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I will be in Misawa, Japan for a month, and I'd like to visit Sapporo while I'm in Northern Japan. Google maps provides two solutions for travel but I thought it might be worth it to ask others more experience with traveling in Japan if there are alternatives.

Google Map Solution - both car and train are about 9 hours.

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2 Answers 2

The one faster alternative would be to go to Aomori and fly from there to Sapporo, there are direct flights on both JAL and ANA. However, this is considerably more expensive (~US$190).

Personally, I'd be tempted to drive, unlike most of Japan a car is quite handy in Hokkaido. Sapporo is a nice enough city, but the real attractions in the countryside. Also, if you take the Oma-Hakodate ferry, you can stop off at eg. Osore-zan and Yagen Valley in Shimokita on the way.

Rome2Rio has a good summary of your options: http://www.rome2rio.com/s/Misawa/Sapporo

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(Cars are also quite handy in Okinawa where there are no trains in the postwar era outside the monorail which only services a few bits of one city.) –  hippietrail Mar 25 at 8:18
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You could take the rather pleasant Silver Ferry service from Hachinohe to Tomakomai if you have a few hours to spare and would rather do so on a boat than on a train. The transfers from your desired start / end points only take 20 minutes (from Misawa to Hachinohe) and about 45 minutes (from Tomakomai to Sapporo).

In total you're looking at 12,500 JPY for the ferry and 1960 JPY for the 2 trains I've noted above - so a bit cheaper than the train too, and although it takes slightly longer (9-10 hours all in) you'll actually see a bit of scenery (rather than burrowing underground via the Seikan Tunnel).

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