SAPPORO ACCESS: Getting There from Other Key Cities in Japan

Hokkaido is an island prefecture, closer to Russia than it is to Japan’s capital Tokyo. Traveling by plane is the most recommended option to get there. While other transport options exist, like trains and ferries, the most convenient and accessible mode of transport will always be flying.

By Plane

The primary airport that serves Sapporo – and the rest of Hokkaido – is the New Chitose Airport. Currently, only the following countries have direct flights to New Chitose: China, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau, Honolulu, Guam, and Australia. Travelers from other countries will need to stop by Tokyo or Osaka first, before embarking on a connecting flight to Sapporo.

  • From Tokyo: By air, it takes about an hour and 40 mins to get to Sapporo from Tokyo. Round trip flights can be as low as USD 100 for budget airlines.
  • From Osaka: Flights from Osaka are a bit longer, around 2 hours. Costs are also higher compared to Tokyo.

There’s a second airport in Sapporo — Okadama Airport — but it’s much smaller and only caters to regional flights.

Purchasing flights might come cheaper if you book your reservations separately. For example, instead of one single booking from your city to Sapporo, you can first purchase a flight from your city to Tokyo, then book a flight from Tokyo to Sapporo. But there are airlines that offer direct flights from other major airports to New Chitose Airport.

By Train

Traveling to Sapporo by train can be expensive and time-consuming, and is not recommendable for short, budget trips. However, it is something you may consider if Sapporo is part of a larger multi-city tour across Japan. That said, riding a bullet train is part of the quintessential Japanese travel experience. All rail travels from the Honshu mainland will pass beneath the Tsugaru Strait via the Seikan Tunnel.

For a hassle-free train transit and navigation, it is recommended to use Hyperdia, a web-based search application for Japan trains. You just need to indicate your destination and it will give you several route options. It will also show you the travel duration, the total fare and the breakdown, the platform number of your train, and the number of transfers if there’s any. You just need to have good internet access.

Japan Rail Pass

The JR Pass will allow you to take unlimited rides within the JR network. It is best for long-distance train travel.

When is JR Pass worth it? If you are visiting multiple cities in Japan for a period of 7 days or longer. JR Pass covers shinkansen (high-speed bullet trains), which are very expensive. The JR Pass will allow you to take these speedy trains without worrying about the cost. It’s a great buy if you have a busy itinerary spanning multiple cities.


From Tokyo

  1. From Tokyo Station, take the Shinkansen Hayabusa to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station.
  2. Once you’re in Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station, transfer to the Hokuto Limited Express Line, and disembark at Sapporo Station.

Travel Time: About 8 hours
Fare: ¥14,850 + Seat Fee
Seat Fee:

  • Hayabusa: ¥11,330 (Reserved); ¥18,840 (Green Seat); ¥27,220 (Gran Class)
  • Limited Express: ¥2,640 (Unreserved); ¥3,170 (Reserved); ¥6,830 (Green Seat)

Number of Transfer: 1 (Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station)

From Osaka

To travel to Sapporo from Osaka, a stopover in Tokyo is needed.

  1. From Shin-Osaka Station, take the Shinkansen Nozomi to Tokyo Station. Take note that Shin-Osaka Station should not be confused with the larger Osaka Station. Travel time is 2 hours and 33 minutes. Reserved Seating costs JPY5700 (USD51), Unreserved Seating at JPY4870 (44).
  2. From Tokyo, you can then follow the instructions above.

Travel Time: About 10 hours
Fare: ¥18,920 + Seat Fee
Seat Fee:

  • Nozomi: ¥4,960 (Unreserved); ¥5,810 (Reserved); ¥10,680 (Green Seat)
  • Hayabusa: ¥11,330 (Reserved); ¥18,840 (Green Seat); ¥27,220 (Gran Class)
  • Limited Express: ¥2,640 (Unreserved); ¥3,170 (Reserved); ¥6,830 (Green Seat)

Number of Transfer: 2 (Tokyo Station, Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station)

Sapporo Essentials

Sapporo Pocket Wi-fi
Stay Internet-connected while in Sapporo!

Kitaca Card
Easy access to train, subway and buses!

Mt. Moiwa Viewpoint Trip
Marvel at the beautiful Sapporo nightscape!

JR Pass
Unlimited train rides within the JR network.

Top Sapporo Hotels

JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo

Karaksa Hotel Sapporo

La’Gent Stay Sapporo Odori Hokkaido

Daiwa Roynet Hotel Sapporo-Susukino

Japan Hotel Discounts


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