Sample itinerary Hokkaido 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

Night view form Mt.Hakodate ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO7 to 9 days
Night view form Hakodate mountain (C) Hokkaido Tourism Organization / JNTO
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Night view form Mt.Hakodate ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO

Night view form Hakodate mountain (C) Hokkaido Tourism Organization / JNTO

This itinerary includes most of popular spots of Hokkaido in 7 days. Departure and arrival places are Tokyo. You can start using 7 days JR pass when you leave Tokyo.

If you arrive and depart from either Narita or Haneda airports, you may use other deal.

Haneda airport access guide and the list of deals

The list of deals for Tokyo to/from Narita airport

You can use this itinerary for departure/arrival at Sapporo. I will tell you this at the end of the post.

Day 1 Tokyo – Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto – Hakodate

06:32 Depart from Tokyo by Tohoku-Hokkaido Shinkansen Hayabusa 1
10:57 Arrive at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
11:10 Depart from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto by Rapid train Hakodate Liner
11:25 Arrive at Hakodate
After arrival at Hakodate, enjoy sightseeing.

(Overnight in Hakodate)

Day 2 Hakodate – Sapporo – Otaru – Sapporo

Otaru Canal (C)Y. Shimizu

Otaru Canal is the highlight of Otaru city. (C)Y. Shimizu

07:37 Depart from Hakodate for Sapporo by Limited Express Super Hokuto 3
11:27 Arrive at Sapporo
After arrive at Sapporo, enjoy sightseeing in Sapporo
If you are okay with the packed schedule, you may squeeze Otaru on this day. Otaru is only 45 minutes away from Sapporo by rapid train. It is very easy to access. If you plan to visit Otaru, please expect to spend at least 4 hours for return trip from Sapporo and sightseeing in Otaru. If you want to save your time in Sapporo, Otaru do not suit to your plan.

(Overnight in Sapporo)

Day 3 Sapporo – Asahikawa – Biei/Furano – Asahikawa

Farm Tomita in Biei (C) Farm Tomita/ (C) JTA/ (C) JNTO

07:49 Depart from Hakodate for Sapporo by Limited Express Lilic 3
09:14 Arrive at Asahikawa
09:38 Leave Asahikawa by JR Furano line local train
10:14 Arrive at Biei
After arrive at Biei, enjoy sightseeing in Biei and Furano area.

16:29 Depart from Biei by JR Furano line local train
17:02 Arrive at Asahikawa

*You may skip Furano and Biei area and stay in Asahikawa all day. You can visit Asahiyama zoo. You can visit Asahiyama zoo on day 4 instead of Sounkyo.

(Overnight in Asahikawa)

Day 4 Asahikawa – Kamikawa – Sounkyo canyon – Kamikawa – Abashiri

Kurotake mountain ©Yasufumi Nishi/© JNTO

Kurotake mountain ©Yasufumi Nishi/© JNTO

08:35 Depart from Asahikawa for Abashiri via Sounkyo canyon by Limited Express Okhotsk 1
09:17 Arrive at Kamikawa
09:40 Depart from “Kamikawa Mori no Terasu Bus Touch” by Dohoku bus
*Kamikawa Mori no Terasu Bus Touch is the name of bus station in front of Kamikawa station.

10:20 Arrive at Sounkyo
Enjoy sightseeing in Sounkyo

15:40 Leave Sounkyo by Dohoku bus
16:10 Arrive at Kamikawa Mori no Terasu Bus Touch
*There is no better connections. You have to wait for 1.5 hours at Kamikawa station.

17:45 Depart from Kamikawa by Limited Express Taisetsu 3
20:49 Arrive at Abashiri

(Overnight in Abashiri)

Day 5 Abashiri – Shiretoko – Kushiro

Oshinkoshin Falls ©Yasufumi Nishi/© JNTO

Oshinkoshin Falls ©Yasufumi Nishi/© JNTO

06:41 Depart for Shiretoko-Shari by JR Senmo line local train
*If you miss this train, you cannot take Shiretoko tourist bus.
07:26 Arrive at Shiretoko-Shari
08:40 Ride on Shiretoko Tourist Bus. This bus is not covered by any rail passes. Please see the link below to find the information:

Yuyu Hokkaido Tour Bus information – Shari Bus

15:57 Depart for Kushiro by JR Senmo line local train
18:46 Arrive at Kushiro

(Overnight in Kushiro)

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

Noboribetsu Jigokudani means hell valley (C) Noboribetsu Tourist Association / JNTO

