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.

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

  1. Hi Takeshi-San! We’re planning to go to Sapporo from Tokyo ( Haneda or Narita)-
    1.can we use the JR pass or need to avail other pass also?
    2. Is JR Hokkaido a separate pass.
    3.My niece 5yo – how much charge for JR pass?
    4.My Mom 65yo- no discount?thanks

    Many Thanks!

    1. Hi Terry san,

      1. If you travel in Sapporo and southern Hokkaido, such as Otaru, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya, Hakodate, JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass is cheaper.
      http://jprail.com/destinations/hokkaido-area/jr-east-south-hokkaido-rail-pass-user-guide-perfect-deal-for-the-travelers-who-visit-tokyo-and-sapporo-by-train.html

      2. No. Both JR pass and JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass covers Hokkaido.

      3. If you or your family member share the seat with her, it’s free of charge. But if you want to give her a seat, you need to purchase child price pass.

      4. No, unfortunately.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Dear Takeshi!
        Sorry wasnt able to reply.Have availed plane ticket already, point of entry at Nagoya Chubu airport.( staying for 9 days. Day 1 arrival 655pm) .
        1. We’re planning to avail JR Pass already as we plan to go also to Hokkaido, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Kyoto & Tokyo maybe.
        How do we go to train station covered by JR pass from nagoya Chubu airport. Have read that we need to ride a train or bus first not covered by JR pass.
        2. What would you suggest the easiest way?
        3.When we’re in Hokkaido already- can we use the JR pass going to other places there (Hakodate , lake toya) aside from Sapporo?
        4.Around how far is Hakodate from Tokyo ( travel time)?
        5.How far Sapporo from Hakodate?
        6. For our Day 1 ( arrival at Nagoya- would it be better to just stay at airport hotel first? So as the Jr pass will be started to use on Day 2.
        Dont have specific itinerary yet. I just mentioned our places of interest
        7. Another concern- if Ill use the JR pass on day 2, on our last day ( day9) our Jr pass is already expired. Can you help / suggest me pls.
        Sorry for so many questions. Can i see website links to check areas covered by JR pass. Have lost my Old JR pass already.
        Thanks again!

        Regards,
        Terry

        1. Hi Terry,

          1,2. You need to get Nagoya station by single fare first. And then you can exchange JR pass in Nagoya station. Meitetsu railway is the best. Please see the link below:
          http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/chubu-ngo/chubu-nagoya-airport-transportation-guide-find-info-about-airport-station-and-access-to-nagoya.html
          http://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/station-information/nagoya-station-guide-how-to-transfer-among-shinkansen-kintetsu-meitetsu-subway-and-jr-local-trains.html

          3. Yes, you can. All JR trains in Hokkaido are covered.

          4,5. Please see the link below:
          http://jprail.com/destinations/hokkaido-area/how-to-get-sapporo.html

          6. You should get Nagoya first. You cannot exchange JR pass in the airport and it does not cover Meitetsu railway anyway.

          7. Where are you on day 9? If you are Nagoya, just add single fare. If you are in Tokyo or other cities, you may consider to use 14 days pass. If you are really sure to visit places in your plan, even 14 days pass is way cheaper than single fare anyway. All areas are covered by JR pass.

          But I think 7 days is too short to cover these places. It’s not impossible, but it’s super tight. As you read above, Sapporo is quite far. Hiroshima is 3 hours away from Nagoya. Nagasaki is 3.5 hours away from Hiroshima. You will spend many hours on board. Please keep it in your mind.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Dear Takeshi,

            Thanks for enlightening. I think I will just delete Hokkaido from our itinerary.
            Will just include- Nigata snow park, Gotemba to see Mt Fuji, Hiroshima ,Miyajima then the themepark in nagasaki ( Dutch Inspired)
            1. My plan- day 1 stay at Nagoya airport arriving by 7pm
            2. 2nd day to Nagoya statio – which do you suggest we should see first? Snow Park or Mt Fuji? Plan to stay 1 night each in Tokyo & Gotemba
            3. Shall we see first Hiroshima or the themepark? In the themepark in Nagasaki-plan to stay overnight inside the hotels there
            4. Hiroshima plan-overnight also ,2 days maybe as we plan to see Miyajima also
            5. Then if time permit- Kyoto even just the Fushimi Inari or Arashinaya? Have seen Kinkakuji & ginkakuji already.
            Are those 2 accessible in 1 day?
            6. To save fare-maybe our last day of pass (day 8)- we will.go to Nagoya airport hotels already for our 950a flight back to home.
            Still considering also a 14 day pass though. Thanks a lot!
            Maybe I should just go back to Hokkaido someday & just concentrate on staying there.

            God bless you!

