Credit: The Travel Intern
March 2023

It’s no secret that Spring and Winter are popular seasons to visit the Hokkaido region. 


But Hokkaido is also home to many interesting attractions, a snack-themed park, a beer museum, and charming day trips to quaint towns that can be visited all year round. Not to mention less crowds, cheaper flights and more options for accommodation!


Not to forget, the chance to try some of the region's famous local cuisine — think fresh kaisendons, its fresh dairy products, snacks and produce.


Off-season is typically April to November so if you’ve a long weekend to spare, check out this chill itinerary on a quick trip to Hokkaido.


Day 1: Sapporo 


Famous for ramen, beer and an annual snow festival featuring giant ice sculptures in winter ― Sapporo is Hokkaido’s vibrant capital city! 


While it’s usually a popular destination for winter activities, there are plenty of things to do in the other seasons too.


1) Odori Park and Sapporo TV Tower

Enjoy a relaxing afternoon in Odori Park and consider a picnic as you people-watch. Head up the Sapporo TV Tower for a scenic overview of Sapporo’s city sights from 90m above-ground — we recommend visiting at sunset! 


Entrance fee: ¥1,000 (~S$10)

Opening hours: 9AM – 9:50PM

Address: 1 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0042, Japan


2) Mount Moiwa

Photo credit:  Mt-moiwa


If you’re looking for a different view of the city near sunset, Mt. Moiwa is a must-visit! Recognised as one of Japan’s best panoramic views and surrounding landscape at night. You can choose to hike up one of the 5 paths to the summit which should take about 1 hour and 15 minutes or take the scenic cable car to the top.


Cable car fee: ¥2,100 return (~S$20)

Opening hours: 11AM – 10PM (from 10:30 a.m. in summer). Last ascent at 9:30 p.m.

Address: Sapporo Mt. Moiwa Ropeway Mountain Base Office 


3) Sapporo Beer Museum

Photo credit:  Sapporo Breweries


Join a free brewery tour at the Sapporo Beer Museum to learn of its interesting history before wrapping up with a taster set of three beers: the Sapporo Classic, Sapporo Black Label and a special Kaitakushi edition. The taster set requires a ¥600 top-up but is well worth it!


Entrance Fee: Free 

Opening Hours: 11AM – 8PM daily (last entry at 7:30PM)

Address: 9 Chome-1-1 Kita 7 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, Hokkaido 065-8633, Japan


Day 2: Day Trip to Otaru 

Sapporo to Otaru: 35min by train (covered by the Hokkaido Rail Pass)


Otaru is a small harbour town known for its beautiful coastal views and fresh seafood. One of the highlights here is Otaru Canal — an area lined with shops in converted historical buildings from the 19th century!


1) Sankaku Fish Market

Contrary to its unassuming exterior, the Sankaku Fish Market has a wide variety of fresh seafood that come in massive sizes. Start your morning with one of their supersized DIY kaisen dons, where you can pick your favourite ingredients — from salmon, scallops, ebi and more! 


Cost: ¥2,200 (~S$22) for a small portion and ¥2,700 (~S$27) for a large

Opening hours: 8AM – 5PM

Address: 3 Chome-10-16 Inaho, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0032, Japan


2) Hiyoriyama Lighthouse

A 30-minute bus ride from Otaru Station is where you’ll find this stunning coastal view at the Hiyoriyama Lighthouse. The best way to soak in the scenery and sea breeze is via one of the nature trails that run along the coastal area!


Entrance fee: Free

Opening hours: 24 hours

Address: 3 Chome-240 Shukutsu, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0047, Japan


3) Sakaimachi Dori Shopping Street

This shopping district is home to many iconic shops and restaurants. Explore the Music Box Museum or shop Otaru’s famous glassware that make for great souvenirs. 


A short walk to the famous Otaru Canal, opt to explore the charming district by foot or via a peaceful cruise ride (¥1,500/~S$15). 


