The limited express Hokuto train guide and the timetable: Inter-city express train for Sapporo to Hakodate

Super Hokuto
281 series is the standard fleet for the limited express trains in Hokkaido.

The limited express Hokuto runs between Hakodate and Sapporo. This train connects to the Hokkaido Shinkansen at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. So if you move from Tokyo to Sapporo, take the Tohoku-Hokkaido Shinkansen and transfer to this train for Sapporo at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station. Japan Rail Pass covers all these trains from Tokyo to Sapporo.

Route, schedule and trip time

The Hokuto runs more than 10 trips a day. It takes 3 hours 10 minutes by the fastest Hokuto between Sapporo and Hakodate.

You can find the timetable in the link below:

Due to COVID-19, it may be operated on a schedule different from the normal timetable. Check the train schedule on Hyperdia.
Hyperdia perfect guide, train timetable and route search engine

I traveled from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto to Sapporo by this train. Please find my trip report in my Youtube channel:

But the trip between Sapporo and Tokyo is quite long trip. Please refer the link below to learn more:

Seat and facilities

The limitede express Hokuto operates on KIHA-261 or 283 series. The seat layout on Ordinary car is 2+2 and Green seat is 2+1. These two fleets are very similar. The biggest difference is a material of the seat on Green car. 283 series has ordinary fablic seats and 261 series has leather seats.

*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images of accommodations below.

Train formation

Train formation by 281 series


*Some more cars are added in the peak season.

Train formation (261 series)


Images – KIHA-281 series

Green seat

Ordinary seat

Sanitary space

Images – KIHA-261 series

Green seat

Ordinary seat

Sanitary space

139 thoughts on “The limited express Hokuto train guide and the timetable: Inter-city express train for Sapporo to Hakodate”

  1. hello takeshi san. where can we book reserved seat in limited express Super Hokuto? can we do it in JR sapporo station or in JR tokyo? thank you!

    1. Hi Azeh s san,

      You can reserve a seat at any major JR stations. Both Sapporo and Tokyo is okay. Actually most of JR stations in downtown Tokyo have a reservation window which is called “Midori no Madoguchi”. You also can book online but you have to collect a ticket at the disignated station. Please find the link below to get more info:


      Takeshi /

  2. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I bought a 7 day Hokkaido rail pass, planned to travel from New Chitose airport to Hakodate by Super Hokuto 16. I understand take if I book the reserved seat online, i need to collect the ticket 1 day before departure date. Since I will arrive at New Chitose Airport on the same day as the planned train schedule to Hakodate, thus i cant book the reserved seat in advanced?
    Also, are the fee for booking the reserved seat covered by the Hokkaido rail pass?

  3. Hello Takeshi san,

    I will be traveling with a friend to Hakodate and I’m wondering if there will be enough room to accomodate our ski gear. We will each have one ski bag and a backpack. Do you suppose there will be enough room?


  4. Hi Takeshi-san,

    just to confirm. the Unreserved seat ticket allows me to board anytime on that particular date. where else the Reserved seat ticket, only allows me to board at the exact departure time at a particular date?
    There are no other scenic train from Sapporro to Hakodate?
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Karmen san,

      You can take any trains on the paticular date. So you have to decide which day you travel when you buy a ticket. There is no other direct trains from Sapporo to Hakodate other than Super Hokuto. But the scenery is not bad. You will see the seashore line on the left side from Sapporo to Hakodate. So try to get a seat on left side to Hakodate.


      Takeshi /

  5. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I am travelling from Otaru to Hokadate and bought 7 days JR pass. Based on Google Map, will required to travel using Super Hokuto 10Limited Express Hakodate. Does the JR pass cover this too?

    Thank you

  6. Dear Takeshi-san,

    I have to take the “Super Hokuto” train from Sapporo to Hakodate, is there any space to store luggage on this train? I will be traveling with my Boyfriend and altogether we have 3pcs of luggage.

    Kindly advise, thank you so much!


      1. Dear Takeshi san,

        Thank you for your prompt treply!

        You mean at the first cabin of the train or at any entrance of the train?

        Thank you 🙂

          1. Dear Takeshi san,

            Well noted with thanks!

            I understand that you are able to reserve seats on bullet trains, how about the Super Hokuto train?

            Thank you

  7. Hi Takeshi-san,
    Please advise whether the JR Hokkaido Rail 3 Days Pass is available for travel from Shin-Chitose Airport to Hakodate. Based on the info at Hyperdia ,is it valid for LTD. EXP SUPER HOKUTO train ?

  8. Hi Takeshi,

    I need to travel from Narita Airport to APA Hotel Kandaeki Higashi
    2 Chome-1-1 Iwamotocho, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 101-0032.
    Which express train should I use, (N’Ex or Skyliner – Keisei-Ueno)?
    Should I buy the Suica & N’ex ticket for a one way trip since I will be in Japan longer than 14 days? Does the Skyliner offer the same combination ticket with the Suica? Thank you so much for your time.

    1. Hi DT,

      Suica and N’ex is no longer available. For the trip to Kanda, Skyliner is better than Narita Express. You can change Skyliner and JR Yamanote line at Nippori. At Ueno, Keisei railway station and JR station are a bit away. At Nippori, both train stations are located side by side. It is much easier to change train at Nippori than Ueno. You may find the deal of Skyliner at the link below:

      If you want Suica, just buy Suica itself.


      Takeshi /

  9. Hi Takeshi-san,
    I am trying to figure out the best travel out from Lake Toya where we plan to fly to Tokyo. We have hotel reservation on the lake front. Should I fly out from Hakodate or New Chitose Airport? Any recommendation on the best train to go from your recommended location to catch an airplane.

    Thank you for your help and guidance.


    1. Hi Piper san,

      I recommend New Chitose more than Hakodate. Because the station is located in the airport. And there are many more flights to New Chitose from Tokyo than Hakodate.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,
        I’m sorry that I wasn’t clear on my question. I will be in Lake Toya (Toyako Manseikaku Hotel Lakeside Terrace) and would like to get to Tokyo via airplane. Which is more faster and efficient to fly out: New Chitose Airport or Hakodate? You are correct that there are more flights in New Chitose. However, I noticed that I wold have to transfer train going to New Chitose Airport. Please confirm if I have the train route correct that I have for New Chitose Airport or for Hakodate (direct route).

        Ltd. Exp. Super Hokuto 1 TOYA(JR-MURORAN)
        transfer MINAMI-CHITOSE
        Rapid Airport 86 for NEW CHITOSE AIRPORT

        TOYA(JR-MURORAN) Ltd. Exp. Super Hokuto 4

        Thank you very much for your help and taking time to provide information. It is nice to have your response.


        1. Hi Piper san,

          I still recommend you to choose New Chitose more than Hakodate. Even though you have to change trains at Minami-Chitose as you mentioned, you can change trains at same station. If you go to Hakodate, you have to take a bus to get the airport from Hakodate station. Train change at Minami-Chitose is much much easier.


          Takeshi /

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