Sharing with you my personal four day Hokkaido Summer road trip itinerary! I visited Hokkaido from July 19 – 23 2019 – this information is super important as it gives you a general guide as to what flowers were blooming during this time.
Some basic info. I did this trip solo, as a self-drive. I flew in from Tokyo to Asahikawa Airport (which was the closest airport to Biei and Furano) and the perfect starting and ending point for a road trip.
Was July 19-23 a good time to visit? a big fat YES for me! I wasn’t sure if I would see the flower trifecta I was wishing for (colourful flowers, lavender and sunflowers) but I am so happy to report back that I saw them all and more! I couldn’t believe my luck, as it wasn’t particularly clear when researching for this trip if this was a good time to go. But I totally recommend it. I was there at the peak of lavender season, most of the colourful flowers were blooming and a large portion of the sunflower fields I saw were also blooming too.
Arrive Asahikawa Airport + pick up car
The start and end point for this itinerary is Asahikawa Airport. Arrive Asahikawa Airport and pick up your rental car from here. For me, I searched popular website ToCoo! for the best rental car deal and ended up booking a 660cc car with Budget Rent A Car’s Asahikawa Airport outlet. If you’re not familiar with 660cc Cars, these are the smallest cars popular in Japan and look a little like a tiny van. They are perfect for a solo trip, and I find them extremely easy to drive in Japan. This was the type of car we also rented to drive around Ishigaki and Iriomote Island and it was *just* big enough for Tom and me + our luggage.
HOKKAIDO DRIVING TIP 1: It’s easy guys! I am an anxious driver and personally would avoid driving overseas where I can however I have found the road between Asahikawa and Tomamu (where the majority of the driving was done) very easy. It’s mainly one lane for each direction, however the roads are quite wide and comfortable, and well paved.
HOKKAIDO DRIVING TIP 2: The speed limit around here is mainly 40-50km/hr however I saw no one drive at this speed and if you did drive at this speed you hold up a huge line of traffic behind you since it’s one lane only (there are a few overtaking lanes that appear now and then though). I am really not sure what the deal is with speed limits in Japan but make sure you use your common sense and drive carefully!
Now the goal for today is to make it to Tomamu (about 3 hours away from Asahikawa) but we’re going to make a few very beautiful stopovers along the way!
Destination 1: Hinode Park
Our first stopover is Hinode Park. This beautiful little park should be 30 minutes drive from the airport and is filled with lavender. There’s a large parking lot with toilet facilities, and it’s a good place to stopover for 30 mins – 1 hour.
Destination 2: Ningle/Ninguru Terrace
Our next stop over is Ningle/Ninguru Terrace. This beautiful little place is straight out of a fairytale book! It’s home to a strip of quaint shops which glow magically with the fairy lights that light up at night. There is plenty of free parking here near the hotel next door. You can stopover for 30 mins – 1 hr.
Drive to Hoshino Resorts Tomamu
Our overnight stop and accomodation for the first 2 days is Hoshino Resorts Tomamu! This place is a destination in itself and staying here will definitely make it hard to want to leave. I stayed in the RISONARE Tomamu building. Dinner at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu & good night to you!
Morning at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu
When staying at such a beautiful property, you’ll definitely want to spend time enjoying the area! If you’re lucky, wake up 4am today to visit Unkai Terrace (a beautiful viewing platform up in the mountains where you can see magical clouds – unfortunately I was not able to see this during my trip!).
Follow this up with breakfast at the resort, and a morning relaxing in the farm area! At the farm area, you can book various experiences including a beautiful picnic set on the grounds and there are also beautiful hay beds and outdoor lounges to relax on.
Oh and definitely check out Mina Mina Beach here whilst you’re on the grounds as well!
Afternoon at Saika No Sato
After a lazy morning it’s time to head out to Furano! A 1 – 1.5 hour drive will get you to Saika No Sato. Spend a beautiful afternoon here wandering around the lavender fields before heading back to Hoshino Resorts Tomamu for dinner. Alternatively, if you’re too lazy to leave cause you managed to catch Unkai Terrace early in the morning, you can just stay in as well! There’s so much to do at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu!
Dinner at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu’s Hotalu Street
Head back to the resort and take a short stroll to Hotalu Street, a beautiful little area of restaurants within the resort. It’s super, super cute here – pick a place for dinner! I picked a place that did delicious sushi rice bowls yummm!
Breakfast & Check out
Take a beautiful morning breakfast at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu and then it’s off we go on a big day of driving and sightseeing! Alternatively, try to catch the beautiful clouds at Unkai Terrace again this morning, if you can. Unfortunately I was again unlucky and was not able to see it!
Anyway, the goal of today is to make it all the way to Asahikawa!
Destination 1: Farm Tomita
Our first stop on our big drive today is Farm Tomita in Furano. This flower farm is super popular, so it’s best to go in the morning if you can. Here, you can see beautiful lavender fields, colourful flowers, have some melon, lavender ice-cream and take a million pics!
Destination 2: Flowerland Kamifurano
Next stop is Flowerland Kamifurano! This flower farm is only maybe 15 minutes drive from Farm Tomita and is a beautiful and much more quieter flower farm. Enjoy a wander around here and take lots of pics!
Destination 3: Blue Pond + Shirahige Waterfall
Time to continue north and head to Biei! 20 minutes from Biei proper is the famous Blue Pond. It’s super busy here all the time so I guess just expect to be surrounded by people! This lake is a beautiful sight and definitely worth checking out, especially to take a break from all the flowers.
If you continue further down the road for another 10 minutes, you can also check out Shirahige Waterfall from a large bridge. This waterfall is absolutely stunning!
Arrive at Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa
This is where you’ll be basing yourself for the next two days! Relax, head out into the city for some dinner, and time to sleep!
Breakfast at Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa – they have a fab buffet!
Destination 1: Shikisai No Oka
We’re starting the day at Shikisai No Oka, one of my favourite flower fields! Expect to spend maybe 2 hours here. It’s huge and there are lots of colourful flowers, as well as sunflowers, and a small lavender field as well.
Destination 2: Farm Tomita Lavender East
If you haven’t had enough lavender, head to Farm Tomita’s Lavender East flower farm, one of the largest lavender fields in the area. They also do lavender ice-cream here too, in case you’re peckish.
Lunch at Ramen Village Asahikawa
Asahikawa is famous for its ramen and they do their soup base different here, and the ramen here is meant to be the best in Hokkaido! If you want lots of options, head to Ramen Village Asahikawa, a small building of around a dozen ramen shops to choose from. Afterwards, you can even squeeze in a bit of shopping at the huge Uniqlo store opposite!
Destination 3: Hokuryu Himawari no Sato Sunflower Fields
About an hour’s west of Asahikawa is Hokuryu’s Himawari no Sato sunflower fields. This is the most impressive sunflower fields that I’ve ever visited and it’s best accessed when staying in Asahikawa, as it’s in the opposite direction of Biei and Furano. Why you have to stay in Asahikawa too! This is the last stop on our road trip. Head back to Asahikawa for dinner and a good sleep because tomorrow we’re checking out!
Check out of Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa. Take a lazy morning’s breakfast at their buffet downstairs before heading back to the airport and saying goodbye to a wonderful four days in Hokkaido!