BumblebeeMum
Hokkaido trip with JR East-South Hokkaido Pass
Hokkaido trip with JR East-South Hokkaido Pass

Hi Bumblebeemum,

We will be travelling to Hokkaido next month

Day 1 – arrive Haneda airport 2:00pm then travel to Hakodate by train ( JR East- South Hokkaido 6 days flexi pass)
Day 2 – explore Hakodate
Day 3 – train (JR ES Hokkaido Pass) to Sapporo
Day 4 – Day trip to Otaru
Day 5 – Rent car then explore Furano, Beie then drive to Asahikawaya
Day 6 – Explore Daisetsuzan Park
Day 7 – Return car to Sapporo
Day 8 – Train from Sapporo to Yamagata for Ginza Onsen
Day 9 – Train back to Tokyo
Day 10-12 Explore Tokyo

Do you think my itinerary is flexible. i opted to use the pass rather than take the domestic flight because it comes out cheaper.

Thanks,
Tates

By Tates on May 13, 2016

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7 Comments

  • Tates says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    We will be travelling to Hokkaido next month

    Day 1 – arrive Haneda airport 2:00pm then travel to Hakodate by train ( JR East- South Hokkaido 6 days flexi pass)
    Day 2 – explore Hakodate
    Day 3 – train (JR ES Hokkaido Pass) to Sapporo
    Day 4 – Day trip to Otaru
    Day 5 – Rent car then explore Furano, Beie then drive to Asahikawaya
    Day 6 – Explore Daisetsuzan Park
    Day 7 – Return car to Sapporo
    Day 8 – Train from Sapporo to Yamagata for Ginza Onsen
    Day 9 – Train back to Tokyo
    Day 10-12 Explore Tokyo

    Do you think my itinerary is flexible. i opted to use the pass rather than take the domestic flight because it comes out cheaper.

    Thanks,
    Tates

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Day 5 looks a bit rushed, but other than that it sounds like a great idea, using the JR East-South Hokkaido Pass. I am thinking if there is a way to maximise the usage of your pass by taking the train between Sapporo and Asahikawa and renting a car from Asahikawa since you have a rail pass. This way you can drive less and save on toll fees. The drive between Sapporo and Asahikawa / Furano is not that exciting frankly.

      Day 1* – Haneda Airport to Hakodate
      Day 2 – explore Hakodate
      Day 3* – Hakodate – Sapporo
      Day 4 – Day trip to Otaru
      Day 5* – Sapporo – Asahikawa, Rent a car to explore Biei and Furano
      Day 6 – Explore Daisetsuzan Park, Return car
      Day 7* – Asahikawa – Sapporo
      Day 8* – Train from Sapporo to Yamagata for Ginza Onsen
      Day 9* – Train back to Tokyo
      Day 10-12 Explore Tokyo

      * = 6 days rail pass

  • Shella says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,
    Thank you so much for this informative post, very helpful for me. I’m planning an itinerary for Tokyo-Hokkaido from 21Dec-6Jan
    21-23Dec Tokyo
    24-30Dec Hokkaido
    31-6Jan Tokyo/Kyoto/Osaka
    Can you give me a feedback whether do you think this is a good plan?

    I’m still looking on how I can travel from Tokyo-Sapporo by JR Pass overnight so I can save on accommodation and sleep in the train, but according to my research on Hyperdia it’s seem that there’s no overnight train by JR for Tokyo-Shin Hakodate Hokuto-Sapporo. So, I just read your post, and I decided to spend 1 night at Hakodate as you suggest and continue to Sapporo the next day.

    But a bit confused, so can you please help to explain again what do you mean with this? – “As I mentioned above, the biggest disadvantage of using the Japan Rail Pass is having to complete the travel with 7 days. The flexibility of the JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass to allow you to stretch the travel up to 14 days is a HUGE plus!”

    So for my plan, I will need to buy 14days JR Pass and 7 days JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass right?

    Thank you very much!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Yeah, I don’t think you can sleep on the train.

      If you buy the 14 days Japan Rail Pass, that’s the only pass you need. Alternatively you buy 7 day Japan Rail Pass (for 31 Dec to 6 Jan) + JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass (to cover the shinkansen between Tokyo and Hakodate and within Hokkaido).
      Note that JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass only covers southern Hokkaido (up to Sapporo / Otaru), not the whole of Hokkaido. Whereas the Japan Rail Pass covers the whole of Japan’s JR network, which includes whole of Hokkaido. I would probably go for the 14 days Japan Rail Pass.

  • Jessie Low says:

    Hi bumblebee mum,
    I will be travelling to hokkaido on 16 dec to 29 dec with my hubby n 2 teenage kids (18 n 14). Since is our first there, we don’t intend to drive but just take public transport. Prefer sightseeing, some shopping of course n skiing ( just want to experience snow) My initial itinerary :
    Sapporo
    Otaru
    Niseko
    Lake Toya
    Hakodate
    Do you think we can cover these places?
    What is the best onsen n foot spa?
    Which ski resort would you recommend? (Is our first time)
    We will be taking the 6+ am flight from Singapore to Sapporo by Scoot n coming back on afternoon flight.
    What is your recommendation on the itinerary, accomodation n transport?
    I intend to book my air tickets very soon as there are limited seats now.
    Hope you can assist.
    Thank you
    Jessie

  • Zuhri says:

    Hi,

    I really need your help as I am really confused now after reading alot of articles on the internet.
    It’s kinda rushing for me and my travel buddy as we have less than a month.

    Let’s start with the travel dates.
    12/1 – 26/1
    Singapore to Sapporo(return)

    Agenda: To go furthest would be Tokyo, NO Kyoto or Osaka. Explore the whole of Sapporo(mainly famous tourists attractions)

    We somehow have decided that the JR East-South Hokkaido Pass for 6 days FLEXIBLE is a good options. But as we know that it doesn’t cover the whole of Sapporo and you will need to get another Pass which is the JR Hokkaido Pass.

    Question 1: Does it mean that if we have the JR East-South Hokkaido Pass, the day that you use the pass is counted as one day?
    Eg,
    Mon: Sapporo to Tokyo (1st day usage)
    Tues: Explore Tokyo(never use JR train)
    Wed: Explore Tokyo(visit to Mount Fuji by bus)
    Thurs: Tokyo to Sendai (2nd day usage)
    And so on within 14 DAYS.

    Question 2: Is it better to get Japan Rail Pass 14 Days VERSUS (JR East-South Hokkaido Pass + JR Hokkaido Pass) as the total amount is almost the same?

    Question 3: Looking at the days we have in Japan, should we start to explore Sapporo first or should we head to Tokyo as soon as we can for example Day 2?

    Question 3: How many days should be ample to explore Sapporo? I see like there are many places we can go, such as Abashiri, Hokadate, Otaru, Asahikawa, etc.

    Question 4: Will I have time to explore the rest of the cities, like Sendai, Nikko OR focus on Sapporo+Tokyo for the duration that I have in Japan?

    I hope to hear from you soon. It will be a great help for me and my friend.

    Thanks.

    (12/1) Day 1: Arrive Sapporo Airport 2.10pm
    (13/1) Day 2:
    (14/1) Day 3:
    (15/1) Day 4:
    (16/1) Day 5:
    (17/1) Day 6:
    (18/1) Day 7:
    (19/1) Day 8:
    (20/1) Day 9:
    (21/1) Day 10:
    (22/1) Day 11:
    (23/1) Day 12:
    (24/1) Day 13:
    (25/1) Day 14:
    (26/1) Day 15: Flight back at 3pm from Sapporo

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