Hokkaido Winter Drive – Otaru to Niseko


After one night in Otaru, we set off for Niseko, a town near the dormant volcano of Mount Yotei,  surrounded by major ski resorts. We were eagerly anticipating this leg of the journey, as we were keen to experience the wintry conditions there.

Our first challenge of the day would be to figure out how to pump petrol in Japan. The pumps were truly amazing, offering a completely self-service experience from start to finish, except that we had a bit of trouble because we could not read Japanese and we had to get help from fellow motorists and eventually the station manager in the office to key in the correct settings onto the touch screen. The key things to remember is to pump the correct fuel! Normally, the green colored pump will dispense diesel and the red and yellow colored pump will dispense regular petroleum and high-octane petroleum respectively.

Before you start pumping, you have to make payment via credit card or the automatic currency counting machine, and you have to put your hands on the red hand diagram to discharge static electricity and avoid sparking off a fire.

After you finish pumping, the machine will automatically dispense you the change, which was pretty cool!


At our rural gas station, the fuel lines came down from the ceiling!


After pumping fuel, we headed into the highlands, and we were treated to some seriously snowy driving conditions. The scenery was surreal and beautiful beyond words, especially for people like us who come from a land of perpetual heat and humidity. There were lengthy stretches where the roads were white, and we could not see where the roads end and the fields begin. It was a real treat!


Eventually we arrived at our beautiful resort – Niseko Northern Resort An’nupuri, which I highly recommend for its wonderful facilities and amazing food (the buffet breakfast is to die for!). We also enjoyed our visit to the Onsen here, and did plenty of playing in the snow!


We must have had a full metre of snow fall that night, it was just so magical. The only problem is trying to find our car the next day!


This is part 5 of my Hokkaido Winter Drive blog series, click HERE to read part 6 where I share about the beautiful Lake Toya as we drive towards Noboribetsu Hot Springs!

My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship over a nice home-cooked meal. If you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at lenniechua@gmail.com to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!

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