Overnight train to/from Sapporo and Aomori. Express Hamanasu

Overnight train Hamanasu at Aomori station
Overnight train Hamanasu at Aomori station

This overnight express train is operated between Aomori and Sapporo. If you want to save your time and you don’t want to spend your money for Hotel in Sapporo, this overnight train is the best choice. Especially when you want to transfer to Tokyo from Sapporo as early as possible, this train is connected with the earliest Tohoku Shinkansen at Shin-Aomori.

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

As of August 2015, Hamanasu will run until the end of February with a few suspension dates and some schedule changes. Please find more info at the post, Schedule of 2015 fall seasonal trains of Japan Railways

However it is expected to be discontinued in next March before Hokkaido Shinkansen open. The demand of this train is getting bigger and bigger because many local travellers and train fans want to take this train before discontinued. It is very very hard to book this train. Unfortunately I do not recommend you to put this train in your itinerary. It is too risky to use this train in your plan.

Most of the night train have only sleeper class. This express train has Type B sleeper class. But this train has two types of reserved seats too. If you take these reserved class, you can take this train without any extra pay by Japan Rail Pass. Okay, let’s see the accommodations and interior of Hamanasu.

I got on Hamanasu in mid March, 2012. I hope my passengers’ report, “My trip from Aomori to Sapporo on March 19, 2012 by Hamanasu Carpet car.” help you.

View Hamanasu in a larger map


Type B sleeper class

Additional fare 7,560yen (Express surcharge 1,260yen + Accommodation charge 6,300yen)
This is very basic sleeper in Japan. 4 beds are in one compartment. Lower berth is 195 cm X 70 cm X 111 cm. (Length/Width/Height) Upper berth is 195 cm X 70 cm X 95 cm. Lower berth has a little more head room.
Overnight train Hamanasu Overnight train Hamanasu Overnight train Hamanasu Overnight train Hamanasu Overnight train Hamanasu

Dream Car

No extra charge
One of those reserved seats is called “Dream Car”. This seat provide you same grade of comfortably as Green classr.
Overnight train Hamanasu Overnight train Hamanasu Overnight train Hamanasu

Carpet Car

No extra charge
The other reserved seat is called “Carpet car”. This seat is the same kind of seat as Nobi Nobi seat on Sunrise Seto and Sunrise Izumo. It is like a berth. You can lie on the seat. This berth is better than Nobi Nobi seat because this accommodation provides you a pillow, linen and the Heated Carpet in winter time. Please click the following images. You will see the purple carpet on the berth. That is the Heated Carpet.
Overnight train Hamanasu Overnight train Hamanasu Overnight train Hamanasu Overnight train Hamanasu
As you see the images, Upper section has more privacy. Try to get it!

Non Reserved seat

Of course, no extra charge
If you cannot get the reserved seat, you can take a non reserved seat, if you like. This seat is very very common seat. If you need to take overnight train from Sapporo to Aomori, you have to take this. Otherwise I don’t recommend you.
Overnight train Hamanasu Overnight train Hamanasu Overnight train Hamanasu

Other facilities

This train has several the vending machine. You can buy some refreshment.
Overnight train Hamanasu
Several change rooms are equipped in the train. And you will have a small space to take a break, drink and eat. But there is no shower facility.
Overnight train Hamanasu
Be careful! This train has Japanese style washroom only!
Overnight train Hamanasu


Station Aomori to Sapporo Sapporo to Aomori
Aomori (青森) 22:18 5:39
Hakodate (函館) 0:44-1:23 2:52-3:27
Oshamanbe (長万部) 3:08 1:03
Date-Monbetsu (伊達紋別駅) 0:17
Higashi-Muroran (東室蘭) 4:17 23:50
Noboribetsu (登別) 23:35
Tomakomai (苫小牧) 5:01 23:04
Minami-Chitose (南千歳) 5:25 22:41
Chitose (千歳) 5:30 22:36
Shin-Sapporo (新札幌) 5:55 22:11
Sapporo (札幌) 6:07 22:00

221 thoughts on “Overnight train to/from Sapporo and Aomori. Express Hamanasu”

  1. Takeshi san,

    3 of us are planning to book carpet cars on the 26th November from Sapporo to Aomori.
    We will be arriving in Tokyo on the 19th Nov. What would be the chances of getting the seats?
    Would appreciate your advice.

    Many thanks in advance,

    1. Hi Nizora,

      Unfortunately the chance is almost 0%. Usually it is sold out after it is started to sell on one month prior to departure date.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. Hi Takeshi,
    Thanks for such useful information. Allow me for one more question.

    If I failed for non-reserved seat, am I allow to stay inside the station and wait for the morning train ?

    1. Hi Simon,
      You can get on the train in case that you cannot get a seat. You need to stay on the aisle or passengers deck. But you can go anyway.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  3. Hi, knowing that is almost not possible to reserve a seat for Hamanasu after my arrival in Japan. So i will be talking the non-reserved seat. But of course non-reserved is also limited.

