Peach / Vanilla Higashi Hokkaido Free Pass

Farm near Furano, typical scenery in Hokkaido (C) Furano / JNTO

I explain many deals in this site but these are mostly available for overseas tourist only. In this post, I would like to show you the deal for both resident and overseas tourist in this post. This deal, Peach / Vanilla Higashi Hokkaido Free Pass is designed for the trip to eastern part of Hokkaido. If you are under 25 years old, you can get this pass at U25 discount rate.

I would like to show you how you use this pass. Continue reading Peach / Vanilla Higashi Hokkaido Free Pass

Hokkaido train operation status in fall 2016. Guide for substitute train and bus service.

Limited Express Okhotsk is suspended currently.
Limited Express Okhotsk is suspended currently.

Tomamu – Obihiro segment will open on 22nd December.

Hokkaido was hit by very severe typhoon in late August. Many train lines are closed by this storm and many trains are suspended currently. Substitute bus service and tentative train are operated but trip time is much longer than original schedule. And also the accommodation of some trains are totally different from Limited Express train interior. It offers just commute train accommodation. It is obviously inconvenient. If you cannot accept this situation, I recommend you to change your trip plan. It may not be a right time to visit there.

Anyway I will guide the substitute train and bus service in this post. Continue reading Hokkaido train operation status in fall 2016. Guide for substitute train and bus service.

Hokkaido Unlimitd Train Ticket and Southern Hokkaido Unlimited Train Ticket for resident in Japan

Clock tower is the icon of Sapporo.
Clock tower is the icon of Sapporo.

JR East and JR Hokkaido have just announced that they will two types of unlimited ride ticket for trip to Hokkaido from Tokyo. If you go to Japan from outside of Japan, you have lots of choices, like Japan Rail Pass, JR East Pass or Hokkaido Area Pass. But if you are in Japan as resident, you cannot purchase these tickets for overseas travellers. So if you want to go to Hokkaido by train, this ticket may be your choice. Only Japanese information will be provided by JR East (JR東日本). So I would like to share the information about this ticket with you here in English. Continue reading Hokkaido Unlimitd Train Ticket and Southern Hokkaido Unlimited Train Ticket for resident in Japan

Schedule of 2012-13 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Ryuhyo Norokko train is operated during very popular Drift Ice season in Hokkaido.

Some part of winter season is the busiest period. Especially in Japan, New Years holidays are crazy busy. In this season, December 28 to 31, January 2, 3 and 6 are expected to be the busiest days. I recommend you to avoid getting a train on those days. The vehicle occupancy rate may be more than 200%. As long as trains have non reserved seat, you can get on anyway without any reservation. But you will be forced to stay on the isle or passenger’s deck without seat. There are many passengers without seats in the train during those busiest days.

As probably you know, it is icy freezing weather in Hokkaido and north part of Honshu island (Tohoku region). If you travel in these cold weather regions, please expect the delay due to snow or high wind. Please have time to spare in your itinerary. Don’t make a tight schedule.

Anyway JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during all winter season. But it is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the popular trains and are operated in the popular spot. Continue reading Schedule of 2012-13 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Hokkaido Rail Pass. The best deal for rail trip in Hokkaido for oversea visitors.

World famous Sapporo Snow Festival (C) Yasufumi Nishi / (C) JNTO
World famous Sapporo Snow Festival (C) Yasufumi Nishi / (C) JNTO

If you will travel in Hokkaido only, Hokkaido Rail Pass is the best choice for you. But if you travel in other cities and areas, even just staying in Tokyo, you may consider about other passes. You should compare and find which one is more suitable for you.

In this post, I show you the details about Hokkaido Rail Pass. And I will compare Hokkaido Rail Pass and Japan Rail Pass Continue reading Hokkaido Rail Pass. The best deal for rail trip in Hokkaido for oversea visitors.

Direct transfer to Abashiri for Drift ice in Shiretoko by Ryuhyo Limited Express Okhotsk no Kaze

KIHA183 North Rainbow Express is one of the trains to be used for Furano Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
KIHA183 North Rainbow Express is one of the trains to be used for Furano Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

This train has not run in the last few years. Please do not use this train in your trip plan.

This is a seasonal operation of Limited Express Okhotsk that connect Sapporo (札幌) and Abashiri (網走) in Hokkaido. This train is operated from late January to early March for Ryuhyo (流氷=Drift ice) viewing. The operation, like time required and route, is completely same as Limited Express Okhotsk. But this seasonal train is operated by specialized car. The accommodation is much better than regular train of Limited Express Okhotsk.

