Hokkaido, with its central city of Sapporo, is famous for its skiing resorts, snow crab and beer. This 7-day Hokkaido self-sufficient traveling itinerary is documented from our summer trip. However, no matter what season of the year, you also can see the rich nature of this island in the North Pole of Japan. So, how many days in Hokkaido is enough? Let’s check out our suggested Hokkaido travel itinerary for 7 days (Hokkaido recommended itinerary 7 days, Hokkaido trip itinerary 7 days) on how to spend 7 days in Hokkaido perfectly with JR Pass to find out the answer!
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When making the your self-sufficiency journey to Hokkaido on your way, you should choose Sapporo as a base to easily move to many other locations around the island. To getting to Hokkaido, the train is still the most popular means of transportation, because the train station is mostly located in the central areas. A JR Airport Express train from New Chitose Airport to Sapporo Station only takes about 37 minutes at a price of about $9.72.
Hokkaido itinerary 7 days — Day 1: Sapporo – Hakodate (Overnight in Hakodate)
Now, let’s start your self-sufficient Hokkaido trip immediately. First, heading to the south to getting to Hakodate. You should take the train at 6am to getting to Hakodate and spend some time to take a nap on the train. The journey is quite long, taking 217 minutes by train from Sapporo Station to Hakodate Station via Ltd Exp Train.
When departing in the early morning, you will arrive just in time for late breakfast at Lucky Pierrot, the famous burger chain in Hakodate. Soon after, you can visit the Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse, home to many unique-strange-charming shops and cafes with a variety of themes.
Another option for Living Nomads Team
If you want to relax after a long flight, you can spend the very first day to explore Sapporo’s attractions. During the day, you can go to Sapporo TV Tower to see the whole city and the northern sea of Japan. When night falls, heading to Moiwa Mountain to see one of Japan’s best night views. Simple but also very poetic.
7 days in Hokkaido — Day 2: Hakodate – Lake Toya (Overnight at Lake Toya)
Having visited Hokkaido, you should not miss to visit the early morning market in Hakodate. One of the most beloved activities at this market is hunting for fresh seafood, from shrimp, squid, octopus to king crab. These are delicious ingredients for your lunch, right?
After full of eating and drinking, get on the train to go to Lake Toya. The journey from Hakodate station to Toya station via Ltd Exp Train line takes approximately 112 minutes/way. After that, you can spend the night in a Ryokan-style inn. Ryokan is a traditional Japanese guesthouse with tatami-mated rooms. You will sleep on a blanket spread right on the tatami mats like a native and enjoy a very attractive traditional kaiseki style dinner.
Hokkaido recommended itinerary — Day 3: Lake Toya – Noboribetsu – Sapporo
Ryokan-style inns often offer rental services of yukata – a traditional Japanese costume that is less sophisticated than Kimono. If you like to take photos, you definitely have to rent a set to take a leisurely stroll around and blend in with the romantic natural scenery. Quite a lot of foreigners, when traveling to Hokkaido on their own, also love to pedal duck boating or sailing to enjoy the beautiful scenery on the lake.
After sailing around Lake Toya with satisfaction, the next destination is Noboribetsu. It takes about 38 minutes by train via the Ltd Exp Train route to get here. Entering Jigokudani (or “Noboribetsu Hell Valley”), visitors will feel like walking into the kitchen of the gods. Every step you take comes across hot springs of hazy smoke and a strong sulfur smell. Walking along the trails between rugged rocks or soak your foot in the hot springs are all activities to relieve stress and fatigue.
When you feel strong and re-energized from the hot springs, please leaving and back to Sapporo, about 70 minutes via Ltd Exp Train.
Hokkaido trip itinerary 7 days: Day 4: Sapporo – Furano (Overnight In Furano)
The Tomita Farm in Furano is a dream location for nature lovers. Everything here revolves around lavender. You can relax, dropping your soul in front of the impressive colorful scene of the endless fields of lavender and rainbow flowers connected together, enjoy tea or exotic lavender biscuits. A warning is that lavender cream in this place is very “addictive”. If you want to see the Tomita farm at the “peak time”, you should come here in the flowering season in July. To get to Furano, take the Ltd Exp Train from Sapporo Station to Furano Station for about 119 minutes.
