Japan Railways Hokkaido helps visitors enjoy the big country in comfort, with a three-, five-, or seven-day Hokkaido Rail Pass and good English-language information at major stations. There is also a four-day flexible pass that can be used for a 10-day period. Although there are no Shinkasen bullet trains yet, super-express trains connect Sapporo south to Hakodate (and on to Honshu), and north and east to Asahikawa, Kushiro, Abashiri, and Wakkanai. A three-day pass costs ¥16,500, five-day ¥22,000, seven-day ¥24,000, and the flexible pass costs ¥22,000. Superior cars cost about ¥6,500 to ¥8,000 extra. Some JR buses are included in the pass. Train and car packages are available.
The train journey from Tokyo to Sapporo can take as little as eight hours with good connections. This trip involves a combination of the Shinkansen train to Hakodate (Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station; 4 hours, 15 minutes), currently the northernmost point on the new Hokkadio Shinkansen Line extension, and a change to the Super Hokuto express train for the remaining journey to Sapporo (3 hours, 40 minutes). The JR Pass covers this route.
East Japan Railway Information Line. 050/2016–1603; www.jreast.co.jp/e.
JR Travel Service Center. The service center can assist with domestic train, bus, and air travel; day trips; package deals; and hotel reservations in Sapporo or around the country. JR Sapporo Station West Exit, Kita 6 Nishi 4, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-0005. 011/231–9908; www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global. Daily 10–10.