For all those who are interested in spending their Christmas holidays in Hokkaido, I’ve got a sample itinerary for you which I have tried out for myself😉 and this sample is a 4nights/5days guide but I do have to warn you that if you are not used to the cold snowy weather then this itinerary might be a little too heavy for you to do, so just omit the activities that you think you wouldn’t be interested in doing.
On the first day in Hokkaido, me and my friends arrived in New Chitose Airport greeted with a lot of snow on the ground (for some of us this was our first time seeing snow and literally we were acting like kids, jumping around and throwing snowballs at each other).
From here we traveled less than an hour by train to Sapporo (capital of Hokkaido) and checked-in in the apartment we rented. We decided to do Airbnb because this would save us a lot on the cost in accommodation and we wanted to be together in one room and cook together during christmas eve. (Here is a link on the bnb we used in Sapporo: Airbnb)
After leaving our stuff in the apartment we were suppose to have breakfast or brunch at Nijo Market but we were just to hungry to travel to that area, so we ate at a nearby restaurant near our place. However do check out Nijo market and have some fresh seafood’s, especially Uni Ikura donburi my favorite Japanese dish made out of sea urchin, salmon and salmon eggs on rice for either breakfast, lunch or dinner.
If you are interested in history then the Historic Village of Hokkaido is for you. Here they have an open air museum exhibiting typical buildings from all over Hokkaido from the Meiji and Taisho era and they also have recorded documents about Hokkaido’s developments which also covers the prefecture’s history from its first occupation by humans about 20,000 years ago to the post war years.
Next we visited the Sapporo Clock tower and Odori Park which is not far from each other.
During christmas season Odori Park does a German Christmas Market event which is something unique and fun to check out while you are in town. (Click on the linked to see a video of the 2014 Sapporo German Christmas Market event that I found on youtube)
-DAY 2 –
It took as an hour and 30minutes by bus to get to Jozankei and when we got there, we forgot to research on which Onsen place in the area we wanted to do. 😭 Thank goodness there was a nearby Indian restaurant/onsen establishment called Hokeikyou Onsen where the bus dropped us, otherwise we would have died by just figuring out where to go under a snowy -8 degrees weather.⛄
After the relaxing bath we had, we then went to Sapporo Beer Garden for dinner. I highly recommend this place because of the eat all you can buffet which is very affordable or if you love beer so much then this is the right place for you.
There are several other restaurants in the area, so please do research well on which one you want to go and better make reservations.
Day 3 we traveled to Otaru a port city in Hokkaido and is a popular tourist destination for its food, historical buildings and shops. This was the day that I was waiting for because I heard from many people that Otaru is very beautiful city and indeed it is!
It did not disappoint me at all despite the very2x cold weather and heavy snow, in fact the snow made the city looked like a winter wonderland. 💙
The things you can do here is to check out the Otaru Canal, visit Sakaimachi Street where the Music box museum is, the Museum of Venetian art and a lot of cute and beautiful shops around the area. (It was the boys in the group who did major shopping in here😂)
Day 4 we went to Niseko (most famous ski resort in Japan) to do some skiing and snowboarding but sadly when we arrived it was already late in the afternoon and the skiing classes were all fully booked (reservation is a must here).😭
I guess I would advice people to not do a day trip here if you plan on learning how to ski or snowboard because the travel time from Sapporo to Niseko would take 2-3 hours depending on your mode of transportation and so maybe 2nights/3days would be the perfect amount of time to really fully enjoy Niseko and its outdoor activities.
Our last day before heading up to the airport we stopped by Ishiya the local chocolate factory in Sapporo which is famous for their hiroi Koibito cookie (number 1 souvenir of Hokkaido).
I guess a good 2hours of exploration in here would be enough, you can look around their toy museum or learn about how they make their chocolates and even do hands on workshops, other activities would be shopping and dining.