How to access from New Chitose airport to Sapporo, Otaru, Asahikawa and other cities in Hokkaido.

New Chitose airport station is located at the underground of the terminal building. (C) JP Rail
New Chitose airport station is located at the underground of the terminal building. (C) JP Rail

Hokkaido is one of the best destination in Japan. New Chitose airport (新千歳空港) is the biggest airport in Hokkaido. Some of you may be start your trip from this airport. I would like to show you how to get the train to Sapporo, Otaru and Asahikawa from New Chitose airport. And also I will show you how to transfer other trains to most of major cities in Hokkaido.

New Chitose airport terminal building and station

New Chitose airport station ticket gate (C) JP Rail

This station is directly connected with the terminal building. As probably you know, it is freezing in Hokkaido during winter season. But outer jacket is not required when you arrive in New Chitose station.

As you have seen the picture above, the station in located at the underground level. You can simply take stairs, escalators or elevators from the arrival level. There are lots of signage. You cannot miss it. Please see the following links to get the maps.

New Chitose airport station is quite small. There is only one ticket gate and one platform. If you want to exchange Japan Rail Pass or Hokkaido Rail Pass, you can do it at JR Hokkaido information desk. It is located at the left side of the ticket gate.

By the way, be careful to spend too much money in New Chitose airport terminal. Most of airports in Japan have lots of shops and restaurants. But I was very surprised when I stepped in the terminal building from the underground station. It was almost department store. This shopping complex is named “Fleur”. I put several terminal images below. And also if you are interested in it, please see their website.

Rapid Airport

Rapid Airport is stopping at Sapporo station. (C) JP Rail

Rapid Airport is operated between New Chitose airport and Sapporo, Otaru and Asahikawa. There are four trip an hour in daytime. Mostly two of these four trips connect airport with Otaru. Other trips connect airport with Sapporo or Asahikawa. The travel time to major stations are following:

to Minami Chitose (南千歳) – 3 minutes
to Sapporo – 36 minutes
to Otaru – approximately 1 hour 15 minutes
to Asahikawa – approximately 2 hours

*Direct train service to Asahikawa was discontinued on March 25, 2016. You have to change the train at Sapporo when you go to other than Sapporo and Otaru.

Rapid Airport to Otaru, Sapporo

View Rapid Airport to Otaru in a larger map

This Rapid Airport is operated by commute train 721 series. But most of trains have reserved sheet that is called “U seat”. U seat is like a express train sheet. Of course it is much better than regular seat. And also the car of U seat has baggage space. (Ordinary seat does not) If you use Japan Rail Pass or Hokkaido Rail Pass, you can take U seat without any extra. It is quite easy to book. Just go to “Midori no Madoguchi” (reservation window) and try to get it.” If you need the detailed timetable, please see the timetable at JR Hokkaido website.

I put several images of both ordinary seat and seat. Please see the difference.

Transfer to the trains to other major cities in Hokkaido

At Minami-Chitose station. All trains stop at this station. It is very easy to transfer. (C) JP Rail

As I mentioned above, you can access to Sapporo, Otaru and other major stations between Otaru and New Chitose airport directly. But if you go to other cities, you need to transfer. There are two transfer points.

Minami-Chitose – Hakodate, Muroran, Noboribetsu, Toya, Date-Monbetsu, Obihiro, Kushiro
Sapporo – Asahikawa, Furano, Wakkanai, Abashiri, Shiretokoshari

Minami-Chitose is just one station away from New Chitose airport station. It takes only 3 minutes. Furano can be accessed from the south via Minami-Chitose, Shitoku. But most of passengers take direct access train, Funora Lavender Express from Sapporo.


If you are looking for the direct access to your accommodation, airport buses may be better. You can find the detailed information at New Chitose Airport Buses information page.

Photo Credit for 721 series U seat – By天然ガス ( Tennen-Gas ) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

242 thoughts on “How to access from New Chitose airport to Sapporo, Otaru, Asahikawa and other cities in Hokkaido.”

  1. Dear Takeshi san
    I will be landing i the airport Chitose on the 16 of january and will be going to Otaru – what would be best for me – train or bus?
    Should i book a seat in advance or is it easy to buy when i arrive?
    Kind regards Heidi from Denmark.

    1. Hi Heidi san,

      Train is recommended more than bus.
      Actually you cannot book a seat in advance. There is online booking but if you use it, you have to pick up a ticket one day before. So you cannot use online for arrival day train ride. Train is a sort of commute trains. You can take a train without reservation. And if you want to take “U seat” (reserved seat), you can try to book a seat after arrival. Usually it’s not hard to get it.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi again Takeshi san.
        I have a question more, hope that i alright.
        I will be staying at the Authent Hotel i Otaru and will be goin to Kiroro to ski – i can see there is a skibus – but is that the only way to get there and back to the hotel again at night?
        I can see that latest bus leaves at 16.30 – if i want to stay until late – is taxi then the only way to get back to Otaru?
        Maybe there is other ways to get to Kiroro??

