I had a trip from Aomori to Sapporo by Overnight Express Hamanasu on March 19, 2012. After arrival in Sapporo, I continued my trip in southern part of Hokkaido in just one day. I knew this was very busy trip. But I wanted to visit as many as possible.
Even though my itinerary was too busy to recommend you, my experience may give you some ideas to plan your trip.
If you want to read other parts of this trip, please see the following posts:
My trip from Osaka to Aomori via Tokyo, Matsushima and Kakunodate on March 19, 2012 by Tokaido, Tohoku and Akita Shinkansen
My trip from Aomori to Sapporo on March 19, 2012 by Hamanasu Carpet car.
Sapporo to Otaru by local train
Sapporo 08:17 (Local train) 09:06 Otaru
After I said Good-bye to Hamanasu, I rushed to change the train to Otaru. I supposed to have one hour at Sapporo station to have breakfast. But Hamanasu delayed for 80 minutes. I needed to catch up with my original schedule! I jumped into the train to Otaru.
It was about one hour trip to Otaru by local train. The train was not bad. If you take Rapid train, you can take reserved seat, U seat without any extra by JR Pass. But this train did not have any U seat.
This line go along the sea shore line between Zenibako station and Asari station.
This is the best section on the way to Otaru from Sapporo. The train pass this section about 30 minutes after Sapporo departure. Don’t miss it.
After I arrived at Otaru station, I went to Midori no Madoguchi to book U seat on the way back to Sapporo. And also I checked a space availability for B Solo (basic compartment) on Hokutosei. When I tried to book B Solo one month prior departure date, I could not book it. It was too popular to book it! I booked B berth (basic sleeper) anyway. After I arrived in Japan, whenever I saw Midori no Madoguchi, I checked the space. But I could make it. I thought this was the last chance to check at Otaru. I did not expect I could get it. But a station staff told me, “Yes, we have only one available.” YES! I finally did it! I was so happy to have a privacy on Hokutosei. Anyway, after I left Otaru station, I went straight to the famous Otaru canal.=
Actually this canal was the reason why I came to Otaru. I was very impressed to get there. But I had only one hour to stay in Otaru. I walked around the canal and headed back to the station.
It is very easy to access to Otaru from Sapporo. If you stay in Sapporo, I recommend you to visit this beautiful port city, Otaru.
Otaru to Sapporo by Rapid Airport
Otaru 10:04 (Rapid Airport @ U Seat) 10:36 Sapporo
I booked U seat on the way back to Sapporo. My seat was on the right side. It was opposite side of sea shore. But there were lots of empty seat. I enjoyed the view of shore line again.
By the way, Otaru station is very small and very easy to get the direction. There are only 2 platforms and 4 tracks. Track numbers are 1,2,4 and 5. (#3 is missing.) There are only one exit and ticket gate. These platforms and the ticket gate are connected by underground walkway. Usually Rapid Airport depart/arrive at track 4 or 5. Please see the following images of Otaru station.
You can see the map in JR Hokkaido website. It is Japanese. But you can guess it.
To visit this city, Sapporo is one of my object in this trip too. But I had three things to do in less than 2 hours.
First of all, I walked down to Clock Tower, the landmark of Sapporo and Odori Park.
There were lots of snow. March was not spring but still winter in Hokkaido.
I went back to Sapporo station by subway. Because I had never taken it. And also I need to save time to eat Ramen (Japanese style Chinese noodle in soup). I really love Ramen.
I went to 10th floor at Sapporo ESTA. This is one of the shopping complex around Sapporo station. There are 9 Ramen restaurants in this building. It is called Sapporo Ramen Kyouwakoku (Republic of Ramen). Sapporo is well known as home town of Miso Ramen.
Of course I tasted it.
Sapporo to New Chitose Airport by Rapid Airport (Limited Express Super Kamui)
I got on Rapid Airport to New Chitose Airport. This train was operated as Limited Express Super Kamui before arriving at Sapporo station. I booked U seat again. Because this train had a power outlet. This might be a last chance to charge on this day.
After arriving at New Chitose Airport, I checked access between the station and the terminal building. Please refer the post, How to access from New Chitose airport to Sapporo, Otaru, Asahikawa and other cities in Hokkaido. to get the details about airport access and Rapid Airport.
Minami-Chitose to Hakodate by Limited Express Hokuto
Mew Chitose Airprt 13:34 (Rapid Airport) 13:37 Minami-Chitose 13:45 (Hokuto #14) 16:49 Hakodate
After visiting New Chitose Airport, I moved to Minami-Chitose where is one station away from New Chitose Airport. I transferred Limited Express Hokuto to Hakodate. This station is a junction to Sapporo, Hakodate, Kushiro, Obihiro. Most of trains stop at this station.
The view was nothing special when I left Minami-Chitose by Limited Express Hokuto. But after stropping at Tomakomai, this train went along sea shore line.
Especially after Higashi-Muroran, I enjoyed the view of Uchiura bay on left hand side. I was so happy to have a local beer with this nice view!
It was 3 hours trip to Hakodate. But I felt much shorter trip.
If you want to continue reading after arriving at Hakodate, Please read next post, My trip from Hakodate to Ueno (Tokyo) on March 20, 2012 by sleeper train Hokutosei.