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How to get to Hokkaido from Tokyo
  • Date Published: April 30, 2024

Considering a journey from Tokyo to Hokkaido? Explore the top travel options, routes, and pointers to ensure your travels are smooth and delightful. No matter if you favor the speed and utility of air travel, the picturesque charm of taking a train, the relaxed voyage of a ferry, or the liberty of a drive, there are alternatives that fit every type of explorer.

When it comes to flying, Tokyo offers multiple daily flights connecting Haneda and Narita airports to New Chitose Airport in Sapporo, making it the fastest and most convenient option. If you enjoy a comfortable ride and want to soak in Japan’s picturesque countryside, the Hokkaido Shinkansen line provides a direct route from Tokyo to Hakodate, with an express train connection to Sapporo. The ferry offers a more leisurely journey, allowing you to enjoy the scenic views as you cross from Tokyo to Sapporo. And for those seeking the freedom to explore at their own pace, driving from Tokyo to Hokkaido provides the flexibility to discover various towns and attractions along the way.

Now, let’s explore each transportation option in more detail, along with key information and travel tips to help you plan your memorable trip from Tokyo to Hokkaido.

Fast & Convenient: Tokyo to Hokkaido (Sapporo) by Air

Flying from Tokyo to Hokkaido is the fastest and most convenient option for travelers. With over 80 flights daily, Haneda Airport and Narita Airport provide easy access to New Chitose Airport in Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido.

The travel time from Tokyo to Hokkaido by air is approximately 1.5 hours, making it a quick journey for those who want to arrive at their destination without spending too much time on transportation.

When it comes to cost, ticket prices for Tokyo to Hokkaido flights usually range from 20,000 to 30,000 yen. However, early bookings or flexible travel days/times may offer more budget-friendly options.

Once you arrive at New Chitose Airport in Sapporo, you have convenient options to travel to the city center. The Airport Express train takes about 33 minutes to reach Sapporo Station, providing a hassle-free transportation option. Alternatively, you can take a bus, which takes approximately 50 minutes to reach central Sapporo.

For a smooth, fast, and convenient journey, flying from Tokyo to Hokkaido is the ideal choice. It allows you to save time and enjoy the beauty of Hokkaido without the hassle of long travel hours.

Ride the Hokkaido Shinkansen: Tokyo to Hakodate via Bullet Train Using Your Rail Pass

The Hokkaido Shinkansen is an excellent option for traveling from Tokyo to Hakodate. This bullet train journey takes approximately 4.5 hours, allowing you to enjoy the comfort and speed of high-speed rail travel while admiring the beautiful scenery along the way.

From Tokyo Station, you can board the Hokkaido Shinkansen and embark on an unforgettable adventure through Japan’s picturesque landscapes. The train will take you to Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station, conveniently located in Hakodate, Hokkaido’s southern gateway.

Once you arrive in Hakodate, you can easily connect to other parts of Hokkaido, including the vibrant city of Sapporo. Whether you want to explore the stunning nature, indulge in delicious cuisine, or experience unique cultural attractions, the Hokkaido Shinkansen provides convenient access to all the wonders of Hokkaido.

The cost for this journey ranges around 15,000 yen, and if you have a Japan Rail Pass, it may cover the expenses. This pass allows for unlimited travel on selected JR trains, making it a cost-effective option for your Tokyo to Hokkaido journey.

Don’t miss the opportunity to admire the breathtaking views from the Shinkansen windows, including the magnificent Seikan Tunnel. This engineering marvel stretches under the Tsugaru Strait, connecting Aomori Prefecture on Honshu Island and Hokkaido. Marvel at the sight of the vast ocean as you travel between the two islands.

Planning your railway trip is made easy with the multi-lingual JR homepage. You can check the Hokkaido Shinkansen schedule, book your tickets, and make all the necessary arrangements for a seamless journey.

Benefits of Riding the Hokkaido Shinkansen:

  • Fast and efficient travel from Tokyo to Hakodate
  • Convenient access to other Hokkaido destinations
  • Scenic views of Japan’s beautiful landscapes
  • Potential cost coverage with a Japan Rail Pass
  • Opportunity to experience the Seikan Tunnel under the Tsugaru Strait

Hokkaido Shinkansen Travel Time Cost
Tokyo Station to Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station Approximately 4.5 hours Around 15,000 yen

Tokyo to Sapporo Ferry: Crossing to Hokkaido

Taking the ferry from Tokyo to Sapporo offers a more leisurely and scenic journey. Departing from Oarai Port in Ibaraki Prefecture and arriving at Tomakomai Port in Hokkaido, the ferry provides a unique travel experience. With a travel time of approximately 18 hours, passengers can relax and enjoy the picturesque views along the way.

“The ferry ride from Tokyo to Sapporo allows travelers to slow down and appreciate the beauty of the sea and the breathtaking landscapes of Japan’s northern regions.”

Prices for the ferry vary depending on the type of room or cabin chosen. Options range from approximately 10,000 to 24,500 yen, offering a range of comfort levels to suit different budgets. It’s important to note that early bookings are recommended, especially during peak travel seasons.

