Those looking for a private getaway with a planned itinerary should consider Prime Travel’s Follow Me Japan programme, which offers fly & drive packages to Hokkaido, Switzerland of the east.
The beauty of this tour is you are able to enjoy the beauty and sights of Hokkaido on your own pace like a free and easy tour, yet everything is being taken care of – Go where you wish with guide book full of map codes, plentiful recommendations for lunch and supper and 24-hr assistance rendered by at least two tour guides throughout the tour.
There’s a thrill about driving in foreign countries. The signs are a little different, the roads are a little less crowded and the sights are usually nothing like you’ve ever seen before. Many find such an experience more fun than traditional holiday tours, where you’re shuttled from one sight to another in a coach with families and people you’ve never met before.
However, driving in Hokkaido in the winter can be treacherous as thick blocks of ice build up on the roads and road signs and markings almost disappear in the snow.
Guests are promised nothing short of four-star hotel throughout the package and meals, too, are not average tourist fare. Upgraded to include authentic and premium dishes, they promise to excite even the most discerning foodie. The tour package fee is all that you have to pay – no tipping, hidden costs or ‘compulsory’ itineraries to follow. You are free to drive around as long as you arrive at the hotel during dinner time.
Stress free self drive trip
Safety is the package’s top-most priority and all guests have to attend a pre-departure briefing session, where tour leaders explain driving etiquette and pass on any important information on road conditions/hazards. Each car is GPS enable and is equipped with a Japanese handphone, which tour leaders use to communicate with guests in case of an emergency or changes to itinerary. Tour leaders and some guests also make use of the handphone to take photos and send them to all the tour mates when discovering interesting places. On the road, one tour guide will be in front to ensure everything goes well and another one will be behind to make sure no one gets lost.
All guests also receive a driving guidebook, which is somewhat like a street directory. The guidebook is filled with detailed maps marking out routes and places of interest. Guests can also pick a car that they are most comfortable with, and that is suited to their needs. Choices include Vitz, the Corolla, the Prius (for the environmentally friendly!) and the Estima (for large families).
Driving in convoys is not allowed for safety reasons.
Fly and Drive Hokkaido Itineraries
One such package is the 8D7N Fly & Drive South Hokkaido Autumn Splendour ($3,180). Upon arriving at Chitose, guests load up and travel to Bibi Steak Restaurant for a sumptuous lunch of Hokkaido’s best wagyu beef, before a relaxing afternoon at Noboribetsu, one of the island’s most famous hot springs.
Guests have the option of also visiting Lake Shikotsu and the Chitose Rera Outlet Mall on the first day, and spend their first night at Noboribetsu Sekisuitei, or a similar hotel. Other attractions include a trip to Mount Showa, the Ishiya Chocolate Factory and the Shakotan Peninsular, one of Hokkaido’s most picturesque sights or sample fresh seafood like crab, uni and abalone at Sapporo Nijo Market.
Another popular itinerary is Fly & Drive Picturesque Central Hokkaido during summer season to admire lavender and sunflowers. Follow Me Japan will be featured at the NATAS Travel Fair, so pop by for more information about their packages or other Hokkaido tour packages offered by other tour agencies.