New Chitose Airport train access guide. How to get Sapporo, Otaru and other cities in Hokkaido.

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

New Chitose airport (新千歳空港) is the biggest airport in Hokkaido and the primary gateway for the trip to Hokkaido by flights. Some of you start your trip from this airport.

In this post, I would like to share the guide of the train access between this airport and Sapporo and Otaru. I will also show you how to take the trains to most of major cities in Hokkaido.

Access between the terminal building and the station

There are lots of signages between the terminal building and the station.

This station is directly connected to the terminal building. You can get the station from the terminal building easily just inside the building. You can move without any outer jacket even in the freezing weather.

As you have seen the picture above, the station is located at the underground level. You can simply take the 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 and more information.

Platform and ticket gate of New Chitose Airport station

New Chitose airport station ticket gate (C) JP Rail

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

Rapid Airport which is the train between New Chitose Airport, Sapporo and Otaru

Rapid Airport at Sapporo station

Rapid Airport runs between New Chitose airport and Sapporo, Otaru. Please see the map below to find the operation route:

Rapid Airport takes you to Sapporo and Otaru directly. (Click to view large)

There are four trip an hour in daytime. Two of these four trips runs between New Chitose Airport and Otaru. Other two trips connect the airport and Sapporo. The travel time to major stations are the following:

to Minami Chitose – 3 to 4 minutes
to Sapporo – approximately 40 minutes
to Otaru – approximately 1 hour 15 minutes

This Rapid Airport is operated by the commute train fleet 721 series or 733 series. Most of Rapid Airport have the reserved sheet that is called “U seat”. U seat offers much better seat. It is same level as the limited express train ordinary sheet.

The entrance of U seat
Interior of U seat (C) Tennen-Gas [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
U seat

And also only car of U seat has a baggage space. If you use Japan Rail Pass, Hokkaido Rail Pass, or JR-East South Hokkaido Rail Pass, you can take U seat without any extra payment. You can book a seat in advance or even in last minutes, like 10 minutes before the departure time. Just go to Midori no Madoguchi (JR train reservation window) to book it. You can find Midori no Madoguchi at most of major stations throughout Japan.

Please see the timetable at JR Hokkaido website to get the full timetable of Rapid Airport.

You can take Rapid Airport without reservation. If you take Rapid Airport by 721 series, the seat is not bad.

721 series non reserved seat
721 series non reserved seat

But if all seats are occupied, you have to stand up.

If the train is by 733 series, non reserved seat is just a common commute train.

There were very few passengers because this photo was taken in very early morning. But in day time, it is much busier and you may have to stand up.

You cannot choose 721 series or 733 series. The timetable does not show which train set will be used.

Transfer to the trains to other major cities in Hokkaido

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

You can access to Sapporo and Otaru from New Chitose Airport directly. But if you go to other cities, you have to change trains. There are several transfer points.

First of all, Minami-Chitose station is the transfer point for the following places:

  • Hakodate
  • Noboribetsu
  • Toya (Lake Toya)
  • Hakodate
  • Tomamu
  • Obihiro
  • Kushiro
  • Nemuro (via Kushiro)

Sapporo station is the second transfer points if you visit these following cities:

  • Asahikawa
  • Furano(via Asahikawa or Takikawa)
  • Biei (via Asahikawa)
  • Abashiri
  • Wakkanai
  • Shiretoko-Shari(via Abashiri)

And Otaru station is the last transfer point for Niseko, Kutchan and Yoichi.

The airport shuttle bus

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.

I hope this airport guide make your trip planning be easier.

260 thoughts on “New Chitose Airport train access guide. How to get Sapporo, Otaru and other cities in Hokkaido.”

  1. Dear Takeshi san,

    I will be flying into KIX on 20 Dec and will travel from Osaka – Tokyo – Niseko – Otaru – Sapporo mainly by train, except for between Tokyo to Niseko. I am intending to fly from Haneda to New Chitose Airport, then take the train from New Chitose station to Niseko via Otaru.

    I understand that the ICOCA card only covers the train fare between New Chitose station to Otaru station. At Otaru station, I need to transfer to the JR Hakodate Line to get to Niseko.

    May I ask: when should I get the ticket for Otaru – Niseko? Should it be at New Chitose station or at Otaru? If I need to get the ticket at Otaru station, do I need to exit the train platforms to get the ticket, then re-enter the train platform to get on board the train to Niseko?

    Thanks very much in advance!

    Kind regards,
    Esther

    1. Hi Esther san,

      If you use ICOCA, you have to exit at Otafu station because you have to tap your IOCCA at Otaru station. You will purchase a ticket for Otaru to Niseko there.

      But if you don’t use ICOCA and purchase a ticket for New Chitose to Niseko, you don’t need to exit at Otaru. And the fare is about 400 yen cheaper than ICOCA (New Chitose to Otaru) and a regular ticket (Otaru to Niseko).

      I recommend you to use one regular ticket. You can use ICOCA to purchase something in the convenience store.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Dear Takeshi san,

        thanks so much for the helpful tip! I will purchase the ticket to Niseko from New Chitose station without using the ICOCA card.

        I have some other queries (sorry, some of the questions belong to other topics but I am compiling everything here.).

        I used the Hyperdia app to check the corresponding 2018 arrival / departure times, train information and train fare to plan by 2019 itinerary. Based on the info, I feel that it may not be worth if to get a JR Pass. However, I need your expertise to advise:
        – If there is any pass I can use OR I just stick to the ICOCA card for ease of ticket-less traveling?

        You replied to a fellow traveller that online booking via JR East website is possible but the tickets need to be collected a day in advance.
        – In the event that I don’t have any pass and I am unable to collect my ticket a day before, is there any way to make seat reservations early for some of the Rapid or Limited Express trains especially since my travel dates are the New Year peak period in Japan?
        – If seat reservations cannot be made early, can I “add” a seat reservation when buying the base fare ticket from the ticket machine when I arrive at the train station?