08:23 Depart for Minami-Chitose by Limited Express Super Ozora 4
11:53 Arrive at Minami-Chitose and transfer to Limited Express Suzuran
11:59 Depart for Noboribetsu by Limited Express Suzuran 4
12:45 Arrive at Noboribetsu
13:00 Leave Noboribetsu by Donan bus
13:14 Arrive at Noboribetsu Onsen

Enjoy sightseeing and onsen bath in Noboribetsu

(Overnight in Noboribetsu)

Day 7 Noboribetsu – Lake Toya – Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto – Tokyo

Lake Toya (C)Toyako Tourist Association

Lake Toya (C)Toyako Tourist Association

09:00 Take Express Bus “Iburi” from Noboribetsu Onsen
Bus fare is 1,700 yen. This is not covered by any rail passes.
10:13 Arrive at Toyako Onsen

13:35 Leave Toyako Onsen by Donan Bus local bus
13:56 Arrive at Toya station
14:07 Depart from Toya by Limited Express Super Hokuto 12
15:49 Arrive at Shin-Hakodate-hokuto and transfer to Hokkaido Shinkansen
16:17 Leave Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto by Hokkaido Shinkansen Hayabusa 34
20:32 Arrive at Tokyo

*You may skip Lake Toya and go back to Tokyo earlier if you like.

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!

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

How to change the itinerary for Sapporo to Sapporo

If you start this itinerary from Sapporo to Sapporo, you may change the itinerary on day 1, 2 and 7 as follows:

Day 1
08:39 Depart from Sapporo by Limited Express Super Hokuto 6
12:23 Arrive at Hakodate
Overnight at Hakodate

Day 2
08:54 Depart from Hakodate by Limited Express Super Hokuto 5
10:45 Arrive at Toya
10:54 Leave Toya by Donan Bus local bus
11:14 Arrive at Toyako Onsen
Sightseeing around Lake Toya
15:00 Depart from Toyako Onsen by Express Bus Iburi
16:11 Arrive at Noboribetsu Onsen
Overnight at Noboribetsu Onsen

Day 3
12:05 Leave Noboribetsu Onsen by Donan Bus local bus
12:17 Arrive at Noboribetsu station
12:36 Depart from Noboribetsu by Limited Express Super Hokuto
13:46 Arrive at Sapporo
14:13 Depart from Sapporo by Rapid train
14:47 Arrive at Otaru
*You can go back to Sapporo whenever you want. Train runs every 30 minutes until 23:00

Day 4 – use Day 3 itinerary
Day 5 – use Day 4 itinerary
Day 6 – use Day 5 itinerary

Day 7
08:23 Depart for Sapporo by Limited Express Super Ozora 4
12:26 Arrive at Sapporo

You may use Hokkaido Rail Pass 7 days for this Sapporo to Sapporo trip plan.

Hope this post gives you some tips and idea to build your trip plan1

Comments

  1. Iluvjapan says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    http://www.hyperdia.com/cgi/en/search.html?dep_node=DATEMOMBETSU&arv_node=TOKYO&via_node01=AOMORI&via_node02=&via_node03=&year=2011&month=02&day=06&hour=21&minute=01&search_type=0&search_way=&transtime=undefined&sort=0&max_route=5&airplane=off&ship=off&sprnozomi=off&lmlimit=null&search_target=route&facility=reserved&sum_target=7

    I can go back to Tokyo from Datemonbetsu by midnight train at 12:07am and arrived tokyo in the next morning 09:51.It can save me a day 🙂

    My question is : Is my JRpass can cover the whole journey home ? thanks

    Regards,

    iluvJapan

  2. Mr.Y says:

    Hi Jprail,

    There is an alternative of taking super bus at the cost of 1000yen from narita to higashi ueno.Do you suggest this? how long is the journey approximtely? thanks

    Rgds,

    Mr.Y

    • JPRail says:

      Hello Mr.Y,
      Please see their website about the time, schedule and price.
      They started to operate this service last year. So I cannot suggest about this because I don’t know so much.
      Takeshi / JPRail

  3. IluvJapan says:

    thanks Takeshi,

    We have decided to take limousine 🙂
    All i have to do is proceed to limousine counter in narita airport to get the ticket right ?

