Fly Jetstar to Hokkaido & Experience these Stunning Winter Destinations!

Are you looking for your next winter destination? Travel with me & Jetstar from the Philippines to Hokkaido and let’s see what this part of Japan can offer.

READ: Travel Gratefully from Manila to Sapporo with Jetstar (2016 Flight)

Booking your Philippines (Manila/Clark) to Hokkaido (Sapporo) Flights

Jetstar offers the best rates to Japan including convenient bookings for flights originating from the Philippines to Hokkaido. The airline flies direct from Manila to Osaka, Tokyo, or Nagoya with a new route from Clark to Osaka launching next month. From these cities in Japan, you can easily take a connecting flight to Sapporo.

Jetstar advertises that a one-way trip from Manila to Sapporo can cost as low as ₱7,500. Scanning low-fare flight booking websites and past promo seat sales, one-way fares can actually be more affordable than the promoted price.

On average, I’ve noticed that when the airline has seat sales to Japan, these are the usual prices:

Manila to Osaka

₱2,598

Manila to Nagoya

₱2,398

Manila to Tokyo

₱2,798

Clark to Osaka

₱1,598 (starter fare)

Please note that these prices are one-way base fares only.

On SkyScanner, the lowest airfares I’ve seen for Jetstar flights to Hokkaido that depart from Osaka, Tokyo, or Nagoya is ₱2,175. If you’re lucky enough to book these prices, you can book one-way fares for less than ₱5,000. What a deal, right? You better be ready though and look out for these flight fares when they drop!

When booking your flights from the Philippines to Hokkaido through www.jetstar.com, you have two options:

(1) Choose Manila as your departure point and Sapporo as your arrival point.

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Trial Booking (Screenshot from www.jetstar.com)

All the flight options that will be displayed takes place in one day meaning that you’ll arrive in Hokkaido on the same day that you departed from the Philippines.

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Trial Booking – Manila to Sapporo Flight (Screenshot from www.jetstar.com)

All transits take place in Tokyo and duration of transit depends on how long you want to stay at the designated Tokyo airport.

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Trial Booking – Sapporo to Manila Flight with details (Screenshot from www.jetstar.com)

(2) You can also choose to book your own Manila/Clark to Osaka/Tokyo/Nagoya flights and have another separate booking for your Osaka/Tokyo/Nagoya to Sapporo flights. This is for those who want to stay longer in Osaka/Tokyo/Nagoya or those who prefer to take only one flight per day.

Jetstar flights in the Philippines operate at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (Manila) and Clark International Airport (Clark) while the airline’s flights in Japan operate at Narita International Airport Terminal 3 (Tokyo), Kansai International Airport Terminal 1 (Osaka), Chubu Centrair International Airport (Nagoya) and New Chitose Domestic Airport (Sapporo).

After choosing your flight routes and schedules, the next thing to consider are the add-ons just to make the flight experience a bit more comfortable. Here are some services that Jetstar offers that can make your flight experience a little extra. #BeExtraWithExtras

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Jetstar add-ons (Screenshot from www.jetstar.com)

Check-in Baggage: Since we flew out to Hokkaido during winter time, we’d need baggage for our heavy winter clothes. Please note that Jetstar is very strict with luggage weight for both carry-ons (7kg/person) and check-ins so make sure you book the necessary add-ons or pack according to the required weight.

Seat allocation: If you want to be nearer to the exit doors, want more leg room during the 4-5 hour flight to Japan, be seated by a window or aisle, then choosing your preferred seats is something that you should consider. If you choose first row seats or exit seats, you have the benefit of priority boarding (together with passengers who are pregnant or traveling with children). After that, those with window seats can board next while the rest board last.

Meals: If you’re one who easily gets hungry during a flight, pre-order your meals. If you can’t decide what you want to eat during your flight, opt for in-flight vouchers instead. It’s also very important to stay hydrated during your flights so if you didn’t get to purchase water at the airport, drinks are readily available for purchase during the flight. You can view Jetstar’s Menus HERE.

