Direct access to Hokkaido from Tokyo, Hokkaido Shinkansen (bullet train)

H5 series will run on Hokkaido Shinkansen as Hayabusa and Hayate. This fleet is same series as Tohoku Shinkansen E5 series. (C) By Sukhoi37 (Own work),  JR Hokkaido H5 series shinkansen set H1 approaching Sendai Station on a test run,CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
H5 series will run on Hokkaido Shinkansen as Hayabusa and Hayate. This fleet is same series as Tohoku Shinkansen E5 series. (C) By Sukhoi37 (Own work), JR Hokkaido H5 series shinkansen set H1 approaching Sendai Station on a test run,CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Hokkaido Shinkansen will be opened on March 26, 2016 between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. This will be the newest Shinkansen (Bullet Train) line technically. However this line is connected with Tohoku Shinkansen at Shin-Aomori. Many of trains run through Tohoku Shinkansen to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto from Tokyo. You will be able to get Hokkaido from Tokyo directly by this Shinkansen train.

However Hokkaido Shinkansen will be partial open. You can get southern Hokkaido only. You still need to transfer to get most of Hokkaido. such as Sapporo. And also Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station is not located in downtown of Hakodate. You need to transfer to get Hakodate.

I mentioned many negative things at the beginning. But it will be much more convenient and faster than current trains. There are a few things that you need to know before taking Hokkaido Shinkansen. I would like to show you the detail of Hokkaido Shinkansen and will also give you some tips to use this Shinkansen line in this post.

*Additional info
JR Group has announced that Hokkaido Shinkansen is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass, a.k.a. JR pass.

Route, schedule and trip time

The route is shown in the map below:

Map of Hokkaido Shinkansen (C) Hisagi - CC BY-SA 3.0  or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons
Map of Hokkaido Shinkansen (C) Hisagi – CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

There will be 13 round trips in the following segment.

Tokyo to/from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Run as Hayabusa
10 round trips
Sendai to/from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Run as Hayabusa
1 round trip
Morioka to/from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Run as Hayate
1 round trip
Shin-Aomori to/from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Run as Hayate
1 round trip

As you see above, most of trains run between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. Technically this train runs on two different Shinkansen lines, Tohoku and Hokkaido. But it goes directly and you cannot find the difference between these two Shinkansen lines. Hokkaido Shinkansen is like extension of Tohoku Shinkansen. You may think one Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto.

The fastest train connects Tokyo and Shin-Hakondate-Hokuto in 4 hours and 2 minutes. The average trip time is around 4 hours 15 minutes.

Timetable

Unfortunately there is no timetable in English available yet. But I show you the link of timetable in Japanese.

You can find the timetable at JR Hokkaido official website.

Hokkaido Shinkansen and limited express train to/from Sapporo timetable

It’s Japanese but don’t worry and see Page 3 (but shown page 2 in the PDF) of this PDF.
You will find two tables there. The first one is bound for Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto and second one is bound for Tokyo.
In the first table, from left to right, the station names are shown, Tokyo (東京発), Omiya(大宮発), Sendai(仙台発), Morioka(盛岡発), Shin-Aomori(新青森発), Okutsugaru-Imabetsu(奥津軽いまべつ発), Kikonai(木古内発) and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto(新函館北斗着).
In the second table, it’s just reverse order.

Stations

The stations are same as Tohoku Shinkanse between Tokyo and Morioka. Please refer to Tohoku Shikansen.

Shin-Aomorix
Okutsugaru-Imabetsu*
Kikonai*
Shin-Hakodate-Hokutox

x:All trains stop *:some trains stop

All trains that run between Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto and Shin-Aomori, Morioka make stops at both Okutsugaru-Imabetsu and Kikonai. Trip between Sendai and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto skips both stations. Five of ten trips between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodatre-Hokuto make a stop at Okutsugaru-Imabetsu. And six of ten trips between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodatre-Hokuto make a stop at Kikonai.

Shin-Aomori station is one station away from Aomori station by local and express trains. Please see the link below to find the info about Shin-Aomori. Currently this page shows you how to change the train to Hakodate. But once Hokkaido Shinkansen opens, transfer is not required to Hokkaido at Shin-Aomori.

