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

Comments

  1. cymphere
    Cymphere says:

    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
    12/1/18-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

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Cymphere san,

      You may use Hokkaido Rail Pass Flex 4 days for 10, 11, 13 and 14.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/hokkaido-rail-pass-the-best-deal-for-rail-trip-in-hokkaido-for-oversea-visitors.html

      Single ticket is okay for the rest of your trip.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      • cymphere
        cymphere says:

        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?

        • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
          Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

          Hi Cymphere san,

          Yes, you can. You can get unlimited ride on these four days.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          • cymphere
            cymphere says:

            Dear Takeshi san

            Appreciate very much of your quick reply, tks.
            Have a GOOD day ahead.

          • cymphere
            cymphere says:

            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.

            • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
              Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

              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.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

              • cymphere
                Cymphere says:

                Hi Takeshi san
                Tks always of yr quick reply & good advice!
                Best regards

                • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
                  Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

                  No worries, Cymphere san.

                  Cheers,

                  Takeshi / JPRail.com

                  • cymphere
                    Cymphere says:

                    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

                    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
                      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

                      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.

                      Cheers,

                      Takeshi / JPRail.com

                    • cymphere
                      Cymphere says:

                      Hi Takeshi san

                      Tks for great info again!

                      Best Rgds
                      Cymphere

                    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
                      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

                      No worries, Cymphere san.

                      Cheers,

                      Takeshi / JPRail.com

                    • cymphere
                      Cymphere says:

                      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?
                      Rgds
                      Cymphere

                    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
                      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

                      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.

                      Cheers,

                      Takeshi / JPRail.com

                    • cymphere
                      Cymphere says:

                      Dear Takeshi san
                      Tks for swift reply.

                      Rgds
                      Cymphere

                    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
                      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

                      No worries, Cymphere san.

                      Cheers,

                      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Denise says:

    Hello,

    What’s the best way to get to Lake Akan? Thanks!

  3. Maria says:

    Hello Takeshi,
    Can I return one day to sapporo – asahikawa -furano – biei -sapporo?
    Thanks

  4. Leah says:

    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

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      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.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Feny says:

    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!

  6. Diana says:

    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.

  7. CC says:

    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.

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      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.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. breakthroughexperiences
    BS CHEW says:

    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)

  9. nameisgg
    Nadine says:

    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,
    Nadine

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      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.
      http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/ttable/08.pdf

      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.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  10. SHT says:

    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

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