Sample itinerary Hokkaido 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

Night view form Mt.Hakodate ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO
Night view form Mt.Hakodate ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO

This itinerary includes UNESCO world heritage site, Shiretoko and several highlights in Hokkaido.

We don’t use Japan Rail Pass for the transfer between downtown Tokyo and Narita or Haneda airport. This itinerary starts from/to Tokyo.

06:28am Depart from Tokyo by Tohoku Shinakansen “Hayate 11”
10:01am Arrive at Shin-Aomori
10:16am Depart from Shin-Aomori by Limited Express ““Super Hakucho 11
12:22pm Arrive at Hakodate
After arriving at Hakodate, enjoy sightseeing.
(Overnight in Hakodate)

Day 2 Hakodate – Sapporo – Otaru – Sapporo

Otaru Canal  	(C)Y. Shimizu
Otaru Canal (C)Y. Shimizu

08:30am Depart from Hakodate for Sapporo by Limited Express “Super Hokuto 3”.
11:47am Arrive at Sapporo
After arrive at Sapporo, enjoy sightseeing in most biggest city in Hokkaido.
If you don’t need lots of time in Sapporo, take the local train to Otaru. Otaru is very historical city. It has very famous canal.
Otaru is only 30 minutes away from Sapporo. The local trains between Otaru and Sapporo are very frequent. This is a perfect short trip from Sapporo.
(Overnight in Sapporo)

Day 3 Sapporo – Kamikawa – Sounkyo canyon – Kamikawa – Abashiri

Kurotake mountain ©Yasufumi Nishi/© JNTO
Kurotake mountain ©Yasufumi Nishi/© JNTO

07:21am Depart from Sapporo for Abashiri via Sounkyo canyon by Limited Express “Okhotsk 1“.
09:42am Arrive at Kamikawa
After arrival at Kamikawa, take the bus to Sounkyo canyon. The bus fare is 800yen for one way and takes 30 minutes. You can take the gondola to Kurotake mountain. It has a gorgeous view of Daisetsu mountains.
17:31pm Depart to Abashiri by Limited Express “Okhotsk 5“.
20:37pm Arrive at Abashiri
(Overnight in Abashiri)

Day 4 Abashiri – Utoro (UNESCO world heritage site, Shiretoko)

Oshinkoshin Falls  	©Yasufumi Nishi/© JNTO
Oshinkoshin Falls ©Yasufumi Nishi/© JNTO

06:41am Depart for Shiretoko-Shari by the local train
*If you miss this train, you have to wait until 10:01am. We do not have any express train between Abashiri, Shiretoko-Shari and Kushiro. Please keep it in your mind.
07:22am Arrive at Shiretoko-Shari. After arrival, transfer to the bus to Utoro in Shiretoko peninsula.
08:40am depart for Utoro by bus. The bus fare is 1,500 yen and takes 1 hour to Utoro.
(Overnight in Utoro)

Day 5 Utoro – Mashu – Kushiro

Kushiro marshland © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO
Kushiro marshland © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO

09:30am Depart for Shiretoko-Shari by the bus. The bus fare is 1,500 yen and takes 1 hour.
10:20am Arrive at Shiretoko-Shari
10:46am Depart for Mashu by the rapid train. (This is not an express train. This train is a kind of the local train.)
11:54am Arrive at Mashu. Take the bus to Lake Mashu that is one of the most beautiful lake in Hokkaido. The bus fare is 540 yen and takes 20 minutes. The bus is not very frequent. Consider to use the taxi.
13:48pm Depart for Kushiro by the local train. This local train goes through in Kushiro marsh. This marsh is the most famous marsh in Japan.
15:09pm Arrive at Kushiro
(Overnight in Kushiro)

Day 6 Kushiro – Minami-Chitose – Date-Monbetsu – Lake Toya

Lake Toya (C)Toyako Tourist Association
Lake Toya (C)Toyako Tourist Association

07:39am Depart for Minami-Chitose by Limited Express “Super Ozora 4”.
11:00am Arrive at Minami-Chitose and transfer to Limited Express “Super Hokuto”.
11:05am Depart for Date-Monbetsu by Limited Express “Super Hokuto 10”.
12:07pm Arrive at Date-Monbetsu. After arrival, take the bus to Lake Toya. The bus fare is 580 yen and takes 40 minutes. Lake Toya is one of most popular hot springs resort in Hokkaido.
(Overnight in Lake Toya)

