Got one week in Hokkaido? This 8-day Hokkaido itinerary has the perfect highlights for first-timers to the island. Broken down by day, this road trip starts from the vibrant city of Sapporo and winds through fantastic photo hotspots in Niseko, Shakotan, Yoichi, and Otaru.
Use this sample Hokkaido itinerary as a reference and customize it to your personal situation for the epic Hokkaido trip you've always dreamed of taking!

Hokkaido Itinerary Day 1: Sapporo to Niseko via Mount Yōtei

Start your Hokkaido itinerary for a hotspots road trip by hopping into a rental car in Sapporo and driving southwards out to National Route 230 until you reach the hot spring town of Jozankei, taking in the sights along the way. There's no need to pay an entry fee here, and there are free foot baths available for travelers to rest their feet in should they desire.
After that refreshing breather, clamber back onto the car and head farther south until you cut through Nakayama Pass. Stop by the popular roadside station Bōyō-Nakayama and try out the local specialty – deep-fried sweet potatoes covered in a sweet and crispy batter.

Once you're adequately recharged, make your way down the mountain pass towards the towns of Kimobetsu or Kyōgoku, and Mount Yōtei, also known as Yezo Fuji or Hokkaido's Mount Fuji, will slowly reveal itself. This famously photogenic mountain is your first chance to snap a commemorative photo with a fabulous view!

You'll pass by Kyōgoku town's Fukidashi Park next. It's a famous spring water spot of Japan that produces water that's so clean and fresh, locals and tourists alike visit the place to draw them for drinking. Naturally, the area also makes for a beautiful picture. At the roadside station here, called Meisui Plaza, you'll also be able to treat yourself to some tasty Jingisukan, a local grilled mutton delicacy seasoned with salt. Once you're full and satisfied, the next destination is Niseko, which is directly connected to Kyōgoku town via Roads 97 and 66. Take a quick stroll around town once you arrive, then check into a hotel to rest up for the next day of activities.

Roadside Station Kyogoku Meisui Plaza
45-1, Kawanishi, Kyogoku Town, Abuta-gun
Hours: Plaza May to October 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; November to April 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Restaurant May to October 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (last order 4:50 p.m.); November to April 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (last order 4:15 p.m.)
Closed: Roadside Station November to April – 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month (operations are currently suspended until further notice)
Roadside Station Kyogoku Meisui Plaza

3 Recommended Hotels in Niseko

Niseko Prince Hotel Hirafutei
Kutchan Yamada 204, Niseko, Hokkaido
HirafuHilton Niseko Village
Higashiyama Onsen, Niseko, Hokkaido
HirafuNiseko Northern Resort, An'nupuri
Niseko 480-1, Niseko, Hokkaido

Hokkaido Itinerary Day 2: Open up all your senses to the beautiful world of Niseko!

The biggest appeal of Niseko is its view – a pristine, natural landscape that is surrounded by towering mountains. Day two is the day where you get to open up all of your senses to the fantastic experiences to be had here! Wake up at 6:30 a.m. and be the first to enjoy strolling through the clean air of Niseko in a hot air balloon!

OAC Outdoor Amusement Company
485 Niseko, Niseko-town, Abuta-gun
Hours: Open early morning and late evening from June to September, except on days when there are no reservations up to the day before
(Hot air balloon gathering spot) 485 Niseko, Abuta-gun, Niseko Annupuri Kokusai Ski Area, next to Restaurant New Sanko

And since you're at Niseko, don't miss rafting down t…

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