Direct access to Hokkaido from Tokyo, Hokkaido Shinkansen (bullet train)

H5 series will run on Hokkaido Shinkansen as Hayabusa and Hayate. This fleet is same series as Tohoku Shinkansen E5 series. (C) By Sukhoi37 (Own work),  JR Hokkaido H5 series shinkansen set H1 approaching Sendai Station on a test run,CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
H5 series will run on Hokkaido Shinkansen as Hayabusa and Hayate. This fleet is same series as Tohoku Shinkansen E5 series. (C) By Sukhoi37 (Own work), JR Hokkaido H5 series shinkansen set H1 approaching Sendai Station on a test run,CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Hokkaido Shinkansen will be opened on March 26, 2016 between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. This will be the newest Shinkansen (Bullet Train) line technically. However this line is connected with Tohoku Shinkansen at Shin-Aomori. Many of trains run through Tohoku Shinkansen to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto from Tokyo. You will be able to get Hokkaido from Tokyo directly by this Shinkansen train.

However Hokkaido Shinkansen will be partial open. You can get southern Hokkaido only. You still need to transfer to get most of Hokkaido. such as Sapporo. And also Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station is not located in downtown of Hakodate. You need to transfer to get Hakodate.

I mentioned many negative things at the beginning. But it will be much more convenient and faster than current trains. There are a few things that you need to know before taking Hokkaido Shinkansen. I would like to show you the detail of Hokkaido Shinkansen and will also give you some tips to use this Shinkansen line in this post.

*Additional info
JR Group has announced that Hokkaido Shinkansen is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass, a.k.a. JR pass.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

Route, schedule and trip time

The route is shown in the map below:

Map of Hokkaido Shinkansen (C) Hisagi - CC BY-SA 3.0  or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons
Map of Hokkaido Shinkansen (C) Hisagi – CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

There will be 13 round trips in the following segment.

Tokyo to/from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Run as Hayabusa
10 round trips
Sendai to/from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Run as Hayabusa
1 round trip
Morioka to/from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Run as Hayate
1 round trip
Shin-Aomori to/from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Run as Hayate
1 round trip

As you see above, most of trains run between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. Technically this train runs on two different Shinkansen lines, Tohoku and Hokkaido. But it goes directly and you cannot find the difference between these two Shinkansen lines. Hokkaido Shinkansen is like extension of Tohoku Shinkansen. You may think one Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto.

The fastest train connects Tokyo and Shin-Hakondate-Hokuto in 4 hours and 2 minutes. The average trip time is around 4 hours 15 minutes.

Timetable

Unfortunately there is no timetable in English available yet. But I show you the link of timetable in Japanese.

You can find the timetable at JR Hokkaido official website.

Hokkaido Shinkansen and limited express train to/from Sapporo timetable

It’s Japanese but don’t worry and see Page 3 (but shown page 2 in the PDF) of this PDF.
You will find two tables there. The first one is bound for Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto and second one is bound for Tokyo.
In the first table, from left to right, the station names are shown, Tokyo (東京発), Omiya(大宮発), Sendai(仙台発), Morioka(盛岡発), Shin-Aomori(新青森発), Okutsugaru-Imabetsu(奥津軽いまべつ発), Kikonai(木古内発) and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto(新函館北斗着).
In the second table, it’s just reverse order.

Stations

The stations are same as Tohoku Shinkanse between Tokyo and Morioka. Please refer to Tohoku Shikansen.

Shin-Aomori x
Okutsugaru-Imabetsu *
Kikonai *
Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto x

x:All trains stop *:some trains stop

All trains that run between Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto and Shin-Aomori, Morioka make stops at both Okutsugaru-Imabetsu and Kikonai. Trip between Sendai and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto skips both stations. Five of ten trips between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodatre-Hokuto make a stop at Okutsugaru-Imabetsu. And six of ten trips between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodatre-Hokuto make a stop at Kikonai.

Shin-Aomori station is one station away from Aomori station by local and express trains. Please see the link below to find the info about Shin-Aomori. Currently this page shows you how to change the train to Hakodate. But once Hokkaido Shinkansen opens, transfer is not required to Hokkaido at Shin-Aomori.

Shin-Aomori station guide. How to change the train, Shinkansen, Super Hakucho and other local trains.

Location of Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station

Hakodate Liner will be operated by commute train fleet 733 series.
Hakodate Liner will be operated by commute train fleet 733 series.

Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto is currently existed as Oshima-Ono station. This station is under construction now and will be opened as Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto on opening day. It is five stations away from Hakodate and it is not located in downtown Hakodate.

Access train “Hakodate Liner” will run between Shin-Hakondate-Hokuto and Hakodate. You have to change this train to Hakodate. It will take 15 to 20 minutes to get Hakodate from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. All Shinkansen trains will connect Hakodate Liner. You do not need to wait the trains to Hakodate for a long time.

Train formation and accommodation

All Hokkaido Shinkansen trains are same as Tohoku Shinkansen’s trains, “Hayabusa” and “Hayate”. Please refer the following page to get the details of Hayabusa and Hayate.

Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train), the fastest train to Tohoku area from Tokyo.

169 thoughts on “Direct access to Hokkaido from Tokyo, Hokkaido Shinkansen (bullet train)”

  1. Dear Takeshi,

    Could you please advise me for traveling from Tokyo to Sapporo by Shinkansen. From Tokyo, which station should I board? I understand that from Tokyo we only need to take 1 bullet train directly to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto and it will take about 4 hr journey.

  2. I would like to know the timetable for the JR line from Sopporo to Tokyo on April 3rd 2017, please. Is this a direct train trip, or do we need to swap trains?

    Bev G

  3. Hi,

    We are Planning to go to Sapporo from Tokyo using JR pass. Is there a night trip? Was trying to search for timetable but all was Japanese.

      1. Hi Takeshi!
        Hi! I know this route is outside the JR line.
        1.But , can you give me an idea how we can access the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route? I saw thru Matsumoto or Toyama station?
        2. Do you have any idea how do we avail the 2 day pass of that route? Planning to see the snow wall this April.
        3. Any idea if kids are allowed ? 5yo?
        4. From where can we best view Mt Fuji , not from train? That would take lesser travel time if possible?
        We will be staying in Kyoto & Nagoya coming from Hiroshima
        I have been in Gotemba area before- but it would take a lot of transfer & time to go there coming fr Hiroshima. No plan of staying at Gotemba for overnight.
        Thank you so much!

        Regards,
        Terry

        1. Hi Terry,

          1,2. Toyama and Shinano-Omachi are common gateways. But you can access to alpine route from Nagano by express bus. You may use Tateyama Kurobe option ticket. You can find the route in the link below too.
          http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

          3. Any ages are acceptable. But on Kurobe Tateyama Alpine Route, you have to change many transportation.

          4. Lake Kawaguchi has the best view of Fuji. You can get Mishima by Shinkansen and change express bus to Lake Kawaguchi from Mishima. This is the easiest way.
          http://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/fuji-hakone-access-guide-by-train-and-bus-from-both-tokyo-and-osaka-kyoto-nagoya.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi!
            Would you know if we can use the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop bus from Hiroshima station near to our accomodation at Hondori area ? With our luggages? Thanks!

          2. Hi Terry,

            This bus stops at Hondori but I don’t know how close this bus stop to your accommodation. You should contact to your accommodation to make sure.
            You can bring your luggage in the bus. It’s no problem at all. But this bus is a common city bus. It does not have any luggage compartment. You have to keep your luggage in your seat.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

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