Day 7 Lake Toya – Date-Monbetsu – Hakodate – Shin-Aomori – Tokyo

10:06am Depart Date-Monbetsu for Hakodate by Limited Express “Super Hokuto 6”.
11:54am Arrive at Hakodate
12:04pm Depart for Shin-Aomori by Limited Express “Super Hakucho 30”.
14:15pm Arrive at Shin-Aomori
14:28pm Depart for Tokyo by Tohoku Shinkansen “Hayate 30”
18:08pm Arrive at Tokyo

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!

Monterey Hotel Sapporo Close to station, dine, shop
La Vista Kushirogawa Hotel Kushiro Waterfront location

192 thoughts on “Sample itinerary Hokkaido 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days”

  1. Dear Takeshi san

    Pls advise what are the days should we purchase the JR pass:

    7/1/18 – 8am arrive Chitose airport to Tomamu
    8/1/18- Tomamu
    9/1/18- Tomamu
    10/1/18-Tomamu to Noboribetsu
    11/1/18-Noboribetsu to Hakodate
    13/1/18-Hakodate to Sapporo
    14/1/18-Sapporo – Asahikawa zoo package
    15/1/18-Sapporo-day trip to Otari….
    16/1/18-Sapporo-free & easy
    17/1/18-Sapporo to Chitose airport
    18/1/18-Depart from Chitose airport

      1. Dear Takeshi san

        Tks for yr prompt reply.
        If 4 days flexi used for 10, 11, 13 and 14, it is 4 trips so can I used for return trip on 14 back to Sapporo?

          1. Dear Takeshi san
            In regards to my 4 days flexi pass to use on 14th from Sapporo to Asahikawa zoo, some said buying zoo package including zoo train & bus transfer with entry ticket is more worth, is this true? so should we buy this zoo package but how to utilize my 4 days flexi based on my itinerary, sorry to trouble you again, tks.

          2. Hi Cymphere san,

            That deal is a good one. But if you use it, you need to use one of 4 days of Flex pass for other days and you cannot get the worth of this 4 days pass. You need to include Sapporo to Asahikawa round trip in this 4 days usage. Other Hokkaido rail pass is 3, 5 and 7 days. You need to use these passes in consecutive days and it does not suit your trip plan. So you should use flex 4 days pass for Sapporo to Asahikawa round trip.


            Takeshi /

          3. Hi Takeshi san

            In regards to my 4 days flexi pass if we arrived new Chitose airport on 7/1/18 to Tomamu, as you suggest we start using fm the 10/1/18, but upon arrival of Chitose airport I understand we need to activate the pass can we request to start using on the 10/1/18, as on Tomamu station there is no JR counter , pls advise

          4. Hi Cymphere san,

            You can exchange the pass at New Chitose when you arrive. You can pick the date when you want to start using it. So you don’t need to do it at Tomamu.


            Takeshi /

          5. Dear Takeshi san
            Good day!
            Regarding JR 4 days flexi pass, so once I activated fm the day start is better for me to reserve this 4 days JR timing & reserve seat. But question is if I happen to miss that particular day of time can I just take the next train?
            Also, can the booking of day & time can make amendment at JR counter?

          6. Hi Cymphere san,

            You don’t need to book for all trips when you get the pass but it’s recommended.
            If you miss the train, simply you can return your ticket and book for next one. There is no extra charge to do it. You also can take next one if you are on non reserved seat car.


            Takeshi /

  2. Hello Takeshi,

    I am planning a trip in end september to early october and would like to visit sounkyo gorge, utoro and lake akan. We will be travelling by public transport. What do you suggest is the best way to get around these 3 locations and how do we go about?
    1) Sounkyo gorge -> akan -> utoro -> asahikawa/sapporo
    2) sounkyo -> utoro -> akan -> asahikawa/sapporo

    Thank you

    1. Hi Leah,

      Option 2 is better. You can get Sounkyo from Asahikawa or Kamikawa. After that you can go to Shiretoko-Shari via Abashiri and then access to Utoro in Shiretoko. And then go to Kushiro and visit Lake Akan. You can get Sapporo from Kushiro directly.