You can take this train by Japan Rail Pass with no restriction. Let’s see the details. Continue reading Direct transfer to Abashiri for Drift ice in Shiretoko by Ryuhyo Limited Express Okhotsk no Kaze

Drift ice watching in Shiretoko by Ryuhyo Norokko train

Ryuhyo Norokko train is operated during very popular Drift Ice season in Hokkaido.
Ryuhyo Norokko train is operated during very popular Drift Ice season in Hokkaido.

Ryuhyo Norokko train has been stopped operation because of carriage was too old. Other train replaced Ryuhyo Norokko train but it is operated by common fleet.

Ryuhyo (Drift Ice=流氷) viewing is most popular things to do in Hokkaido during the winter time. This sea ice reach around Abashiri from late January to late March. The best season to view this ice is mid February. This train, Ryuhyo Norokko train is operated in this Ryuhyo season between Abashiri (網走) and Shiretoko-Shari (知床斜里) where is the gate town to Shiretoko peninsula. This train goes on Senmo line (釧網本線) along the coast of Sea of Okhotsk. You have lots of change to see the sea ice from the train. And also Abashiri can be reached by Limited Express Okhotsk or seasonal tran, Ryuhyo Limited Express Okhotsk no Kaze from Sapporo. Both express train from Sapporo and Ryuhyo Norokko train are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass.

Let’s see the detail about this train. Continue reading Drift ice watching in Shiretoko by Ryuhyo Norokko train

Schedule of 2011-12 winter seasonal trains

KIHA183 Crystal Express is one of the trains to use for Tomamu-Sahoro Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
KIHA183 Crystal Express is one of the trains to use for Tomamu-Sahoro Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Some part of winter season is the busiest period. Especially in Japan, New Years holidays are crazy busy. In this year, December 30, 11 (Fri) and January 4, 12 (Sun) will be busiest days. Please try to avoid taking a train on those days. the vehicle occupancy rate may be more than 200%. Sometimes it is almost impossible to get in or out from the train.

Even though Japan is very small country, Japan have several climate zone. It is icy freeeeeezing weather in Hokkaido. South part of Kyushu have very mild weather. It is very interesting season to travel. But if you travel in Hokkaido, Tohoku or Hokuriku region, please expect the delay due to snow. I do not recommend you to make a tight schedule.

Anyway JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during all winter season. But it is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the popular trains and are operated in the popular spot. Continue reading Schedule of 2011-12 winter seasonal trains

Shiretoko peninsula, Hokkaido access guide

Shiretoko Pass is the highlight of Shiretoko peninsula. (C) JNTO
Shiretoko Pass is the highlight of Shiretoko peninsula. (C) JNTO

Shiretoko is one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan. There are falls, lakes and onsen. Shiretoko is one of the best place to enjoy the nature of Hokkaido. I will share the information about access Shiretoko. Continue reading Shiretoko peninsula, Hokkaido access guide

Sample itinerary Hokkaido 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

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. Continue reading Sample itinerary Hokkaido 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

Express train to/from Abashiri and Sapporo. Limited Express Okhotsk / Taisetsu

Limited express train Okhotsk
Limited express train Okhotsk

Limited Express Okhotsk and Taisetsu take you to Abashiri from Sapporo and Asahikawa. Abashiri is well known as drift ice viewing in winter time. And also when you go to the world heritage site, Shiretoko, you may use this train to Abashiri and transfer to the local train to Shiretoko-Shari. If you need the information about the access to Shiretoko, please see one of my posts, “How to get Shiretoko“.

You can take this train by Japan Rail Pass with no restriction. I would like to show you the information about these trains. Continue reading Express train to/from Abashiri and Sapporo. Limited Express Okhotsk / Taisetsu

Compare Japan Rail Pass and regular fare. Which one has a greater value or cheap?

Tokaido Shinkansen
Most common fleet of Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen N700 sereis, a.k.a. Bullet train.

When you think about buying Japan Rail Pass, you may compare the price of Japan Rail Pass and a single fare. But it is very hard to get an exact fare because the fare rule of Japan Railway is so complicated. So I will give you some examples and consider which way has greater value. Continue reading Compare Japan Rail Pass and regular fare. Which one has a greater value or cheap?