Comfort packs: It’s all in the name. To add more comfort during your flight, you can add this pack to your booking. Inside a convenient travel case, you’ll receive an inflatable neck pillow, lip balm, hand cream, toothbrush and toothpaste, earplugs, socks, eye mask, a Jetstar pen, and blanket. You can purchase this for $10 (₱500+). This pack is for you to keep to use whenever and wherever you please.

Lounges: Just in case you want your airport waiting game to be a little more private or cozy, Jetstar has a lounge at NAIA 1. Access depends on passenger type (Economy Starter Max).

Insurance: If you want to be prepared just in case of unexpected circumstances, you can inquire about getting travel insurance with Jetstar before your trip (subject to availability).

Transfers: You can request to pre-book your transfers from the airport to central stations or directly to your accommodation (subject to availability).

Jetstar also offers these services in bundles so make sure to check the right fit of add-ons for your upcoming flights.

After booking, Jetstar will send your confirmed ticket through email and will be sending reminders and additional information when your trip nears.

Book your #Jetstar2Hokkaido flights TODAY at www.jetstar.com!

Flying with Jetstar to Hokkaido

Five out of my six trips to Japan were flown with Jetstar. If you’re interested in reading my experiences on previous flights, check these out:

For my #Hokkaido2018 flight with Jetstar, here is what happened:

A few weeks before our flight, a lot of things occurred – eruption of Mt. Mayon volcano in the Philippines and a heavy snowstorm in Tokyo that caused a lot of flight issues, delays, and cancellations.

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Jetstar Flight Status (Screenshot from www.jetstar.com)

Worried for our trip itinerary, I did random checks of our flight status on www.jetstar.com just to make sure our flight was still estimated for departure and arrival.

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Trial Checking of Jetstar Flight Status (Screenshot from www.jetstar.com)

If there are weather inconsistencies (I usually check AccuWeather or my phone’s weather app), make sure to check your flight status a few days before your flight as 2-3 days flight information is readily available.

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Weather Check (Screenshot from iPhone weather app)

For my flights to Hokkaido,

Time

Flight Notes

12:50 AM to 6:15 AM

Manila to Tokyo

On-time

6:15 AM to 9:00 AM

In transit

On-time

9:00 AM to 10:45 AM Tokyo to Sapporo

On-time

MANILA TO TOKYO 

Upon arrival at NAIA 1, the first thing we usually do is pay the Philippine Travel Tax of ₱1,620 (which I still dread paying every time I travel internationally! UGH! HAHAHA!).

After that, we searched for the check-in counters of Jetstar. Although the flight boards didn’t indicate that Jetstar counters have opened, we found long lines forming by the presumed check-in area of the airline.

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Jetstar Check-in Counters for Kansai & Narita at NAIA 1

There are 2 lines so make sure to ask if your flight is to Kansai (Osaka) or Narita (Tokyo). The lines get pretty long so it’s better that you’re in the correct queue.

As noted above, Jetstar is very strict with luggage weight. They weighed our check-in luggage one by one and after weighed our carry-on bags together.

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After that, we went to the usual airport process of immigration – had a snack/late dinner – waiting game at the boarding gates. I wrote this piece before about how sometimes I would make the pre-departure process a game. It’s like going through obstacles and the prize is the plane finally departing the tarmac. It’s #AirportSuccess!

The flight from Manila to Tokyo took around 4.5 hours. We had exit seats which made the flight more comfortable. No one was seated in the middle seat so my mom and I were free to stretch our legs more conveniently in all directions from time to time.

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Jetstar Exit Seat & Aisle

Just like my other flights with Jetstar, I appreciated how enthusiastic the Japanese flight attendants were even though the trip was red-eye. They still attended to each traveler’s concern genuinely with a fun attitude. I really liked this kind of service!

For our Manila to Tokyo flight, we had an in-flight voucher. You can book this in advance in denominations of ¥500 (₱230+) or ¥1000 (₱468+). Since I already ate at the airport, I just ordered snacks while my mom opted for a meal – the Chicken katsu curry. Most of the time, I don’t really like food on airlines but I’ve already tried the katsu curry on a previous Jetstar flight and I really liked it! The rice and chicken were soft and the curry just complimented the other ingredients so well. My mom felt the same as she finished her meal so quickly.

