What’s it like in Hokkaido?
Hokkaido is an island located in the northern end of Japan. The whole island is blessed with very rich nature including immense spreads of lavender fields and snow fields, miraculous Shirogane Blue Pond in Biei, drift sea ice in the Okhotsk Sea as well as the night view of town lights in Hakodate. Hokkaido is well-known for great sea food, fresh vegetables and dairy products. (Please note that there are almost no places where you can have halal food in small towns in the country. You will have to be careful when you have a strict diet custom.) Also, it is known for the freshly brewed local beer including Sapporo Beer. You will have to try some when you travel there.
Access from the New Chitose Airport to Sapporo
Sapporo is the biggest city in Hokkaido. It will take only 37 minutes or so when you take the Rapid Airport Express on the JR Line to get to the Sapporo terminal station. It is faster than by bus or by car. However, you will have to be careful when you plan to visit there during winter, because flights can be cancelled due to bad weather. Therefore, you will need to plan on a visit there with a flexible schedule in winter. Please note that it will take about an hour to get to Sapporo if you take a local train from the New Chitose Airport.
The Rapid Airport Express on JR is quite convenient
Travel Time：37 minutes (Rapid Airport Express)
Boarding Station：JR New Chitose Airport station
It is a 70- or 80-minute ride to get to downtown Sapporo, by Airport Limousine Bus run by Hokkaido Chuo Bus or Hokuto Kotsu.
Travel Time：About 70-80 minutes (depending on the traffic)
Boarding Bus Stop：No. 84
It takes longer by bus than the Rapid Airport Express on the JR Line, but the seats are all reserved on the Airport Limousine Bus and you can make sure that you have a seat, while you might have to stand in a crowded train as the JR Line can be popular and busy.
The travels are always up to your budget and schedule. Pick the best way and enjoy the stay in Japan.
Highlights in Hokkaido
Mt. Moiwa is a small, forested mountain located southwest from downtown Sapporo. The mountain is a popular sightseeing spot known for the spectacular view over the city from the observation deck on the summit. The view is especially beautiful after sunset.
Lavender fields in Furano attract a large number of visitors to the region every summer, when the plants are in full bloom. Most of the lavenders there usually start blossoming in late June and reach full bloom from mid-July to early August. Some of the lavenders may still be blooming until mid-August.
Winter might seem like a bad season, but there are special attractions in Hokkaido in addition to deep snow during winter. In a town called Abashiri facing the Okhotsk Sea, drift sea ice comes down from the Arctic Ocean to the shore there. Seasonal tour boat is in operation there from the end of January to the end of March (it is changeable depending on a year due to the weather and the temperature) to see drift sea ice. As it is quite spectacular and a very special attraction, visiting Abashiri and taking the tour boat should be included in the trip if you plan to visit Hokkaido in winter. You might be able to see something very special there, like seals taking naps on drift sea ice.