Last updated: September 23, 2018

A strong earthquake hit Hokkaido in the night of September 6. Damage is worst in the area west of Tomakomai where many landslides occurred and several people died. There is a risk of strong aftershocks for at least one week. Damage to buildings and infrastructure outside the immediate area around the epicenter has been limited, except for a residential neighborhood in Sapporo which suffered damage from soil liquefaction.

The earthquake caused many thermal power plants on the island to go offline which led to widespread power outages across Hokkaido and impacted the speed of recovery for several days. In the meantime, the situation has almost normalized.

Transportation

  • Trains gradually resumed service from September 7, including the Hokkaido Shinkansen. In the meantime almost all train lines are back in service (colored orange or red on the above map) except for the small number of lines colored grey which remain out of service. Trains will resume running between Furano and Higashi-Shikagoe on September 26.
  • The subway lines and tram line in Sapporo resumed service on September 7, while the trams in Hakodate resumed service on September 8.
  • Sapporo's Shin-Chitose Airport reopened on September 7, and regular operations resumed on September 8. All other airports on Hokkaido are open and operating, as well.
  • Most local and long-distance buses resumed service around September 8.
  • All expressways reopened on the day following the earthquake. Regular roads, too, have mostly reopened except for a few roads near the epicenter (see map).
  • Ferries to/from Hokkaido are operating and depart from ports such as Hakodate, Tomakomai and Otaru.

Sightseeing

No major damage has been reported at tourist sites across Hokkaido. Many tourist attractions, hotels, shops and restaurants have reopened as of September 9, and virtually all have reopened by September 14. Hokkaido is eagerly awaiting the return of tourists.