Itinerary - Hokkaido Northern Ring: Winter Madness

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Itinerary - Hokkaido Northern Ring: Winter Madness

Post by Benji Sun » Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:11 am

This is a modified version of a route I took some friends on back in 2009, removing the Sapporo-Otaru section because that area has been covered by so many people. There's a limited time frame for one of the main sights of this trip and even then, it's hit or miss dependent on weather. The ice floes of Abashiri usually comes around the last 10 days or February until mid to late March. In 2009, we missed it by 4 days, but had a blast in the quaint fishing town anyways. This route takes us from Asahikawa airport over to Abashiri then down through Lake Akan to Kushiro where we visit the beautiful Japanese cranes before leaving at Kushiro airport. Since parts of this area are without railroads, I suggest a rental car as the mode of transportation.

The itinerary is just a guideline for fairly comfortable but compact vacation, feel free to change the schedule to suite your own pace, or reverse the itinerary if you want to end up at Sapporo for a few days of shopping or enjoy a big city(Sapporo Beer Garden for example).

On car rental: i highly recommend using Tocoo for car rental in Japan. Their pricing is very competitive and they have deals from all the major rental companies which means a wide selection of pick up and drop off locations, and a huge choice of Japanese cars. (also, try to get the phone numbers for as many locations as possible, because you can use the phone numbers as codes for the GPS in the car.)

*some links may not have English websites.

Day 1
  • arrive at Asahikawa airport
  • pick up rental car
  • visit Asahiyama Zoo and see the penguin walk, eat fresh new potatos with butter
  • drive to city and check-in to hotel
  • eat Asahikawa-style ramen. the leaders are (Santouka, Baikohken, and Aoba)
  • stay at any of several business hotels near the JR Akahikawa station
Day 2
  • drive up to Sounkyo Gorge
  • enjoy skiing or just sightseeing on Daisetsuzan
  • check-in to hotel
  • stay at any of several hotels in the area, Choyotei being the most famous.
Day 3
Day 4
  • enjoy morning ice fishing on Lake Abashiri if staying at Hokuten no Oka, they will batter and fry the fish(wakasagi) for you at the hotel or right there on the lake.
  • check ice floe with hotel staff, if ok, make booking in advance, it's very popular and seats gets sold out quickly
  • visit Abashiri Prison Museum during free time before or after
  • lunch at Sushi Dining Tsuki or Kani-gen, two of my favourite conveyor belt sushi restaurants in all of Japan, prices are very reasonable. Sushi Dining Tsuki has the decor, Kani-gen has old-school conveyor belt charm and slightly better food.
  • drive to Utoro
  • stay at any of several seaside hotels at Utoro
Day 5
Day 6
  • optional visit to Lake Masshu (maybe more beautiful during the summer), one of the clearest lakes in the world.
  • on the way down to Kushiro, there are many ranches here, some have a storefront where you can buy really tasty fresh milk and ice cream
  • visit one or several spots for watching Japanese cranes, the easiest access and best for beginners or advance bird watchers is Akan International Crane Center. (tip: at around 2pm everyday, some people will go out and throw down some fish, and the hawks circling above will come down and fight with the cranes, makes for some excellent photos)
  • drive to Kushiro city
  • visit MOO for shopping and dinner
  • stay at Kushiro city
Day 7
  • eat a DIY sushi fish bowl called Katte Don(winner's bowl) at the Washo fish market
  • drive to airport
  • return car at airport
  • depart via Kushiro airport

Link below is roughly the route and the major points mapped out on Google Map

https://www.google.com.hk/maps/dir/43.6 ... !3e0?hl=en

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Re: Itinerary - Hokkaido Northern Ring: Winter Madness

Post by fbarraza28 » Fri Aug 24, 2018 11:49 am

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Re: Itinerary - Hokkaido Northern Ring: Winter Madness

Post by fbarraza28 » Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:05 am

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Re: Itinerary - Hokkaido Northern Ring: Winter Madness

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Re: Itinerary - Hokkaido Northern Ring: Winter Madness

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