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Question on JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass 2019/10/31 00:14
Please confirm my understandings on the use of JR East South Hokkaido rail pass. Firstly, it can be used on 6 days within a 14 days period. Please confirm this is true. Thanks.

1. I will arrive in Tokyo on 20 Dec (Fri) and planned to stay in Tokyo for 1 day.
2. I planned to travel by train to Hakodate on 21 Dec (Sat) morning.
3. I planned to remain in Hokkaido between 21 Dec (Sat) and 29 Dec (Sun). During this period, I will be travelling to different cities in Hokkaido.

<u>Based on above travelling plan</u> - please help to confirm that JR East South Hokkaido rail pass will allow me to :

a. Travel to Hakodate (using JR Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen) from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto on 21 Dec morning at no additional costs.

b. Travel from Hakodate to Toya.

c. Travel from Toya to Otaru.

d. Travel from Otaru to Sapporo.

e. Travel from Sapporo back to Tokyo (using JR Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen) at no additional costs.

I will be very grateful if someone could verify and confirm what I have read and understood is accurate and correct.

Thanks in advance,
JC.
by Je Choo (guest)  

Re: Question on JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass 2019/10/31 11:30

Yes, those places are covered by the pass, but remember that the pass is for six days only, out of the 14 -day validity period, starting the issue date. Be sure to exchange the voucher on the day you are travelling.

http://www.jreasthokkaido.com/easthokkaido/e/
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Question on JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass 2019/10/31 21:07
That is correct, this pass is one of the flex-day passes by JR East. It looks like you are using this pass within 9 straight days which is covered. I used this pass in 2017 similar to your itinerary of taking the Hokkaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station, then the liner train to Hakodate. So the answer:

a. Travel to Hakodate (using JR Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen) from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto on 21 Dec morning at no additional costs. YES.

b. Travel from Hakodate to Toya. YES however, I am only assuming you are going to Toyako Onsen. The bus from Toya Station to Toyako Onsen is NOT covered by the pass. There is a bus stop in front of the train station that takes you to the onsen area but you have to pay.

c. Travel from Toya to Otaru. If you are taking the Hakodate Line to Otaru and Sapporo, YES. However if you are taking any private buses then no.

d. Travel from Otaru to Sapporo. If you are taking the train, YES.

e. Travel from Sapporo back to Tokyo (using JR Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen) at no additional costs. YES, as long as you take the train.

Maybe confirm b) about Toya and I can give you more info if you need it.

This is one of the few passes I use often. I purchased the voucher to be used in a week when I am back in Japan.
by Villagemayor rate this post as useful

Question on JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass 2019/11/1 00:36
Hi Village Mayor and Guest,

Thank you very much for taking time to reply to my questions.

Regarding item #b - Toya. To be honest I have not decided where to stay. The reason why I selected Toyako-cho is because I would like to visit Mt Usu. There is very little information about public transport to Mt Usu during December especially.

By staying at Toyako-cho and if I have to take a taxi / cab to Mt Usu, the costs would be kept to minimal hopefully. Is this assumption correct ?

If transport from Toyako-cho to Mt Usu is really limited or very expensive, then I may opt to stopover at another location. Any recommendation/s ? Tks in advance.

On a separate note, if I would like to visit the Blue Pond at Biei during Dec (Winter), are there public transport from Biei Station to Blue Pond ? Or is it advisable to sign up a tour package from Sapporo to Biei Blue Pond ?

Thank you again for your further advise. I am grateful.
JC

by Je Choo (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Question on JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass 2019/11/1 09:16
Blue Pond at Biei during Dec (Winter)

https://www.biei-hokkaido.jp/en/news/illuminate201701101/
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Question on JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass 2019/11/1 10:40

To be honest I have not decided where to stay
I Would recommend No No Kaze:
http://en.nonokaze-resort.com/spa
Bus stop to Usuzan ropeway is just in front of the hotel, or Taxi :
https://www.taxifarefinder.com/main.php?city=Sapporo-Hokkaido-Japan&fr...
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Question on JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass 2019/11/2 02:49
Hi Je Choo,
You are correct there is little information on the Donan Bus and I had to search deep for information when I had to do the research for my trip. There is a bus service to Toyako Onsen but if you really need to, there is a taxi stand in front of the station.

The problem with visiting this area in December is some bus service stops after Early November. For example, the bus service from the Toyako Onsen Bus Terminal to Showa Shinzan operates between April and early November. If you want to visit Showa Shinzan you will have to take the taxi, and that is quite far. Further, the Ropeway may close in the winter as well. I am not sure if the bus service stops between Toya Station and Toyako Onsen bus terminal.

Based on that, the only thing you can visit in theory is the Usu West Crater but with the snowy weather I am not sure if you will enjoy it that much because all of the remain buildings are outdoors, and the hike was pretty slippery and steep. I did the hike in late October and it was slippery.

I am not sure with this information if this deters you from visiting Mt Usu in December. But I want to give you all the information as much as possible. If you want a stop over, Noboribetsu might be an option and would be nicer in the winter. If you want something cheaper and not fussy, then towns such as Muroran have a few business hotels to stop over night.
by Villagemayor rate this post as useful

Question on JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass 2019/11/2 04:06
Hi Villagemayor,

You spoke my fears out loud. I do think these concerns are "real" and I need to decide real quick whether Toyako-cho is still one of my stopover after departing Hakodate.

I did a quick research on Muroran. It did not click with me unfortunately...

Noboribetsu seems to be a tad commercial... whahaha, what am i talking when I have not step foot in Hokkaido at all; this Dec being my first. What do I know...

I am still wrecking my brain over this....

Help... :-p
by Je Choo (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Question on JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass 2019/11/2 16:10

IMHO, winter is the best time to enjoy onsen; imagine you are soaking in a rotenburo, "saturated" by snow petals falling from heaven, and soaking up the beautiful view of lake Toya . Hmm.. a Japanese experience I would not like to miss. Wreck your brain no more, go for Toyako!
by shinji (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Question on JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass 2019/11/6 00:41
Winter is the best time for onsen for sure, I completely agree. With the lack of public transportation in Toyako in the Winter, the only other option is taxi.

It is up to you, but if you think Noboribetsu is too commercial (which I agree it is), I would spend a night in Toyako Onsen but take the taxi if the bus really is not available. I saw photos of Toyako with snow and it looks so good! Just the view of the snow and the Lake is more than enough. Then make a return visit other than winter to do the hiking around Mt. Usu.

That is my recommendation.

by Villagemayor rate this post as useful

Re: Question on JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass 2019/11/6 04:30
Hi Everyone
Appreciate all the researches n personal opinions. It's food for thoughts.

Mt Usu would have to wait. Spending a night at Lake Toya with onsen. Ooo..

Let's hope it snows while soaking. That would b a scene etched in memory forever.

Thanks again y'all.
by JC (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Question on JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass 2019/11/6 10:32
I liked Noboribetsu Onsen and didn't find it to be too commercial. Otaru, however..... Daiichi Takimotokan was a nice hotel with a spectacular view overlooking jigokudani at Noboribetsu Onsen. It has 7 different types of baths, from memory.
by Sal1980 rate this post as useful

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