Best Ways to Travel from Tokyo to Sapporo

jr hokkaido shinkansen hakodate

Flight or Train? Best ways to travel from Tokyo to Sapporo

It’s a common question many travelers want to know: What is the best way to travel from Tokyo to Sapporo? As you’re in Japan, time is of the essence. You want to reach the city in the best way with the least amount of time.

Like any other prefecture, Hokkaido can be reached by land, sea, or air. But as the prefecture is at the northernmost part of Japan, reaching the tip from Tokyo by car will take you around 16 hours, a road trip that needs to be combined with ferry by the time you reach Honshu. You also need to have an international driver’s license and if you don’t have a car, you need to rent one.

Book Hokkaido Rail Passes in advance through the JR Pass website and save time.

Flights from Tokyo Narita/Haneda to Sapporo

The most popular choice of traveling from Tokyo to Sapporo is by air. Many domestic airlines offer relatively cheaper domestic flights such as Air Do, Peach Airlines, JetStar Airways and Vanilla Air. It takes an hour and 30 minutes to reach the prefecture of Hokkaido.

Flights from Tokyo to Sapporo cost

Depending on the season of traveling, a round trip domestic flight costs around 27000-35000 yen.

JR Hokkaido Shinkansen Bullet Train from Tokyo to Sapporo

jr hokkaido shinkansen hakodate Best ways to travel from Tokyo to Sapporo
Photo credits: Japan Times

With the opening of the JR Hokkaido Shinkansen bullet train last March 26, 2016, travelers are now presented with an option of riding the train to reach Sapporo. From JR Tokyo Station, the JR Shin-Hakodate Hokuto station can now be reached in a little more than 4 hours. For travelers looking to explore the beautiful port city of Hakodate, this is your final destination. From Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station, the Super Hokuto Limited Express train would take you 3 more hours to reach the JR Sapporo Station.

jr hokkaido shinkansen hakodate Best ways to travel from Tokyo to Sapporo
(Source: Sapporo Station website)

Map for traveling from Tokyo to Sapporo

How much does it cost to travel from Tokyo to Sapporo? JR Hokkaido Shinkansen Fares

JR Tokyo Station to JR Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station
Fares: Standard 22,690 yen, Green Car 30,060 yen, Gran Class 38,280
Traveling Time: 4 hours and 2 minutes

JR Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station to JR Sapporo Station
Fares: 8830 yen
Traveling Time: 3 hours and 24 minutes

Riding the bullet train, one way, from Tokyo to Sapporo will cost you 31,520 yen.

JR Pass

The price does sound astronomical, and is still a subject to debate whether this is good for Japan’s economy, but it boosts the nation’s pride and creates a sense of advancement once again. But to those familiar with the JR Pass will find that purchasing the JR Pass will be more economical versus purchasing single ticket fare. Riding the train allows you to bask in the scenery of the countryside and experience Japan’s advanced transportation technology. If you will also be traveling to Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe or Nara, a JR Pass may be the cheapest option for you. You just need to have lots of time.

If you’d like to know more information about whether you should purchase a JR Pass or now, please do read my informational article on 5 Things to Know When Traveling from Tokyo to Osaka using the JR Pass.

I still prefer travel by plane. While people still have reservations flying domestic, and weather conditions can cause the delay of your flights, traveling by plane is still the fastest way to travel from Tokyo to Sapporo.

Have you traveled from Tokyo to Sapporo? Do you think there are other faster ways of traveling? Share your experiences on Candid Cuisine by leaving a comment below!

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