Hokkaido Travel Tips


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Mar 17, 2006
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#1
Hi folks

I'll be flying to Hokkaido for a 7D holiday next Monday. Would like to know which is the most cost-efficient way to call home from there and what numbers to dial. Am currently a StarHub mobile subscriber (Without roaming service but I can activate before I depart right?)

Also, any first-hand travel tips from those of you who have been there before? This trip is quite special because we'll be bringing my grandma who's 78-years old along. Heard Hokkaido tours are quite relaxing, is that true? :)
 

#2
Erm. Depends on how much you want to travel to call it 'relaxing'

Hokkaido @ the Sapporo station, up the 8th(?) floor of seiyu, there's a very good international buffet spread, Y$2300+ per pax. Shiok.

It's relatively safe there, nothing to worry too much... Just beware of the train timings when you're planning to travel out of the area.
 

xtemujin

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Apr 1, 2005
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#3
I'll be good if you call the SH hotline to activate the roaming services one day before your travel.

You'll need a 3G handphone and a 3G USIM card to use it in Japan.

All the information about the rates is in the SH website.

http://tinyurl.com/3xmyxw

HTH.
 

Oct 31, 2006
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Singapore Central
#4
I was there this March when it was still snowing. The scenery in summer is different but I am not sure if it is the lavender season yet.

I don't think your phone will work in Hokkaido unless it is a 3G line. If you think of using Skype, please be aware that only hotels in the cities have internet connection. If you should choose to stay in a spa resort, there's no internet connection and thus Skyping is out of the question.
 

jsbn

Senior Member
Jul 24, 2002
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Planet Eropagnis
#5
Nw shld be summer.

But for a 78yr old dame, it might be a little cold for yet yet. Get a windbreaker ready with a cardigan.

Oh yeah, get some heat packs too.
 

LOTUSfairy

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Oct 10, 2006
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#6
please please help me to gather infos of homestay, maps and must visit place...:)
need these if I go for the yearend trip..

I buy u kopi..
 

Mar 17, 2006
86
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Western Singapore
#7
Sure Lotus Fairy

I'll try to bring back some touristy brochures for you...;) in exchange for some nice TCC/Coffeebean 'kopi'!

Thanks Wazzup, Xtemujin, David, Jsbn for your swift replies, I'll call SH to activate Roaming services. My phone is a 3G phone but I dun subscribe to 3G service, will that be a problem? I dun think Internet will be available at those Ryokans which we'll be staying (even if they're available, the rates might be exorbitant!) so to be conservative, will stick to phone. Have to make a call home everynight...

Yeah, have asked my grandma to bring some warmer jackets to keep warm...and comfortable walking shoes...Hokkaido at this time of the year is SUPER-PEAK tourist season, hopefully, the natural beauty will not be spoilt by the massive crowds!

Keep the insider travel tips coming :) !
 

xtemujin

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Apr 1, 2005
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#8
As long as you've a 3G USIM card, you'll be good to go. I would suggest that you get a 3G USIM from SH if you're still using a 2G SIM to avoid any headaches with calling back to Singapore from Japan.

There's also a rental service from NTT Docomo but it's very expensive.

http://roaming.nttdocomo.co.jp/index.html

There's someone from the Sony Ericsson forum who just came back from Hokkaido recently.

Maybe you can ask him about it.

http://secentral.net/forum/index.php?topic=15091.0

HTH.
 

jsbn

Senior Member
Jul 24, 2002
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#9
BTW, I'm not sure what ur mode of transport would be or whether u're going by package tour (urgh) or free-&-easy. But I MUST WARN U that especially in train stations, its nothing but STAIRS, STAIRS and MORE STAIRS.

Escalators? U'll have to literally pray to see one. No joke.

If the grand ol' dame has bad knees or whatsoever, u might wanna consider getting those knee support thingy (the stretchable one that looks like rubber thing). Might help.

At this time, no need for long johns. The weather nw shld be like... Genting?

If u wanna shop? Tannukikoji located at Susukino. A super long shopping alley.
Must buy stuff? Shiroi koibito. Nuff said.
Must try stuff? Ramen. I believe there are few Ramen shops at Tannukikoji. Go try 'em!

BTW, if u are going for a F&E trip, u might wanna check out the small town of Wakkanai. There are trains to Wakkanai from Sapporo (enquire at the JR Tourist Information Counter located in Sapporo Station, they speak English & Chinese). I believe at this time, there are ferries heading to Rishiri & Rebun Islands. Never been there myself but its a nature-lover & trekker's paradise to what I'd heard and seen on the net. And on a clear day, u can literally see Russia (what's that city's name? Valdis... not sure. Starts with a 'V').
 

syl

New Member
Nov 1, 2005
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Singapore
#10
ly see Russia (what's that city's name? Valdis... not sure. Starts with a 'V').[/QUOTE]

Vladivostock
 

wind30

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Mar 14, 2004
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#11
7D tour, I guess you are going with a package tour provider? I went to Hokkaido with SAtours last Oct, and overall it was quite fun and VERY relaxing. Only thing is I don't really like the shopping stops which they bring us to buy local products.... singaporeans like shopping too much. 1-2 stop is fine but I think we made like 3-4 stops.....

not much walking involve. The hotels are quite nice and the food provided by SAtours has lots of seafood every meal. Almost mini steamboat all the way which is a bit boring after a while.