      This route is more smooth than option 1.


      Takeshi /

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    This probably had been asked 1000’s times, sorry!
    However, can I use JR Pass for Hokkaido subways?
    eg going to Susukino and Odori?
    As I will be travelling from Tokyo using JR Pass, so I wonder if I need to buy Hokkaido Pass.

    thank you!

  4. HI
    In february 2017, I would like to do a trip using just public transport to cover east hokkaido. Could you advise how feasible this is.
    I read online that the twinke bus is no longer available for east hokkaido in 2017, could you advise? thank you!

    3-5 Feb Sapporo
    5-6 Feb Sapporo to Kushiro (stop over in Obhiro for lunch)
    6-7 Feb Visit the crane centre and thereafter arrive In Utoro
    7-8 feb Utoro to Abashiri
    8-9 Feb Abashiri to Asahikawa
    9-10 feb Asahikawa to Sapporo.

  5. Hi, is it feasible to do a free and easy trip using public transport in Hokkaido in Feb? I was told by the tour agency that public transport in quite infrequent in Hokkaido and that the train broke down from the hurricane incident.

    1. Hi CC,

      I think travel agent mentioned the closure between Obihiro and Tomamu. But this segment was back to normal on December 22nd. Now most of segments are okay to travel. In winter time, Hokkaido has very severe weather and train sometimes is late or cancelled. But train is still more reliable way to travel in Hokkaido during winter time.


      Takeshi /

  6. Hello Takeshi-san,

    Can you advise whether this proposed itinerary for Hokkaido (16 January to 24 January 2017 inclusive) is feasible. If so, which are the best train connections to take. Thanks.

    Day 1 16/1 Monday ETA 8.30am New Chitose Airport (overnight in Sapporo)

    Day 2 17/1 Tuesday Sapporo – Noboribetsu (overnight at Noboribetsu)
    -Onuma Park
    -Hell valley

    Day 3 18/1 Wednesday Noboribetsu – Hakodate (2 nights)
    -Lake Toyako ??

    Day 4 19/1 Thursday Hakodate
    -Goryokaku Park
    -Kanemori Red Brick House
    -night view at the peak
    -morning market

    Day 5 20/1 Friday Hakodate – Otaru (overnight in Otaru)
    -Otaru canal

    Day 6 21 /1 Saturday Otaru – Sapporo (3 nights in Sapporo)

    Day 7 22/1 Sunday Sapporo

    Day 8 23/1 Monday Sapporo

    Day 9 24/1 Tuesday Sapporo – Singapore (11am flight home)

    1. Hi BS CHEW san,

      Your itinerary is feasible and no problem at all. You may use Hokkaido rail pass 5 days for the first 5 days of your trip.

      You may need to add single fare for Otaru to Sapporo and Sapporo to New Chitose. 7 days pass is too expensive for your trip. Even if you purchase it, it covers day 6, Otaru to Sapporo only. The fare is less than 700 yen for this trip.

      You can find all train timetables in the link below:


      Takeshi /

      1. Takeshi-san, I have refined my itinerary to include Donan Coaches (from New Chitoso Airport to Noboribetsu Onsen & Toya Onsen) and JR Hokkaido for greater convenience.

        Hokkaido Itinerary (16 January to 24 January 2017)

        Day 1 16/1 Monday ETA 8.30am New Chitose Airport to Noboribetsu Onsen (1 night in Noboribetsu — Transfer by Donan ¥1370)

        Day 2 17/1 Tuesday Noboribetsu Onsen to Toya Onsen (1 night in Lake Toya — Transfer by Donan ¥1700)

        Day 3 18/1 Wednesday Toya Onsen – Hakodate (2 nights in Hakodate — Transfer by Donan to Toya Station ¥330 and then by JR Toya Station to JR Hakodate ¥????)

