Day 1 Jun 01 (Sat) Honolulu ~ Chitose Airport
TSA was very busy today since it was the first Saturday of the busy summer travel season. Our flight took off slightly later than the estimated departure time.
Day 2 Jun 02 (Sun) Chitose Airport
It was a long wait for luggage to come out at baggage carousel but we were able to check in at about 6:30pm at the Air Terminal Hotel. Chitose Airport offers all kinds of popular Hokkaido foods so we enjoyed exploring and eating dinner.
Day 3 Jun 03 (Mon) Chitose ~ Otaru ~ Niseko
The first activity in Otaru was making a glass cup. The procedures look simple but require good hand-eye coordination. We had a good time making our own unique glasses. Then we had some time to shop and eat on the main street of Otaru. There were so many items from music boxes, glass ware, drip less Shoyu bottles, cheese cakes, 8 layer ice cream…..oh my, never enough time!
Then we saw Shiba Sakura at the Mishima family’s property. Overlooking Mt. Yotei, the array of pink flowers was very pretty.
Then at the Niseko Milk Kobo, we had the second activity of the day which was ice cream making. We soon realized why we were divided into groups of 8. It requires a group effort to whisk the ingredients in the bowl which is in a bigger bowl filled with ice cubes. We also needed to shake the ice cubes continuously while whisking the cream. Yes, the old fashioned way to make ice cream! Despite our doubts, we made a tasty strawberry ice cream. Yum! After tasting our own ice cream, we had 2 more scoops of REALLY great ice cream made out of local high quality ingredients.
Dinner followed with a fancy Kaiseki style Japanese meal. Oh boy, we kept eating!
Day 4 Jun 04 (Tue) Niseko –Hakodate
We traveled from Niseko to Hakodate stopping at Harvester Yakumo for lunch. Hakodate is a historic port town offering charming shopping experiences by the bay area and a beautiful, reserved Motomachi area to stroll around. At night we took a ropeway to the top of Mt. Hakodate, known as one of the 3 best night views in the world. It was very crowded at the top but surely worth fighting the crowd. The view was breath taking!
Hotel Banso offered impressive buffet for both dinner and breakfast. All you can eat Sashimi, Sushi, Steak etc. Amazing! Oh boy, we kept eating today too!
Day 5 Jun 05 (Wed) Hakodate– Onuma– Lake Toya
Hakodate morning market was fun! Hakodate is famous for tasty squid and the main entertainment at the morning market was fishing squid out of a small indoor pool. They slice it up for you to eat right after you catch so legs are still moving on the cutting board.
Goryokaku Tower and Park was fun to visit. Not only was the view of the town of Hakodate very pretty, but we also learned about the rich history of Goryokaku’s important role in the Meiji Restoration.
Canoeing at Onuma Park was a bit of challenge since it started raining. We ended canoeing earlier than the original plan and had a BBQ lunch at the ranch nearby. The weather cooperated with us so we could enjoy the BBQ outside.
We enjoyed staying at Nonokaze Resort at Lake Toya. The room was spacious and updated, with clean hot spring and gorgeous meals. On top of that, we all had a gorgeous Lake view from the rooms so we were able to enjoy fireworks on the lake at night.
Day 6 Jun 06 (Thu) Lake Toya – Sobetsu – Sapporo
It was a nice day to go up to Mt. Usu by ropeway. Everyone enjoyed the Bear Park at the top. Then we did strawberry picking. All you can pick and eat in 30 min. Those juice berries were so delicious!
Today’s lunch at Silo Observatory included Soba making. Some of us made noodles fatter than they should be, looking more like Udon? Well, it doesn’t matter, it tasted good in the hot pot anyway!
After lunch we headed to Sapporo. In Sapporo, we took a lift at Okurayama sky jump hill and overlooked the city of Sapporo.
Day 7 Jun 07 (Fri) Sapporo
Free day. Some of us walked the underground path to the Sapporo Station shopping area. Hotel Mercure is conveniently located in the center of Susukino which offers countless eateries and shops including a 5 story Daiso store, Don Quijote, Uniqlo, etc.
Some enjoyed a seafood medley at Hachikyo restaurant which is a local favorite and very popular for tourists. It was entertaining to see the young Japanese man pour heaps of Salmon Roe into a bowl while he chanted loudly at our table. We enjoyed the local Izakaya style dining.
The highlight of the day, or even our whole trip, was the Yosakoi Soran Festival held at night. The groups’ performances were beyond our expectations! They were energetic, colorful, and vibrant yet well mannered. Our reserved seats were right in the center on the raised platform so we enjoyed the best view of the stage.
Day 8 Jun 08 (Sat) Sapporo
The Yosakoi Soran Festival continued throughout the town of Sapporo. We watched the parade in the morning at Odori Street. It was fun to look at their performance again so close from the bleachers. After the parade, we scattered to enjoy some more shopping at department stores etc.
Day 9 Jun 09 (Sun) Sapporo – Chitose Airport – Honolulu Airport
Shiroi Koibito Park was partly under renovation but we were able to enjoy its pretty garden, cute clock tower performance, and of course its famous cookies and pound cakes. Some enjoyed their soft served ice cream and were so happy at how good they were.
Last lunch was at Fish and Produce Market. The majority of us enjoyed seafood Donburi or grilled fish lunch set while some enjoyed street foods like slices of Yubari Melon, grilled scallope etc.
We headed to Chitose Airport after lunch and enjoyed last minute shopping before HA check in started.
The trip went so quickly filled with good eating, shopping, hands on experiences and exciting festivals. Hokkaido is very large to explore. So come back again to explore some more!
Posted by Kat Spear
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