Shin-Aomori station guide. How to change the train, Shinkansen, Super Hakucho and other local trains.

Location of Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station

Hakodate Liner will be operated by commute train fleet 733 series.
Hakodate Liner will be operated by commute train fleet 733 series.

Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto is currently existed as Oshima-Ono station. This station is under construction now and will be opened as Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto on opening day. It is five stations away from Hakodate and it is not located in downtown Hakodate.

Access train “Hakodate Liner” will run between Shin-Hakondate-Hokuto and Hakodate. You have to change this train to Hakodate. It will take 15 to 20 minutes to get Hakodate from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. All Shinkansen trains will connect Hakodate Liner. You do not need to wait the trains to Hakodate for a long time.

Train formation and accommodation

All Hokkaido Shinkansen trains are same as Tohoku Shinkansen’s trains, “Hayabusa” and “Hayate”. Please refer the following page to get the details of Hayabusa and Hayate.

Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train), the fastest train to Tohoku area from Tokyo.

227 thoughts on “Direct access to Hokkaido from Tokyo, Hokkaido Shinkansen (bullet train)”

  1. Hi,

    We will be arriving in Tokyo at probably 4:00 pm on January 12, 2019, and we are planning to straightaway proceed to Sapporo / Hakodate on that same day. My question is, what is the last scheduled time for the train that leaves Tokyo to Hakodate, and do we need to pre-reserve seats before Jan 12, or is there free seating option for it? We are planning to take the last departure time and just sleep while on travel than spending 1 night in Tokyo.

    Thanks and Best Regards,
    Gen Ro

    1. Hi Gen Ro,

      Please see the link below to find the timetable for the train to Hakodate and Narita to Tokyo.
      http://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/english/wb/common/timetable/e_nex_u/index.html
      http://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/english/wb/common/timetable/e_tohoku_d/index.html

      As you see, the last one leave from Tokyo at 19:20. If you want to take this, you have to take Narita Express 42 (17:44 departure) or earlier. If your flight arrives at 16:00 on time, you can do it. But if your flight is delayed even 30 minutes, it will be very tight. I’m very familiar with Narita airport. But I spend 45 minutes to complete custom, immigration and baggage pick up. When I was Narita airport in this past October, JR ticket window was very busy. I spend 30 minutes to exchange JR pass and book a seat.

      If you don’t want to take any risks, I don’t recommend you to go to Hakodate on arrival day. Your choice is only the last departure train. If you miss it, you have to stay in Tokyo.

      You cannot go to Sapporo by train on arrival day.

      Online ticket reservation is not available for you because you have to pick up a ticket one day before. If you want to book a seat for next day and/or later, you can use the site in the link below:
      https://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/English/wb/common/Menu/Menu.aspx?_ga=1.4778995.1325107855.1421419524

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi,

        Thanks for the immediate response.

        I think if we reach 4:00 pm, we can still catch the 7:20 pm trip (last trip)
        .
        I am still figuring out what you have told me on your previous email. Yes, we are using JR Pass, which means we will need to have it replaced still, and it may take time. With regards to the reservation for the seat for the Shinkansen to Hakodate on that same day, I assume we will collect the reserved seat ticket from Tokyo Station, but will we be able to collect it from Narita as well?

        By the way, about our JR Pass, we can have it changed at Narita airport, right? ‘Coz we are planning to use it for the Narita Express train, rather than buying a separate ticket as I’ve read JR Pass can be used for NEX.

        Just to confirm, if we push on taking the 7:20 pm (last trip) to Hakodate, based on the link below, it will be the Hayabusa 37, right?

        http://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/english/wb/common/timetable/e_tohoku_d/18.html

        Also, just to check if you have any idea, will it be OK for us to stay inside the Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station and wait ’til morning for us to catch the earliest train going to Sapporo?

        Sorry to trouble you with so many questions but it’s just very difficult to plan a trip ahead of time when you have no one to ask who has direct access to a certain place.

