Rapid Airport train for New Chitose Airport to/from Sapporo and Otaru

Rapid service
Rapid Airport at Sapporo station

Rapid Airport runs between New Chitose airport and Sapporo, Otaru. This is most common and very reliable access for New Chitose airport. I would like to show you about this train in this post.

Operation route and travel time

Please see the map below to find the operation route:

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

In daytime, this train runs every 15 minutes. Two of four trips runs between New Chitose Airport and Otaru. Other two trips connect the airport and Sapporo.

The travel time from New Chitose Airport station 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

If you will travel to Hakodate, Toya, Noboribetsu, Obihiro, Kushiro, you can change the trains at Minami-Chitose. Please refer Hokkaido train guide in the link below:

Hotels in New Chitose Airport
Hotels in Otaru
Hotels in Sapporo

You can refer the link below if you take this train from New Chitose Airport:


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. The amenity of U seat 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.

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.

Fare and train pass

If you intend to use the train pass, such as JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass), Hokkaido Rail Pass, JR-East South Hokkaido Rail Pass, Peach/Vanilla Hokkaido Rail Pass, and other JR deals, this train is covered fully. But U seat is covered by the train passes which cover a reserved seat fee, such as JR Pass, Hokkaido Rail Pass, JR-East South Hokkaido Rail Pass and some others.

If you want to pay a regular fare, you may purchase a ticket at the vending machine. The base fare rate is the following:

New Chitose Airport1,150 yen1,910 yen

If you have the major IC card, such as Suica, ICOCA, Pasmo, Kitaca, you can use IC card instead of purchase a regular fare ticket.

If you want to take U seat, you have to pay the reserved seat fee 530 yen on top of these above base fare. You can purchase U seat ticket at either the vending machine or the reservation window. IC card cannot be used for U seat ticket.

Unfortunately there is no deals available for New Chitose Airport to/from Sapporo or Otaru.


  1. ginacjy
    gina says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Can I just check with you. Will I be able to buy the non-reserved tickets from Sapporo Station to New Chitose Airport a day in advanced?

    Thank you!

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi (JPRail.com administrator) says:

      Hi Gina,

      You cannot purchase a ticket in advance. Because this train is sort of the commute train. If you take a reserved seat, you can buy it in advance. Otherwise just buy a ticket at the vending machine in Sapporo station just before taking the train.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Aa
    Aa says:

    hi takeshi! i am planning on having a day trip to otaru this coming october. i want to take the airport express from sapporo station to otaru but i cant seem to find the timetable for this to plan what time should we leave our hotel. if you dont mind, can you help me with this?

    also, is my understanding right?
    if i plan to use an IC card, i cannot book for reserved seats.
    and if i plan to reserve seats, i should go to the midori no madoguchi to book a ticket with seats.

    is reserving a seat necessary?is this route always full?

    thank you so much! 🙂

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Aa,

      The train runs every 15 to 20 minutes between Sapporo and Otaru from 5:30 to 23:00. So you don’t need to check the timetable. Just go to the station and catch the train. If you really want to secure your seat, you have to go to Midori no Madoguchi. The train is always busy because this is also commute train.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Jay says:

    Hi Takeshi!

    Thank you so much for your response. I will check the Oshamambe route too, might be interesting to see different landscape from the train.



  4. Jay says:

    Hello Takeshi,

    I would very much appreciate if you could check the following itinerary and give my some advices.
    1. We are coming to New Chitose on 20.07. and going to Sapporo where we are staying for 4 nights. Your post is very informative and I think we can manage that without any problems. We plan to use ICOCA cards that we have from the previous visit to Japan.
    2. On 24.07. we are going back from Sapporo to New Chitose in order to fly to Memanbetsu, staying for two nights. We can manage this one too.
    3. On 26.07. we need to go from New Chitose to Hirafu. Is one transfer in Otaru all we need or there will be more transfers? Can we use ICOCA from Otaru to Hirafu or we need to purchase a regular ticket?
    4. On 30.07. we need to go from Hirafu to Noboribetsu. Do we need to go back to Sapporo or there is another way. How many transfers and can we use ICOCA?
    We will have luggage only on the first day, from New Chitose to Sapporo and from there on we plan to send it to next hotel(s).

    Thank you!

  5. tatarosli
    Hasnita says:

    There is a local train and rapid train from CTS to Sapporo. May I know how we can differentiate if it is the rapid or the local train? I do not want to get on the wrong train (local train) as I want to reach Sapporo early via the rapid train. Thank you.

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Hasnita,

      All trains from New Chitose airport is this Rapid Airport. Rapid Airport is a sort of the local train. The local train runs on the segment other than between New Chitose and Minami-Chitose. Rapid Airport skips many stations and faster than the local train.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Clarissa says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    thank you for your reply.

    I have decided to take the earliest train, then! I have another question, if you don’t mind.
    My vacation starts on July, 15th to 19th, with details as below :

    15th – New Chitose to JR Sapporo (I will join a full day tour on this day, but I’ll stay on Biei at night)
    16th – Biei, Furano, Asahikawa
    17th – Back to Sapporo, full day in Sapporo
    18th – Otaru
    19th – Sapporo to Hokuryu Himawari No Sato, then back to Sapporo again, then to airport around 7PM.

