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10-day Self-Drive Trip in Hokkaido Part I
Oct 7, 2018
9 minutes read

Last Summer, we drove around the southern part of Hokkaido for 10 days to whack on all melons (#insidejoke) and feast ourselves with the freshest seafood in the country. Hokkaido is one of my favourite islands… actually no, it is my favourite island. Honestly, who doesn’t love Japan?

The trip happened in July 2018 and I should have written this post while my memory was still fresh. Procrastination is definitely a bitch… Nevertheless, I will try my best to illustrate our awesome expereince!

Our Flight with Thai Airways

The direct flights from Singapore to Hokkaido were freaking expensive when we checked it out. If I remember correctly, most of the flights cost more than S$1,000 even though we were 3 months ahead from our planned dates. So we ended up booking a transit flight with Thai Airways for only S$690.60 per pax.

We took a flight at 20:50 from Singapore and arrived at 08:30 the next day. The timing is really great as we get to start our day 1 much earlier. Our transit experiences were great and Mickey even bought a packet of mango sticky rice at the airport. How awesome is that?

Our Trip Preparation

Once we confirmed our travel dates, we quickly rent a car through ToCoo!. It is one of the biggest car curator platforms in Japan. The platform includes prices from different rental companies and offer free add-ons (e.g. ETC rental) on top of the rental cars.

We rented a medium sedan for 6 days (and was given a SUV) and it comes with a free ETC card rental and unlimited data WiFi egg. Including options like collision damage waiver, insurance, and Japanese-English call translation assistance (meh?), we paid S$591.02 in total.

Tips: Apply for your IDP first because you will need to enter your IDP number when you rent your car.

An ETC card is equivalent to our NETS cash card. The rental company will tag the ETC card to your credit card so that it will charge to your card directly. You can choose to pay by cash at the toll gate if you do not have an ETC card.

We brought along our mighty Starhub’s HappyRoam Prepaid SIM card (2.4GB/$15, 3.6GB/$20) for this trip. If you will be using more than 3.6GB, you can rent a WiFi device for S$3/day/unlimited data. We were given one from the car rental company so it came in really handy during our trip.

New Chitose > Noboribetsu (76.4km, 1 hour)

Look! I finally took a photo with my idol at New Chitose Airport! New Chitose Airport is full of activities. You can find Doraemon Sky Park, Hello Kitty shops and Royce chocolate factory on the 3rd floor in the airport. Remember to cater some time to visit these places if you are a fan!

Taking photo with my idol @ New Chitose Airport

We headed to the Mobile Center New Chitose Airport at the arrival lobby to collect our ETC card and WiFi router. Along with our device, we received an empty Yamato envelope that can be used to return our card and wireless device at any 7-11 store. How convenience!

Now it’s time to get our car!

The rental car information counter is located on the first floor at the International Terminal Building. You will need to register at the front desk and wait for the shuttle bus driver to pick you up at the same place.

After we picked up our car, we drove to Chitose Outlet Mall Rera for a quick shopping spree.

Mosf of the stuffs at the outlet mall still very expensive so we can only afford to buy two bottles of water. We loitered for about an hour and leave for Noboribetsu.

We spent one night with Noboribetsu Sekitsuitei for about S$370 per night. This includes breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi and our kaiseiki dinner. The room smells tatami and it’s such a refreshing experience for us.

It’s not the most breathtaking hotel but it’s near to the places that we want to visit later. Most importantly, it has free private onsen in the hotel.

Don’t judge. I prefer to soak on my own than soaking with a couple of naked ladies in the public. If you are shy like me, you can consider staying in this hotel.

Jigokudani (地獄谷) is one of the main reasons why we visited Noboribetsu.

The town is situated just below a volcanic valley, which is the source of all the thermal waters in the hotel. The valley is located around 15 minutes walk away from our hotel. If you happened to stay downhill, you can walk to the valley within 5 minutes.

We can smell the Sulphur from a distance away. If you are interested, you can hike further into the valley. We were tired from our flights so we went back after taking a couple of photos at the entrance.

Kaiseki dinner is the highlight of the day! To commemorate our virgin experience, we changed into Yukata before going to the restaurant.

Most of the time we didn’t know what we were putting into our mouth since we can’t read any Japanese on the menus. Oh and the dinner costs about S$100 per pax.

We were tooooooo full when we were having the 5th course. When we told the lady that we couldn’t finish our food, she offered to pack our rice into Onigiri!

After our satisfying dinner, we went back to our room and played Overcooked! This ended our first day in Hokkaido!