          2. Hi Terry,

            1. You can move to Nagoya station on arrival day. You need to exchange JR pass before you start trip. You cannot do it at Nagoya airport. If you reach Nagoya station and exchange it on arrival day, you can start your trip earlier on second day. Nagoya station exchange place is open until 23:00.
            http://www.japanrailpass.net/en/exchange.html

            2. Niigata should be first place to visit.

            3. Hiroshima should be next after Fuji. Nagasaki is too far to reach. If you go to Nagasaki after Fuji, you need to spend more than 9 hours to move. Even if you go to Hiroshima from Fuji, trip time will be 5 to 5.5 hours.

            4. Ok.

            5. I think you can squeeze Kyoto.

            6. Ok.

            14 days pass is not required. As long as you start your trip on 2nd day and come back to Nagoya (either station or airport) on day 8, 7 days pass is okay. 14 days pass does not make any senses.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi San,

    I’m looking for ticket from Tokyo to Hakodate on 9th Feb 2016

    Where can I get the ticket and price and also the timing for the train?

    We will reach 6.00am in Haneda Airport.

    Cheers
    Bao Ling

    1. Hi Bao Ling san,

      You can find fare and schedule at hyperdia:
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/hyperdia-perfect-guide-train-timetable-and-route-search-engine.html

      You can purchase a ticket at any JR stations in downtown Tokyo. Please see the link below:
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/how-to-reserve-seat.html

      The nearest one is Shinagawa. You can purchase a regular ticket to take Keihin Kyuko railway to get Shinagawa.
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/haneda/how-to-access-from-haneda-airport-to-downtown-tokyo.html

      Actually there is JR travel information desk in Haneda airport. You can find this info in the link above too. It sells Hokkaido Shinkansen ticket too. But it’s open at 7:45. I think it’s too late for you. If your flight is late, you may purchase it there.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Dear takeshi

    We are set to visit Japan on April 23 to may 20 2017. We are arriving at Narita airport. We are planning to explore Japan with these route. Tokyo – Hokkaido – Nagasaki – Fukuoka – Hiroshima – Nagoya – Osaka . We are contemplating of buying the 14 day jr pass or the 21 jr pass. Can we use the jr pass all through the destination we would like to have?

  4. Hi, Takeshi-san,
    Can i get time table train from Tokyo to Hakodate then to Sapporo..
    We will ride train on 8 February 2017
    Thank you
    Anwarkalman

  5. Hi Takeshi-san,

    We have few questions regarding to my upcoming trip to Hokkaido. We would be appreciated your help.

    We will be landing HND airport at 9:55pm, and we are planning to take the Shinkansen Hyabusa 1 or 5 in the next morning to Hakodate.

    Here is our planning:
    Jan 16 9:55pm Land at HND
    Jan 17 Take Hyabusa 1 or 5 to Hakodate then to Sapporo, so we will stay at HND for few hours and then take the earliest train to Tokyo Station.
    Jan 17-22 Stay in Hokkaido, so we would like to see which pass allow us to travel inside Hokkaido
    Jan 23 Back to Tokyo by Shinkansen

    Here are the questions we would like you to help with.
    1) Which JR pass should we purchase if we want to travel inside Hokkaido by train as well as around trip from Tokyo to Hokkaido by Shinkansen.

    2) After we land at HND at 9:55pm Jan 16, where can we purchase the Shinkansen Pass/JR Pass at the airport? is it 24hours since we land late. We are worry that we couldn’t catch the earliest train in the next day if we couldn’t get the pass on time.

    3) Can we also reserve seats for both round trip when we purchase the ticket?

    4) Off topic question – when is the earliest train we can take from HND to Tokyo station?

    Thank you very much! Much Appreciation!

    Best Regards.

    Stephanie T

    1. Hi Stephanie san,

      1. You have two choices, JR pass or JR-East South Hokkaido Rail Pass.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html
      http://jprail.com/destinations/hokkaido-area/jr-east-south-hokkaido-rail-pass-user-guide-perfect-deal-for-the-travelers-who-visit-tokyo-and-sapporo-by-train.html

      If you plan to visit eastern, northern and/or central Hokkaido, such as Kushiro, Abashiri, Furano, Asahikawa, Wakkanai, JR pass is your choice. Otherwise JR-East South Hokkaido Rail Pass is cheaper.

      2. You cannot exchange/purchase a pass at Haneda. It’s already closed. Train starts to run around 5:30. You can get Tokyo station after that and purchase/exchange pass after 07:30. The exchange office is open at 7:30. So you cannot take Hayabusa 1. Your choice is Hayabusa 5 or later one.
      http://www.jreasthokkaido.com/e/
      http://www.japanrailpass.net/en/exchange.html

      3. Yes.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Good afternoon Takeshi-san,

    I have a few questions on the JR East-South Hokkaido Pass, and would really appreciate your opinion as I couldn’t find the answers online.