        Thanks and Best Regards,
        Gen Ro

        1. Hi Gen Ro,

          You have to exchange JR pass at Narita to take Narita Express by JR pass. And you should book a seat for Hayabusa 37 from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto at Narita airport too. And I forgot to tell you one thing. Reservation is required to take Hayabusa 37. So in case of booked out on this train, you cannot take this train and have to stay in Tokyo. You have to take this risk too.

          And you cannot stay in Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station. The station will be closed after Hayabusa 37 arrived and the first train in next morning. So you need an accommodation there or Hakodate. So if you think about saving the cost for accommodation, this is not a good way. In Japan, the train station is closed after midnight till early morning around 4:30 to 5:00. You cannot stay overnight in the station. Especially it’s freezing cold in January in Hokkaido. You must need the place to stay overnight.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi,

            I tried to book a seat using the link you have provided me and there was an option there to log in or create an account for me to check the status, or cancel, or update my supposed reservation online eventually if I want to. It asked me to key in my credit card information.

            I just have a question, why is my credit card needed if I will not be charged for it since we will be using our JR Pass?

            I appreciate your patience and assistance.

            Thanks and Best Regards,
            Gen Ro

              1. Hi,

                Is there a way that we can ask someone from Japan to collect the reservation tickets for us?
                I mean, if our passports are needed, or any other supporting documents, then we can just send them photocopies of those, or does it really require us to personally collect the reservation tickets?

                Thanks and Best Regards,
                Gen Ro

      2. Hi Takeshi,

        Upon reading your helpful information, and additionally searching for answers, I’ve noticed that the cheap accommodation we have booked for an overnight stay in Hakodate is located in Hakodate itself. I’ve just realized that Hakodate and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto are not exactly the same. You will need to transfer to the Hakodate Liner first for you to reach Hakodate Station where our hotel is located at. The hotels near Shin-Hakodate Hokotu are very expensive.

        My concern is that we will be taking the last trip from Tokyo to Shin Hakodate Hokuto which will arrive at 11:33 pm and the last trip of the Hakodate Liner is at 11:46 pm. Now, we are not sure if we still have enough time to transfer to the Hakodate Liner as we still need to look for it as it is our first time, we have no idea yet where to find it.

        Say, we have no time to transfer, will there be taxis around that time outside Shin Hakodate Hokuto station that we can take to Hakodate proper? If yes, how much will you think we will be paying for it, and how long is the travel time?

        Thanks and lot Takeshi.

        Best Regards

        1. Hi Gen Ro,

          10 minutes transfer time is set on purpose. The station staffs direct you to the platform of Hakodate liner. You will never miss it.
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/station-information/shin-hakodate-hokuto-station-guide-how-to-change-hokkaido-shinkansen-tofrom-train-to-sapporo-and-hakodate.html

          If Shinkansen delay, Hakodate liner will wait. This train runs for Shinkansen passengers who go to Hakodate.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi,

            Once we’re in Hakodate already, when we proceed to Sapporo, do we need to travel back to Shin-Hakodate Hokuto and start our journey there? Or is there a Shinkansen train that we can take from Hakodate Station to Sapporo? And also, do we need to reserve also for the Hakodate – Sapporo trip?

            Thanks and Best Regards

  2. Dear Takeshi,

    My family and I are planning to go to Hokkaido from Tokyo using our JR pass. My question is, what time does the earliest train leave for Hokkaido and which station should we go to? Thanks and God bless!!!

  3. Hello

    My friends and I are going on a trip next year on 14 March to 4 April and we wish to cover Osaka, Tokyo, and Hokkaido during our stay. What pass would be the best and where may I be able to see the timetable for the trains?

    Thanks a lot

    1. Hi Aston,

      JR Pass is only deal to cover the place where you want to visit. If you visit these places by trains only, you can get the worth of even 21 days pass.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

      Timetable for next spring has not been released yet. But you can find the current timetable and use it to build your plan. Please see the link below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/japan-railways-timetables.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi I am coming to japan next week for 9 days and I need information on train trip
    – from narita to shinjuku
    – from shinjuku to hakadote at hokaido

    Thanks for your info

    Rgds
    Susie

  5. hi Takeshi
    i would like travel with my wife and two kids,from narita to hokkaido and back again to tokyo.what you advice route with Jr should i take,and cost me how much.
    thanks before.

