This post is continued from Trip to Hokkaido in 2017 winter – Part 1, from Narita Airport to Sendai.
On day 2, I started my trip from Sendai and landed in Hokkaido. I traveled to Asahikawa via Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, Oshamambe, Sapporo. In this post, I will write about the first half of my trip on day 2 from Sendai to Oshamambe.
Sendai to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Sendai 08:06 (Hayabusa 1) 10:58 Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
It was snowing in Sendai but it was not much. But I did not worry about trip by Tohoku-Hokkaido Shinkansen. This Shinkansen lines are very tough even in heavy snow condition. It is very very reliable.
By the way, if you travel by Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen (Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka-Hiroshima-Hakata) in snowy condition, train is late very often. Because this Shinkansen line is the oldest line and heavy snow condition was not expected. It has been improving but it is still not enough at this point.
I caught Hokkaido Shinkansen Hayabusa at Sendai station for Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. Trains to Hokkaido were super busy because of Sapporo Snow Festival and long weekend in Japan.
I have been to Hokkaido. But this was the first trip to Hokkaido by Hokkaido Shinkansen.
Shinkansen is very convenient and very fast. But it goes through many tunnels and almost no view. When you take Shinkansen, especially Tohoku and Hokkaido Shinkansen, do not expect the scenery on board.
I changed trains at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station. I took Limited Express Super Hokuto.
Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto was renovated when Hokkaido Shinkansen opened. This is Shinkansen terminal station is very small. You can change the trains easily.
But when I traveled, trains in Hokkaido were so busy. Most of trains were booked out between Hakodate and Sapporo because of Sapporo Snow Festival. I had 9 minutes to transfer at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. I changed the trains just in time. Many passengers got off Shinkansen trains and changed the trains at same time. Many passengers were stuck at escalators and stairs.
However many station staffs handled passengers and it was very organized and prepared. They were very familiar with travelers from overseas and they took good care of tourists. Even if you have less than 10 minutes to transfer, you will be okay. You will never lose your way.
Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto to Oshamanbe
Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto 11:09 (Super Hokuto 9) 12:20 Oshammbe
I had one hour ride on Super Hokuto to Oshamanbe. Train was full and booked out.
I love this line because it is very scenic. I could see Mt. Komagatake at Onuma lakes. I also could see the shoreline from Mori to Oshamanbe. It was completely different from the trip by Shinkansen.
I could get a seat on left side, seat #11A. But when you book a seat for Super Hokuto and Hokuto between Sapporo and Hakodate, I recommend you to book C and D. This side is Mt. Komagatake and seashore side. You can get much better view at this side.
Lunch stop at Oshamambe station
I got off the train at Oshamambe because I took a local train from Oshamanbe. Before I took a local train. I had one hour at Oshamambe station. Oshamambe station is very small. It is very quiet around the station.
I visited the local restaurant, “Kanaya”. It is just a few steps away from Oshamambe station.
This restaurant makes very popular Eki-Ben (box meal) “Kani-meshi”(crab meat on the rice). You can buy Eki-Ben or eat in the restaurant if you have a time.
I ate Kani-meshi in the restaurant and it was very yummy.
If you want to buy Eki-Ben style Kani-meshi, You can buy it at the “Kanaya” store. It is located beside the restaurant.
After lunch, I walked down to the beach. It was just a few minutes away. I just got the fresh ocean breeze.
Continue to the post, Trip to Hokkaido in 2017 winter – Part 3, from Oshamanbe to Sapporo by Hakodate line.
Thank you for your prompt response.
Now we have a better idea.
With regard to (2), we would like to confirm our understanding that as long as we have continuous train tickets, from Hakodate to Kutchen, we can actually get out of the station and get back in without having to pay or buy extra tickets. This will be a relief.
Yes, you can. Please see the link below to find more info about ticket rule.
Takeshi / JPRail.com
Sorry to trouble you again.
Can you advise if it is possible / necessary for us to buy our onwards train tickets to Otaru from Kutchan in advance at JR Hakodate? Can we just turn up at the Kutchan station, buy the tickets and board the train?
Also, is it easy to take a taxi to/from Kutchan station? Do we have to book in advance?
Thanks and Regards
You can purchase a ticket at Kutchan station on the spot. You cannot purchase it in advance because of short distance trip.
Sorry but I don’t know about a taxi. I have never taken it before there.
Takeshi / JPRail.com
Thank you for your post. It’s very informative.
We are a group of seniors and are thinking of doing a somewhat similar trip like your during winter.
Our intention is to go from Hakodate to Niseko. Stay for 2 nights then move on to Noboribetsu for another 2 nights. Then onwards to Sapporo and Otaru.
Based our research, we should take a train from JR Hakodate Station to Oshamanbe then change train to Kutchen. However, the trains are quite infrequent.
Our questions are mainly for the journey from Hakodate to Kutchan as follows:
1) Can we buy the tickets for the whole journey from JR Hakodate to Kutchan from JR Hakodate Station? We really do not know if we should buy the JR passes or not.
2) We read that you had a stopover at Oshamanbe for lunch break. After you got out of the station for lunch, do you have to buy another ticket to get in again?
3) Can we reserve seats for the whole journey? As we will have our luggages with us, we are quite concern with the crowd.
4) As the journey from Oshamanbe to Kutchan is on the JR Hakodate Line for Kutchan is quite long, we are wondering if there are toilets facilities on the this train, which we think is a commuter train.
5) Also, are food and beverages sold on this train, in case we cannot get out of Oshamanbe Station.
6) To go to Noboribetsu, is it possible to go there directly from Kutchan by train? I think we can go by coach, but one of our team members is against coaches.
7) Can Suica be used for any part of this journey or can it be used in Hokkaido for the trains, if any.
We apologise for the many questions. We look forward to your response.
Thanks and Regards
1. You can purchase a ticket for Hakodate to Kuchan at Hakodate. You may purchase other ticket for later day at Hakodate too if you want.
2. If you use Hakodate to Kutchan ticket, you can make a stopover at Oshamambe. You can use just one ticket for whole part of this trip.
3. You can reserve your seat for Hakodate to Oshamambe if you take limited express train “Hokuto” or “Super Hokuto”. But you cannot reserve your seat for Oshamambe to Niseko.
4. Yes. It has washroom in the train.
5. No. You must purchase at Oshamambe.
6. There is no direct trains. You need to take the route via Sapporo or Oshamambe.
7. Suica can be used for Sapporo and surrounding area, such as Otaru, New Chitose airport, only.
Takeshi / JPRail.com