Entrance fee: Free

Opening hours: 24 hours — shops generally close by 7PM

Address: 4-4 Sakaimachi, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0027, Japan


Bonus: 4) Unique Accommodation Experience 

Photo credit:


If one day isn’t enough to explore Otaru, why not stay the night at a cosy cottage house? 


Forget city life and dwell among nature at Winkel Village — where you can wake up to a beautiful mountain view or soak in an open-air bath under the stars.


Cost: From ~S$327/night

Address: 2 Chome-686 Asarigawaonsen, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0154, Japan



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Day 3: Asahikawa

Sapporo to Asahikawa: 1h 25min by train (covered by the Hokkaido Rail Pass)


Fun fact: Asahikawa is Hokkaido’s second largest city after Sapporo! It’s surrounded by mountains and a great base for trips to scenic places like Biei. Plus, did we mention it has its own local ramen specialty?


1) Asahikawa Ramen Village

This village is dedicated to Ramen lovers. There are eight stores to choose from, and regardless of which you visit, we recommend trying the soy-base ramen — a specialty of Asahikawa. 


Cost: From ¥900/bowl (~S$9)

Opening hours: 11AM – 8PM

Address: 4 Chome-119-48 Nagayama 11 Jo, Asahikawa, Hokkaido 079-8421, Japan


2) Hokkaido Gokoku Shrine

Built in 1902, the Hokkaido Gokoku Shrine wows with its traditional Japanese architecture. Look out for the three torii gates and drop by the garden for a great photo spot. 


Weekdays are the best times to visit for fewer visitors so you’ll have the entire place to yourself!


Entrance fee: Free

Opening hours: 24 hours

Address: 1 Chome-2282-2 Hanasakicho, Asahikawa, Hokkaido 070-0901, Japan


3) Heiwa Shopping Street

Photo credit: Japan Experience


A quaint shopping district, the Heiwa Shopping District houses many restaurants and vintage thrift shops. 


For dinner, drop in one of the restaurants serving Genghis Khan BBQ, a local-favourite dish of mutton BBQ. As for your after-dinner activities, go on a shopping spree at local thrift stores! 


Opening hours: 24 hours — Shops generally close at 8PM

Address: 8 Chome-41-28 8 Jodori, Asahikawa, Hokkaido 070-0038, Japan


4) Bonus option: Explore Furano and Biei on a day trip 

Consider extending your holiday with a day trip to Furano and Biei for some scenic sights. You’ll see beautiful purple lavender flowers that bloom in the Summer and the iconic Shirogane blue pond in Biei. 


*Transport to and from Furano and Biei is covered by Hokkaido Rail Pass as well!


Day 4: Sapporo and heading home

Asahikawa to Sapporo: 1h 25min


1)  Moerenuma Park

Photo credit: The Real Japan


Moerenuma Park once had a “trashy” past as a waste disposal centre but now, it’s a modern playground for both adults and children! Explore the 189-hectare park with attractions like the Glass Pyramid and Mt Moere — where you can overlook the entire city of Sapporo.


Entrance fee: Free

Opening hours: 7AM - 10PM

Address: 1-1 Moerenumakoen, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 007-0011, Japan


2) Kuma Chen Onsen Hotpot

This place is known for its delicious soup but what’s interesting is how it arrives at your table. Your soup stock comes in the form of an adorable bear, “soaking” in an onsen of your soup. Each put comes with an assortment of fresh vegetables, mushrooms and meat (beef, pork, and chicken). 


At the end of your meal, you can ask the server for either ramen, rice cakes, or dumplings as a nice finish to the leftover soup! 


Cost: ¥2,980/ set (~S$30)

Opening hours: 11AM - 3:30PM; 5PM - 10PM

Address: Japan, 〒060-0052 Hokkaido, Sapporo, Chuo Ward, Minami 2 Johigashi, 1 Chome−1−5




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Top image by Mt-moiya





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