        Day 4 19/1 Thursday Hakodate

        Day 5 20/1 Friday Hakodate – Otaru (1 night in Otaru — Transfer from Hakodate to Otaru via Niseko ¥????)

        Day 6 21/1 Saturday Otaru – Sapporo (3 nights in Sapporo — Transfer by JR Otaru to JR Sapporo ¥640)

        Day 7 22/1 Sunday Sapporo

        Day 8 23/1 Monday Sapporo

        Day 9 24/1 Tuesday Sapporo – Singapore 10am flight home (Transfer by Hokkaido Chuo Bus @Susukino ¥1030)

        Thanks!! 😉

        PS. Also, what is the cost of train ticket from Hakodate to Otaru if we go via Sapporo instead?

        1. Hi BS san,

          You may use Hyperdia to get a fare.

          Train between Oshamanbe and Niseko is very few. Please see the link below to find the timetable:

          If you take Hakodate-Niseko-Otaru route, you must make sure the train timetable.


          Takeshi /

  7. Hello Takeshi,

    I am planning to go to Japan next year spring season. My schedule are as follows:

    March 24: arrive haneda airport at 22:00. Would it be possible to stay inside the airport to minimize hotel expense?

    March 25-27: Tokyo

    March 28: Depart Tokyo to Sapporo. Is an overnight train possible? I will start using my 7-Day Jr pass here. Can i use jrpass inside Sapporo?

    March 29-30: Sapporo

    March 31- depart Sapporo, arrive Tokyo. Again, is there an overnight train?

    April 1: depart Tokyo, Arrive Osaka.

    April 2-5: Osaka, Nara, Kobe

    I would really appreciate it if you respond. Thank you very much.

    Best regards,

    1. Hi Nadina,

      You can stay in Haneda airport. It’s open for 24 hours. But mot of shops and restaurants are closed from 22:00 to 6:00. There are very few shops and restaurants available.

      There is no overnight options available to Sapporo. You have to take day time train. Please see the link below to find all train connections to Sapporo.

      JR Pass does not cover city bus, streetcar and subway in Sapporo. Basically you need to add extra fare to visit most of places in Sapporo.


      Takeshi /

  8. Day 1, 20/11 Sunday : Chitose – Asahikawa (overnight at Asahikawa)
    – Arrive in Shin-Chitose at 3pm, collect car and drive to Asahikawa
    – Dinner at Asahikawa Raman Village

    Day 2, 21/11 Monday : Asahikawa – Biei – Furano (overnight at Furano)
    – Asahiyama Zoo
    – Biei Senka
    – Blue
    Day 3, 22/11 Tuesday: Furano – Otaru (overnight at Otaru)
    – Flower Land Kamifurano / Farm Tomita (Is it still worth to visit the farm since it is end of autumn?)
    – Cheese Factory
    – Otaru canal

    Day 4, 23/11 Wednesday – Thursday: Otaru – Hakodate (2 nights in Hokodate?)
    -Goryokaku park
    -Kanemori red brick house
    -night view at the peak
    -morning market

    Day 6, 24 Friday Hakodate – Lake Toyako – Noboribetsu (overnight at Noboribetsu, onsen hotel)
    -Lake Toyako
    -Onuma Park
    -Hell valley

    Day 7, 22/11, Saturday – Noboribetsu – Saporro (overnight at Saporro)

    Day 8, 23/11, Sunday – shopping at Saporro then depart to Airport on 12 noon. Flight 4pm

    Takeshi-san, Is my itinerary accessible by train? And which train package I should buy? Any improvement on my itinerary? Thanks

    1. Hi SHT san,

      Are you going to drive only on arrival day? If so, you may use Hokkaido Rail Pass Flex 4 days.

      You can use this 4 days pass for Asahikawa – Otaru, Otaru – Hakodate, Hakodate – Noboribetsu and Noboribetsu – Sapporo. Single ticket is okay for other segments. I think you can do this itinerary by one night stay in Hakodate. But if you stay in Hakodate for 2 nights, it’s easier.


      Takeshi /

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