Things to Do in Hokkaido
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2-3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

151 reviews
Very good

Tokyo, Japan646 contributions
May 2018 • Couples
The Hokkaido Shinkansen (bullet train) has opened in March 2016. It currently runs to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station through the Seikan under-see tunnel from Shin-Aomori Station. The new terminal is 17 km away from Hakodate Station. There are plans to extend from Hakodate to the Hokkaido Shinkansen north to Sapporo Station, via Kutchan., by 2031.
However, it is the railway route which is considered difficult to become a profitable railway line.

In May 2018, we had a railway journey along the predicted route of Hokkaido Shinkansen route.
The scenery was so beautiful and peaceful; Mount Yotei, Yoichi River, Shiribetsu River, untouched native forest, vast agricultural land, and several small towns.
At present, the residents are using the JR's one-or-two vehicle, which runs three times a day.
If we construct shinkansen in these regions, a passenger almost always sees the dark in a tunnel. Speaking a word, we have to select a speed rather than land scenery
of beautiful Hokkaido. As other areas, in a local district, a bus would be the tool of transportation after bullet rail track is completed. It is aware of that the people
, who live a depopulated country, are hoping for realization with a great expectation.
However, you also have to know that it takes only 100 minutes from Sapporo to Haneda, Tokyo by an aircraft, at a rate of less than half price.
Written May 19, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mitcham, Australia442 contributions
Oct 2017
Yes; I am a railway enthusiast so am biassed in favour of rail travel.

I recently took advantage of a seven day Hokkaido rail pass (only available to international visitors) and rode most of the train lines on Hokkaido island.

The trains are spotless and run on time. They are generally well used. Much of the equipment and operating style is like what once existed in Australian and other countries.

There are electric commuter/suburban trains around Sapporo. Express and semi express trains link the main towns. There are slower "rail motor" (single carriage) trains on the lesser lines and local services in many areas.

The Hokkaido rail network is subject to rationalisation and much of what I experienced my disappear in the not to distant future.

I must add that whilst the trains were my main interest I wanted to use them to see Hokkaido and I was travelling with a companion who's a general tourist rather than a railway enthusiast.

The Hokkaido rail pass was easily obtained on arrival at New Chithose Airport (Sapporo). I also used a Kitaca smart card for local travel outside the validity of the pass and booked a one way journey from Hakodate to New Chithose Airport on my last day in Japan.

Little English is spoken or understood but that shouldn't deter anyone from rail travel. Also many stations do not have writing in "English" characters but there is usually an electronic sign showing upcoming trains - in both Japanese and "English" characters.

Most main and secondary stations have toilets that a generally spotless.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind. Disability provisions don't seem to have hit Hokkaido yet so most of the stations have stairways that are sometimes not easy to traverse especially if you have luggage. Lifts (elevators), escalators or ramps are rare other than at the big stations. Sometimes it's necessary, particularly when changing trains, to go to the ticket office to find out where your connection departs. This can take several minutes so it's good to have sufficient time between trains.

Tickets are carefully examined both on the train and at the barrier. On the train, the conductor removes his hat and bows to the passengers in the carriage before checking their tickets. At the stations, you need to show your ticket to the barrier staff even if you are going to the lavatory. I made the mistake of leaving my pass with my travelling companion on the platform when I needed to use the station "facilities". The station attendant indicated I needed to show him my ticket but he was satisfied when I indicated I had "business" to attend to and pointed to my travelling companion on the opposite platform. Western people are few and far between on JR Hokkaido trains.

The one thing that can get very frustrating is that Japanese people seem to have no interest in scenery and close the carriage curtains, especially when there's the slightest hint of sunshine. So you can be in a carriage with every curtain drawn. And if you've come to Hokkaido to enjoy the marvellous mountain and coastal scenery it sometimes be VERY frustrating.

Because trains are generally busy most seats are reserved. There is a hefty additional charge to reserve a seat but that does not apply if you're travelling on a Hokkaido rail pass. But the seats must be reserved in advance. There are clear announcements in English that if you don't have a seat reservation you have to sit (or stand!) in the usually crowded "unreserved" carriage. Seats can't be reserved en route on the train. It's only the local and rural trains that don't have reserved seats.

Japanese people generally travel light because there are limited luggage storage facilities on the trains. This can be frustrating if you're on a "transfer" trip with your luggage. I spent four days on a round trip to the northern and eastern extremities of the Hokkaido rail network and travelled "light".

I can thoroughly recommend spending time on the JR Hokkaido rail network and experiencing both the marvellous scenery and local culture. The enjoyment and satisfaction more than outweighs any frustrations and I trust the experiences I've shared are helpful to anyone planning to visit Hokkaido and explore by train.
Written October 7, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia1,453 contributions
Mar 2016 • Friends
On our recent trip to Club Med Hokkaido we opted to take the 100+ minutes train from New Chitose Airport to Shintoku Station rather than booking the CM airport/station transfer to cut cost. Also, I always prefer trains to road trips for the convenience and accessibility to the toilet 😝. Our departure would be a direct train journey from Shintoku Station to Sapporo. Between the station and the resort we pre-booked a cab.

The return trips were seamlessly easy. I had booked and paid online a month earlier for the reserved seats train tickets. Collection of tickets was done upon arrival at New Chitose Airport. The JR Station is in the basement of the Domestic Airport, a mere 3 minutes walk from the International Arrival Hall. You catch the train to Minami Chitose then transfer to a train for Shintoku. Take note though, DO NOT catch the Rapid Airport train OR Ltd Exp since those won't stop at Minami Chitose but go direct to Sapporo. Make sure you board the Rapid Lines only.

At Shintoku Station the train will arrive at the platform right by the exit. Thus, no need to climb stairs. There is only 2 steps outside the station to get onto the street level. Another thing to take note, you would be given 2 sets of ticket. One for the airport to Minami Chitose and one for Minami Chitose to Shintoku. You need to hand everything over to the station master at Shintoku so do not throw away the tickets for the first sector.

Upon departure the train departed from the same platform as the one we arrived at (platform 1). Thus, no need to take the stairs to the other platform across the rail tracks at all.
Written March 18, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kolkata (Calcutta), India2,388 contributions
Mar 2018 • Solo
Travelled on the JR Hokkaido Furano line from Asahikawa to Biei and Kami Furano stations.
Its a single line , diesel operated, single car service (few double car). Most stations are unmanned.
The beauty of travelling on this line is the scenic route with wonderful valleys on both sides and the mountain ranges of Hokkaido. Travelling on winter is a treat on this route.
Very effcient services. The frequency is once an hour so do take note of timings.
A must to if a railway fan and is good way of travelling from Asahikawa to Biei .
Written March 24, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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