AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
Wild Hokkaido Fly  Drive

Wild Hokkaido Fly Drive

Wild Hokkaido Fly Drive Overview

Wild Hokkaido Fly Drive Hokkaido is the northernmost of the country's four main islands, where the summers are refreshing and humidity free and the winters provide excellent snow fields. You will discover amazing sceneries with sweeping vistas, wildlife and breath taking nature. Hakodate is your first entry point into Hokkaido.

See the stunning night view from nearby Mt Hakodate. Continue to Sapporo, Japan's fifth-largest city with its numerous restaurants and bars. Continue to Sounkyo, the heart of Hokkaido in the middle of Daisetsuzan National Park and explore Akan National Park in the north eastern part of Hokkaido with its marshlands, volcanic mountains, and lakes. Explore the remote Shiretoko Peninsula before ending your adventure with an exploration of the Kushiro Marsh.

The best time of year to drive around Hokkaidō is mid-May through mid-October. Allow at least a week for Hakodate to Kushiro although we do recommend a minimum of 12 days to get the most out of your holiday.

Day 1: Arrival Hakodate

Arrive at Hakodate by flight or by shinkansen from Tokyo and transfer to your hotel.

Distance and journey time: 8 km, 20 mins

Day 2: Hakodate touring

Full day to explore Hakodate. Visit its famous churches, morning market and take in the night view from nearby Mt Hakodate.

Day 3: Travel to Shikotsu Toya

Collect your self-drive vehicle and commence your fly drive Hokkaido holiday. Drive to Lake Toya, situated in the Shikotsu-Toya National Park, with Mt Usu, the active volcano near the lake. This is a beautiful caldera lake which never freezes over, even in winter. Enjoy a trip on the lake in a sightseeing boat to visit Naka-no-shima’s “Forest Museum” exhibiting the creatures of Lake Toya-ko. From May to October, you can take one of the tours to watch the Ezo Shika deer living in the forest of Naka-no-shima.


Distance and journey time: 172 km, 2.30 hrs

Day 4: Travel to Sapporo

Follow the coastal road to Sapporo.

Sightseeing: Take a photo beneath the iconic, 100-year-old Sapporo City Clock. Admire the magnificent avenue of poplars outside Hokkaido University. Stroll past the fabulous, neo-Baroque Old Hokkaido Government Building at dusk, as the extraordinary edifice known simply to locals as ‘Red Brick’ is illuminated to wonderful effect. Stroll to the stunning Odori Avenue Park, in summer a dazzling display of statuary, water features, and brightly coloured flower beds, in winter a fantastic wonderland of snow and ice sculptures. We suggest joining one of many brewery tours here.

Overnight in Sapporo.

Distance and journey time: 171 km, 2 hrs

Day 5: Travel to Asahi-dake

Drive to the pretty town of Biei with its rolling fields of wildflowers before continuing to Asahidake.

Stay here for 2 nights.

Distance and journey times:

Sapporo to Biei: 164 km, 2.20 hrs

Biei to Asahidake: 38 km, 45 mins

Day 6: Asahi-dake

Time to relax at this hot spring resort.

Day 7: Asahi-dake to Sounkyo

Drive to Sounkyo Onsen, gateway to Daisetsuzan, Japan's largest national park. Take time to discover two waterfalls, Ginga-no-taki and Ryusei-no-taki. Ginga No Taki is a graceful waterfall with water flowing like white threads, while Ryusei No Taki shows a robust appearance with water strongly falling about 90m.


Distance and journey time: 101 km, 2 hrs

Day 8: Sounkyo to Kussharo lake, Akan Ko Kohan Onsen

Go through Bihoro Pass, part of Akan National Park and this is the view point where you can see the whole of Lake Kussharo and Akan mountains. Kussharo Lake is one of the main lakes of Akan National Park and is famous for its volcanically warmed sands. Visit Sunayu Onsen, a stretch of hot sand along the edge of Kussharo Lake. Continue to Akan Ko National Park for 2 nights at Akan-ko-onsen Hot Spring on the shores of Lake Akan-ko.

Stay 2 nights.

Distance and journey times:

Sounkyo to Lake Kussharo: 169 km, 3 hrs

Lake Kussharo to Akan-Ko: 56 km, 1 hr

Day 9: Akan-Ko Kohan Onsen

A full day to enjoy Akan National Park, with volcanic peaks, large caldera lakes, and dark forests. Stop at Lozan. Visit the First Observation Deck at Mashu Lake, created by the eruption of Mashu-dake Mountain. This crystal clear, magical lake in which the water level remains the same throughout the year is best viewed from the 1st vantage point.

The other must-see place is “Ainu Kotan”, the village of the Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido.

Overnight in Akan-ko.

Day 10: Akan-Ko to Utoro Onsen Shiretoko

Head in a northerly direction until you reach the coast, then turn east towards the Shiretoko Peninsula. Enjoy the fantastic scenery through the Shiretoko Pass. Take a swim in the pool at the waterfall, Kamuiwakka-yu-no-taki before driving to your hotel.

Stay 2 nights.

Distance and journey time: 135 km, 2.30 hrs

Day 11: Utoro Onsen Shiretoko

A day to relax or to take a hike in the National Park. Or we recommend a day trip on the Shiretoko Aurora sightseeing boat. View steep, 200-metre cliffs, spectacular waterfalls that lead into the Sea of Okhotsk, and the colours of the Shiretoko mountain range.


Day 12: Utoro Onsen Shiretoko - Kushiro / departure

Follow the coastal route to Nemuro and Kushiro to visit the Japanese Crane Reserve. Spend the day at Kushiro Shitsugen National Park, the largest undeveloped wetland in Japan. Approx. 80% of the marsh is covered with grass and it is home to about 600 species of plants and 170 species of birds. In the winter season from October to March, you might have a chance to see a Japanese red-crowned crane, one of the protected species. Stop at the observation Deck at Kushiro Marsh (at sunset) to view the Kushiro River, different species of wildlife, Mt. Oakan-dake and Mt. Meakan-dake.

From the end of April to September, take a ride on the diesel locomotive called “Norokko-go” along the marsh route for a chance to appreciate the view at a slow pace.

Depart from Kushiro Airport.

Distance and journey times:

Shiretoko to Nemuro: 155 km, 2.30 hrs

Nemuro to Kushiro: 123 km

Find out more about the Wild Hokkaido Fly Drive