The Hokkaido Shinkansen Guide: A New Tokyo to Sapporo experience

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Presenting the new Super Hokuto – Hakodate to Sapporo by JR Group

A Story Begins. Hokkaido Shinkansen.

Access the limited express train Super Hokuto (part of the new Hokkaido line) and let it take you across Hokkaido’s breathtaking coastline from Hakodate (on the south) all the way to the island’s capital – Sapporo (Japan’s fourth largest city). The railway has developed further, taking passengers to the northern center of Hokkaido – Asahikawa. This development marks another significant step for the Japan Rail companies who are leaders in their field on a world-class level.

A typical journey from Tokyo to Hakodate (Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, from where you can reach Hakodate by train in less than 15 minutes) starts by taking the Hayabusa bullet train. Once at Hakodate, the Super Hokuto Limited Express will take you to Sapporo, while passing through many beautiful places with breathtaking views of the island’s coastline. It is still unclear when the construction of direct Shinkansen access to Sapporo from Hakodate will take place; however, predictions are the journey will take less than 45 minutes (currently taking almost 4 hours).

Tokyo to Hakodate time of travel

The Shinkansen Hayabusa bullet train (H5 series) will take you from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto for exactly 242 minutes, riding with a speed of 320km/h (200mph). A journey that was made possible on the 26h March 2016 by Hokkaido Railway Company, part of the JR Group. The Shinkansen timetable for these trips is more than convenient for everyone since trains between Tokyo and Hakodate run roughly every two hours.

E5 Series Shinkansen

Canon EOS 6D (200mm, f/8, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
E5 Series Shinkansen

Reaching only Hakodate used to be a tiring journey, usually involving an overnight sleeping car or a full-day trip. Now, by expanding through over 423 km (263 miles), the Hokkaido line covers over half of the island’s population. In this way, the Hokkaido Railway Company doesn’t only give easier access to the island to tourists, but it also facilitates a great deal the transportation between different points of the island for locals.

The Seikan Tunnel – Tokyo to Hakodate

The Seikan tunnel is the key as well as the only current link between Honshu island (the largest Japanese island, also called Mainland) and Hokkaido island (second biggest island of Japan). The tunnel takes first place in the world for being the longest undersea tunnel.

However, the Channel tunnel between France the and the UK has a longer underwater portion.

Such technicalities might help you impress any train-lover during your trip.

The Japan Rail Pass – ride all trains for free with a single ticket

A standard fare for a one-way trip will cost you ¥11,880, while a Green Class ticket is ¥26,720.

However, you can access this Hokkaido Railway for free, by ordering a JR Pass before leaving for your trip. Note that the Japan Rail Pass is not sold in Japan, and is only meant for tourists who are visiting the country for ninety (90) days or less.

Purchase your Pass from certified vendors such as https://www.jrailpass.com, receive it in just two business days, pack your bags and let the journey begin.

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2 comments

  1. Steven

    Having a train on ride in Japan i think its a must and shinkanzen is too great to be missed.. all your photos are aweome and thank you for sharing

  2. Olga

    Looking forward for some inspired by your blog long and short trips during 3 weeks in Japan. It will be my 11th time to go to this great country. Can not wait for udon and sushi. Your pictures are amazing!

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