I have looked up on ways to get to Hokkaido from within Japan (particularly from Tokyo or Osaka) or even directly to Hokkaido first before travelling to other parts of Japan, but they all seemed rather expensive. Taking the train seems to be the most popular way to get to Hokkaido, but the the train ticket is pretty expensive. This is only transportation. I will be travelling to Japan in February and the accommodation during this time at Hokkaido isn't cheap too because of their winter season.

Are there other cheaper alternatives to travel from within Japan to and tour around in Hokkaido?

  • 2
    possible duplicate of Alternative to trains in Japan Dec 28, 2013 at 18:41
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    But my question is particularly on getting to Hokkaido.
    – xenon
    Dec 28, 2013 at 18:56
  • I personally would love to hitchhike, and when hitching in other parts of Japan I've been told several times by people that their dream is to go hitchhiking in Hokkaido. There are also cheaper alternatives to hotels in Japan, but it depends on what your standards and expectations are. Dec 29, 2013 at 3:09
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    Not directly answering your question, however first week of January will be around Chinese New Year, and that will have an effect on price since many Chinese will travel to Japan for vacation.
    – user5043
    Dec 29, 2013 at 11:41

2 Answers 2


Take a look at Japan's many low-cost carriers!

From Tokyo:

  • Vanilla Air, Narita-Sapporo fares from Y5,500.
  • Skymark flies from Haneda/Narita to Sapporo and Asahikawa from Y10,000.

From Osaka:

  • Peach flies Osaka-Sapporo fares from Y4,950 one-way.

Hitchhiking is generally a surprisingly viable alternative, but not in winter, and the sheer distance to Hokkaido (~1200 km from Tokyo to Sapporo) means it's a multi-day venture.

  • I just managed to hitchhike from (south) Tokyo to about 150km shy of where the ferry to Hokkaido leaves. First ride was about 8am. It's now 10.40pm. There were a couple of hiccups so this isn't a "best time". Apr 29, 2014 at 13:41

I recently read you could go by ferry directly from Tokyo to somewhere in Hokkaido (somewhere near Sapporo). It takes quite some time (something around 18h), but if you're ok with sleeping on a tatami mat in a big room with other people (apparently mostly truckers) it's probably a lot cheaper than trains (¥8,500 off season, ¥11,000 peak season).

The person describing the travel wasn't too pleased with his journey, though. It all depends on your standards. And of course to tour around Hokkaido you'd still have to take trains and buses.

Have you considered the JR Pass? If you travel a lot it will most probably be worth it.

  • +1 on the railpass. It's an excellent (and convenient) way to see Japan and quite cost beneficial depending on what distance/amount of traveling you do by train.
    – Jeff B
    Jan 27, 2014 at 15:40

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