Hokkaido trip preperation 1: Where exactly?

It has been more than a year since my last trip to Europe, which made up of the Paris, Venice, and London. (Read my entries that I had written on this blog as I was travelling then, though I neglected to write the London portion of it there) While planning for that, there were considerations to visit Iceland, Berlin, Rome, Vatican City, and Zurich, but time and financial constrains limited this. Total trip was about a month.

How is this related to this next trip I'm planning? Preparation, packing, and an unfamiliar environment that pictures and words can't make you fully prepared for it. My packing was so efficient, having experience from earlier travels (Hong Kong and Bangkok), the accommodation host was surprised that I only had two regular-sized backpacks instead of those large luggage bags with wheels commonly associated with a travelling tourists.

My plan at the moment is to visit Hokkaido, with nothing booked yet, but where exactly should I go? At the moment, I'm thinking of Sapporo and Hakodate, with me leaning more towards Sapporo. Might also include neighbouring towns and places like Biei (美瑛). Not sure about the details, but I noted that it takes about 2 hours between Sapporo and Hakodate by train.

Then there is also the planning of how do I even get into Hokkaido: by plane, or train? There are plane fares that could go as low as around 10,000 yen, which is cheaper and the quickest than the train route (more specifically, Narita to New Chitose airports), as the air route is one of the world's most busiest. The rail route involves a shinkansen to (Shin-)Aomori before taking another train that passes through the Seikan tunnel linking the mainland and Hokkaido. At the moment, I had not figured out what exactly I need to take to/from Aomori that stops or passes through Hakodatte, or if booking is required/necessary for it. For the plane option, stuff like travelling to/from the airport, and time to check in before actually boarding the plane. I'm not in favour of reserving things ahead of time.

Budget and time wise, the air option would seem like the best option, but what can I see out of the window besides clouds and open skies? Also, the rail option lets me take a detour of places in the Touhoku region, which I have not travelled to before too. I think Sendai and Aomori are places that are enroute there. Thinking of Niigata too, but it is far out of the route though.

I would be discussing about preparing the gadgets I am thinking of bringing next, or whatever comes to mind.


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