Winter in Hokkaido

Many years ago when I was a small young kid growing up in small town Johor, I read about the Winter Festival held annually in Sapporo, Japan. It seemed something magical to someone who was more used to sweltering heat and torrential thunderstorms in Malaysia, so it had always been a dream to visit it (though a rather far fetched one).

Two years ago, we had the opportunity to visit Japan for the first time, Osaka and Kyoto in the autumn (you can read the full itinerary here). We enjoyed ourselves so much that immediately after that trip, we knew we HAD to come back to Japan, and pretty soon. So when AirAsia had a big sale last year, we booked our tickets one year ahead of time (to get el cheapo tickets). It was sort of a risk as the main reasons to go to Sapporo was to witness the Snow Festival, and at the time the dates of the festival was not confirmed yet. But roughly we knew it should be the first week of February so it was a calculated risk.

Anyway, a year later now, we’ve gone and just come back. And all I have to say is that it was a truly magical holiday. It was just as enjoyable (if not more than) Kyoto and Osaka, but the experience is really different.

This will be our last major holidays for many year since our children are already starting college, but Japan is always calling us…

The following is our full itinerary for our 8-day holiday covering Sapporo, Rusutsu, Noboribetsu, Otaru and Chitose.

Winter in Hokkaido – Guide to Winterwear, Internet & Transportation
Winter in Hokkaido Part 1 – Arrival, Suage+ Soup Curry & Sapporo Winter Festival
Winter in Hokkaido Part 2 – Ramen Yokocho & Susukino Ice Festival
Winter in Hokkaido Part 3 – Ishiya Shiroi Koibito Park
Winter in Hokkaido Part 4 – Curb Market (Sapporo Jōgai Ichiba)
Winter in Hokkaido Part 5 – Winter Festival at the Tsudome Site
Winter in Hokkaido Part 6 – Jingisukan at Sapporo Beer Museum
Winter in Hokkaido Part 7 – Asahiyama Zoo
Winter in Hokkaido Part 8 – Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade
Winter in Hokkaido Part 9 – Playing Snow at Westin Rusutsu Resort
Winter in Hokkaido Part 10 – Noboribetsu
Winter in Hokkaido Part 11 – Bear Mountain and Back to Chitose
Winter in Hokkaido Part 12 – Otaru!
Winter in Hokkaido Part 13 – Wrap-Up

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