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How to Plan Your PERFECT Hokkaido Itinerary [2024 Guide]

Hokkaido Itinerary

We visited some of the best parts of Japan in this 12-day Hokkaido itinerary, and want to inspire you to do the same!

Hokkaido Itinerary
The kind of views you can expect on this 12-day Hokkaido itinerary.

Make no mistake about it, Hokkaido is big. Very big. Distances are vast, the landscape wild and untamed and the weather can change at the drop of a hat. That’s what makes planning your Hokkaido itinerary so difficult.

This is easily one of the most beautiful places we have ever had the pleasure of visiting.

Full of dramatic natural scenery, hot springs, delicious food, national parks, ski resorts, and charming towns, there is so much to see and do here.

It is also very likely that you will share this stunning scenery with very few people.

So if you have time for a Hokkaido road trip, definitely fit it into your Japan trip.

Hokkaido Travel Tips

If you’re trying to design your Hokkaido itinerary there are a few things you need to keep in mind first. These are some of our Hokkaido travel tips.

READ MORE: Check out our other guide on the absolute best things to do in Japan!

Getting Around Hokkaido

The best way to get around Hokkaido is by renting a car. You can check out our post on how to rent a car here.

Hokkaido does offer a JR pass, but services to the major national parks are limited and even then you will still need to take a bus or taxi to get into the parks proper.

Some of the most stunning scenery we saw was when we were driving. Having your own set of wheels will make your experience infinitely more enjoyable and convenient.

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

When to Visit Hokkaido

Hokkaido has 4 very distinct seasons and each of them have their merits.

Spring brings blossoming flowers, summer brings bright sunny days, autumn gives us the changing of the leaves and winter dumps a few feet of snow all over the island.

We ended up doing our Hokkaido itinerary in autumn, which gave us beautiful colours and very few tourists. That being said it did bring some cold weather and occasional rain.

However depending on what your interests are you may prefer to travel in a different season.

Autumn Hokkaido ItineraryAutumn Hokkaido Itinerary
Autumn colours in Hokkaido.

Our 12-Day Hokkaido Itinerary

This is the exact trip we did during our travels in Hokkaido, with a list of the places we visited, what we did and where we stayed.

Day 1 – Sapporo

We picked up our wheels and…

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