Discover the vast landscapes, delicious cuisine and natural treasures of Hokkaido on this self-drive tour. The mountains, forests, patchwork fields, vast flower gardens, soothing onsen hot springs and diverse flora and fauna are sure to charm nature lovers. A gastronomic paradise, Hokkaido is also renowned for its ultra-fresh seafood, rich dairy products, and abundance of locally grown fruit and vegetables. From the remote, alpine flower-filled islands in the far north to the caldera lakes in the south, this journey is perfectly suited to those who seek both adventure and culinary delights.
Duration14 Days / 13 Nights from NZD $13,447*
Type of Journey
• Sapporo • Rishiri • Wakkanai • Furano • Lake Shikotsu • Lake Toya
Departure DatesDaily. We recommend June - August (peak season when the weather is more reliable).
• Tailor-made self-drive itinerary
• 13 nights’ accommodation
• 12 days car rental (Economy Plus) with English GPS car navigation, 14 days Pocket Wifi
• 1st class tickets for Rishiri and Rebun car ferries
• Full day private tour of Sapporo area
• Tickets for Sounkyo and Usuzan ropeways
• Tickets for Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park
• 13 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 5 dinners
Peak season from
13447Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
Day 1: Sapporo
After collecting your portable Pocket Wifi, you will be transferred to your hotel in Sapporo.
Day 2: Sapporo, Yoichi & Otaru
Enjoy a private full day guided tour with a local lunch, including a visit to nearby Otaru and the Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery. The small port city of Otaru is known for its glassworks and has a beautifully preserved canal area lined with restored warehouses.
Day 3: Sapporo > Wakkanai
Collect your rental car and settle in for your drive north to Wakkanai. Today’s journey via Rumoi is along the western coastal road that runs parallel to the Sea of Japan. On a clear day this stretch known locally as the ‘Ororon Line’ offers endless views of the coast and offshore islands.
Day 4: Wakkanai
Today is free to explore the area around Wakkanai. We recommend visiting the northernmost tip of Hokkaido to take in the panoramic views at Cape Soya, as well as the gentle rolling hills and wind turbines of the Soya Hills. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the ‘white road’, a path of crushed scallop shells that are a brilliant contrast against the blue and green of the surrounding landscape on a fine day. Tonight, perhaps sample the Soya Black Beef that the region is famous for.
Day 5: Wakkanai > Rishiri
Take the car ferry to the island of Rishiri, where the dormant volcano known as Rishiri-Fuji dominates the landscape. Make sure to try the ultra-fresh and exceptional uni (sea urchin) that the island is famous for. Dinner is included at your hotel tonight.
Day 6: Rishiri > Rebun
Spend the morning exploring the forested slopes of Rishiri before taking the car ferry to Rebun – the “Floating Island of Flowers”. Take your pick of several hiking courses to discover rare alpine plants that grow from sea level – many cannot be found anywhere else. Don’t miss the view at Cape Sukai and its crystal clear waters of dazzling shades of deep blue. Dinner is included at your hotel tonight.
Day 7: Rebun > Wakkanai
The morning is free to further explore Rebun. Perhaps visit Cape Sukoton, where you can usually find spotted seals in summer and see the Russian island of Sakhalin on a clear day. Perhaps try the unusual kombu (kelp) flavoured soft serve ice cream before leaving the islands. This afternoon, return by car ferry to Wakkanai for the night.
Day 8: Wakkanai > Sounkyo Onsen
Drive to Sounkyo Onsen, a hot spring resort in the northern part of Japan’s largest national park. Enjoy the views from the Kurodake ropeway, visit the area’s beautiful waterfalls, and soak in the soothing hot spring waters in your room’s private open air onsen. Dinner is included tonight.
Day 9: Sounkyo Onsen > Biei > Furano
Today leave the mountains of Daisetsuzan and head towards the rolling hills and patchwork fields of Biei. Don’t miss the stunning Blue Pond and its bright turquoise waters pierced by larch and silver birch trees. End your day at Furano, where dinner is included at your hotel tonight.
Day 10: Furano
Today is free to explore the Furano area with your rental car. Perhaps visit Farm Tomita’s famous lavender fields, visit a cheese factory to sample Hokkaido’s renowned dairy products, or stop in at a local winery.
Day 11: Furano > Lake Shikotsu
Drive to Lake Shikotsu, a beautiful caldera lake surrounded by mountains and famed for its clear waters. Admire the lake at close range on a sightseeing boat or kayak, stroll the paths around the shoreline or enjoy the trails through the green forest. End the day with an included dinner of seasonal Hokkaido delights and perhaps a relaxing soak in the hotel’s onsen baths.
Day 12: Lake Shikotsu > Noboribetsu > Lake Toya
Depart this morning for Upopoy, Japan’s first national museum dedicated to the history and culture of the indigenous Ainu people. The adjacent park is an open-air centre where visitors experience traditional dance, performing arts, cooking and crafts in harmony with nature. Carry on to the onsen town of Noboribetsu for a walk through desolate landscape of the appropriately named Jigokudani – Hell Valley. Those who also walk the wooded hills above the town can reward their feet with a soothing forest footbath in the Oyunuma hot spring river. Finish the day at your resort hotel overlooking Lake Toya.
Day 13: Lake Toya
Today is free to explore the Lake Toya area. Ride the Usuzan Ropeway, which brings you close to the summit of one of Japan’s most active volcanoes and boasts panoramic views of the lake, Mt Yotei and the young Mt Showa-Shinzan. Walking trails lead to views of some of the newest craters. You may also wish to stroll the lakefront promenade complete with hot spring foot baths, admire the nearly 60 sculptures that are dotted around the shore, or take a sightseeing cruise on the lake.
Day 14: Lake Toya > Sapporo
Drive back to Sapporo and return your rental car and Pocket Wifi, where arrangements end.
• In the most remote locations, accommodation used is the best available in the area
• Prices vary depending on travel dates, even within the peak season quoted