to Tokyo?

If you take the Shinkansen on Dec. 29, even if you cannot have your seat in the train, you are lucky if you can go to a toilet because often the train is packed with people like sardines in a can, and you cannot even go to the toilet in the train FOR HOURS!! It's really tough to move during these holidays!! And do not move from Tokyo, during the holidays. except by air flights, which you have to book ASAP.

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