    This is our itinerary planned:
    31jan -Day 1 Tokyo
    1st Feb -Day 2 Kyoto
    2nd Feb-Day 3 Kyoto
    3rd FEb-Day 4 Hakodate
    4th Feb-Day 5 Sapporo
    5th-Feb-Day 6 Sapporo
    6th Feb- Day 7 Sapporo
    7th Feb- Day 8 Tokyo
    8th Feb-Day 9 2pm flight home

    By the way, is there anyway you can advise to go back to Tokyo from Sapporo by travelling at night? I wish to visit Sapporo ice festival if possible on the 7th 🙁

    Regards,

    Kelly

    • JPRail says:

      Hi IluvJapan,
      Yes. You can get a ticket at Limousine counter at the airport. If you want to get Limousine & Metro combo ticket, you have to buy combo ticket at the airport. Otherwise you cannot get it at downtown Tokyo.
      In my understanding you will start to use your pass on the 1st, right? If so you have to come back to Tokyo by 7th. You cannot take overnight train on 7th without extra charge. Even if you can pay the extra, it will be very slim to get a seat on 7th for the night train. I think it’s already sold out.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. ILuvJapan says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Thanks again for your replies. I will be checking into Hotel Wing international At Shinjuku on my day1 (31st of jan).

    As my return flight back is on the 8th of Feb,im afraid i might have to activate my JRpass to travel to Kyoto on the 1st of Feb (day2) and follow your sample itinerary and return to Tokyo on day 8 which is 7th of Feb.

    Are you able to suggest me the train itinerary from Sapporo to Tokyo?

    And how about my return tokyo-narita transfer ? If i will a limousine. total 2ways will costs 6000yen. I saw JR there is promotion for Suica/nex which costs 5500yen for narita-tokyo two way transfer and Suica preploaded with 1500yen+500yen deposit which is refundable.Thus,do you think is more money savvy?
    http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/suica-nex/index.html

    otherwise im considering to take the limousine & metro pass which costs 3100yen

    https://jprail.com/destinations/subway-in-tokyo.html

    Hope to hear from you soon.Thanks

    Regards,

    iluvJapan

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Iluvjapan,
      Ok. If you want to save the money, even 1000 yen, you can use nex+suica. But how much luggage are you going to have? Shinjuku station is the busiest station in Japan. You are going to walk in huge number of people. I will take at least 15 minutes after you get off the train to get the hotel. If I were you, I will take the limousine and use JR pass from 2/1-2/7.
      Takeshi / JPRail

    • JPRail says:

      Hello Iluvjapan,
      I found the good movie for you.



      This movie shows you how busy Shinjuku station is. You will spend another 5 to 10 minutes from getting off the train to the station exit. If you have a big luggage, it will make you headache. And also you might lose your way because Shinjuku station is so big!
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. iLuvjapan says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    i will be checking into Hotel Wing international 1-21-7 Kabukicho,Shinjuku-ku,Tokyo,160-0021 Japan http://www.hotelwing.co.jp/shinjuku/e_index.html
    Just realised there is guide from the hotel

    From Narita Airport

    Board the bus for Shinjuku Station West Exit from the arrivals lobby of your terminal, 1st floor, bus stop 23/24. Get off at Shinjuku Station West Exit and walk 8 minutes to the hotel. Time required About 2 hours ,cost ¥3,000

    Please correct me if im wrong,Limousine costs 3000yen for one way on the 31st of Jan (1st day)But If i activate my JR pass on the second day,i will need to get return limousine which will cost me another 3000yen=6000 yen. Will it be more savvy if i get a nex/suica which is on promotion now 5500yen for a two way narita-tokyo transfer and a suica preloaded with 1500+500yen deposit which is refundable?
    http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/suica-nex/index.html

    Which one do you think is better ?
    or to activate my JRpass only on the 2of Feb-8th of feb and get

    Thanks

    Regards,

    IluvJapan

  6. iluvjapan says:

    Thanks JPrail for your reply.

    Your itinerary to JJ is great. Some of the forum actually suggested to take 16hrs night sleeper train from ueno which is way too long for me.

    Do u suggest that i get a suica/nex for narita transfer to tokyo as the JRpass only valid for 7days. Will it be cheaper ?or any other alternative ? i will activate it on second day for narita-tokyo and on the 9th for tokyo-narita.

    I might have to skip the Sapporo ice festival, as my flight home will be on 8th of Feb from tokyo narita. And i have just got back from Harbin ice snow festival thus i dont mind to give it a miss.

    What do you suggest for the return train from sapporo to tokyo and timing?

