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
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 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

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

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

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.

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


  1. We w ill be visiting Hokkaido from the 22nd through the 28th of December, staying at a ryokan in Akan. Can you please advise if there are some interesting day trips by rail from and back to Kushiro or Akan that you would recommend? We are flying from Hong Kong to Kushiro via Haneda (Tokyo).

    Thank you for any advice you can give to make our visit more memorable. Should we expect quite a bit of snow at that time of year?

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hi Fred,
      I recommend you to go to Kushiro Marsh (Kushiro Shitsugen).
      We do not have any express train and cruising train in that period. So you need to take a local train. Please make sure the timetable before you go. This line (Senmo line) is very local. The train is operated once an hour. But you might see Japanese cranes.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. Desmond says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    Im in Abashiri on the 30 & 31 of December 2011, is the Aurora Sightseeing cruise available on these dates?

    And also any bus services available during these dates to Shiretoko?

  3. Anon says:

    Is there a place where I can leave my luggage in Mashu station before I go to Lake Mashu? I’ll visit the lake on feb 2011. thanks!

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hi Anon,
      Mashu station has some coin operated locker. I am not sure how big it is. But the standard size is 317mm x 355mm x 575mm.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. Neet says:

    Hello Takeshi-san
    Your web site is excellent, very informative.
    I want to know if I can go to the Asahidake Ropeway or Sounkyo Ropeway (Hokkaido) on winter time as a daytrip (by public transport: bus + train ).
    I mean taking the bus in the morning from Asahikawa Station (or Kamikawa Station for Sounkyo) and returning in the afternoon to Asahikawa on the same day.

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hello Neet,
      You can do it as a day trip. The bus from Asahaikawa station take you both location.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Anon says:

    I plan to go to Hokkaido during the Snow Festival next year. How can I fit the following places in 7 days (JR Pass)?

    Day 1: arrive in Sapporo (afternoon)
    Day 2-6: Sapporo, Otaru, Asahikawa, Abashiri, Utoro
    (optional: hakodate / noboribetsu)
    Day 7: depart Sapporo (afternoon)

    Is there any overnight bus (included in JR pass) from Abashiri to Sapporo?
    Thank you

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hi Anon,
      How about the following:
      Day 2 Sapporo-Abashiri
      Day 3 Abashiri-Utoro
      Day 4 Utoro-Asahikawa
      Day 5 Asahikawa-Otaru
      Day 6 Otaru-Sapporo
      You can stary in Sapporo on Day 5 instead of Otaru. Otaru is only 1 hour away from Sapporo by train. So you can go to Otaru as day trip from Sapporo.
      Unfortunately we do not have any overnight bus to Abashiri from Sapporo by JR pass.
      If you fly in and out Sapporo, you can use JR Hokkaido pass.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  6. dt says:

    hi, i would like to visit the following places in 8 days,
    -akan + lake mashu
    -ashashikawa (daisetzusan mountains etc)
    -noribetsu (lake toya etc)
    -half day in otaru
    -visit sapporo as well.

    i have 6 full days as i will reach new chitose airport at 8.30pm on the first night,
    and would have have to catch at 4pm flight back home from new chitose airport
    and i dont know how to go about planning my trip. main focus,is that is should be
    a relaxing one.

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hi dt,
      I recommend the following itinerary:
      Day1 Chitose-Sapporo
      Day2 Sapporo-Asahikawa-Daisetsu-Asahikawa
      Day3 Asahikawa-Noboribetsu
      Day4 Noboribetsu-Kushiro
      Day5 Lake Akan and Mashu from Kushiro
      Day6 Kushiro-Sapporo
      Day7 Sapporo (Day trip to Otaru and Sapporo)
      Day8 Sapporo-Chitose

      If you can give up one of the place where you want to go, the itinerary is easier.
      You can check the timetable here:

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  7. Allan says:

    would l like to find out how to travel from Niseko to hakodate , not the normal train who take 7 to 8 hourts any express train.

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hello Allan,
      You don’t have any express train from Niseko to Hakodate. You need to take a local train from Niseko to Oshamanbe. Then transfer to Limited Express Hokuto/Super Hokuto at Oshamanbe to Hakodate.
      It takes 70 to 80 minutes from Niseko to Oshamanbe. It takes another 80 to 90 minutes from Oshamanbe to Hakodate.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  8. Evghenii says:

    ohh… i hope one day i will visit japan… this is my dream

  9. IluvJapan says:

    Cool ! Thank u so much ! 🙂

    Will take the 12:07am on 7th of feb to go back to tokyo.



  10. iluvJapan says:

    Please see below the train details :

    00:17am Datemimbetsu
    05:40am Aomori (323mins Express Hamanasu )
    06:09 JR OU Line
    06:14 Shin Aomori
    6:31 Shinkansen hayate 12 (200mins )
    09:51 Tokyo

    Do i have to pay any extra for the seat with JRpass?
    Your help will be much appreciated.Thanks !



    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hello IluvJapan,
      If you start to use your Japan Rail Pass on Feb 1 and finish to use by Feb 7, you don’t need to pay the extra. If you take Hamanasu at Date-Monbetsu, you have to take the train at 0:17 on Feb 7.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

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