Hokkaido travel itinerary — Day 5: Furano – Biei – Sapporo
Next to the Shikisai hill are flower beds stretching with alternating colors like a giant rainbow on the ground. “Flower town” of Biei is also known for its green pastures and vibrant sunflower fields. To get to Biei Station from Furano Station, it takes about 40 minutes by train. Every hour there will be a train to Biei. Many visitors love to experience a rickshaw ride around flower farms or wandering to the Shirogane Blue Pond artificial garden.
Shirogane Blue Pond is located about 20 minutes from Biei Station by bus and the cost for this journey is 540 yen (about $4.87). Please note that this bus route is not in the JR Pass cover list. You should stay one night in Furano and take the train to Biei in the morning. If you want to go to both Furano and Biei in a day is too rushed, you will not have much time to take pictures and enjoy the peaceful pace of life in this town. To return to Saporo from Biei, it takes about 135 minutes by train via Ltd Exp Train.
Hokkaido itinerary 7 days — Day 6: Sapporo – Asahikawa – Sapporo
We visit Asahikawa for the main purpose of visiting Asahiyama Zoo, a zoo known worldwide as it allows visitors to get closer to the animals. You will be amazed at the glass dome tunnels in the penguin pool as well as the polar bear farming area and the Arctic fox. But if you come in the summer, the penguin parade will not take place, you will not witness the waddling step of the short-legged birds right next to you.
Most tourists come to Asahikawa because they want to visit Asahiyama, one of the world’s most famous zoos for bridging the gap between visitors and animals. Younger visitors will surely enjoy the glass-dome tunnel in the penguin pool or the polar bear farm and the Arctic fox. Note that if you travel to Hokkaido on your own in the summer, you will not be able to admire the super adorable parade of penguins. Ltd Exp Train goes from Sapporo Station to Asahikawa Station in about 85 minutes.
7 days in Hokkaido — Day 7: Sapporo – Otaru – Sapporo
Most of Otaru’s attractions are only a 30-minute walk from the train station. Therefore, visiting this place in the day from Sapporo is easy. Getting to Otaru from Saporo can be reached by Ltd Exp Train, which takes about 32 minutes. Upon arrival, the first thing you need to do is stop at Sankaku Morning Market to enjoy a delicious breakfast with fresh shasimi rice.
As a port city, Otaru possesses a different attraction from the usual tourist “hotspots”. In Otaru, visitors feel relaxed and peaceful, while walking along Otaru Canal – the symbol of the city – and many shops along the beautiful Sakaimachi Street. Be sure to stop by the ice cream parlor “Kita-no-aisukurimu Yasan” to sample a multitude of “exotic” ice cream flavors such as beer, sea urchin and squid. This restaurant also serves melon for those who like traditional ice cream flavor. Alternatively, you can hop on a rickshaw ride to explore Otaru streets too.
With the suggestion of the 7-day Hokkaido self-sufficient travel itinerary, you surely have found the super exciting plan, right? In addition, there are many self-sufficient Japanese travel experiences shared on the our blog here, so be sure to check out to prepare for your upcoming trip to Hokkaido.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, to and from Sapporo & Hokkaido you can refer to
- Hokkaido Day Tour from Sapporo: Asahiyama Zoo, Shirogane Blue Pond, and More
- Sapporo Highland Sightseeing Bus Tour with Meals
- Sapporo Private Day Tour with Local Licensed Guide
- Hokkaido Day Tour from Sapporo: Asahiyama Zoo, Shirogane Blue Pond, and More
- Hokkaido Enjoy Pass
- Furano and Tomita Farm Day Tour from Sapporo
- Sapporo Afternoon Bus Tour
- 4G Prepaid Sim Card (JP Airports Pick Up) for Japan
- 4G WiFi (Japan Pick Up) for Japan
- JR Pass for Whole Japan (7, 14, or 21 Days)
Are you looking for more Sapporo travel guide and top things to do in Sapporo: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Sapporo travel blog — The fullest Sapporo city guide for a great trip on a budget for the first-timers.