    So my question is, what is the best way, better chance for me to grab a non-reserved seat for Hamanasu? I will be there around January 6 2013

    1. Hi Simon,
      Go to platform 30 minutes earlier. Usually there are line to wait for non reserved seat.
      But it will be very cold. Be careful to catch cold. And January 6 (Sun) might be very busy. In Japan, Jan 1 to 3 are New Years Vacation. Next year, January 4 is Friday. So some of them extend to the weekend and back to hometown on Jan 6. I am not 100% sure. But please keep it in your mind.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. Dear Sir,

    I am not clear whether the Hamanasu Express runs on Saturdays and Sunday as well. Reason for my question is that I wish to visit Aomori during the Nebuta festival while staying in Hakodate. I would like to take the 22.42 train back to Hakodate. But again does it run on Saturday and/or Sundays as well? Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Olaf Oomes,
      Yes. Hamanasu is a scheduled train. It runs everyday so far.
      But if you will get on it in next summer, the schedule has not confirmed yet. JR usually revise timetable on October and March. It is confirmed it runs everyday until next spring. But it is not sure for next summer so far. It will be confirmed next spring.

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Hi. I’m traveling to Japan in July and would like to take the overnight Hamanasu from Sapporo ~ Aomori, using JR Pass. Is there any where that I can reserve a seat (Dream Car or Carpet Car) prior to my arrival in Japan?

    Otherwise, if I ask a friend of mine living in Tokyo to get a reserve seat for me, how much is the express surcharge that I have to pay? Is there any website that have such information? You mentioned in one of the replies saying that he/she does not need to pay for basic fare, but need to pay for express surcharge. How would he inform the person at the ticket counter that I am having JR Pass with me, so that he can avoid from paying the basic fare? How about the seat fee? I saw from Hyperdia that there is a seat fee chargeable.

    I have read through all the comments and your replies. It seems to me that most of the foreign travelers (if not all) will have to take the non-reserved seats upon traveling in Hamanasu, if we want to avoid in paying extra fees by using JR Pass. Is that true?

    Thank you very much!

    1. Hi YC,
      You cannot do it by yourself online. But you can ask your friend in Japan. See the following post to get the details:
      If you do it by yourself after you turn in Japan Rail Pass, you can get Hamanasu Carpet seat without any cost. But if you ask your friend, you need to pay 1770 yen. Your travel period may be high season. So you may need to pay another a few hundred yen.
      As we discussed at above link, it is very hard to get a seat on overnight trains for overseas travellers. So if you can ask your friend, ask it. I’m in Japan now. I took Hamanasu several days ago. It was completely full. I made a call to reservation center (JR West Odekake net) one month prior departure date. The seats were just started to sell. But I could not get upper section. A few space at lower section were left. This accommodation is very very popular. In my opinion, it will be almost no chance to get a seat after you arrive in Japan.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  6. Hi, can we ask our Japanese friend in Tokyo to book the carpet seat when ticket start to open release ? If yes, does the booking need JR pass to book ? Our travel is beg of JUL

    1. HI ZhiZhi,
      Your friend do not need to show JR pass when he/she book. But he/she need to pay express surcharge. Even JR pass cover this charge, he/she needs to pay this at the time of booking. He/she does not need to pay basic fare.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

    1. Hi YF,
      If you take Carpet car, Dream car or non reserved seat, you can take Hamansu with no extra charge by Japan Rail Pass. But this train is very popular and very hard to book it. I tried to take upper section of Carpet car for Mar 19. I booked 30 minutes after this seat was started to sell. All upper section had already gone. There are a few seat on lower section left. So it will very hard to get these seats after you arrive Japan.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  7. Hi Takeshi,

    I would like to know if the carpet car allocated randomly for male/female passenger when we try to reserved it. Is it save for a solo female traveler to choose this option since I saw there was only thin curtains separate the beds.


    1. Hi Melisa,
      Section #1 to #4, #21 and #22 are used for female only. Usually female passenger will be assigned from these sections. But once these sections are full, you have no choice. It is assigned at random and male passenger may be assigned beside your section.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

        1. Hi Nat,
          You can carry 2 pieces of luggage. And luggage’s Width+Height+length must be less than 2m. As long as you have regular bag or suitcase, it will be fine. But I don’t recommend to use hard shell suitcase. Sometimes it is very hard to find the space for the suitcase in the train.
          Takeshi / JP Rail

  8. Hi just a couple of quick questions:

    1. Is it possible to make a connection between the Super Soya arriving from Wakkanai at 2150 to this train departing Sapporo at 2200? Is 10 minutes enough time at Sapporo station?

    2. Are there power sockets on this train?


    1. Hi Aaron,
      1. It is no problem to connect in 10 minutes. But if you travel in winter time, you need to expect delay due to snow.
      2. Only Green class seat window side of Super Soya have a power outlet. I think you suppose to take Hamanasu from Sapporo. There are no power outlet there.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

      1. Hi takeshi,
        I caught this train from Sapporo to Aomori in December and slept in the carpet car.
        If you sleep in the end seat on the bottom row, below the steps leading to the top row, there is a power outlet on the base of the steps. There is also a carved out shelf area under the steps where you can fit your bags so this would be the most comfortable seat in the bottom row.
        Of course it doesn’t have the privacy of the seats in the top row though.
        Anyway thanks for your very helpful website. Even though i speak japanese i wouldn’t have known to book these trains without your help.

        1. Hi Roibin,
          Thank you for VERY useful information. Power outlet is a big asset especially for the tourists.
          By the way, do you remember your seat number? I would like to make sure which side.
          Takeshi / JP Rail

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