Hokkaido is BIG
We strongly suggest to check the total travel distance of your trip especially if you are planning to visit several cities and towns in Hokkaido.Hokkaido is as big as whole Tohoku area.It is about the same size as Austria.If you try to visit all major cities in Hokkaido in 4days/6 nights, you will be moving constantly.We recommend you target a few areas to visit when you have 1 week or less.Save some for your next trip!
Hokkaido is COLD
Hokkaido in the middle of winter is cold.It is so cold that cell phone and camera batteries often do not work.The temperature dips lower than -4c (25F).Make sure you bring appropriate winter clothing and footwear. During the summer, temperature can exceed 30c (80F) in the daytime, but it can get cold in the evening so better to bring a sweatshirt or windbreaker.
Stores close early in Hokkaido
Unless you stay in downtown Sapporo or major sightseeing areas, the stores and restaurants may close at 8pm or even earlier.Please check opening/closing hours before you visit.
Please DO NOT feed the wild animals!
While driving, we often see wild animals such as Ezo Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes schrencki), Yezo deer (Cervus Nippon yesoensis) and Brown Bears.Feeding the wild animals is strictly prohibited.
Please DO NOT enter any private property to take pictures.
There were incidents where visitors entered private farms to take pictures without permission in Biei and Furano.Their action caused damage to the produce.They are real farms (and farmers) and not growing produce for the visitors to see.Please show respect and enjoy the view from a public area.
Check transportation options (Especially in winter)
Hokkaido has many delays and cancellations of transportation systems due to the snow and bad weather during winter.It is very import that you plan extra time into your schedule.We recommend you to check the weather, your flight status and airport access prior to departure.
Be aware of overeating!
There are so many good foods in Hokkaido.Ramen noodle, Soup curry, Sushi, Parfait, Mongolian mutton barbecue, etc...We want you to forget about your weight and eat as much as you can, but not so much that you become ill due to overeating!
There are some stores and restaurants that take credit cards and other cashless payment systems.But most of the local stores and restaurants are cash only.Do not forget to carry some cash!
Do not forget to rent the WiFi router and/ or SIM card!
When you visit some Hokkaido areas outside the big cities, you may experience bad WiFi connections.You may even see no bars on your Japanese rental mobile phone. You can rent a WiFi router online before you visit Hokkaido and pick it up at Chitose airport.You can also purchase a SIM card at convienience and electronics stores when you arrive in Hokkaido.
Use a delivery service for large bags
We recommend that you use a Japanese baggage delivery service.You can send a snowboard and/or skis to your destination rather than carry them on your whole trip.Your bags can be delivered on the same day (It depends on what time of the day you arrive. Please ask the bag delivery service when they can deliver your bags.)You can also send bags from your hotel to the airport before your departure.We recommend bag free sightseeing especially in the winter.