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A Complete Guide to Transportation Modes and Times Between Cities in Hokkaido

Hokkaido is a popular tourist destination. It is quite large, so if you don't know the distance between its cities, you may end up making unreasonable plans. Here is some information about the time it takes to travel between major cities in Hokkaido, and what the most efficient modes of transportation are.

2017.03.16
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Travel Times from Sapporo to Major Cities/Modes of Transportation and Times from Sapporo

Sapporo is Hokkaido's main city. It has many tourist spots and hotels, and is a hub for trains and buses. Here, we introduce the travel distance between Sapporo and major cities.

Sapporo Station is the base for traveling in Hokkaido. It has many tourist spots and hotels, and is a hub for trains and buses. Hokkaido is so vast, it is hard to get a sense of distance and how long it will take to get places. Here, we introduce modes of transportation from Sapporo to major cities, and the time it takes.
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*Travel times may change depending on weather and traffic conditions.



Hakodate

Hakodate is famous for the beautiful night view from Mt. Hakodate. It is to the south-south-east of Sapporo, and is approximately 155km as the crow flies from the center of Sapporo. It is approximately 315km by car via Hokkaido Expressway.

By train, it is just under 4 hours on the Limited Express Hokuto, which goes through JR Hakodate Main Line, Muroran Main Line and Chitose Line and approximately 3 hours, 40 minutes on Super Hokuto No. 14. By express bus, it is approximately 5 hours, 40 minutes on Kosoku Hakodate and approximately 5 hours, 20 minutes on Hakodate Limited Express New Star. By car, it is about 4 hours, 20 minutes from the center of Sapporo using the Sasson Expressway and Hokkaido Expressway.

*The image is of the view of Hakodate at night


Otaru

Otaru is famous for tourist spots such as Otaru Canal. It is surprisingly close to Sapporo to the northwest, and is approximately 32km as the crow flies from central Sapporo. It is approximately 38km by car.

By train, it is just under 40 minutes on rapid trains such as the Ishikari Liner on the JR Hakodate Main Line. By express bus, it is about 1 hour 10 minutes on Kosoku Otaru. By car, it is about 45 minutes from the center of Sapporo via Sasson Expressway. With these travel times, you should be able to go on a day trip and have a full day of sightseeing!

*The image is of Otaru Canal


Furano

Furano is famous for its Patchwork Road, so named for the landscape of fields that looks like a patchwork quilt, and for its vast lavender fields. It is to the east-north-east of Sapporo, and is 90km as the crow flies from central Sapporo. It is approximately 115km by car via Hokkaido Expressway.

There is a vast spectrum of travel times by train, ranging from about 2 hours 5 minutes to more than 6 hours on the JR Hakodate Main Line and Nemuro Main Line. This is because the Nemuro Main Line from Takigawa Station to Furano Station runs infrequently, and the wait time to change trains can be more than 2 hours. On the express bus, it is about 2 hours 50 minutes on Kosoku Furano. By car, it is about 2 hours 10 minutes from the center of Sapporo via Hokkaido Expressway.

*The image is of a local train trotting by Shimanoshita Station on the Nemuro Main Line.


Asahikawa

Asahikawa is known for Asahiyama Zoo, famous as a zoo where visitors can see the animals up close. It is to the northeast of Sapporo, and is about 112km as the crow flies from the center of Sapporo. It is approximately 138km by car via the Hokkaido Expressway.

By train, it is approximately 1 hour 25 minutes on the Limited Express Super Kamui, and about 2 hours 40 minutes on the rapid train, Ishikari Liner, with a transfer at Iwamizawa Station. This can also take more than 3 hours if the transfer does not go smoothly. By express bus, it is approximately 2 hours 30 minutes on Kosoku Asahikawa. By car, it is about 2 hours from central Sapporo via Hokkaido Expressway.

*The image is of a white bear at Asahiyama Zoo.


Obihiro

Obihiro is famous for Obihiro Race Course, where the world's only Banei Horse Racing can be seen. In Banei Horse Racing, Banba horses, which were originally farm horses, pull heavy metal sleds. It is straight east from Sapporo and is about 151km as the crow flies from central Sapporo. By car, it is approximately 201km via Hokkaido Expressway and other roads.

By train, it is about 2 hours 25 minutes to 50 minutes on the Limited Express Super Ozora, and about 2 hours 40 minutes to 50 minutes on the limited express, Super Tokachi, which travel via JR Hakodate Main Line, Chitose Line, Sekisho Line and Nemuro Main Line. By express bus, it is approximately 4 hours on the Potato Liner. By car, it is about 3 hours via Sasson Expressway, Hokkaido and Doto Expressways, and Obihiro-Hiroo Expressway.

*The image is of a Banei Horse Race at Obihiro Race Course.


Tips for Traveling Around Hokkaido Efficiently

As mentioned in the description regarding travel time to Furano, trains in Hokkaido tend to become infrequent the further you are from major cities, and it is not uncommon to wait more than two hours for a transfer. Be sure to study the train departure and arrival times and routes carefully at the website below so you can travel efficiently without wasting time.
Express buses can be a little cumbersome as you need to make advance reservations, but they are a reliable mode of transportation that tend to run on schedule.
Cars are efficient as you can rent them and travel at your own pace, but you will want to avoid driving in the winter. In the winter, there are roads that are closed and others that require special tires (such as studless and snow tires), and still others that require chains. In addition, there can be blizzards that can suddenly reduce your visibility so it is safer not to drive.


Tips for Traveling Around Hokkaido Efficiently

One of Hokkaido's attractions is its vastness. It's hard to get from place to place, but it is a place where you can make fabulous memories. Please create many wonderful memories from your travels there.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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Writer: masuda

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