Travel to Hokkaido


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code

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Jan 9, 2005
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#1
Thinking of going there in Feb. Any idea what is the cheapest way to get there? Are there direct flights there or do I have to travel via train from Tokyo? Any F&E package by any agencies here?

Thanks for sharing your experience.
 

TMC

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Sep 4, 2004
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Beyond Space-Time Continuum
#2
Ask ESPN, he was just there. There should be a direct flight to Sapporo IIRC. Anyways, you are coming right smack in peak of the worst winter in Japan. My recommendation is to come in May ~ Aug period. Much better weather and scenery.
 

jsbn

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Jul 24, 2002
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#3
There are domestic flights frm Narita Airport in Tokyo to Shin-Chitose Airport in Hokkaido. As for direct flights from Singapore to Shin-Chitose Airport, u'll have to look at flights like SIA, JAL, ANA, etc.

Personally I had done a train journey that took me from Tokyo to Sapporo (Capital City of Hokkaido) just a few weeks ago, spending abt 4 days in Hokkaido visiting places like Otaru, Wakkanai and Sapporo. The train journey took me like 1.5 days (since I arrived at Tokyo in the afternoon and thus had to spend the night at Aomori and continuing my train journey the next day).

The return trip from Sapporo down all the way to Kyoto was slightly faster since I took the first train in the morning (0700H) which took me like some 13 to 14hrs. :)

Spent abt $2.6K in all on a DIY F&E around Japan like 7 days. No travel agencies was involved. It was all a book-myself everything thru internet trip. I took Northwest Airlines for all my flights due to their cheap prices (it was a lone backpack trip. If I were to take regulars such as JAL, SIA, the prices would probably be double of what NWA is offering).

Feburary its still considered as winter in Hokkaido, whilst temperatures are bearable (like -3 perhaps? Don't worry abt ur camera, I'd hung it on my neck exposed bare under -8 to -10 and it survived), there isn't much events around except for the ice carvings in Odori Park. If u can afford to wait, I'd suggest u go in or abt late-April to May where the sun is up, sky is blue and there are lotsa colours abound. Great for landscape shooters I must say. Winter environment adds quite a bit of challenge for shooting landscapes though. :)
 

TMC

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#4
-3 is an understatement. I get -1 already in Osaka at night times, be prepared for zero degree in the day and -10s in the night. :bsmilie: You better train yourself running around naked after shower in an air-con environment
 

jsbn

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Jul 24, 2002
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#5
Hmm... Prolly dat night was warmer in Odori. My record experience at Odori was like -6.2 during the Countdown.

Of cos, nothing beats Soya Cape at -10 ambient, excluding sea wind of approximately 5mph plus snow. Dat one really numbed my face. :bsmilie:

The freak weather's still on it seems.
 

jsbn

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#6
BTW, if u ever step out of Sapporo Station North Exit, dun ever cross the road and enter the evil shop across the road - Yodobashi Sapporo.

Once u step in and if u lack the iron discipline & cultivation, ESPN dun even need to say the 3 magic words. U'll go crazy and start swiping cards. :eek:
 

code

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Jan 9, 2005
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#7
thanks guys for the inputs. Seems like Feb isn't the best time to go. Time to consider alternative destination just in case.
 

jsbn

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#9
Alternatively if u really want to go Japan in Feburary, try Okinawa. It shld be warmer in Naha (capital city of Okinawa).

Temperatures there shld range between 5 to 10 degrees nw.
Quite cool. :)
 

jsbn

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Jul 24, 2002
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#11
Yup.

The sunken remains of a city in Yonaguni, gathering space for hammerhead sharks, a unique ancient language & a unique culture unlike mainland Japan.

If code die-die want to go Japan in Feb, Okinawa might be a place to look. Plus the temperatures there might be to ur liking.
 

wind30

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Mar 14, 2004
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#12
planning a trip to Japan too. Any recommendations for lodgings? Looking for cheap stays with private baths. Prefably easy to access also :)
 

TMC

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#13
check for tokyu inn, they are a hotel chain. depending on where you are going there, you can book the rooms in advance. except for early may as that is when their golden week holiday is.
 

wind30

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#14
Thanks for the info. The hotel chain looks great and the price quite reasonable.

Have anyone tried the welcome inns or minshukus? Kind of apprehensive as they are small establishments, dunno got QC or not :)

So actually looking for people who have visited such small inns with good service and experience.
 

jsbn

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#15
Welcome Inn, my boss tried it. Don't worry abt small establishments or not. Welcome Inn is something like a Union of those smaller Ryokans and Minshukus. 3-star, 4-star, 5-star... In fact, I dun think there's any difference between a 3-star and a 5-star hotel.

Had stayed from posh ryokans to ultra-cheap business hotels like 3000Yen/nite, had no complaints with service.
 

reachme2003

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Oct 6, 2003
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#17
do not know if this is still accurate. if one plans to travel via speed train or shinkansen. JR season pass is only available from outside japan. note that they are not sold in japan at all.
 

jsbn

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#19
There are 3 types actually. 2 of which are sub-divisions of a common type.

JR Pass (Ordinary) - This is the train pass of all pass. It allows u to take any trains & buses in Japan operated by Japan Railway including Shinkansen. Restrictions that apply are:
- U are not allowed to reserve tickets on 'Green Car' (or their more luxurious seats) carriages on the Shinkansen. If u must, pay extra.
- U are not allowed to take the Nozomi Shinkansen on the Tokaido line (which is the route plying from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka). If u must, pay extra.

JR Pass (Green Car) - The mother (and most ex I feel) of all JR Pass. Restrictions applies as above but remove the one on the Green Car.

The JR Pass must be bought before u fly to Japan. Its not available inside Japan and u can't buy it within Japan. Available in 7, 14 & 21 days pass. Do take note that its not a 'seasonal pass' but can be used throughout the year.

Seishun 18 Kippu - The 5-day seasonal tickets for supposedly 18yr olds. But anyone can just buy it. Including tourists. This is sold only in Japan over ticket counters during school holidays during the 4 seasons. Significantly cheaper than JR Pass. But u can only travel local trains using this seasonal ticket. U are not allowed to travel on the Shinkansen using this. Which means if u get the Seishun 18 Kippu and want to go from Tokyo to Osaka, be prepared for a 24hr train ride on the local trains. :)
 

nuts

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Jan 21, 2002
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#20
Well, I beg to differ if you prefer the less trodden path ;)
I absolutely enjoyed my trip to Hokkaido in Feb. There is no direct flight from Singapore to Chitose per se. Flights have to transit in Tokyo/Osaka.
There are many types of rail passes. I think only the nationwide Japan JR Pass need to be purchased outside the country. If you're travelling only Hokkaido, eg. flying in, then you can get other passes. For a low-down on all the different kinds, check out this :
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2357.html

Temperatures can vary since Hokkaido is big and outdoor places like national parks tend to be colder. The coldest I've experience was -16 deg but some go as low as -30 deg (thankfully I don't have to face that). Ever tried shooting star trails at -11deg? :) But temperature shouldn't put you off if you're adequately prepared.

Highly recommended ;)
Some pics if you like :
http://www.roving-light.com/gallery/japan/hokkaido/index.html
 

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