Self Driving Trip in Hokkaido

Drove around Hokkaido back in December 2015 – beautiful place, precious family time – a very cold cool experience in short. The following is a special video I made and some personal travel tips at Hokkaido during winter. Many thanks to Bumblebee Mum who made tons of FREE Hokkaido travel guide and this video by DL Production.

The Driving Experience at Hokkaido

Some Useful Tips

  1. Plan your trip early, seriously – especially if you wish to stay in one of those popular ski resorts. We skipped Tomamu and Niseko because of hotel availability.
  2. It’s a little risky, but do-able. Most folks at Trip Advisor are strongly against winter driving at Hokkaido; and I agree. If you don’t enjoy driving (or have no confidence in your driving skill), don’t do this. Stick with the trains and buses – it’s Japan anyway, they have the most-developed public transport system in the world.  That said, however, if you are feeling adventurous, why not? This was my first winter driving trip and it turned out alright (with a few lucky escapes though).
  3. Must have – winter gloves, car snow shovel (mine was provided by the car rent company), winter boot, polarise sun glasses, a piece of cloth to wipe off condensed water on your mirror, and hours of good music supply.
  4. Keyword – SLOW. To stay safe, drive slowly, turn slowly. Accelerate slowly. Brake slowly.
  5. Your car will skid, no matter how careful or slow you drive. It’s just something you can’t avoid when driving in Hokkaido during winter (especially on frozen roads in the city). So be prepared and understand the concept of counter-steering.

That’s all I can think of right now – will update this post again.

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