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I ordered the Jetstar original nagomi dorayaki which is like a pancake sandwich with a red bean filling. On its own, it’s a bit too sweet for my liking but when we purchased whipped cream at a convenience store after the flight, it tasted much better. I also got a blueberry and cheese muffin which I felt was too crumbly and stale.

For drinks, we both just got the ILOHAS water. OMG! If you read my Osaka – Kyoto – Nara write-up, I’ve said that this brand of water is the BEST WATER IN THE WORLD! HAHAHAHA! It just feels so clean as it flows through your mouth, throat, and entire body! Medyo OA? HAHAHA! I know! But you should definitely try this brand of water when in-flight or even in Japan as this is available almost everywhere in the country. 

The flight was uneventful after that.

Everything went smoothly. I was worried for air pockets and turbulence due to the cold weather but none happened during this flight. When the pilot announced descent, I couldn’t help but glance at the window where my mom was seating nearby. Although red-eye flights can take a toll on one’s body, the view can’t be beat.

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The sunrise above the clouds was so enticing.

Aside from the pilot’s announcements, the universe also had one. It said that it’s a new day – a day for you to live life as well as you can and be grateful for simple joys above the sky.

Upon arrival of the aircraft, my mom was all praise for the pilot’s landing. She said it was the smoothest arrival she has ever felt that she awoken from her half-sleep just to experience and realize it. 

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Whenever I travel to Japan, I always dread the part where I have to adjust to the weather especially when I visit during winter time. It’s make or break if the airline decides to use a jet bridge or stairs going down and take a bus to the arrival area.

But this time it was different. It was something new! While people were queuing down, I heard one of them say that we were passing by a tube. From the outside, it looked like a tunnel walkway covered in plastic. I felt all giddy and told my mom that we’ll be passing by a closed tunnel so we wouldn’t feel the cold too much! I didn’t even bother to wear my carry-on-ready gloves and neck warmer.

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Boy was I wrong! Although it seemed like it was closed from the view of the plane, it was definitely open from the bottom, so the cold weather hits your feet first then your legs until you feel it all over. Make sure to wear something warm when you deplane! 

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Baggage Wheel at Narita Airport

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. If you availed the Philippines to Hokkaido flight in one booking, please take note that this is a SELF-TRANSFER SERVICE. This means that after your Manila to Tokyo flight, you need to retrieve your luggage and check-in again. You’ll have to do the #AirportSuccess! game one more time sans Immigration.

TOKYO TO SAPPORO 

Since we had around 2.5 hours to spare considering the next flight was a domestic one, we weren’t in a hurry. We cruised slowly through the walkways, gates, arrival area, and luggage wheel taking photos along the way.

The Narita International Airport Terminal 3 was designed like a warehouse or likened to the environment of S&R Member Shopping in the Philippines. After getting our luggage, we found the Jetstar domestic counters easily. The line was really short so check-in was a breeze.

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Please note that the staff weighed all our luggage and carry-ons again. She gave us our boarding pass receipts and we had breakfast at the food court. There’s a lot to choose from and from what we saw, everything looks appetizing. The food court and departure area was pretty packed so early in the morning. I didn’t even feel like it was that time of the day. The warehouse and modern vibe of the airport definitely wakes you up.

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Food Court at Narita Airport

After eating, we proceeded to our boarding gate. Getting to the domestic gates of Jetstar was a bit of a walk and we were surprised that we would be passing through an OPEN bridge! I thought I could handle the cold but I had to walk back inside just to put on my neck warmer and gloves. It was sort of like a suspended bridge that cold wind passes through.

After the surprising cold walk, the boarding area was really warm. What a relief! By our boarding gate to Sapporo, there was a Jetstar shop where you can find different merchandise and food for purchase. We also liked the long couches at this departure area because we had the chance to lie down and rest for a bit.