        My current itinerary is:

        20 Dec : Flight into KIX from Singapore
        : Train from KIX to USJ Hotel (morning)
        : Visit Namba (evening)
        – At the moment, I am thinking of getting the ICOCA & HARUKA set from JR ticket counter. Based on the website, the discounted ticket does not have the seat reservation. Is it possible to pay for a seat reservation at the ticket counter?

        21 Dec : USJ

        22 Dec : Namba & Dotonbori

        23 Dec : Depart from USJ to Tokyo
        : Train from Universal-City to Maihama via Shinkansen
        – I will use the smartEX to make the ticket and seat reservation in advance. May I confirm that the ticket collection will be at the Sinkansen transfer gate at Shin-Osaka station?

        24 Dec to 26 Dec : Stay inside Tokyo Disneyland

        26 Dec : Depart from Tokyo to Niseko
        : Airport limousine bus from Tokyo Disneyland to Haneda
        : Flight from Haneda to CTS
        : Train from New Chitose station to Niseko station via Otaru station
        – The Airport 155 from New Chitose station to Otaru requires a seat reservation

        26 Dec – 31 Dec : Stay in Niseko (some day trips to Kutchan)

        31 Dec : Depart from Niseko to Otaru
        : Train from Kutchan to Otaru

        31 Dec to 2 Jan : Stay in ryokan (1 or 2 day trips via train to otaru canal area)

        2 Jan : Depart from Otaru to Sapporo
        : Train from Otaru station to Sapporo station
        – The Airport 134 from Otaru to Sapporo requires a seat reservation

        2 Jan to 4 Jan : Stay in Sapporo (day trips via train into Susukino)

        4 Jan : Depart from Sapporo to home
        : Train from Sapporo to New Chitose

        Thanks very much again, Takeshi san!

        Kind regards,
        Esther

        1. Hi Esther san,

          1. ICOCA and Haruka, reserved seat
          If you want to reserve your seat, don’t use ICOCA and Haruka. You may purchase a regular ticket and buy ICOCA beside the ticket. Because this deal covers only non reserved seat. If you take a reserved seat, you have to pay the full fare of reserved seat fee. (not the difference between reserved and non reserved) As a result, the regular ticket is cheaper.

          2. Smart EX
          You can receive your Shinkansen ticket at the vending machine near Shinkansen transfer gate.
          https://smart-ex.jp/en/entraining/ticket/

          3. You can reserve your seat on rapid train to/from Otaru when you are in Osaka. There are Midori no Madoguchi in most of JR stations which includes Universal City station.

          JR Pass is not required. Just use those tickets which you are thinking.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

              1. Hi Takeshi san,
                Another 2 question;
                1. Is the Full National JR Pass, also cover for Hayabusa Shinkansen from Shin Hakodate to Tokyo ?
                2. That Full National JR Pass also cover for JR Bus no.70 ( From Teine Station to Teine Highland Ski Resort ?
                Thanks

                1. Hi Boyke san,

                  1. Yes.
                  2. Maybe. Both JR Pass official site and JR Hokkaido Bus official site do not provide any detailed info. JR Bus official site says it covers JR bus local line with a few exception. So please ask the driver before on board. You may need to pay.

                  Cheers,

                  Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Dear Takeshi San
    Do you have a link to the train times from sapporo to Otaru and back again?
    And Maybe a link or info have and where to buy a ticket

    Kind regards Heidi

    1. Hi Heidi san,

      You can find all trains timetables in Hokkaido at the link below:
      http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/train/index.html#ip1

      You also can find the timetable and the fare at Hyperdia:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/hyperdia-perfect-guide-train-timetable-and-route-search-engine.html

      You can buy a ticket in the vending machine when you take a train.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Dear Takeshi san,

    Would like to check with u if I take 4 days flexible JR Pass is it good enough to cover my itinerary as below?

    27/1/2019 (SUN) – ARRIVE TO NEW CHITOSE AIRPORT, JR TO HAKODATE

    28/1/2019 (MON) – HAKODATE

    29/1/2019 (TUE) – HAKODATE to SAPPOORO

    30/1/2019 (WED) – ASAHIKAWA 1 DAY TRIP

    31/1/2019 (THU) – SAPPORO

    1/2/2019 (FRI) – OTARU 1 DAY TRIP

    2/2/2019 (SAT) – SAPPORO

    3/2/2019 (SUN) – CHITOSE

    4/2/2019 (MON) – NEW CHITOSE AIRPORT  MALAYSIA

  4. Hi Takeshi san
    I arrive on 28th December landing at 5 pm. I’m heading to Otaru. I researched before and thought I’d have to wait until 9pm to get the train, but I see from your website that the trains go every twenty minutes.
    So could I get a train to Otaru (via Sapporo) before 9pm? theoretically

  5. 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.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      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??

        https://www.access-n.jp/winter2018/en/skibus/detail/otaru_kiroro.html#000864

        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.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          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

  6. 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.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. 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:
      https://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/English/wb/common/Menu/Menu.aspx?_ga=1.4778995.1325107855.1421419524

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

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    Regards,
    Annie

          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 ?

            Thanks.

            Best Regards,
            Boyke

            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.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

              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.

                  Cheers,

                  Takeshi / JPRail.com

          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.

            Regards,
            Annie

          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?

            Thanks.

            Regards,
            Annie

            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:
              https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/haneda/how-to-access-from-haneda-airport-to-downtown-tokyo.html
              https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/1to3-days/how-to-build-the-trip-plan-to-fuji-area-various-sample-itineraries-of-fuji-five-lakes-and-5th-station.html

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

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