Air Travel

Domestic carriers Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA), and budget carriers such as SkyMark, Jetstar, and Vanilla Air connect major Japanese airports with Sapporo (New Chitose), Asahikawa, Hakodate, Abashiri (Memanbetsu), Obihiro, and Kushiro. Flying across Hokkaido is a good way to cross the distances, particularly the far-flung eastern and northern regions. In winter, sudden changes in weather can divert or cancel flights, so plan adequate time for connections.

JAL and ANA link Hokkaido to Honshu by direct flights from Tokyo's Haneda Airport to Hakodate, Sapporo (New Chitose Airport), Asahikawa Airport, Abashiri (Memanbetsu Airport), Nemuro (Nakashibetsu Airport), and Kushiro Airport. Several direct flights a day depart from Tokyo's Narita International Airport (with many of the low-cost carriers serving Narita's no-frills Terminal 3). Other major cities on Honshu have flights to Sapporo, as do several places in the Asia and Pacific region. The cost by air from Tokyo to Sapporo can be as low as ¥10,000 compared with ¥22,430 by train. Fly-stay packages from Tokyo (subsidized by the Hokkaido government) offering excellent deals for short trips are recommended. Some air travelers arriving in Japan on European flights can, with a change of planes at Tokyo, fly at no extra charge to Sapporo. If you're flying from overseas to Sapporo via Tokyo, book the domestic portion when you buy your international ticket; otherwise, you will fork out for what is, per mile, one of the most expensive domestic tickets in the world.

Airline Information

All Nippon Airways (全日空). 全日空 0570/029–709; www.ana.co.jp.

Japan Airlines (日本航空). 日本航空 03/6733--3062; www.jal.co.jp/en.

Skymark Airlines (スカイマーク). スカイマーク 050/3786--0283; www.skymark.co.jp/en.

Vanilla Air (バニラエア). バニラエア 0570/66--6603; www.vanilla-air.com/en/.

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