    1. Hi Jusuf,

      First of all, please see the link below. You will find the info about access to Hakodate or Sapporo in Hokkaido from Tokyo.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/hokkaido-area/how-to-get-sapporo.html

      All timetables in Hokkaido can be found in the link below:
      http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/ttable/index.html

      If you visit southern Hokkaido, such as Hakodate, Sapporo, Noboribetsu, Toya, Otaru only, JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass is the best choice.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/hokkaido-area/jr-east-south-hokkaido-rail-pass-user-guide-perfect-deal-for-the-travelers-who-visit-tokyo-and-sapporo-by-train.html

      If you visit these above areas and/or other part of Hokkaido, such as Furano, Asahikawa, Kushiro, Abashiri, Tomamu, JR Pass is the best choice.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

      Even 14 days JR pass is cheaper than round trip fare between Tokyo and Sapporo.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Dear Takeshi,

    Would like to inquire again regarding my friends itinerary. Will stay at Japan for 7 days.
    Day 1 – arrival at Narita
    Day 1-3= Tokyo
    Day 4= Kyoto -Kinkakuji, fushimi inari, Gion , overnight stay at Kyoto
    Day 5= Arashiyama then back to Tokyo
    Day 7= Tokyo then to Narita airport
    Would you suggest a national JR pass or just the JR east west pass is enough. Then avail the Kyoto Raku bus?
    Thanks a lot!

  7. Hello JR Team,

    I would like to travel with my wife with JR PASS.
    1. from tokyo the final shinkansen time to hakodate can you advice what time is the latest train from tokyo? and the next day to go to sapporo from hakodate.
    2. then in return. from sapporo, we would like to go directly to kyoto. what is the best time for that travel.
    3. does all the trip covered by JR PASS?

  8. Dear Takeshi,
    I am planning to go to Hokkaido. I was wondering if I were to purchase the JR Pass will I be able to use the JR pass from Airport all the way to Hokkaido? Oh and will I be able to use the JR pass in Hokkaido itself too? Are there any JR lines in Hokkaido?

  9. Dear Takeshi

    Im planning to go hokkaido & tokyo with my family (2adult+2 kids (1yr &4yrs)

    From Sappora (New Chitose Airport) to Kiroro resort to stay for 2 nights & then from there going to tokyo(shinjuku)

    Can guide me which station and what pass should i buy,thanks

    1. Hi Rikka,

      Please see the link below about access to Kiroro resort.
      https://www.kiroro.co.jp/access/

      You may use JR-East South Hokkaido Rail Pass for Sapporo to Tokyo.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/hokkaido-area/jr-east-south-hokkaido-rail-pass-user-guide-perfect-deal-for-the-travelers-who-visit-tokyo-and-sapporo-by-train.html

      Sapporo to Tokyo is a quite long trip. Kids may be tired.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/hokkaido-area/how-to-get-sapporo.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Dear Takeshi,

        My friend is planning for a 8D7N stay at Tokyo & Osaka.
        1. Plan to go also to Kyoto. Would it be okay to get the JR East West Pass only?
        2. If will include Mt Fuji- is it better to get the National JR pass?
        Thanks a lot!

        1. Hi Terry,

          If you have round trip between Tokyo and Osaka, JR pass is your choice.
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

          If you have one way, single ticket or Platt Kodama is your choice for Tokyo-Osaka.
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/platt-kodama-one-way-deal-among-tokyo-nagoya-kyoto-and-shin-osaka-by-shinkansen.html

          You may add local deals with Platt Kodama or single ticket. There are many deals available. But you should make the detailed itinerary first before choosing the deals.

          For trip to Fuji, JR Pass covers partially. Express bus is most common way.
          https://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/fuji-hakone-access-guide-by-train-and-bus-from-both-tokyo-and-osaka-kyoto-nagoya.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

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