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.

Overview

Peach / Vanilla Higashi Hokkaido Free Pass is available exclusively for Peach Air or Vanilla Air arrival passengers in New Chitose airport and Kushiro airport (from August). It is valid for 5 days which includes unlimited ride of any trains in the coverage area. This deal covers central and eastern part of Hokkaido, such as New Chitose airport, Sapporo, Otaru, Asahikawa, Furano, Kushiro, Nemuro and Abashiri.

Prices and valid period

This ticket is valid for any 5 consecutive days until April 4, 2019. But the last day of sales is March 31, 2019. If you are under 25 years old, you can get U25 discount price.

DurationAdultU25Child
5 days15,50012,0007,750

Child rate is applied to 6 to 11 years old. Child who is 5 years old and younger is free of charge. U25 rate is applied to 12 to 25 years old. You have to prove the age by official documents, such as passport, driver’s license.

One day means midnight to midnight, technically 0:00 to 23:59. Even if you start using the pass at 23:00. you will spend one full day for just one hour. So try to start in the morning. It does not make sense to start to use in late evening.

Valid train and railway lines

Please see the coverage area map below:

Coverage map (click to view large)

You can take any train’s non reserved seat in the coverage area. All limited express trains, rapid trains and local trains have non reserved seat. This pass does not cover any local bus services, street car and subway. Only JR trains are covered by this pass.

Common interior of non reserved seat of limited express trains (C) Rsa [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

If you want to take reserved seat or Green seat (1st class seat), you have to pay full charge of reserved seat limited express fee or Green seat fee. The extra fee is not the difference between reserved and non reserved. In this case, the pass covers only base fare ticket:

e.g.
Trip from Sapporo to Asahikawa
Green seat fee 4,550 yen
Reserved seat fee 2,320 yen
Non reserved seat fee 1,800 yen
Base fare 2,490

The pass covers base fare 2,490 yen and non reserved seat fee 1,800 yen. If you take reserved seat, you have to pay 2,320 yen. The extra fare is not 520 yen (2,320 yen – 1,800 yen). If you take Green seat, extra fare is 4,550 yen. Again it is not the difference between non reserved and Green which is 2,750 yen (4,550 yen – 1,800 yen).

You may find some more information in regards to non reserved seat and reserved seat in the link below:

Reserved seat VS Non reserved seat. How to get a seat on non reserved car?

How to purchase Peach / Vanilla Higashi Hokkaido Free Pass

This pass is available for Peach Air or Vanilla Air passenger only. There are some restrictions. Please see the following conditions. You must know these conditions before you use this pass.

  • This pass is sold at New Chitose Airport station only at this point. You cannot purchase it at any other stations. However Peach Airline open Osaka (Kansai) – Kushiro route on August 1, 2018. This pass will be sold at Twincle Plaza in Kushiro station.
  • When you purchase this pass, you have to show Peach Air or Vanilla Air boarding pass.
  • The pass is sold on arrival day only. You cannot purchase it in advance. You cannot use the boarding pass of previous date. That means you have to buy this pass and start using it right after you arrive.
  • You can purchase one pass per one boarding pass. There is other deals, Peach / Vanilla Kita Hokkaido Pass. But you cannot purchase both by one boarding pass even it is different kind pass.

You cannot get a pass until you arrive in New Chitose airport or Kushiro station. You must start using it right after you purchase. Even if you arrive in late night, you will spend 1 of 5 days for several hours. If you arrive in Kushiro airport, you have to take a bus to get Kushiro station. This bus is not covered by this pass but you can get discount fare by the coupon. You have to print out the coupon in the link below:

Peach Higashi Hokkaido Free Pass bus discount coupon (PDF)

You have to print out it. You cannot show this coupon by the smartphone, tablet or laptop.

This pass is sold until September 30, 2018. The last day of using this ticket is October 4, 2018 and it is valid for 5 days. This pass is not available in winter period.

The route of Peach Air and Vanilla air

Peach Aviation

Peach Air and Vanilla Air are Japanese LCC (Low Cost Carrier). As of June, 2018, Peach Air operates the following route:

  • Osaka (Kansai) – Sapporo (New Chitose)
  • Sendai – Sapporo (New Chitose)
  • Fukuoka – Sapporo (New Chitose)
  • Taipei (Taoyuan) – Sapporo

As I mentioned, Peach will open Osaka (Kansai) – Kushiro route on August 1, 20198.

Vanilla Air operates the following route:

  • Tokyo (Narita) – Sapporo (New Chitose)

Please confirm the updated timetable in the official sites:

Peach Air
Vanilla Air

Eligibility

You must get New Chitose airport by Vanilla Air or Peach Air. Nationality and travel status do not matter. If you live in Japan, you can purchase it. Of course Japanese can purchase this.

Compare regular fare and Peach / Vanilla Higashi Hokkaido Pass

It is very easy to get the worth of this ticket. Please see the fare table on major segments.

SegmentTransportationFare
(one way)
JPN Yen
Sapporo – AsahikawaLimited Express
Kamui or Lilac
4,290
Sapporo – FuranoLimited Express
Furano Lavender
Express
4,290
Sapporo – New ChitoseRapid train1,070
Sapporo – KushiroLimited Express
Super Ozora
8,850
Sapporo – AbashiriLimited Express
Okhotsk
9,390
Sapporo – ObihiroLimited Express
Super Ozora
or Tokachi
6,700
Kushiro – NemuroLocal train2,490
Kushiro – AbashiriLocal train3,670
Asahikawa – BieiLocal train540
Asahikawa – FuranoLocal train1,070
Furano – BieiLocal train640

These above fare table is shown by the segment. If you purchase a regular fare, you may purchase just one ticket for several segment because you can make a stopover. Actual cost may be cheaper than these above fares. However you may use this table for rough calculation.