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Jetstar Shop at Domestic Departure Gates

We boarded 15 minutes before estimated departure time.

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Boarding Gate Bound for Sapporo at Narita Airport

From the boarding gate, we descended a flight of stairs wherein we felt the cold weather pass through! Good thing, we were ready! After that, we boarded a bus that eventually took us to our plane.

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You never really know if you’ll be using a jet bridge, taking a bus, or passing through a top covered tunnel so make sure to have extra warmers in your carry-on especially when you’re visiting Japan during winter time.

I liked the Tokyo to Sapporo flight because after experiencing the Manila to Tokyo flight, the former was just a breeze. It felt like a snap and you’re finally at your last destination.

During the flight, we had another in-flight voucher so we just purchased snacks and drinks to take with us after the flight for ’emergency’ sustenance because we were a bit full from our breakfast at Narita airport.

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My mom and I got the Minced meat cutlet sandwich, Jetstar original nagomi dorayaki (I really liked this when I put whipped cream), and ILOHAS water. Since we didn’t eat these on the plane, the flight attendants offered us a plastic bag to put our takeaways in.

We were seated on a row with much less leg room but it was fine. For domestic flights, you can place your carry-on bags under the seat in front of you. 

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The flight felt quick. I was seated by a window seat and the view going to Hokkaido was freaking mesmerizing!! Lands were covered in snow that they seemed like they were clouds in the atmosphere mixing in with the actual clouds. You place that setting with light to dark patterned bluish skies making me feel like I was flying through outer space. The view was so surreal. It felt like I was watching space films or documentaries in action.

The views of this whole Manila to Sapporo flight definitely takes the cake. First, the sunrise over clouds and the next one was the universe space like view. It was very overwhelming.

I wasn’t asleep for any of it.

I just marveled at the view the whole time.

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Tokyo to Sapporo Flight View

Up until arrival, my eyes were glued to the view outside.

Once the plane halted, all the passengers were getting ready by putting on their warmers so we did the same. Just like at Narita airport, we all descended a flight of stairs and hopped on a bus.

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The bus drops passengers off at the arrival area where you’ll see the luggage wheel at once. No more walkways and suspended bridges this time! HAHAHA!

When we retrieved our luggage, we were greeted by “Welcome to Hokkaido” signs all around. All of which displaying a picturesque view of popular landmarks that I bet will tempt you to visit another time because you didn’t include it in your current itinerary! HAHAHAHA!

After around 10+ hours, we finally arrived in Hokkaido! ! !

For my flights back to the Philippines,

Time

Flight

Notes

1:35 PM to 3:10 PM

Sapporo to Tokyo

Delayed to 4:55 PM due to late arrival of aircraft (caused by snow showers in Tokyo)

New flight time – 4:55 PM to 6:40 PM

3:10 PM to 7:35 PM

In transit

Transit time changed due to delayed flights

New transit time – 6:40 PM to 8:05 PM

7:35 PM to 11:50 PM

Tokyo to Manila

Delayed to 8:05 PM due to late arrival of aircraft (caused by snow showers in Tokyo)

New flight time – 8:05 PM to 12:40 AM

SAPPORO TO TOKYO 

I was really grateful that from our Philippines to Hokkaido route, all our flights were on time. The flight status and weather were in our favor that didn’t cause any disruption in our planned itinerary.

After our 5 days in Hokkaido and all the fun we’ve had, it didn’t even occur to me that any delays would happen during our flight back to the Philippines. Back in 2016, I had a 3 PM flight from Sapporo to Nagoya which was delayed that caused me to worry about catching my 7:35 PM flight back to Manila.

So for this #Hokkaido2018 trip, I made sure to take an earlier flight from Sapporo so I’d have a lot of leeway just in case any unforeseen circumstances would arise.

During a sunny day in Sapporo, a snow shower was occurring in Tokyo. We weren’t aware of this until after we’ve done all our gift shopping at the New Chitose Airport and prepared for our domestic check-in.

