Traveling from Hakodate to Sapporo in Hokkaido is fast and easy using Limited Express services, which are fully included with a Japan Rail Pass.
This complete guide can help you to plan your journey between the two popular destinations on Japan’s northernmost island.
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Traveling by train: Limited Express
While there is currently no direct trajectory between the Shinkansen Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station and Sapporo on Hokkaido Shinkansen bullet trains, visitors who wish to travel between Hakodate and Sapporo Station can do so using the Hokuto or the Super Hokuto Limited Express.
The Super Hokuto Limited Express runs on the Hakodate Line, Muroran Line and Chitose Line and is fully included in the price of the JR Pass. If you don’t have the pass, the cost of a one-way ticket is roughly 8,910 yen for a non-reserved seat and around 9,500 yen for a reserved seat. Special round trip tickets cost around 16,200 yen.
The total travel time on this service between the 2 destinations is approximately 3,5 hours, and there is roughly one train between Hakodate and Sapporo every hour.
It’s worth mentioning that all Limited Express trains do have connections with the Hokkaido Shinkansen in Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, which is located 15 kilometers north of Hakodate Station in Hokuto City. Relay trains connect these 2 stations in roughly 20 minutes.
Stations along the route
If you take a Hokuto limited express train from Hakodate, you can get off at the following stations:
- Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto – You can travel from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto on the Hokkaido Shinkansen (Hayabusa service), which takes approximately 4 hours
- Onuma-Koen – Provides access to the Mount Komagate volcano and its numerous hiking trails, as well as Lake Onuma and its various water-based activities such as canoeing and motorboating
- Mori – A town famous for its seafood, especially squid-based cuisine
- Oshamabe – Change here if you wish to take an alternative route to Sapporo via Niseko and Otaru
- Toya – A stop on select limited express trains only. Get off here to visit the stunning Shikotsu-Toya National Park and lake Toyako
- Noboribetsu – Just a short distance from Noboribetsu-onsen, one of the most famous hot spring towns on the island of Hokkaido
- Minami-Chitose – Connects to the local train line to New Chitose Airport, the closest airport to Sapporo
The final destination of the super Hokuto Limited Express is Sapporo, the capital of the island of Hokkaido, which is perhaps best known for the annual Sapporo Snow Festival in Odori Park and its impressive winter illuminations and elaborate giant ice sculptures.
However, the city also boasts a number of other appealing attractions, including its extensive botanic gardens, and it is also located close to many of the best resorts for skiing and snowboarding in Japan.
Alternate Modes of Transport
In addition to traveling to Sapporo from Hakodate by Limited Express train, there are several alternative modes of transport that visitors can use to get between the 2 destinations, including:
- Bus – Multiple Japanese bus companies operate both regular daytime and overnight buses between Hakodate and Sapporo, which can be easily reserved online. A one-way bus trip costs roughly 5,000 yen and takes approximately 5,5 hours
- Air – Relugar flights operate between Hakodate and Sapporo, and the total journey only takes around 45 minutes. A one-way ticket usually costs around 20,000 yen, but discount fares between 10,000 and 17,000 yen are also often available. Depending on the airline, you could expect to arrive at either Shin-Chitose Airport or Okadama Airport in Sapporo.
If you’d prefer to rent a car and drive between the 2 cities, be aware that the total journey takes around 4 hours to complete and you may have to pay up to 6,500 yen in tolls if traveling on the Doo Expressway.