Themed Tours

Hokkaido: Driving the Northern Island (10 days)

Imagine driving the scenic roads through flora and fauna seen nowhere else in the nation. We invite you to dive into the open fields, pure lakes, and unique history of Japan’s northernmost island where the wilds still incite awe and where the history of one of Japan’s little talked about aboriginals can be experienced first hand. Hot springs and breathtaking mountainous beauty aside, Hokkaido is truly a place for the adventurer and inquisitive at heart, and is perfect as a journey on its own, or combined with an adventure through more traditional Japan.

  • A Hokkaido lake
  • Hokkaido lakeside camping
  • Hokkaido wildlife
  • Hokkaido open road
  • Hokkaido farms
  • Hokkaido fields and ocean
  • Hokkaido fields
  • Hokkaido fields
  • Hokkaido flowers
  • Hokkaido flowers
  • Hokkaido sunflowers
  • Hokkaido rainbow
  • Independent or private hire drives through the Hokkaido wilds and countrysides
  • The chance to view the beautiful lavender fields or brilliant landscape-covering fall foliage
  • Scenic hikes through mountain ranges
  • Stays in little-traveled hot spring towns at gorgeous ryokan inns
  • Up close encounters with aboriginal Ainu heritage
  • A chance to view and watch the beautiful tancho cranes of Hokkaido

*Highlights are subject to permission/availability, and may change season to season.

The following tour is an example of what we can offer you as a self-guided tour of Japn’s northern island. If interested, feel free to contact us to find out what we can add to this schedule to make it special for you. We look forward to making a custom tour for you!

Day 1 Yokoso, and Welcome To The North

Overnight in Sapporo City

After arriving in Japan, you will transfer to your accommodation in Sapporo. There, you can look through your custom-made file that we’ve made for you, orienting yourself with your journeys and the wonders that are ahead. Itinerary will be tailored according to your flight schedule.

Day 2 Northern Island City Life

Overnight in Sapporo

Today will be your day to enjoy a great introduction to Hokkaido in the city that houses samples of much of what the northern island is famous for. Aside from the notable beer, fresh food markets, and chocolate, you will come into contact with relics that take you back in time to when the city was founded, and even further with tastes of Ainu aboriginal life and culture. Taking it all in during the day, you can enjoy the city’s nightlife and cuisine.

Day 3 Into the Countryside

Overnight in Asahikawa

Leaving Hokkaido’s largest urban hangout, you will go by car to the area of Asahikawa where you will have your first encounter with the true north. It is here you can enjoy Hokkaido’s own take on art and culture, and if you are a fan of animals, or have children along with you, the area’s zoo will provide entertainment for all. Be sure to sample the local ramen as well before tucking in for the night.

Day 4 Colors to the Horizon

Overnight in Biei

Deeper into the charms of the country, you will drive through the scenic lands of Furano and Biei today, noting the rolling fields, picturesque tree groves, making sure to visit the turquoise-blue lake colored by volcanic activity, a beautiful reminder of the hot springs ahead. Summer brings the most color to this area with flowers in full bloom, and endless horizons of blossoms of lavender adding whimsy to the landscape.

Day 5 Central Mountains of Hokkaido

Overnight near Mt. Daisetsuzan

From the whimsical countryside to dramatic mountain slopes, you will drive from Biei to an awe-inspiring mountain chain located neatly in the center of the island, a great place to celebrate the halfway mark of your journey. Hot springs as promised by Biei’s blue lake dot the area, as do the hiking trails that offer a variety for beginners and the more experienced alike. Your evening will be spent relaxing at one of the mountain resorts that echo Japanese tradition with alpine charm.

Day 6 Coastal Beauty of the North

Overnight in Abashiri City

Breathtaking nature along the northern coast will fill this day with beauty and adventure. Driving from the central mountains to the national park famed for natural sights during any season, you will be treated to amazing views of mountain ranges, open seas, pure lakes, ice flows, and should you come in winter, you may even get to enjoy the opportunity to take a ride on an icebreaker ship as it cuts through the Sea of Okhotsk.

Days 7 and 8 Hot Springs and Ainu Culture

Overnight in Akan Town

Driving from the extreme north to the less traveled side of Hokkaido, you will visit and stay at the quaint hot spring town of Akan. Here you can experience a culture almost lost as you visit a center dedicated to preserving the lifestyle of the Ainu, Hokkaido’s aboriginals, and the culture whose language named many of Hokkaido’s locales, which by this point you may have realized sound very different from places in mainland Japan. The town also boasts a beautiful lake that is home to the natural phenomenon called marimo, beautiful spheres of moss that can only survive in the pure waters of Akan Lake.

Day 9 The Cranes of Kushiro

Overnight in Kushiro

Driving from the extreme north of Japan you will reach your final destination of Kushiro. This small city and its surrounding area harbors the reason why many nature lovers visit this remote area: the tancho cranes. Once thought to be extinct, eastern Hokkaido takes special care to protect these winged beauties, while also educating locals and visitors about them along with the local, gorgeous flora and fauna.

Day 10 Take Care and See you Again!

Itinerary will be tailored according to your flight schedule.

Today we say sayonara to you from the land of the rising sun as you fly out from Kushiro Airport. We wish you a pleasant and safe journey! We are happy knowing that you are taking with you lasting memories of places and people you’ve encountered during your journey through the northern island. Farewell, and sayonara.