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Jetstar Announcement of Flights Delays, Cancellation, & Availability

A board was displayed by the Jetstar counters that showed all the flight delays and the availability on each flight due to the snow showers taking place within and around Tokyo. Jetstar wasn’t the only one who had delayed flights as other airlines like Japan Airlines and Sky Mark Airlines were apologizing for their delays and cancellations during airport announcements.

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Jetstar Check-in Counter at New Chitose Airport

At the check-in counter, the Jetstar staff informed us that our flight originally scheduled for 1:35 PM was delayed to 4:10 PM. I asked her if our connecting flight at Tokyo would be aware of our situation and wait for us just in case or provide special assistance.

Back in 2016, a Jetstar staff was holding up my name at the Nagoya airport helping my arrival to check-in transition smoothly. During our recent trip, when I asked the staff if this special assistance is available at Tokyo, she couldn’t understand me and just kept smiling. She just told me that when we arrive in Tokyo, we needed to retrieve our check-in luggage and run (Yes! she even gestured a running motion! HAHAHA!).

I wasn’t that worried about missing our flight as these kinds of things happen. Before our trip, we were prepared for this just in case. We brought extra money and researched nearby hotels. It’s winter time in Japan and I understand that safety is always the priority if weather conditions aren’t favorable.

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My mom was surprisingly happy because of the delay because we had more time to spend at the New Chitose Airport. This airport is just massive. 3 hours arrival before your flight isn’t enough to fully maximize and explore this airport. The establishment itself is an attraction.

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My mom pretending to be sad because of the flight delays. HAHAHAHA!

When we entered the domestic boarding gates, we found out that from 4:10 PM our flight was delayed again to 4:55 PM.

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I checked the Jetstar website for the flight status of our Tokyo to Manila flight and it indicated that our flight was also delayed for 30 minutes – from 7:35 PM to 8:05 PM.

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Boarding Gate at New Chitose Airport

We weren’t too worried because there were some Filipinos at the domestic gates who were also in the same route as we were. I also thought that a 6:40 PM arrival in Tokyo from Sapporo would give us enough time to retrieve our bags, do our last check-in, pass immigration, probably shop a little more at duty free, and still reach our 8:05 PM Tokyo to Manila flight.

We boarded the plane at 4:45 PM and we used a jet bridge too! So we didn’t need to wear extra warmers. The flight was packed! I don’t think there was an empty seat in sight. 

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When we were all seated, the pilot apologized for the delay explaining the weather conditions and late arrival of turnaround planes.

The flight went on smoothly.

What I liked about the flight back was the view of the city lights from the plane. That window seat was definitely my favorite channel.

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For this flight, we had in-flight vouchers and my mom and I wanted the Minced meat cutlet sandwich again but it was sold out! We were a bit bummed because we really liked this.

We just bought the red bean snack again instead to take home to my sisters and bottles of ILOHAS water to keep us hydrated. I think that after 6 full days of winter weather, it was starting to take a toll on our bodies so we drank as much water as we could.

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When flights get delayed, some people take it negatively. I’ve felt this before. As I travel more and more, I just choose to see these events as a what’s done is done moment and to just make the best out of the situation.

High above the clouds, I was met again by a breathtaking sight. If I took the 1:35 PM flight, I knew that I wouldn’t have been able to see this amazing sunset.

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It was the perfect way to leave such an amazing winter destination. It was like a goodbye hug but with a tempting see you next time vibe. I was grateful for everything in that moment. I thanked the universe, God, and my late grandmother. The sunset over clouds was the perfect backdrop for that moment, my moment. 

Just like during my Tokyo to Sapporo flight, I didn’t sleep during this Sapporo to Tokyo flight. How could I when that view was just calling me out to stare at it?

TOKYO TO MANILA 

At Narita airport, we descended by stairs again from the plane and rode the bus to the domestic arrival area.

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When we got our luggage from the domestic bag wheel, we briskly walked to the Jetstar counters.

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The Manila counters had no line compared to those catching flights to Australia.

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The staff was still accepting passengers with no hint of haste at all. While we were checking-in, other Filipinos (probably from the same flight we disembarked from) fell in line as well.