        Hope you can help you again 🙂
        Kind regards from Heidi

        1. Hi Heidi san,

          Taxi is only way to get back to Otaru after 16:30 bus. But you have to call a taxi from Otaru. Taxi fare may be more than 10,000 yen. This is not realistic choice. Don’t miss the last bus.


          Takeshi /

          1. Hi again Takeshi San
            Okay 10.000 that Sounds expencive
            My son is working out there so i was hoping we Could have dinner before talking a bus back.
            I must find another alternative when i get out there.
            Thank you for your time
            Kind regards Heidi

  2. Hi Takeshi San,

    Hope you doing great. I will be travelling to Hokkaido during winter festival next year with 3 kids (between 9 – 5 years old). I will be covering 3 big cities from airport (Chitose) –> Kutchan (4 days) –> Otaru (2 days) –> Sapporo (5 days). I am battling in deciding whether to rent a car or take a train as my main transport due to the fact am traveling with kids and after reading numerous of blog/site about it. If I decide to travel by train, do I buy JR Hokkaido Pass and Kitaca for travelling in those cities?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Chae san,

      Hokkaido rail pass is not your choice because you cannot get the worth of it. You may use Kitaca. But you cannot use Kitaca for Otaru-Kutchan segment. It is valid between Otaru, Sapporo and New Chitose only.


      Takeshi /

  3. is there an online reservation/booking for the U Seat travelling from Chitose Airport to Otaru and Sapporo to Chitose Airport? I can’t find it in Google or anywhere online.

    also we purchased a Kitaca pass. can that be used leaving and going to airport?

    1. Hi Set,

      Please see the link below to find online booking site. But you have to pick up a ticket day before. If you can’t, you cannot use this site and have to purchase a ticket after you arrive in Japan:

      You can purchase Kitaca at New Chitose airport station and use it right after purchasing.


      Takeshi /

  4. Hi.

    Just want to ask you before I purchase a JR Pass. I’m visiting Sapporo in February and I’m planning to get a JR Pass. Will I be able to use the JR Hokkaido Pass to ride a train from New Chitose Airport to Sapporo?

    Thank you. All the best.

  5. Takeshi san,

    I have purchased JR Pass 7 days but I only can activate my JR Pass from 19/8/18 onwards. My flight to New Chitose Airport at 5pm. Therefore, I would like to check with you whether I can buy JR tickets from the station immediately for one way trip from New Chitose Airport to Chitose Station. And how much the cost fare ?

    Thank you.


          1. Dear Takeshi san,

            If I’ll take 6 days flexible JR East South Hokakaido Rail Pass, can we use for Tokyo to Gotemba ?
            Because my plans: New Chitose > Sapporo > Hakodate > Tokyo > Gotemba ( day Return ) > Tokyo > Haneda.

            And that JR also can use to Haneda via monorail right ?


            Best Regards,

            1. Hi Boyke san,

              Gotemba is not in the coverage area of this pass. When you go to Gotemba, you have to change trains at Kozu. You can get Kozu by the pass but you have to pay for Kozu to Gotemba.

              Monorail to Haneda is covered.


              Takeshi /

              1. Dear Takeshi san,

                Sorry for another question, if i use 48 Hours Tokyo subway pass ( Metro and TOEI ), can we use also for going back to Haneda ? ( Keikyu Line ). Because i check at google maps, from Higashi-Nihombashi Station ( Asakusa Line ), no need to change train ( same train ), direct to Keikyu Line ( to Haneda ).

                Thanks again.

                1. Hi Boyke san,

                  It does not cover Keikyu line. As you said, you can get Haneda without changing trains. But the segment between Sengakuji and Haneda airport belongs to Keikyu line which is not subway. You have to pay for this segment on top of subway pass.


                  Takeshi /

          2. Dear Takeshi san,

            Thanks for the information, Can check with you how to go Kawaguchiko station from Haneda Airport. My flight will reach Haneda Airport at 5pm from New Chitose Airport.

            Thank you.


          3. Dear Takeshi san,

            My flight to Haneda airport at 5pm so I cannot take bus to Kawaguchiko. May I know what is the better way to go Kawaguchiko? Is my JR pass can use for all train to Kawaguchiko?



            1. Hi Annie san,

              If you want to maximize using JR Pass, your route is the following:

              Haneda (Monorail) Hamamatsucho (Yamanote line) Shinjuku (Limited Express Azusa or Kaiji) Otsuki (Fuji Kyuko railway) Kawaguchiko

              But JR pass does not cover Otsuki to Kawaguchiko because Fuji Kyuko is not JR. Monorail is not JR but this is covered. Please see the links below to find more info:


              Takeshi /

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