Summer Gateway in Hokkaido: Prologue

Summer in July, 2017

Tokyo during summer is “engep”. Yes! It’s very hot, humid and barely no wind (if there’s a wind, it’s typhoon or it’s a hot wind, is useless using your hand fan!) So we decided to have short getaway to Hokkaido, where’s the weather as not as humid like here.

At first we kind of hesitate to go there since it still transition season to the real summer weather, which sometimes it could be cloudy and rainy. We keep monitoring the weather and (finally) we decided to go... tomorrow! Yup. Everything booked in the last minute. We very patiently wait until rush hours end (15:00-20:00) to book our flight as cheap as possible. 

I still doubt whether it will be a good weather there or not because we go to Hokkaido in the of July–it should be in the middle July if you want to see lavender field, but we don’t have time to go there–he’s busy and I have my own strict schedule, and I don’t want only to see lavender there, I want to see more flowers!

We both want to go to Biei––I personally want to go to Biei, because I’m in love with that place only by seeing the picture of hills, trees, and farmy athmosphere from internet (intagram I mean haha!). It looks like La Province in France that I’ve seen so many times whenever I passed L’Occitaine store. Hahahahaha. 

I also would love to see Furano (next to Biei), and Otaru which only takes around 1 hour driving from Sapporo while he wants to explore Sapporo more during summer (he went to Sapporo 2 years ago during Snow Festival, he hates it because the weather was too harsh for him––well, we just landed in Tokyo and welcomed by our very first winter experience!) then have his perception about “The Beauty of Sapporo” whether is more beautiful during winter or summer. For me who never visit Hokkaido before I don’t really care hahahahaha. 

Another reason is, I am so curious about Hokkaido for two main reasons; 
1) Why so many of my people (Indonesian) that I know rarely speak about Hokkaido? Ada ding, tapi cuma Alexander Thian (@amrazing) doang, but other selebgram I know never mention it (not yet) while me personally more excited to go to Hokkaido than going to Osaka/Kyoto.
2) I buy so many products from Hokkaido (eggs, rice, butter and even BAKE, my favorite cheese tart!) and I’m very loyal costumer because of it’s taste and quality.

First, our plan for this summer gateway is 3 days 2 nights in Hokkaido to go to Hakodate -  Sapporo - Biei. But, we can confirmed that one day in our 3 days journey it will be rain. And the distance between Hakodate to Sapporo is around 5 hours driving, compare to Sapporo-Biei is around 2-3 hours. He also told me that Hakodate is not really worth to visit because of the distance and the amount point of interest that I want to visit (I just want to see the Star-shaped Garden and the city view). So yeah, with the very short amount of time we have, our wise decision is to skip Hakodate and focus on Sapporo and Biei. 

Second, we choose morning flight because we want our first day to be efficient. In Tokyo, the earliest time stores open at 11:00. Assuming it will be the same, we think landing at 9 to 10 in the morning not bad at all (until I know my point of interest is open at 8:30!) and instead of landing at Sapporo I insist to arrive in Asahikawa. Because race againts the weather, the best day to visit Biei is our first day in Hokkado! our second day 70% will be rain, and I cannot gamble with our last day even though we booked a night flight, still it’s really not a wise decision, we want to relax on our last day. Also, it takes around 1.5 hours to go to Biei (Sapporo-Biei takes around 3.5 hours using EXPRESS WAY (Toll Gate))

We use Air Do Airlines. It's a good airline by the way (both service and price for sure!). By the time we landed, we asked tourist information, and same advice as Hokkaido Tourism.pdf I downloaded, is better to rent a car than using public transportation if we want to explore Biei and Furano (time table of oublic transport and distance to go to point of interest). So, we rent a car using Toyota Rental Car for two days, pick up at Asahikawa Airport and return at Sapporo. 

We’re not directly rent for 3 days because we think in Sapporo the public transportation is quite same as here in Tokyo and we still not sure we will enjoy using car because of... kanji! Yeah, the GPS problemo! even it shows “Menu, Navigate, bla bla bla” after we click, it’s kanji everywhere. But we can survive because there’s an universal language called LOGO. So we just click menu, and picked telephone logo, insert the telephone of the place we want to visit, and find the “start to navigate” by try clicking one by one HAHAHAHAHAHA! I wish they use スタート (sutaato/start) as the name but they’re not! 

Oh I need to tell that we have a little difficulty when want to rent a car. First, they don’t speak english so we need the tourist information guide to translate, and sometimes I speak too (I speak a little, but not for long sentence), until finally we need to show our driving license, and there they’re getting warmer, finally! They’re surprised we have Japan driver license instead of international driving license. Dang!

So here we go... this is gonna be a great adventure for both of us! (to be continued)

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