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The staff informed us that our flight would be delayed for 30 minutes due to the late arrival of our aircraft. My mom and I just browsed through some shops at the departure area while finishing the ILOHA water we bought on the previous flight as these weren’t accepted after security check.

Walking through international departures was a breeze. No lines and no cold open bridge walkways! HAHAHAHAHA! We did shop around for a few more duty free items because some of the products found there weren’t available at the New Chitose Airport.

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At the boarding gates, we waited for around 30 minutes before boarding was called. After boarding announcement, Jetstar staff was firm that passengers were only allowed to carry 2 pieces of carry-ons (7kg total weight) including duty-free shopping bags each.

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Otherwise, extras will be left behind or asked to be checked in which will incur additional charges. I don’t personally agree with this rule as I feel that duty free bags should be excluded from the allowed weight and quantity to carry but we have to comply and respect the airline’s protocols.

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For the 4.5 hour flight back to Manila, we were by the exit seat again for more leg room for the duration of the flight. 

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For this flight, we had meals instead of in-flight vouchers which was great because we love the Chicken katsu curry! YAY!

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If you have leftover JPY coins from your trip, consider purchasing Jetstar snacks or merchandise during your last flight. Foreign coins have no value in our country (unless you’re a collector or you have immediate plans to travel back to Japan) so an option to stop lugging these coins around is to purchase items on board. I contemplated on buying merchandise but my mom told me to buy Kitkat chocolates for my sisters instead. HAHAHA! 

The flight took its course and we arrived in Manila at around 12:40 AM.

During the last leg of the flight, I was getting a little impatient because I felt that we were just swirling around Manila skies. I didn’t like this part about NAIA. The air traffic should definitely be solved ASAP! I mean, just one strip for take-off and landing? UGH! The government needs to do something about this.

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After around 12+ hours, we finally arrived HOME! ! ! 

As of now, Jetstar offers the most convenient and affordable flights from the Philippines to Hokkaido. We never know, direct flights are probably in the works. But for now, this is a great flight option for those who want to experience amazing winter snow in Japan. 

Experience these Stunning Winter Destinations in Hokkaido

✵ Winter Festivals 

If you’re visiting Hokkaido during the winter season, one thing you shouldn’t miss out on is experiencing one or two winter festivals! I know you’re probably thinking, there’s only one, right? When you hear SAPPORO, there’s immediately a voice inside your head that is screaming SNOW FESTIVAL! or probably BEER! if you’re a fan of the Kita Kita Film! HAHAHAHA!

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Toy Story Snow Sculptures at Tsu Dome Site FEB 2018 (Photo from MWF Valle Verde Country Club Badminton Group)

But did you know that there are actually around 30 winter festivals that happen annually in Hokkaido? And we’re only aware of one! Don’t get me wrong, the Sapporo Snow Festival is pretty iconic but if you do your own research and see the images of other winter festivals in Hokkaido, they look just as amazing and stunning. 

Other than the festivals I’ll be specifically mentioning and describing in this article, these are some that you should look into:

  • Obihiro Ice Festival (Early February)
  • Otaru Snow Light Path (2nd to 3rd week of February)
  • Asahikawa Winter Festival (2nd to 3rd week of February)
  • Iwate Snow Festival (Early February)
  • Tokachi River Swan Festival (Late January to February)

#WinterFestivalHopping, anyone? That would be an amazing (and freezing!!) travel itinerary!

 Sapporo Snow Festival (Feb 5 – 12, 2018)

Ever since I’ve heard of Hokkaido/Sapporo, I’ve wanted to experience this festival for a long time. But seeing that it attracts millions of local and foreign tourists, I figured to just go off the beaten path and experience other winter festivals in Hokkaido that may be just as good.

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My mom and I traveled to Hokkaido a week before the Sapporo Snow Festival and it was like the calm before the storm over there. When we visited Odori, there were a lot of walls covering the park where ongoing construction was happening. We were able to see half snow structures being built but no clear indication of what the shape actually was.

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If you do decide to visit during peak season, expect massive snow structures, lines, and crowds in Sapporo.

