Exploring Hokkaido by Campervan

A self-guided adventure of Japan's great north

 By Mandy Bartok   Nov 27, 2015

The island of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture, is the undisputed top location to have a campervan adventure. It is the landscape that invokes the strongest comparison to images of the open road in the United States and Canada. The following three-day itinerary highlights some of Hokkaido’s best sightseeing, food and activities.

Hokkaido’s beautiful interior is yours to explore, but why not start off in the seaside city of Otaru? Often referred to as the “kitchen of Hokkaido”, this lovely canal town offers up some of the nation’s freshest seafood. When you’ve eaten your fill, turn your sights to the landscapes a short drive to the south. The Kiroro Resort, situated in pristine countryside, provides opportunities for trekking, canyoneering, biking, buggy riding and Segway tours. You could spend an entire day exploring all the resort has to offer. In the evening, the Dream Campsite makes for the ideal overnight location, with the chance to catch your own rainbow trout supper from the nearby lake.

On the second day, make your way to Niseko, a ski and snowboard paradise. Hokkaido’s snow has distinctive properties and you can test your abilities on the various slopes. A dip in the Makkari Onsen is the perfect post-piste relaxation. Savor a soak in the hot waters while enjoying an unforgettable view of the surrounding mountains.

Your campervan must be returned by Day 3, but if time permits, don’t miss stopping off at Lake Shikotsu. This caldera lake, formed by a volcanic eruption eons ago, boasts crystal-clear waters that can be seen up close from a glass-bottomed boat. The smoking crater of nearby Mt Tarumae, one of Japan’s most geologically active peaks, looms over the scenery.

Example/Sample Itinerary

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
New Chitose Airport Dream camp field Yotei mountain natural park Makkari campsite
↓ 40 min 40 min 50 min
Collect campervan
(Fuji Cars Japan, Sapporo)
Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu Lake Shikotsu
↓ 50 min 25 min ↓ 50 min
Otaru city Makkari onsen Return campervan
(Fuji Cars Japan Sapporo)
↓ 40 min  30 mins ↓ 40 min
Kiroro resort Yotei mountain natural park Makkari campsite (overnight) New Chitose Airport
↓ 20 min
Dream camp field (overnight)

Prices

Camper van Camper truck Peak season Options
3 days: ¥53,500 3 days: ¥80,200 Sat and holidays price: +¥5,000 per day Pickup: one way ¥7,000
5 days: ¥87,100 5 days: ¥131,500 High season price: +¥3,000 per day Bedding set: ¥5,500 per person
7 days: ¥120,700

7 days: ¥182,900

*High season: April 29th – May 10th, July and August *Bedding set includes: a set of Japanese quilts and mattresses, blanket, sheet.

Normal set (included in rental fee)
Kitchen set, a chair for outdoor, table and chair set, lantern and portable flash light, cooler box, Collision Damage Waiver and laundry charge.

Written by Mandy Bartok
Japan Travel Partner

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