Train Services in Hokkaido

Hokkaido Shinkansen

The Hokkaido Shinkansen (bullet train) Hayabusa runs between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto (4hrs / ¥23,230) on Southern Hokkaido via Shin-Aomori. There are no other passenger trains between Aomori and Hokkaido. Basic fares are mostly expensive and takes longer than airlines, but usually rail passes can save money.
Limited express trains, timed to meet the shinkansen, make the 3.5-hour run between Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto and Sapporo.

Limited Express Trains

Hokkaido’s many limited express trains (tokkyu) are depart from Sapporo. Some seasonal trains are depart from Asahikawa.

Asahikawa – AbashiriTaisetsu4hrs
Asahikawa – WakkanaiSarobetsu3.5hrs
Sapporo – AbashiriOkhotsk5.5hrs
Sapporo – AsahikawaKamui, Lilac1.5hrs
Sapporo – HakodateHokuto3.5hrs
Sapporo – KushiroOzora4hrs
Sapporo – MuroranSuzuran1.5hrs
Sapporo – ObihiroTokachi2.5hrs
Sapporo – WakkanaiSoya5.5hrs

Rapid & Local Trains

Rapid (快速: kaisoku) and local (普通: futsu) can be used by the ordinary ticket, Seishun 18 and Hokkaido & East Japan Pass (see Rail Passes & Tickets in Hokkaido).

Useful Japanese Terms for Train Travel

bullet trainshinkansen新幹線
first class seatgreen-sekiグリーン席
limited express faretokkyu ryokin特急料金
limited express traintokkyu特急
local trainfutsu普通
non-reserved seatjiyu-seki自由席
numbered ticketseiri-ken整理券
rapid trainkaisoku快速
reserved seatshitei-seki指定席

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