Apart from the snow structures at Odori Park, you can find ice sculptures in Susukino, and snow slides & sculptures at the Tsu Dome site, all these being part of the popular winter festival.

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Final Fantasy Snow Sculpture FEB 2018 (Photo from MWF Valle Verde Country Club Badminton Group)

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Minions Snow Sculpture at Tsu Dome Site FEB 2018 (Photo from MWF Valle Verde Country Club Badminton Group)

We had the opportunity to experience the Tsu Dome site as it started last Februay 1 but we have already experienced different kinds of winter slides around Hokkaido so we opted not to go. At Susukino, there were no ice sculptures yet during our trip but we were able to see a line of illuminated trees which is where the said sculptures would be placed the following week.

My mom’s badminton group of 21, all of whom flew the Manila – Tokyo – Sapporo Jetstar route, had the chance to experience the Sapporo Snow Festival at Odori Park on its first day.

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My mom’s badminton group at the Sapporo Snow Festival in Odori Park FEB 2018 (Photo from MWF Valle Verde Country Club Badminton Group)

The Sapporo Snow Festival occurs every 2nd to 3rd week of February.

 Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival (Jan 26 – Feb 18, 2018)

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If you’re visiting Hokkaido for the Sapporo Snow Festival, this is a must-experience ice festival!

Only an hour bus ride away from the heart of Sapporo, surround yourself with a beautiful lake and mountain view that perfectly captures a surreal sunset.

The cold weather complimenting a stunning sunset view is what dreams are made of.

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After experiencing the sunset by the lake, head on over to the ice festival that is just a hop away that features picturesque illuminations, snow slides, and intricate ice structures. 

My mom and I had an amazing time at this ice festival. We would have wished to stay a bit longer (until dark) but we were part of a fixed tour group from Japanican so we were only allowed a limited time at this attraction.

Despite the time constraint, having been able to finish a staring contest with the sunset and do a once around of the ice festival was a worthy travel experience. This location is a place that I would definitely come back to, winter or not.

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You can book 1 day tours from Sapporo to Lake Shikotsu through Japanican or KKDay

The Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival runs from late January to mid February every year. Admission is FREE but if you wish to donate, they accept a fixed amount of ¥300 or ₱140+ that includes a ¥100 coupon for a hot drink.  

 Sounkyo Ice Festival (Jan 29 – Late March 2018)

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The Ice Throne at the Sounkyo Ice Festival

In the middle of mountain ranges, a popular gorge, and the coldest part of Hokkaido lies the Sounkyo Ice Festival. This attraction, mostly visited my local tourists, is a 4 to 5 hour bus ride away from Sapporo.

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We were awed by the intricate and ingenious work that the Japanese must have allotted to create such a feat and treat for tourists.

What we loved during the ice festival was the downpour mix of snow and rain. Under the different colored illuminations, these drops turned into diamond dusts which made the festival more enchanting.

Daily fireworks start at around 8:30 PM and runs for 5 minutes, weather permitting. 

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You can book bus tours from Sapporo to Sounkyo through Japanican, Eastern Hokkaido Sightseeing Bus, or Klook.

The Sounkyo Ice Festival runs from late January to late March every year. Admission is ¥300 or ₱140+ and includes a ¥100 coupon for a hot drink.

✵ Biei Snow Fields 

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Patchwork no Michi, Biei

The Biei Snow Fields is something straight out of a fairy tale. You would think that Elsa woke up early in the morning to jog around and left this pristine landscape behind for us to enjoy.

Around 3.5 hours away from Sapporo lies a vast field of snow covered hills that goes on for miles.

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It stretches out looking like soft marshmallows that you just want to eat and jump on. 500% SURE – this is a must-experience travel destination!

At every chance she got, my mom lied down on the crisp paper-thin like snow and made angels. Touring the Biei snow fields takes you through a bus ride along the patchwork road and a couple of photo-op stops at the Ken & Mary Pension and Hokusei-no-oka observatory.

During spring, our tour guide mentioned that this Biei field can be likened to the popular flower fields in Provence, France.

