Monday, August 4, 2008

The way to Hokkaido from Tokyo part 1

Hokkaido boasts its magnificent nature, tasty seafood and product and heartwarming people. Good seasons to visit there are late spring, whole summer and early autumn. The winter there is very harsh, though the Sapporo Snow Festival is very popular.

1) By train ( Honestly not recommended unless you have the JR Pass.)

a) Connections from Tokyo to Sapporo

tokyo sapporo connection north bound 20090314

Larger table

b) Connections from Sapporo to Tokyo

tokyo sapporo connection south bound 20090314

Larger table

Hayate: Tohoku Shinkansen Hayate ( All seats are reserved on this train.)
S.Hakucho, or Hakucho: Limited express Super Hakucho, or Hakucho
Tsugaru: Limited express Tsugaru
S.Hokuto, or Hokuto: Limited express Super Hokuto, or Hokuto
Cassiopeia: Overnight sleeper limited express Cassiopeia ( This train caters to only two persons travelling together.)
Hokutosei: Overnight sleeper limited express Hokutosei
Hamanasu: Overnight express Hamanasu with sleeper carriages attached.

c) Prices

(1) Combination of Hayate, Hakucho and Hokuto in reserved seats

From Tokyo toFull fareJapan Rail Pass holders
Hakodate18,750 yenFree
Sapporo22,78o yenFree

Four bedded B class open compartment on Hamanasu and Hokutosei trains.

(2) Combination of Hayate, Tsugaru and Hamanasu

From Tokyo to Full fareJapan Rail Pass holdersRemarks
Hakodate in reserved seats19,020FreeIncluding the carpeted car compartment on Hamanasu
Sapporo in reserved seats21,650 yenFreeIncluding the carpeted car compartment on Hamanasu
Sapporo in reserved seats and berth27,700 yen7,560 yenSleeper berth on Hamanasu

Guidance of accommodation om Hamanasu ( photo images):

Photos provided by JR Hokkaido

- Sleeper berth: Upper left image in the link.
- Carpeted car semi compartment: Upper right image in the link
- Reserved seat called 'Dream Car': Lower left image in the link

(3) Travelling on Cassiopeia ( The entire train is designed for two persons travelling together.)

From Ueno toFull fareJR Pass holdersRemarks
Hakodate on Suite42,370 yen 31,340yenPrices are per person
Hakodate on Twin30,230 yen 19,200yenPrices are per person
Sapporo on Suite44,460 yen 31,340yenPrices are per person
Sapporo on Twin32,320 yen 19,200yenPrices are per person

Cassiopeia Suite images / The compartment is equipped with toilet, washing basin and shower.
Cassiopeia Twin images / The compartment is equipped with toilet and washing basin.
Images of Dining Car and Lounge Car

(4) Travelling on Hokutosei

From Ueno toFull fareJR Pass holdersRemarks
Sapporo in Royal36,150 yen23,030 yen--
Sapporo in Twin Deluxe32,320 yen19,200 yenPer person
Sapporo in Solo25,270 yen 12,150 yen--
Sapporo in Duet25,270 yen12,150 yenPer person

Link to interior images provided by JR East

First photo: Outer image of the train
Second one: Compartment in Royal / Equipped with shower, toilet and wash basin.
Third one: Compartment in Twin Deluxe
Fourth one: Compartment in Duet
Fifth one: Compartment in Solo

The prices in the open compartment sleeper berth ( image above in this page) are same as in Solo.

(4) Discount unlimited travel ticket in Hokkaido with a return trip from Tokyo, named 'Gururi Hokkaido Kippu' or 'Unlimited travel ticket throughout Hokkaido'

This ticket entitles you to travel in the Solo or the open compartment berth on Hokutosei without surcharge, or the Shinkansen and limited express trains to get to Hokkaido from Tokyo. The open compartment berth on Hamanasu is also allowed to use.
Once you are in Hokkaido, you can use this ticket like the JR Pass.

Prices from Tokyo:
45,200 yen ( between July and September)
35,700 yen ( other months than above)

Blackout periods:
27 April to 6 May, 11 August to 20 August and 28 December to 6 January

Validity: 5 days, however if you take the Hokutosei on the 5th day from Sapporo, the ticket is valid until the final stop, Ueno on the 6th day.

Notice in Japanese

(5) Hokkaido and East Japan Pass, valid only on local, rapid trains and in the non-reserved section of the express Hamanasu.

Price: 10,000 yen
Validity: 5 days on local and rapid trains, non-reserved seat in Hamanasu in JR East, Hokkaido, Hokuetsu Kyuko Line, Aoimori Line and IGR Line

Sales periods:
Summer: 27 June to 11 September 2008
Winter: 23 November 2008 to 21 January 2009

Travel periods:
Summer: 11 July to 15 September 2008
Winter: 28 November 2008 to 25 January 2009

Connection search:
I'd show model connections sometime.

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