With my 3G phone ( I think you need a 3g sim card) you just dail +65 to reach singapore. Pretty simple.

I don't really like the shiroi koibito. There is this corn chocolate which is really good. you must try it.

As for Ramen, the one of our meals were chosen from the Ramen street somewhere. not very nice leh. maybe the ramen I choose not nice.

my pics taken from that tour :)
http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=234031&highlight=hokkaido
 

Sep 18, 2003
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#12
I was in Hokkaido just last month.

I brought my Samsung 3G phone, no problem, reception was excellent.

However, it is not cheap to receive calls or to make calls using my 3G phone.

Instead, you buy those $10, $20 IDD Starhub calling card, use any public phone in Hokkaido and call back Singapore. It is very cheap. Every night I call back Spore for 1 week, still have left over from my $10 Starhub card.
 

Mar 17, 2006
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Western Singapore
#13
:cool: Hi xtemujin, jsbn, composition and wind

thanks for more advice...really helpful to hear from you guys first-hand. I do not know whether my SIM card is 2G or 3G, I'll call Starhub and check today. The suggestion to buy an IDD calling card sounds really GOOD...but must use public phone....are public phones readily available in Hokkaido hotels/Ryokans? I'll also be making calls every night home so need the cheapest way...

Because we're bringing my grandma, we've joined a group tour (with ASA holidays). Initially was on waiting list till airline released more seats. I can't believe most Jul/Aug tours to Hokkaido are already FULLY-booked by the time we enquired! Singaporeans sure LUURVE to travel. I do hope this trip is relaxing enough for my grandma as she can't walk for too long. Wind, you went with SATours, did you get to stay in hot-spring resorts like those we watch on 'Japan Hour'? Hope to experience it there...What are some 'Shopping Stops' they bring you to? Your pics are gorgeous! I shall take my time to enjoy the vitrual-tour of Hokkaido through your lens first before I depart...;)

Composition, you were just there last month, are the lavenders in full bloom? How's the weather? Were you there for work or leisure? Care to share more tips?
 

#15
3G sim cards will show 3G under network. On my N70 it will show as "3G". Try it out.

If you want to stay in hot spring areas, those areas are not in the main city so doubt you'll get a chance to try it out. AFAIK it's not easy to book those places, of course I might be wrong.

Ah yes, jsbn brought up a very valid point, avoid massive hand carry luggage if you're going by train, backpacks are MUCH better. Escalators in the train stations are SCARCE. But if you're following tours you probably won't have chance to take the trains ba. And please, make sure you board the right train.

There's a very nice ramen stall located near Sapporo station, it's not cheap but it's nice, check it out. The stall is about 5~10mins walk away from the station and it's located at a basement.

The other one is the international buffet spread located up above the Sapporo station, inside seiyu IIRC (or issit daimaru?). Try it.

Hokkaido's pretty big, see where you want to go ba, I don't think you'll be heading to Daisetsuzan? Nice place. Must trek. Check it out man...
 

Sep 18, 2003
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#16
Composition, you were just there last month, are the lavenders in full bloom? How's the weather? Were you there for work or leisure? Care to share more tips?
I went via Chan Bros, but I guess SA's itinerary is similar. When I went in earlier June, the flowers have just been planted at the Tomita Farm in Furano. If you are going now, it should be in full bloom...lucky you. Weather wise it will be like Spore in July.
 

wind30

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Mar 14, 2004
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#17
Because we're bringing my grandma, we've joined a group tour (with ASA holidays). Initially was on waiting list till airline released more seats. I can't believe most Jul/Aug tours to Hokkaido are already FULLY-booked by the time we enquired! Singaporeans sure LUURVE to travel. I do hope this trip is relaxing enough for my grandma as she can't walk for too long. Wind, you went with SATours, did you get to stay in hot-spring resorts like those we watch on 'Japan Hour'? Hope to experience it there...What are some 'Shopping Stops' they bring you to?
I think more than half the hotels we stayed has onsen but my wife and I did not try it so cannot comment if it is like the Japan hour kind. Ya I know it is a waste and a lot of our tour mates liked the onsen. I am sure there is onsen in package tours as it is a highlight of Hokkaido.

Shopping stops is mainly the local Mama shop kind with local produce. I don't like it but our tour-mates buy a lot of stuff leh. For us, we were extending our tour in Tokyo/osaka so we cannot buy much bulky stuff in Hokkaido.

Dun worry about your grandma. I assume she is pretty healthy right? There isn't much walking in package tours unlike the F&E extension which we took in tokyo and osaka after our hokkaido trip. F&E is pretty tiring esp if you take the trains as the train stations are huge. The thing about package tour is that there is ALWAYS the tour bus and most stops are like less than an hour. So if your grandma is feeling tired she can always rest on the bus which should be pretty comfy given the weather.

Enjoy your trip. Bring back memories. Anyway I will be going tokyo in two weeks time for business :) can go more shopping
 

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