For convenient transportation to and from the ferry ports, there are bus options available. Travelers can take a bus from Tokyo Station to Oarai Port, and from Tomakomai Port to Sapporo Station, making the journey seamless and hassle-free.

Onboard the ferry, passengers can enjoy various facilities such as restaurants, baths, and souvenir shops. This allows for a comfortable and enjoyable experience during the long journey. Whether traveling solo, with friends, or as a family, the Tokyo to Sapporo ferry provides a unique and memorable travel experience to Hokkaido.

Tokyo to Sapporo Ferry

Ferry Options and Travel Time from Tokyo to Sapporo

When planning your ferry journey from Tokyo to Sapporo, it’s essential to consider the different options available. Here are some key details:

Ferry Operator Departure Port Arrival Port Travel Time Fare Range (in yen)
Shinan Ferry Oarai Port Tomakomai Port Approximately 18 hours 10,000 – 24,500

Note: Fare range is an estimate and may vary depending on the type of room or cabin chosen and the time of booking.

With comfortable accommodations, stunning views, and convenient transportation options, the Tokyo to Sapporo ferry is a delightful way to travel to Hokkaido. Consider this scenic journey for a unique experience that adds an extra touch of adventure to your Tokyo to Hokkaido trip.

Driving to Hokkaido: Tokyo Rental Car Options

For those who prefer the freedom of the open road, driving from Tokyo to Hokkaido is an adventurous option. The journey takes approximately 17 hours, depending on the route chosen. There are three major routes available: the Pacific side, the Sea of Japan side, and the inland route. Each route offers unique landscapes and attractions, allowing you to tailor your road trip experience.

If you’re interested in picturesque coastal views, the Pacific side route is your best bet. You’ll pass through cities like Sendai and Aomori, and have the opportunity to explore scenic spots such as Lake Towada and the Shirakami-Sanchi UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On the other hand, if you prefer a more scenic mountain drive, the Sea of Japan side route is ideal. This route will take you through breathtaking locations like the Oirase Gorge and the dramatic coastline of the Noto Peninsula.

If you’re looking for a more direct route with historical and cultural attractions, the inland route is a great choice. This route takes you through cities like Fukushima and Yamagata, where you can visit landmarks such as the Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle and the Zao Onsen hot springs.

While driving to Hokkaido, it’s important to plan for rest stops along the way. There are numerous service areas and rest areas along the highways where you can take a break, grab a bite to eat, and stretch your legs. Additionally, don’t forget to consider the Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry, which crosses the Tsugaru Strait between Honshu and Hokkaido. This scenic ferry ride offers a unique experience and allows you to take a break from driving while enjoying the stunning views.

To embark on your road trip, you can find several rental car options in Tokyo that cater to different budgets and preferences. Popular rental car companies include Toyota Rent-a-Car, Nippon Rent-a-Car, and Times Car Rental. You can conveniently pick up your rental car in Tokyo and drop it off at New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, if desired.

Embark on a memorable journey from Tokyo to Hokkaido and explore the beauty of Japan at your own pace with a road trip. Experience the freedom, flexibility, and scenic routes that driving has to offer, and create unforgettable memories along the way.


In conclusion, when planning your journey from Tokyo to Hokkaido, there are several options to consider. Each option offers its own advantages, so it ultimately depends on your preferences, travel needs, and budget.

If you’re looking for the fastest and most convenient option, flying is the way to go. With frequent flights connecting Haneda and Narita airports to New Chitose Airport in Sapporo, you can reach your destination in a short amount of time.

For those who prefer a comfortable and scenic journey, the Shinkansen is an excellent choice. Although the final destination is currently Hakodate, with an additional train ride to Sapporo, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of Japan’s countryside along the way.

If you’re in the mood for a more leisurely and picturesque experience, taking the ferry from Tokyo to Sapporo is a great option. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the journey and indulge in onboard facilities while making your way to Hokkaido.

Lastly, for adventurous souls who crave the freedom of the open road, driving from Tokyo to Hokkaido offers a road trip like no other. With the flexibility to explore other towns and attractions along the way, you can truly make the journey your own.

In summary, whether you choose to fly, take the Shinkansen, ferry, or drive, there are plenty of options available for traveling from Tokyo to Hokkaido. Consider your preferences, travel needs, and budget to decide on the best way to reach your destination. Safe travels!


How can I travel from Tokyo to Hokkaido?

There are several options for traveling from Tokyo to Hokkaido. You can fly, take the Shinkansen (bullet train), ferry, or drive.

What is the fastest and most convenient way to reach Hokkaido from Tokyo?

Flying is the fastest and most convenient option. Haneda Airport and Narita Airport offer over 80 daily flights to New Chitose Airport in Sapporo with a travel time of approximately 1.5 hours.

How long does it take to travel from Tokyo to Hakodate by Shinkansen?

The Shinkansen ride from Tokyo Station to Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station takes approximately 4.5 hours.

What is the travel time for the ferry from Tokyo to Sapporo?

The ferry journey from Oarai Port in Ibaraki Prefecture to Tomakomai Port in Hokkaido takes approximately 18 hours.

How long does it take to drive from Tokyo to Hokkaido?

The driving time from Tokyo to Hokkaido is approximately 17 hours, depending on the route chosen.

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