    We have bought this pass and will be taking this route from Ueno to Sapporo on Feb 6 (Monday).

    0638 – Depart from Ueno (Shinkansen Hayabusa 1)
    1058 – Arrive at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
    1109 – Depart from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto (Ltd Exp. Super Hokuto 9)
    1441 – Arrive at Sapporo

    I would like to make seat reservations beforehand, if possible. But I understand that seats can only be reserved from Ueno to Shin-Aomori, through the JR East reservation service.

    a) Can I know what happens to our seats once we reach Shin-Aomori? Can we sit in the same seat all the way to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, even if we do not have reservation from Shin-Aomori to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto?

    You mentioned that we can “extend a seat” to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto when we collect the reserved ticket. Can we just inform the counter staff that we are “extending” the journey to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto?

    b) Do you think the Ltd Exp Super Hokuto from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto to Sapporo will be crowded on Feb 6? We are going for the Sapporo snow festival, so I am afraid there are no seats (there are only two of us). JR Hokkaido website mentions reservation service is not available to holders of JR East-South Hokkaido pass. Also, we are not travelling to any of the stations listed to pick up the reserved tickets.

    c) I read that pass holders can reserve seats on JR Hokkaido’s trains from 1 Feb, 2017. Do you think we should wait until then to make our seat bookings? Then we can book the whole journey from Ueno to Sapporo. But I am afraid the trains will be full by then. http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/pdf/e/20161206.pdf

    d) We will be travelling in the opposite direction on Feb 9 (Thursday):
    0652 – Depart from Sapporo (Ltd Exp. Super Hokuto 4)
    1023 – Arrive at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
    1049 – Depart from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto (Shinkansen Hayabusa 18)
    1150 – Arrive at Shin-Aomori.
    Can you advise if the trains will usually be crowded during this period?

    e) Lastly, just wanted to confirm that we should request for Seats D & E to get the Mt Fuji view in both directions.

    Thank you so much for reading all this and I really appreciate any advice that you can provide.

    Best regards,
    Mel

    1. Hi Mel,

      a) You can change it when you collect a ticket. In most of case, you can change it because the demand is very low for riding only from Shin-Aomori to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto.
      You must reserve your seat. You cannot stay without reservation to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto after Shin-Aomori. All seats are reserved.

      b) It will be crowded. You have to book right after you arrive in Japan. As you mentioned, JR East online reservation site will accept train booking in Hokkaido from February 1. If you still will be in your country on Feb 1, you may try to use this site to book for Super Hokuto.

      c) It’s up to you. If I were you, I book for Ueno to Shin-Aomori anyway.

      d) During snow festival season, Hokkaido is busy always.

      e) Mt. Fuji may be seen from Hokkaido Shinkansen train. But it’s very very far. If you sit D and E, those are Fuji side. But don’t expect to see it. Shinkansen between Tokyo and Osaka has a good view.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Dear Takeshi – we are a family of 2 adults and 1 9 years old arriving Tokyo on Dec 18 and planning to travel via the Shinkansen on Dec 20 on the 8:40am departure from Tokyo (Hayabusa 5). When (latest) and where can I buy the tickets ? We are staying in Haneda during our time in Tokyo. Appreciate your help and advise ASAP, thanks!

    1. Hi Casey,

      You can purchase at any JR stations in downtown Tokyo. And you also purchase it at JR East information center in Haneda international terminal.
      http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/customer_support/service_center_haneda.html

      In most of JR station in Tokyo, there is a reservation window that is called “Midori no Madoguchi”. You can purchase and book a seat there.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/how-to-reserve-seat.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hi, I am going to tokyo this coming dec on the 21st! I am planning to take the train from tokyo all the way to hokkaido Sapporo. May I know where can I check the train schedule on 22Dec? Are you able to tell me what time does the earliest train depart? Is it in service on the 22?

  9. Dear takeshi,
    My family and me will be travelling from tokyo station to sapporo on the 23 Nov 2016, how do i get to sapporo using the shinkansen? My son who is 5 years old, does he need a ticket?
    Thank you

  10. Dear Takeshi

    I’m looking to take this trip from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto at the start of January and understand that the cheapest option is to use the JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass.

    I’m thinking about spoiling myself and experiencing the Gran Class on this trip. However, I’ve noticed that the JR East online reservation only lets you make a reservation up to Shin Aomori and although tickets can be purchased from JR Hokkaido online reservation, they need to be picked up at locations in Hokkaido.

    Is there a way that I can make this booking on the Gran Class?

    Many thanks
    Ed

    1. Hi Ed,

      You can book a seat for Tokyo to Shin-Aomori at this point. You can extend a ticket to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto when you collect a ticket. The demand is very low between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. I think you will not have any problems to do it.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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