Anyway you may get the worth by only round trip to Kushiro or Abashiri. If you have a circle tour, New Chitose airport – Sapporo – Kushiro – Abashiri – Asahikawa – Sapporo, total fare is around 18,000 yen. You can get the worth anyway. You may add trip to Furano and Biei from Asahikawa, and trip to Otaru from Sapporo. Your saving is bigger and bigger when you add some trips.

Sample trip plan by Peach / Vanilla Higashi Hokkaido Free Pass

If I use this pass, my trip plan is the following:

Day 1
Arrive at New Chitose in the morning.
Leave New Chitose for Asahikawa.
Stay in Asahikawa

Day 2
Leave Asahikawa for Furano and Biei.
Enjoy trip to Biei and Furano.
Catch the last train to Abashiri.
Stay in Abashiri

Day 3
Leave Asahikawa for Kamikawa.
Catch the bus to Sounkyo / Daisetsu mountains (not covered by the pass).
Catch the last train to Abashiri.
Stay in Abashiri

Day 4
Leave Abashiri for Shiretoko.
Take sightseeing bus to Shiretoko peninsula (not covered by the pass).
Take the train to Kushiro. Enjoy the scenery of Kushiro marsh.
Stay in Kushiro

Day 5
Leave Kushiro for Sapporo or New Chitose.
*If you have a time, you can drop by Obihiro.
**If you can stay more, you can go to Sapporo. I do not include Sapporo and Otaru even though those places are covered by the pass. Because Sapporo is very closed to New Chitose. It is not a good idea to spend one of five days coverage period. Otaru is very closed to Sapporo too.

This above plan is just one of the idea. You can use the pass as you like!

Assessment

If you fly in Hokkaido, this is a very good deal. Even for overseas tourist, this is an attractive deal. It is much cheaper than Hokkaido Rail Pass. Especially if you have a plan to visit eastern Hokkaido, this deal must be considerable.

Enjoy visiting Hokkaido at affordable cost by Peach / Vanilla Higashi Hokkaido Free Pass!

8 thoughts on “Peach / Vanilla Higashi Hokkaido Free Pass”

  1. Hello Takeshi!
    I have found interesting update to the rules for this pass for this year!

    有効期間の開始日は搭乗当日もしくは翌日となります。(2019年4月1日発売分から。2019年3月31日発売分までは、有効期間の開始日は搭乗当日のみとなります。

    Can you verify that this allows us to activate the pass on same day or day after arrival? For passes sold after April 1, 2019. This is great news if it is true!

    Len

  2. Hey Takeshi,

    I’m trying to decide on whether or not to purchase my tickets from tokyo to sapporo on Vanilla air now as they are cheap. However the date is August 26, 2019. The current sales of the higashi pass only covers usage until the end of march. I am quite certain i will be able to still buy the pass as they seem to be renewing it every season. Do you have any advice? Should i wait or go for it while tickets are cheap? Also, are you certain that I have to start using it the day i arrive? Perhaps i can exchange and pay for the pass but set the activation date on another date? That’s all for now, thank you!

    1. Hi Len,

      I cannot say anything about it now. There is no official announcement yet. Nobody knows it will be on sale after April.
      This pass is automatically activated at the time of purchase. You cannot start using this pass on another date. It will be valid for 5 days and the arrival day is day 1 of 5 days.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thanks for the reply!

        I think I will buy the plane tickets as even if the pass is not for sale, I can still use the Seishun 18 ticket as backup. Although my current itinerary will need to be shrinked as only local/rapids are going to make the section from sapporo-abashiri very slow.

        Here is my current itinerary for now. What are you thoughts on being able to follow the schedule using the 5 day Vanilla air pass? Do you think its doable? And if i had no choice but to use Seishun 18 ticket, how would would you change the itinerary to make it more realistically doable?

        Travel Schedule:
        Day 1: 成田空港ー千歳空港-旭川
        Day 2: 旭川ー富良野ー網走
        Day 3:網走ー斜里五湖ー網走
        Day 4:網走ー釧路
        Day 5:釧路ー根室ー釧路
        Day 6:釧路空港ー関西空港

        1. Hi Len,

          I think you can do this even if you use Seishun 18 kippu. Probably day 2 seems to be tight. But in the current timetable, you can get Abashiri from 13:38 departure from Furano. So you still can get half day at Furano.

          Of course Peach / Vanilla Higashi Hokkaido Pass make your trip much easier and more comfortable. But Seishun 18 is okay for this trip.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hello again,

            I have yet come up with another question.
            If using the Seishun 18 Ticket and I attempt to go from Kushiro to Sapporo, I am uncertain of one thing. I understand the section between shintoku to Shin yubari is free as there are no local trains.
            However, if I take a train from Kushiro to shintoku on local, then switch to a limited express to Sapporo, I assume I will pay the base fare and express surcharge from Shin-yubari to Sapporo. My question is this, what if the train I get on stops at shintoku but not at shin-yubari? Will I get charged for the full fare starting from shintoku?

            1. Hi Len,

              In that case, you have to pay a full fare for Shintoku to Sapporo. Seishun 18 kippu allows you to take a limited express train just between Shintoku and Shin-Yubari. Some of limited express trains skip at Shin-Yubari. So you cannot take this type of limited express train. You have to pick up a express train which stops at both Shintoku and Shin-Yubari. Otherwise this condition is not applied and you have to pay a full fare.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

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