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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Hokkaido - Sapporo
Access and Orientation

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How to travel between Sapporo and Tokyo

By air

Tokyo-Sapporo is the world's busiest air route with dozens of flights per day, operated by JAL, ANA, Air Do, Skymark, Vanilla Air and Jetstar Japan. The majority of flights use Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Sapporo's New Chitose Airport, but quite a few flights also use Tokyo's Narita Airport.

Flight duration is about 90 minutes. The regular one way fares by the conventional airlines are as high as around 36,000 yen, but thanks to a wide range of discount offers, one way fares of around or under 10,000 yen are often available. Skymark, Vanilla Air and Jetstar Japan tend to have the lowest fares (sometimes under 5000 yen), especially to/from Narita.

By daytime train

Take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori Station (3.5 hours). Then, take the JR Hakucho limited express to Hakodate (2 hours) and finally the JR Hokuto limited express to Sapporo (3.5 hours). The entire one way trip costs around 24,000 yen and takes around ten hours. It is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass. Note that seat reservations are mandatory on Hayabusa trains between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori.

By night train

One or two night trains operate daily between Tokyo's Ueno Station and Sapporo in each direction. Travel time is 16-17 hours. One way fares start around 27,000 yen for the most basic type of berth. Note that Japan Rail Pass holders have to pay a surcharge of at least 16,500 yen to ride a night train between Tokyo and Sapporo. View our night train information page for more details.

By ferry

There are long distance ferries between various ports in Honshu and Hokkaido, providing leisurely and inexpensive access to Hokkaido. Some of the ports with ferries to Hokkaido are Niigata, Oarai (Ibaraki Prefecture), Sendai, Nagoya, Maizuru (Kyoto Prefecture) and Tsuruga (Fukui Prefecture). Most ferries arrive either in Otaru, 30 train minutes west of Sapporo or Tomakomai, 45-60 train minutes south of Sapporo. View our ferry information page for more details.

Above fees and schedules are subject to change. For the current Yen exchange rate, click here.
 

Orientation

No major city in Japan is easier to navigate than Sapporo with its rectangular street layout and simple addressing system: City blocks are named and numbered according to the point of compass, with the apex at the eastern end of Odori Park. The Sapporo Beer Museum, for example, is located in city block "North 7, East 9", i.e. in the 7th block north and 9th block east of the apex.

Three subway lines, a tram line and many bus companies (JR Hokkaido Bus, Hokkaido Chuo Bus and Jotetsu Bus) provide Sapporo with an efficient network of public transportation. The Japan Rail Pass, Hokkaido Rail Pass and Hokkaido Free Pass are valid on local buses operated by JR Hokkaido Bus.

Sapporo has two airports. The main airport, New Chitose Airport, is reached in a 35 minute train ride hour south from the city center and handles most of the city's domestic and international air traffic. The much smaller Okadama Airport is more centrally located, but has only a small number of flights other cities in Hokkaido.

Signs found at intersections
A JR Hokkaido city bus

Special Tickets

The following one day passes are available for Sapporo:

Subway 1-Day Card (800 yen)
  Unlimited use of Sapporo's three subway lines on one calendar day. Note that a discounted pass is available on weekends (see below).

Donichi Subway Ticket (500 yen)
  Unlimited use of Sapporo's three subway lines on one calendar day. To be used on weekends and public holidays only.

Combination One Day Pass (1000 yen)
  Unlimited use of the subways, trams and buses of JR Hokkaido Bus, Hokkaido Chuo Bus and Jotetsu Bus on one calendar day.

Sapporo-Otaru Welcome Pass (1530 yen)
  Unlimited use of JR trains between Sapporo and Otaru and Sapporo's three subway lines on one calendar day. Note that a round trip Sapporo-Otaru by regular tickets costs 1280 yen alone. Available to foreign tourists only at JR desks in Sapporo Station and Shin-Chitose Airport.

Prepaid cards make the process of taking subways and buses easier, as you do not always need to buy a new ticket for each ride. Some of them also give small discounts. Prepaid cards can be purchased at vending machines.

Kitaca
  Kitaca is the rechargeable prepaid IC card by JR Hokkaido that can be used on JR trains in Greater Sapporo, including Otaru and Shin-Chitose Airport as well as on Sapporo's subways, buses and tram thanks to its compatibility with Sapica (see below). Kitaca can, furthermore, be used in several other cities of Japan. Nine other IC cards from other major cities of Japan, including Suica, can also be used in the Greater Sapporo area instead of Kitaca. The initial purchase of a card costs 2000 yen (500 yen refundable deposit and 1500 yen fare balance).

Sapica
  Sapica is the rechargeable prepaid IC card which can be used on Sapporo's three subway lines, city buses (JR Hokkaido Bus, Jotetsu and Hokkaido Chuo Bus) and tram. The initial purchase costs 2000 yen (500 yen refundable deposit and 1500 yen fare balance). Unlike many other IC cards, Sapica is accumulating 10% points with each use, and accumulated points are used towards the purchase of future trips. Sapica cannot be used on JR trains or outside of the Greater Sapporo area.

With You Card (500, 1000, 3000, 5000 and 10000 yen)
  The With You Card is the older, non-rechargeable prepaid card for Sapporo. It can be used on subways, trams and buses (JR Hokkaido Bus, Hokkaido Chuo Bus and Jotetsu Bus) within the city of Sapporo. With the exception of the 500 yen card, the With You Cards give you a 10% to 15% discount over regular tickets.

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

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Hotels and Ryokan
Sapporo offers many business and tourist hotels especially around in the most convenient downtown area between Sapporo Station and Odori Park. Many cheaper hotels are located somewhat less conveniently south of Susukino.
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Recommended Hotels around Sapporo - with lowest rates by selected hotel reservation websites
Air Terminal Hotel
Hotel conveniently located inside Shin-Chitose Airport.
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JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo
Very popular hotel inside the tower that rises above Sapporo Station.
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Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo
One of the best values in town, the Keio Plaza is located just a short walk from Sapporo Station.
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Richmond Hotel Sapporo Ekimae
Reliable business hotel, a five minute walk from Sapporo Station.
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User Feedback
We strive to keep japan-guide.com up-to-date and accurate, and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:

English Links
JR Hokkaido
Official website.

Japanese Links
JR Hokkaido
Official website.
Sapporo Subway
Website of the transportation office of the city of Sapporo.
JR Hokkaido Bus
Official website.
Hokkaido Chuo Bus
Official website.
Jotetsu Bus
Official website.

Online Reservations
Hotel
 
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