~ / Brian Norlander / travel /
Hokkaido, Summer 2019

Visiting Yoichi, Otaru, Sappro, Asahikawa, Furano, and Abashiri from July 10 to July 15, 2019.

During a long weekend in the middle of July I flew to Japan's northern most island, Hokkaido. I rented a car near Sapporo and then drove 1200km in 5 days, circling the island and getting a taste for what this wild land had to offer.

Hokkaido is known for its cold winters, many volcanoes, bears, and many of Japans most popular food such as milk, cheese, sushi, ramen, and much more. In Japan, Hokkaido is popular for its nature, some of my two favorite things.

Day 1

After flying from Tokyo to Sapporo on Day 0, we started Day 1 around midnight when we arrived at the New Chitose Airport.

Originally we had planned on sleeping at the airport, but it soon became apparent that sleeping overnight at the airport was not allowed. Luckily, there was an onsen inside the airport!

Japan is awesome.

We entered the onsen just before midnight and took a long and relaxing, gender separated spa session before retiring to a large, unisex room with reclining chairs to sleep.

The next morning we went from New Chitose Airport to Hell Valley to Mt. Yotei to Yoichi.

Jigokudani (Hell Valley)
Oyunuma Pond
Lake Toya
Mt. Yotei
Left: Breakfast at the airport onsen Right: Best sushi I've had in Japan

Day 2

After waking up to the ocean waves from the first night of camping we headed to Otaru then Sapporo then Asahikawa. Otaru is an industrial town that looked more like a late-industrial age American or European city which is famous for its seafood and many sweets shops

Hokkaido has a lot of volcanic activity, which means mountains everywhere, onsens, and amazing landscapes.

Left: Ramen Street Center: Sapporo TV Tower Right Sapporo ramen
Asahikawa campsite

Day 3

We spent day 3 in Furano. Furano is famous for its many flower fields, milk, cheese, ice cream, melons and so many other delicious foods.

Luckily, when we were in Hokkaido (mid July) it was one of the best times to see the flowers in full bloom.

Lavendar ice cream
Left: King Yabisu Melon Right: Melon bread and Hokkaido milk
Our third campsite near Mount Tokachi
That night in the mountains was very cold and we didn't bring enough blankets

Day 4

The cool mountain air welcomed us to our fourth day in Hokkaido. After a restless night of cold and interrupted sleep our stomaches were ready to be filled with dairy products and fattening ramen.

That day we first drove down the mountain side and then drove through the Hidaka mountain range which crosses the middle of the island north to south.

Mount Tomachi near the middle of Hokkaido
Left: Shirahige Waterfall Right: Shirogane Blue Pond
Found a bear zoo
Left: Abashiri sushi Right: Sapporo classic beer

Day 5

Day 5 consisted of a lot of driving from Lake Kussharo to New Chitose Airport. From the east side of Hokkaido to New Chitose Airport we passed through many mountain ranges, rivers and towns.

Lake Mashu
At the rim of the lake the fog got very thick
Goodbye Hokkaido!

/ Travel