Hokkaido, 8 days
Hokkaido is a spectacular island and the largest reserve of untouched nature in all of Japan. The island offers mountain ranges and active volcanoes in its centre, as well as dense forests, waterfalls and rushing rivers and dramatic shores. Take this incredible opportunity to see whales, cranes, brown bears and world’s largest sea eagles. There are also many hiking trails in the area.
This ‘8 days Hokkaido’ is an add-on tour to one of Japan’s sample itineraries or any of our tailor made tours in Japan. It’s not possible to book an add-on tour separately.
Hokkaido tour, 8 days, 7 nights
Whereas Japan’s main island Honshu is heavily populated, Hokkaido is just home to 5% of the population. Hokkaido offers tranquility, space and lots of natural scenery. Driving yourself is the easiest way to discover the island with its enchanting nature reserves and amazing onsen. If you prefer not to rent a car, then this tour can also be organised by train, however, with a few slight modifications.
Day 1 Sapporo
You arrive in Sapporo, the dynamic capital of Hokkaido, where during one week every February the Sapporo Snow Festival is held, featuring spectacular snow and ice sculptures. At other times of the year, Sappora is a modern and chilled-out town. Visit the Botanic Garden, the Ainu Museum and grab a bite at the Nijo fish market. Susukino is Japan’s largest entertainment district north of Tokyo, packed with stores, bars, restaurants, karaoke shops, etc. Sapporo is also famous for its Sapporo beer.
Day 2 Sapporo – Daisetsusan
Today you can pick up your rental car. The road passes through the mesmerising lavender and flower fields of Furano and Biei and continues to Asahidake in the Daisetsusan National Park.
Day 3 Daisetsusan – Sounkyo
A ropeway lifts visitors from Asahidake (1600 meter) to within a two hour hike of Mount Asahidake’s summit. At the summit there are many short walks to several observation platforms which offer amazing views of the mountains in the National park. In the afternoon, you continue to Sounkyo (around 3 hours).
Day 4 Sounkyo
Sounkyo is located in a scenic, narrow gorge that is flanked by high, forested cliffs. Sounkyo offers a pleasant village centre with two beautiful waterfalls nearby. There are many other hiking opportunities in the area. The ropeway provides visitors easy access into the higher parts of Daisetsuzan National Park. Sounkyo is also renowned for its many hot springs. A steaming hot bath is the perfect way to end a day of hiking.
Day 5 Sounkyo – Shiretoko
In around 4 hours you drive from Sounkyo to Shiretoko. In the local Ainu language, shiretoko means ‘the end of the earth’ and the name still feels appropriate. It hosts the country’s biggest population of brown bears, due to the fact that it’s one of the remotest and most isolated parts of Japan.
Day 6 Shiretoko – Rausu – Kushiro
Cross the peninsula in about an hour to Rausu, where you can board a whale watching cruise to see whales, orcas and dolphins and wild birds. A truly unforgettable experience! Towards the end of the day, you drive 160 km to Kushiro.
Day 7 Kushiro
Kushiro is a small port town that is home to Japan’s largest wetland and marsh habitat, which supports the only known population of endangered Japanese Cranes in Japan. The cranes are best seen in the winter as they gather at winter feeding sites, but with a bit of luck they can be viewed year round. After a full day out in the Kushiro’s marshlands, pamper yourself with a delicious sea food meal at the local fish market or in one of the adjacent restaurants. Locals say Kushiro has the best crab in the entire word.
Day 8 Kushiro
The tour ends in Kushiro, where you return your rental car at Kushiro’s airport.
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