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Hokusei-no-oka Observatory

You can book bus tours to Biei through Japanican, Hokkaido Resort Liner, Dohoku Bus, Furano Bus, or Hokkaido Chuo Bus.

✵ Niseko 

I’ve been to quite a few winter destinations in Japan but there’s just something about Niseko that I can’t shake off. It’s a place that similarly looks like every snow destination elsewhere but there’s just this vibe to it that just tempts me to WANT to come back again and again.

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My first time in Niseko was back in December 2016. Our recent trip took us to Niseko during the last day of January 2018. You would think that being there twice would leave me satisfied, right? But right now, writing this article, I can’t wait for the next time that I get to visit Niseko again.

This is what my mom felt too. She told me that the next time we visit Niseko, she’ll be wearing the best winter clothes because the destination deserves no less.

Known for its legendary powder snow, Niseko has so much to offer during winter time. From winter sports such as snowboarding and skiing to family fun activities like Snow Tubing and Gondola rides, you’ll never be bored!

Ride a snowmobile through snow covered forests similar to scenes on Game of Thrones (Don’t let those white walkers catch you!)…

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Frost Covered Forest at White Isle Niseko

Drink hot chocolate in the middle of this snow paradise at #WhiteIsleNiseko

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Snowmobiling at White Isle Niseko

Snow Sled…Snow Tube…Snow Board…Snow Anything at Hanazono Resort

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Tube Park Conveyor Belt at Hanazono Resort Niseko

After a fun-filled day of winter activities, retire and relax at these luxury accommodations with perfect morning views at Yama Shizen (Niseko Central) or…

this Resort View Room at Ki Niseko…

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Resort View Room at Ki Niseko

Hungry? Have the best dining experiences at an amazing Alpine setting in the heart of Hirafu…

…at Odin Place Niseko.

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Breakfast at Musu, Odin Place Niseko

Last Hurrah in Niseko? If your #JaPow game face is on, experience ski or snowboard lessons with GoSnow or…

DCIM100GOPROG0033902.

GoSnow Snowboard/Ski Lessons Area

Something a little less #JaPow and bit more #JaQuiet? HAHAHA! Here’s a mix of both! Appreciate…Be Grateful…through a peaceful gondola ride and snow walk at Grand Hirafu mountain. 

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Early evening at Grand Hirafu Mountain

From Sapporo or New Chitose Airport, you can avail your transfers to Niseko through KKDay, Sky ExpressNiseko Bus, Hokkaido Resort Liner, or Hokkaido Chuo Bus

Niseko’s winter season starts from late November and lasts until early May. 

Interested in visiting Niseko? Start planning your winter trip NOW! All the basic information you need to conveniently create your perfect Niseko trip can be found by downloading #NisekoTourism’s App!

Niseko App

It’s FREE! For more information on the app, READ: 2017-18 Official Niseko App Launched!

Niseko will leave you stunned by the vast activities that you can do in this winter wonderland. 

Other winter destinations in Hokkaido that I would love to experience in the future:

  • Abashiri Drift Ice Sightseeing
  • Garinko-go II Drift Ice Sightseeing
  • Shiretoko Drift Ice Walk & Diving
  • Lake Toya
  • Hakodate
  • Shikaribetsu Lake

I still have more reasons to make a #comeback to Hokkaido!

And now, so DO YOU! Start planning your first or next winter trip to Hokkaido!

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Book your #Jetstar2Hokkaido flights TODAY!

For more information, visit www.jetstar.com

For inquiries or updates on promo seat sales, follow Jetstar’s social media accounts:

⋆ Facebook: @JetstarAsiaAirways

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NOTE: Philippine Peso amounts may vary depending on the exchange rate. As of FEB 2018, $1 = ₱51.27 and ¥1 = ₱0.47

This is a sponsored write-up. My experiences with products & services may or may not be the same as yours. All opinions are inspired by my experiences & nothing else.

8 thoughts on “Fly Jetstar to Hokkaido & Experience these Stunning Winter Destinations!

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