When I went to Hokkaido in July, it was the Lavender season and so I was really looking forward to going to the Lavender farm. We wanted to visit Aoi Ike - Blue pond in Biei as well and it is such a hassle to transfer from train to bus and back to train again when we want to visit the Lavender farm. As we were staying in Sapporo (too lazy to move our luggage & change hotel), I initially had all the train routes planned out (took me so long to do so) & it was so troublesome and far my goodness. Hokkaido is like, seriously big and I would like to have a month or more to slowly and fully explore the areas.
That was when I found out about the one day bus tour offered by Hokkaido Chuo Bus. WHY DIDN'T I FIND OUT ABOUT THIS BEFORE I PLANNED MY TRAIN TRIP T^T. Anyway, I decided to take this trip because it is still cheaper than getting train tickets and less troublesome (no need to change trains, bus etc). This website offers quite a variety of bus tours in Hokkaido, so you guys can check it out if you are interested. The tour that I took is not available now anymore (probably cos lavender season has ended).
Point of boarding was at Sapporo Station Bus Terminal located at Esta Building Level 2 where you can get your tickets from. I reserved my tickets online beforehand and many did as well, so if you are interested in a course it will be best to secure a seat by reserving online and then pay & get your tickets at the counter on the day itself. They will send you a confirmation email and a map telling you where you can collect the tickets. There will be many people queuing to collect their tickets and there are many bus groups so please reach earlier (30 mins earlier or more) to pay & collect your tickets.
My tour cost 7,200 yen per pax and the itinerary was something like this (I Know I don't take the best photographs but you guys can always google the pics ok~):
Sapporo Station Bus Terminal (boarding) - Rest Area (toilets, food etc) - Somewhere we can take photos (Sorry I don't rmb the place; but there's white corn and food here too) -
Blue Pond , we were very blessed because if it rained any day from 3 days before, then the pond will be green in color (it was green when my friends went).
Goto Sumio Museum , ok we had our lunch here (included in the tour) and it was so good omg. The pork was so tender and the melon was so sweet. Satisfying. Then we went in to see the art exhibits (also included in the tour). To be honest, this place wasn't in our visit list when we were planning our trip. It was out of the way and I have no idea how to get there unless you drive (ok, maybe a bus will stop here). It was a blessing in disguise because the art pieces were so amazing. You can see the amount of efforts put into the paintings, which could take 10 years or more to complete (we can;t take photos inside) but I got some postcards though. -
Farm Tomita (Lavender Farm) , The lavender ice cream that I wanted to try omg. This place, like all other tourist attractions were crowded. Aoi Ike was crowded but this place was even more crowded and I didn't even know if I was taking photos of the flowers or of people anymore. Somehow, I just gave up on taking photos and instead chose to enjoy the view instead. They were selling lots of lavender products, Be sure to check it out. If you can (if you are driving), you can visit earlier to beat the crowds (hopefully). -
Rest Area - Sapporo Red Brick warehouse - Sapporo Clock Tower - Sapporo Station bus Terminal.
On the way back they gave us 3 places where we could choose to alight (all near Sapporo).
Seats on the bus are assigned btw, so just find your seat number after boarding the bus and relax.
I highly recommend this tour for people who are:
1) Not driving; it is actually cheaper to join this tour and less troublesome than getting on an express train then switching to a local train then switching to bus to aoi ike then bus back to the train station then train to the farm and then train back to another station for the express train back to Sapporo.
2) With kids (Refer to point 1)
3) Lazy to plan