    Could you give me suggestion what train I should choose during my trip? Thank you so much!


  7. Clarissa says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    thank you for this informational post!

    I have questions regarding transportation from New Chitose to Sapporo JR Line.

    I will arrive in New Chitose at 05:30 AM and I have to be in Sapporo JR Line max. at 08:00 AM to join tour. Buuut, silly me, I just checked the earliest JR schedule from Chitose to Sapporo is on 06:59 and will arrive around 07:47 AM. Then, my questions are :

    Is there any other train that departs from Chitose earlier than that? (on Hyperdia, there is no…). If is not possible to take train, is there any options to go to Sapporo with other methods?

    Thank you and regards,

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Clarissa,

      Unfortunately that train is the earliest one. There is no other earlier trains. The bus runs between the airport and Sapporo but the first bus departs from the airport much later than the train. Taxi is available and you can get Sapporo earlier than train. However it is so expensive. I expect it costs around 10,000 yen. So it is not a realistic choice.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Sugi says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    We have a few questions and hoping that you would be able to help us . Our trip in Japan is from 29 Mar to 17 Apr (20 days). We plan to purchase 14 Days JR Pass starting from 4th Apr to 17 Apr. Would like to know the starting and ending time of the Pass period to be considered to entitle for the mid-night express. That is, if we activate our Pass on 4th April, can we use it for the mid-night express train on past-13 April mid-night 00.34 am , which technically considered as 4th April to travel on the mid-night express train?
    We would also like to seek for your knowledge and suggestion on which type of Pass to purchase from 30 Mar to 3 Apr (5 days) by looking at our itinerary, and if possible, if we could seek your kind expertise to allocate the places of interest to the Days, in order to have a smooth flow of the journey.
    Places which are of interest to us but not fix to the 6 days in Osaka (included Day 19): Namba Area, Dontobori, Shinsaibashi, Kuromon Market, SPA World Onsen, Miyajima, Himeji, Osaka Castle, Tsuruhashi Koreatown, Tenma, Uji > Demachiyanagi >Eizan Electric Railway to Kurama Station for a day trip Onsen, Fushimi-Inari, Kiyomizu-dera, Gion, Nishiki Market, Arashiyama, “Sagano Torokko Ressha” and Hozugawa River Cruises (保津川下り, Hozugawa Kudari) sightseeing boat rides, Bamboo Groves, Kinosaki Onsen and Amanohashidate .
    Our itinerary as follows:
    29 Mar Day 1 Arrive around 5pm to Kansai Int’l Airport – We plan to purchase an ICOCA and Haruka Discount Ticket to travel from Airport to Shin-Osaka.
    30 Mar Day 2
    31 Mar Day 3
    01 Apr Day 4
    02 Apr Day 5
    03 Apr Day 6 As the timing is 00.34am mid-night express train from Osaka to Tokyo (Would like to confirm if we are entitled to take this train? Our JR Pass activation date is 4 Apr.
    04 Apr Day 7 Reach Tokyo 7.08am
    05 Apr Day 8 Tokyo
    06 Apr Day 9 Tokyo
    07 Apr Day 10 Tokyo
    08 Apr Day 11 Tokyo
    09 Apr Day 12 Booked Odakyu 3 days 2 nights package to Hakone
    10 Apr Day 13 Hokone
    11 Apr Day 14 Back from Hakone to Tokyo. Take mid-night express train to Okayama.
    12 Apr Day 15 From Okayama take Shinkansen to Hakata > Yufuin
    13 Apr Day 16 From Yufuin to Hakata (late train)
    14 Apr Day 17 Tour Fukuoka
    15 Apr Day 18 Take Shinkansen from Hakata to Osaka. Reached Osaka at night
    16 Apr Day 19 Free day to fit in balance itinerary as mentioned
    17 Apr Day 20 Afternoon take train to Airport for home.

    Thanks and regards

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Sugi,

      If you take a train at 00:34 on Apr 4, you can start using JR pass on Apr 4. The pass is valid from midnight to midnight. So you will take a tran at 00:34 on Apr 4 and arrive in Tokyo at 7:08 on Apr 4. It works.

      You should put Miyajima between Hakata and Osaka or between Okayama and Hakata. Miyajima is located between these places. YOu can do it as day trip from Osaka but it’s not efficient way to spend your time.

      It’s very tight to visit Kinosaki and Amanohashidate in one day. It’s not impossible but I recommend you to stay in Kinosaki Onsen. It’s worth staying but if you do so, your days in Osaka and Kyoto will be very tight. So it’s hard to choose.

      I recommend you to use Kansai Wide area pass for the first 5 days. This is most affordable deal to cover Kinosaki, Amanohashidate and other areas in Kyoto and Osaka. You don’t need ICOCA and Haruka. You can take Haruka by Kansai wide area pass. And add other local deal for day 6. You can stick in Osaka and find the deal in the link below:


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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