Noboribetsu > Hakodate (214km, 3 hours)

After having breakfast at the hotel, we drove to Hakodate. It’s a 3-hours drive from Noboribetsu to Hakodate.

My thighs cramped half way when I was driving along the expressway. So we rested at a stopover and enjoyed the scenery down the hill.

We get hungry easily during our road trip so we bought some food to snack along the way.

Then we finally arrived at our hotel for the next two days - La Jolie Motomachi by WBF Hakodate.

This hotel is so good. We were really happy that we didn’t have a choice but to book this hotel due to the peak season.

Look, even though the hotel costs S$455 per night but… it includes free parking, complimentary WiFi, complimentary evening cocktails and buffet breakfast for two. They even have free energy drinks in the room! I’m not too sure why you can’t drink that under 15 years old though!

The view from the hotel wasn’t too bad… considering the fact that we were on the 4th floor.

We were also quite happy with the bathroom even though we didn’t really use it for showering.

We didn’t use the bathroom not because we are dirty… but because we can enjoy one-hour private hot bath right in the hotel all by ourselves. I don’t think they use onsen water but it’s still enjoyable!

Actually, the best part of the hotel is its complimenary breakfast buffet. Unlimited amount of Ika, roe and Amaebi for your breakfast? I can totally eat this non-stop.

We rested in the hotel for a while and went to Lucky Pierrot to get an early dinner fix. We forgot what we ordered but I remember the taste is average.

The rest of the evening we were at Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse. It’s located a mere 10 minutes away from the hotel. We find that it’s the best place to look for local delights in Hakodate.

You can also do some nice OOTD shots with the brick walls if you need want to get a good post on Instagram.

We dropped by Hakodate Beer Hall to continue our food venture. It was really crowded in the evening so do visit earlier to get a table.

It’s a beer hall so we obligned and ordered Hakodate beer… with this plate of awesomeness.

The weather is really cooling even though it’s supposed to be Summer. We strolled along the harbour at night and took some nice shots.

Don’t say I never share good stuffs. We had the best cheesecakes in our whole life from Petit Merveille. Seriously good. Melt in your mouth kind

I think the harbour has an outlet. We visited the one between our hotel and the harbour.

On the third day, we took a nice morning stroll and visited the morning market. Who doesn’t visit market in the morning?

Along the way we saw some pretty flowers.

We wanted to feast on Uni at this famous Uni restaurant called Uni Murakami. But the queue was so long that our tummy said no. So we went to Inaba store (稲場魚介苑) to eat a bunch of seafood and drank a bottle of hot sake.

In the noon, we visited Mt. Hakodate by foot and totally regretted our choice. If you have a car, please drive especially if you have children or eldery with you. The slope to the foot of the mountain is really steep.

There’s a Shrine besides the ropeway. Here, you can take some nice OOTD shots again.

We took the ropeway to the top of the mountain. It was misty before we took the ropeway so I guessed we were very lucky!

Thankfully, the ropeway was very stable and we didn’t experience any issues. Otherwise, we might vomit like the mer-animals.

There are vending machines and stores selling hot food at the top of the mountain. We forgot to bring our water so we bought a bottle of melon soda from the machine… and an ice-cream to snack on.

From the rooftop we were able to get a bird-eye view of Hakodate. There were many people waiting for the fireworks at the rooftop. We waited for a while and returned to the hotel.

Well, we still managed to catch the fireworks from our hotel entrance… together with the front desk staff. Hah!

And that… beautifully concluded our stay in Hakodate.

Hakodate > Lake Toya (165km, 2 hours)

On our 4th day in Hokkaido, we drove to Lake Toya. Lake Toya is a very popular destination among the locals. Most of the hotels in the town are located along the lake so that you are guaranteed to get the best view.

We booked a Japanese-Style Twin Room with Western beds with Hotel Hanabi for about S$240 per night. It comes with free parking, complimentary breakfast and dinners for two.

The view from our room is fantasic! We can view the entire lake directly from our balcony.

There are a couple of activities that you can do over the lake. You can rent a swan boat and ‘cycle’ to the middle of the lake or take a tourist boat around.

We decided to stroll along the lake and catch some pokemons. The truth is… we were very lazy that day.

If you are not a scenic person, you might want to skip the town. I don’t think there are any activities in the town that can excite any adverture seeker.

We went back to the hotel for our buffet dinner and ended our days with Overcooked! and fireworks again.

I wanted to continue the rest but the post can get really long… plus I think it’s not nice to eat up so much data in one single post (photos photos and photos!).

So I will conclude the first 5 days of our trip in Hokkaido! Stay tune for the next part of the trip 😉!


category: travel

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