Hokkaido is most popular destination during summer time. Some of the travellers may arrive/depart at New Chitose airport and travel only in Hokkaido. I show you rail passes for Hokkaido trip. And also I would like to share the information with the resident in Japan. I will tell you about the pass that anyone can purchase.
Summery of all available passes
All passes do not include the ticket to Hokkaido. These cover the trains and some bus lines in Hokkaido only.
|Visitor status with Foreign passport only. Child (6-11yrs) half price|
|19000||-||22500||-||Foreign student or working holiday status|
|-||-||25500||Available for anyone. Non reserved seat only|
|17000||-||-||-||Available for anyone until Sep 30, 2012. Non reserved seat only|
|9200||-||-||-||Available for anyone until Sep 30, 2012. Non reserved seat only in southern Hokkaido (Sapporo, Otaru, Muroran, Oshamanbe and Hakodate)|
Let’s see the details of all above passes
Hokkaido Rail Pass
If you are a foreign tourist and enter in Japan as “temporary visitor”, you are eligible to purchase this pass. The price range is 3 days ordinary at 15,000 yen to 7 days green at 30,000 yen. The price for child (6 to 11 years old) is half price. It is free for under 5 years old as long as child travel with the adult passenger who have a pass.
JR Hokkaido Foreign Student Pass and Working Holiday Pass
If you are in Japan as “Exchange Student” or “Student”, you are eligible to purchase Foreign Student Pass. And if you are in Japan as Working Holiday, you can purchase Working Holiday Pass. These passes are different names but they are same type of pass. Please see the following links to get the detail about these passes.
3 days pass is sold at 19,000yen and 5 days pass is sold at 22,500 yen. These prices are higher than Hokkaido Rail Pass. But it is cheaper and better validity than Hokkaido Free Pass that anyone can purchase. Range of use is almost same as Hokkaido Rail Pass. JR Hokkaido Bus and Home liner train (express trains for commuter) are not covered. But this is not a big deal. JR Hokkaido Bus is not so much convenient. Home line is express train to Sapporo in early morning and from Sapporo in late evening. This train is completely different from limited express trains. Don’t worry about this.
If you are travel in all Hokkaido, this pass is your choice. But you really care about your budget, you can think about Kyunto Hokkaido Free Pass (available until end of Sep, 2012) at 17,000 yen for 3 days. See the below to get the details.
Hokkaido Round Tour Pass (北海道フリーパス)
If you are a resident in Japan and look for unlimited ride pass for trains in Hokkaido, this it the pass that you need to purchase. This pass is sold at 25,500 yen for 7 days. No children rate and other duration are available. This pass is basically for domestic traveller. I understand that overseas traveller have much greater benefit than domestic traveller. But this is a reality.
The condition of this pass is different from other Hokkaido passes. The biggest difference are the following:
- Reserved seat can be covered by this pass. But it is up to 6 times, not unlimited.
- This pass cannot be used in Golden week, Obon period and holiday season. In 2012-2013 season, this restriction dates are May 3 to 5, August 11 to 15, and from December 29 to January 6, 2013.
Other conditions are almost same as other Hokkaido passes. Please check the details here.
Kyunto Hokkaido Free Pass (キュンと北海道フリーパス) and Kyunto South Hokkaido Free Ticket (キュンとみなみ北海道フリー乗車券)
This passes will be sold until Sep 28, 2012 and can be used until Sep 30, 2012. Kyunto Hokkaido Free Pass cover all JR trains in Hokkaido. Kyunto South Hokkaido Free Ticket cover only Local and Rapid trains on the following JR lines in south part of Hokkaido.
- Hakodate line (Hakodate – Oshamanbe – Otaru – Sapporo)
- Chitose line-Muroran line (Oshamanbe – Date Monbetsu – Higashi Muroran – Tomakomai – Minami Chitose – Sapporo, Higashi Muroran – Muroran, Minami Chitose – New Chitose airport)
You can ride non reserved seat of any trains by Kyunto Hokkaido Free Pass. But you cannot take reserved seat. If you want to take reserved seat, you need to pay all amount of limited express reserved seat surcharge. (not difference between non reserved and reserved) If you have a round trip to Kushiro or Abashiri from Sapporo, total fare is around 18,000 to 19,000 yen. the price of this pass is 17,000 yen. So you can get your money easily if you travel Kushiro or Abashiri from Sapporo.
As I mentioned above, limited express trains and express train are not covered by Kyunto South Hokkaido Free Ticket. If you want to ride Limited Express or Express, you have to pay limited express or express surcharge. But if you travel from Sapporo to Hakodate, basic fare is 5,560 yen for one way. If you have round trip between Hakodate and Sapporo, the price of this pass, 9,200 yen is better deal. If you want to ride express trains, just add surcharge. It is cheaper than single ticket anyway.
There are no English info available. I just put Japanese link just in case.
JR Hokkaido Free Pass and Ticket info page
For resident in Japan, there are so many discount tickets and rail passes that cover small limited area for domestic travellers. It is too many to explain. But I will try to share more information with you.
Tokyo Disney Resort
Sapporo Hakodate Furano, Biei Kushiro Abashiri, Shiretoko
Sendai Hakone Yokohama Kusatsu Kawaguchiko (Fuji) Karuizawa Nagano Nagoya Kanazawa Takayama Shirakawago
Kyoto (Kyoto station Gion, Higashiyama Arashiyama )
Osaka (JR Osaka, Umeda Shin-Osaka Namba, Shinsaibashi USJ Kansai airport )
Kobe, Arima Kinosaki Hiroshima Miyajima
Hakata Nagasaki Beppu Yufuin
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