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How to Travel to Hokkaido From Tokyo in 2024: Price Comparison

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Hokkaido is a popular destination that is easy to access from Tokyo by airplane and other means of transportation. We've compared the prices for traveling to Hokkaido via airplane, Shinkansen, and car, along with travel times and benefits.

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Traveling to Hokkaido from Tokyo

Travel From Tokyo To Hokkaido! A Thorough Comparison

Photo by Pixta
Hokkaido is a major travel destination, boasting the largest land area of all the 47 prefectures in Japan. Visitors who wish to travel from Tokyo to Hokkaido are recommended to learn about how to get to the region they want to see, as cities and destinations in Hokkaido are located far apart.

We've compared the best ways to travel to Hokkaido from Tokyo in terms of price, travel times, and convenience.

Traveling from Tokyo to Hokkaido: Price Comparison

1. By Airplane: Fast, Convenient, and Inexpensive
2. By Bullet Train (Shinkansen)
3. By Car: Car Rental Tips
4. Comparison: Airplane, Train, Car
5. Other Tips: Hotels and Wi-Fi

Flying to Hokkaido is Fast, Convenient, and Inexpensive

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Our recommended way of traveling to Hokkaido is by airplane because it is fast, convenient, and inexpensive compared to the bullet train.

Flights to Hokkaido from Haneda Airport

There are eleven airports in Hokkaido and nine of them can be directly reached from Haneda Airport.

Every day, there are about ten flights to Asahikawa Airport, eight flights to Hakodate Airport, six flights to Kushiro Airport, three to Memambetsu Airport, and one flight to Nakashibetsu Airport (near Wakkanai, Mombetsu, and Nemuro).

For New Chitose Airport (Sapporo), there are daily more than 50 flights from Haneda Airport. A flight from Haneda Airport takes about one hour and a half, and a ticket for a regular seat costs between 7,640 yen and 47,640 yen.

Flights to Hokkaido from Narita Airport

There are also daily flights from Narita Airport to New Chitose Airport, Kushiro, and Memambetsu. If you take a low-cost carrier from Narita Airport, you'll be able to travel to Hokkaido for as less as 6,440 yen.

However, please be aware that traveling to Narita Airport from central Tokyo by train or bus may cost more than 1,000 yen.

New Chitose Aiport: Hokkaido's Main Transportation Hub

New Chitose Airport

Hokkaido's New Chitose Airport is the third largest airport in Japan after Haneda and Narita, operating numerous domestic and international flights every day.

Inside the airport, there is a shopping mall, a ramen restaurant street, and even a hot spring bathing area! You won't get bored at this facility.

New Chitose Airport is also very convenient if you wish to go to other regions of Hokkaido. It has regular flights to Hakodate, Kushiro, Memambetsu, Wakkanai, and Nakashibetsu.

In order to reach Sapporo City from New Chitose Airport, you can take an airport limousine bus that takes you to the city in 50 to 90 minutes (1,100 yen) or the JR Rapid Airport (1,150 yen) train, which takes you to the city in 37 minutes.

Take the Bullet Train from Tokyo to Hakodate via Hokkaido Shinkansen

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The Hokkaido Shinkansen route connects Honshu (the main island of Japan) to Hokkaido, allowing direct access from Tokyo Station to Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station. The bullet train journey takes approximately four hours and costs 22,690 yen.

The flight from Haneda Airport to Hakodate Airport takes about 80 minutes. Riding the Shinkansen takes more time, but train service is usually not delayed or suspended during poor weather conditions. From this point of view, the Shinkansen is a more reliable mode of transportation. Moreover, the leisurely pace of train travel means allows riders to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Driving to Hokkaido from Tokyo

Ways To Travel From Tokyo To Hokkaido! A Thorough Comparison

Photo by Pixta
Hokkaido’s wide roads are famous, and many visitors to Hokkaido want to experience driving on them.

If you rent a car in Tokyo and drive north through Tohoku, then head up to Hokkaido, you can enjoy every sight along the way. However, you must keep in mind that the drive from Tokyo to Sapporo will take 17 hours without stops.

Expressway tolls to Hokkaido will cost upwards of 20,000 yen, and transporting your rental car on the Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry from Aomori to Hakodate will cost at least 18,760 yen, plus the cost of the rental car as well as the gas. This is an expensive option, so if you plan to rent a car, you must anticipate the considerable time and money investment.

If you wish to use a rental car, we suggest traveling to Hokkaido by airplane or train, and rent a car at your destination.

*The schedule of the ferry crossing the Tsugaru Strait changes every season.

