Hokkaido is very popular spot among foreign travelers. Hokkaido has nice yummy food, very attractive sightseeing spots and very different culture from mainland Japan. But some of you have short stay in Japan. You may not have enough time to visit Hokkaido. If you want to visit Hokkaido, I usually recommend you to spend 3 days minimum. However if you are okay to visit just the edge of Hokkaido that is Hakodate, and okay with the short stay, you can visit Hakodate as one day trip from Tokyo.
In this post, I will show you how to manage the day trip to Hakodate from Tokyo.
Recommended sample itinerary
If you want to maximize your time in Hakodate, you must take the earliest train to Hakondate and the last train to Tokyo. The sample schedule is the following:
On the way back to Tokyo
(Rapid Hakodate Liner)
(Hokkaido Shinkansen, Hayabusa 42)
Please check the updated timetable before you go. You can find the timetable of the Tohoku-Hokkaido Shinkansen at JR East website:
The timetable above does not show you the timetable of rapid train between Hakodate and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. Please use hyperdia to find it:
What you can do in Hakodate
As you see the sample itinerary above, you have 6.5 hours in Hakodate. It is enough time to visit a few places in Hakodate.
It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to get the summit by streetcar, walk and ropeway from Hakodate station. This mountain is very well known as one of the best night view. However you have to leave Hakodate by 18:00. That means you have leave Mount Hakodate around 17:00. If you travel Hakodate from early November to early February, blue hours is 17:00 or earlier. Blue hours is 15 minutes after sunset. This is the best time to see the view. So you can enjoy gorgeous view during this period.
If you travel from late winter to fall, please do not expect to see the night view.
Please check the link below to find the detailed information about Mount Hakodate:
Red Brick Warehouse
This is located at the port of Hakodate. It is 15 minutes away from Hakodate station by walk. If you visit there in winter holiday season, you can enjoy a brilliant light up.
There are many restaurants around this area. You can visit this place in the last part of your trip to eat very early dinner. But if you travel in winter season and want to go up Mount Hakodate to see the night view, you cannot drop by port area just before departure.
Please check the link below to find the detailed information about Red Brick Warehouse:
It takes 20 minutes by streetcar and walk from Hakodate station. This is one of very few western style castles in Japan. If you travel Hakodate in early May, this place is Must-See because this place is very well known cherry blossom spot in early May.
Please check the link below to find the detailed information about Fort Goryokaku:
This is outside city of Hakodate. But if you travel Hakodate in late October, you may consider to visit this park because of fall foliage. This is one of very accessible place to see gorgeous fall foliage.
It takes 30 minutes from Hakodate station and 10 minutes from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station by limited express trains. You can find the timetable at my PDF timetable:
JPRail.com PDF timetable (valid until mid March, 2020)
If you visit this place, your time in Hakodate is very limited.
Please check the link below to find the detailed information about Onuma Park:
You may use these deals for this long day trip.
For Tokyo – Hakodate round trip
If you intend to use JR pass and look for one day trip from Tokyo, this trip may be considerable. Actually the round trip fare and Hokkaido Shinkansen surcharge are more than 40,000 yen. JR Pass 7-day is way cheaper than this amount. You can get the worth of JR Pass 7-day by only this trip.
If you are not JR pass user, you can use more affordable deal. That is JR East South Hokkaido Pass.
If you do not intend to visit western part of Japan, this deal is better than JR Pass.
For sightseeing in Hakodate
Both JR pass and JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass do not cover streetcar and city bus in Hakodate. Most recommended choice is streetcar 1 day pass. It is sold at 600 yen and you can get unlimited travel by streetcar. Base fare of streetcar is around 200 to 300 yen. If you take streetcar more than three times, it is paid off.
This day trip plan is not recommended for everybody honestly. As long as you have a time and budget, I would like you to stay in Hakodate at least one night. But if you do not care about busy and tight trip and want to go to Hokkaido anyway, or if your budget want to stick one place to stay and make a day trip as many as you can, this plan suits your trip.
Hope you have a great moment in Hakondate by this trip plan.