    Appreciated your replies. Has been stressed out of the itinerary thing..
    Too many places to go but too little time and budget hehe 🙂 Thanks

    Regards,

    IluvJapan

  7. iluvjapan says:

    Hi JPrail,

    Im going to Japan on 31st of Jan-8th of Feb.
    Will be arriving at Narita airport at 12pm. Have been to Tokyo-Osaka-Yokohama on my last trip. Im planning to go to Kyoto and Hokkaido on this trip. Will get a 7days JR pass. Thus do you think its more money savvy to get a round trip suica for narita express and start using my JR pass on the 1st of Feb-7of Feb ?
    Could you advise me of ‘must gp’ places in Kyoto and Hokkaido?

    Ur advice is very much appreciated. Thanks

    • JPRail says:

      Hello iluvjapan,
      If you stay in Tokyo first 8 days (Jan 31-Feb7), 7 days pass is the best choice. As probably you see my response to jj on the same page, you can go both Hokkaido and Kyoto in seven days. But it will be very busy trip.
      If you like to see the nature, Hokkaido is very attractive place. You have to spend all seven days there. But it is very cold in Hokkaido during winter time. If you don’t like it, don’t go there.
      And also it will be very busy in Hokkaido from Feb 7 to 13. Because we have very popular winter festival in Sapporo.
      Please see this link about “Sapporo Yuki-Matsuri”.
      I don’t think you can get the hotel easily at the reasonable price. If you want to see really really this event, you have to pay the extra to book the hotel. If you want to save the money, don’t go to Hokkaido in this period. You can go to Hokkaido in the first half of your trip. Stay in Tokyo in the last part.

      I recommend to go Kimizudera and Kinkakuji in Kyoto. And Hakodate, Toya Hot Springs and Otaru in Hokkaido. I would like you to go to the eastern Hokkaido, like Shiretoko, But you don’t have enough time. Please see the link below about the sightseeing.

      Kyoto: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2158.html
      Hokkaido: http://www.japan-guide.com/list/e1101.html

      I hope my advice will help you.

  8. jj says:

    Dear jprail,

    Thanks. I would like tocheck with you about luggage storage. I noticed that most hotels check out time is 10am. I am wondering how to keep my luggage if I am going out for example day trip to Fuji and then at night straight to take trian to other places.

    Thank you so much.

    Regards,
    jj

  9. jj says:

    Hello,

    Thanks for your prompt reply. Actually I plan to go 9 days. May spent 3 nights in Hokkaido, 3 nights in Kyoto/Osaka and 3 nights in Tokyo.
    I haven’t explore what are the good places to go in Hokkaido and Kyoto within such short period.
    My flight will reach Haneda Airport at 20:30 at night and still thinking which place I should go first. Hope you can give me more advice.
    Thanks

    • JPRail says:

      Hello JJ,
      If you want to save your money, stay at Tokyo for the first night, then go to Kyoto/Osaka.
      Day 1-3 Stay at Kyoto/Osaka
      Day 4
      After you will stay there for 3 nights, transfer to Tokyo and catch “Akebono” overnight train at Ueno.
      Day 5
      Akebono will arrive at Aomori and transfer to Hakucho to Hakodate, transfer to Hokuto at Hakodate bound for Sapporo.
      You will arrive at Sapporo at 15:44.
      Day 6
      Stay at Sapporo or stay at Lake Toya hot springs resort.
      Day 7
      Transfer to Tokyo via Hakodate, Shin-Aomori by express Hokuto, Hakucho and Tohoku Shinkansen.
      Day 8-10
      Stay at Tokyo. Japan Rail Pass will be expired already. But you don’t need to use Japan Railway in Tokyo. Subway is more convenient.

      This itinerary is the best that I can make. If you will go to Hokkaido during summer time, I recommend you to go to the east part of Hokkaido, such as Shiretoko and Kushiro. But you need to spend 2 more nights in Hokkaido.

  10. jj says:

    Hi,

    Just want to know whether your itinerary only uses Japan Rail Pass to hokkaido without paying extra charges?
    Does it mean I can travel by the 7 days Japan Rail Pass at 28300 yen to hokkaido and then continue back to Tokyo and then to Kyoto using the same pass?

    • JPRail says:

      Hello JJ,
      In my sample itinerary, a few bus fares are not included in the pass, such as the bus to Sounkyo, Utoro, Lake Toya. But basically you can go with no extra charge.
      If you want to to Hokkaido and Kyoto in seven days, it’s possible. But it’s very tight.

      For example, if you go to Sapporo from Tokyo, it takes 9 hours 15 minutes. So you will spend almost two days to transfer between Tokyo and Sapporo.
      If you can let me know what part of Hokkaido you want to go, and how many days you want to stay in Kyoto, I can give you some more advice.

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