Rent a car using Voucher for 10% discount on the services of Nippon Rent-a-Car

Traveling Within Hokkaido by Airplane, Train, and Car in Comparison

Hokkaido train

Photo by Pixta

Air Travel

If you wish to travel from Sapporo to a remote area such as Wakkanai, we suggest taking an airplane.

As mentioned above, there are daily flights from New Chitose Aiport to Hakodate, Kushiro, Memambetsu, and Nakashibetsu airports. Please note, however, that the airlines operating within Hokkaido are either ANA or JAL; since there are no low-cost carriers, the tickets may be a little expensive.

Train Travel

If you wish to visit several cities and destinations, traveling by train in Hokkaido is very convenient. JR Hokkaido Lines operate throughout the region. There is even a unique sightseeing train called Ryuhyo Monogatari, which allows you to see the beautiful drift ice scenery that can only be enjoyed in this region!

Moreover, international visitors can use discount travel passes that allows them to travel at great value for price: JR PASS and JR Hokkaido Rail Pass.

Travel by Rental Car

Using a rental car is very convenient for traveling around Hokkaido. The lavender fields in Furano, the mountainside of Asahikawa, or the splendid nature and art spots around Sapporo can all be easily accessed by rental car.

MATCHA's readers can use a 10% discount voucher for renting a car from Nippon Rent-a-Car or Nissan Rent-a-Car, one of the largest rental car services in Japan.

Please be careful, however, when driving in Hokkaido in winter. This region sees severe snowfall every year and there might be frost on the roads. Because of the snow, the road might not be visible. In other words, please also consider traveling by train in combination with using a rental car.

Prepare for Your Hokkaido Trip! Book Accommodations and WiFi

If you've already booked your tickets for Hokkaido, you'll also probably want to look for hotels.

You can find good accommodation at conveninet prices by using Booking.com or Agoda.

You might also need a WiFi connection since the places that offer free internet connections in Japan are still quite limited. Renting a pocket WiFi is very convenient for travelers. Use the 20% discount voucher below to rent Ninja-WiFi, one of the most popular portable internet services in Japan.



Booking.com

Enjoy planning your trip and have a great time in Hokkaido!

FAQ

What is the best month to visit Hokkaido?

The best time to visit Hokkaido, Japan's northern island, varies depending on your interests. For skiing and winter sports, December to February offers ideal conditions. February is great for winter festivals like the Sapporo Snow Festival. For flower fields, visit from late June to August. To see autumn foliage, plan your trip from late September to November. Each season in Hokkaido brings its own charm, so the best time to visit depends on what you wish to experience during your stay.

What is the best way to get to Hokkaido?

The most common and convenient way to reach Hokkaido, Japan's northern island, is by air, with airports like New Chitose Airport near Sapporo serving as key entry points. Another option is taking the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Hakodate and transferring to the Hokkaido Shinkansen. Ferry services from ports like Niigata and Aomori to Hokkaido ports are also available. For those seeking a scenic journey, driving to Hokkaido is possible through the Seikan Tunnel connecting the island to mainland Japan, with a well-developed road network on Hokkaido itself. Consider factors such as location, budget, and travel preferences when choosing the best way to reach Hokkaido.

How many days in Hokkaido is enough?

The ideal duration for a trip to Hokkaido, Japan, varies depending on your interests and the places you wish to explore. A short trip of 3 to 5 days is sufficient for a quick visit to key regions like Sapporo or Niseko. For a more comprehensive experience, consider a moderate trip lasting about a week to delve deeper into multiple regions such as Daisetsuzan National Park and Shiretoko Peninsula. Opting for an extended trip of 10 days or more allows for a leisurely exploration of Hokkaido's diverse landscapes, activities, and cultural experiences. Choose the duration that best aligns with your preferences and travel goals.

How long is the bullet train ride from Tokyo to Hokkaido?

The bullet train ride from Tokyo to Hokkaido typically takes around 4 to 4.5 hours. This duration includes the Tohoku Shinkansen line that connects Tokyo to Shin-Aomori, where passengers transfer to the Hokkaido Shinkansen line that runs through the Seikan Tunnel to reach stations in Hokkaido such as Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto.

Can I get around Hokkaido without a car?

Navigating Hokkaido without a car is entirely feasible due to the island's well-developed public transportation system. JR Hokkaido operates an extensive train network, including the Shinkansen, connecting major cities like Sapporo and Hakodate. Buses provide convenient access to various destinations, while taxis are available for shorter trips or places not easily reached by public transit. Rental bicycles offer a popular and eco-friendly way to explore urban areas. Additionally, joining organized tours or guided excursions can be a great option for those looking to experience Hokkaido's attractions without the need for a car.

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The MATCHA editorial department. Our articles feature useful travel information for visitors to Japan, from how-to guides to recommended places to visit.

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