questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

from tokyo to sapporo by night train

from Tokyo to Sapporo by night train

I have JR Pass and have the following questions;

Night Train

  1. How much extra do I have to pay for night train from Tokyo to Sapporo?
  2. How long does it take to get to Sapporo from Tokyo?
  3. Do I need to transfer anywhere or is it direct?
  4. I heard that I will need to book for the night train in advance, where can I make reservation and how much time in advance do I need to book?
  5. Can I book the seat in order to travel the next day?

Day train

  1. For day train from Tokyo to Sapporo, do I have to pay extra?
  2. Do I need to book the seat in advance?
  3. If so how much money and how much time in advance I need to make reservation?
  4. where to book the seat?
  5. How long does it take for day train from Tokyo to Sapporo and where do I need to transfer the line?

Thank you very much.
I look forward to hearing from you.

suvanee
suvanee

Hello there!

Here are some answers for you:

Night Train

  1. The JR Pass will cover the basic line charge, however you will need to pay the full room and express charge if you want to use a direct sleeper (Hokutosei or Cassiopea) from Tokyo to Sapporo. The extra charge amount depends on the room class you choose to use on these trains, but you can budget on ¥14,500 - ¥21,500 extra charge being needed.
  2. As an example itinerary, the Hokutosei leaves Ueno station in Tokyo at 7.03pm, and arrives into Sapporo at 11.15am the following day. You can check further prices at hyperdia
  3. The Hokutosei or Cassiopeia are direct from Ueno.
  4. You do need to book in advance, and this is where it can be tricky with the rail pass. These sleepers generally need to be booked well in advance (up to 2-3 weeks at least). As you'll need to be in Japan to place your reservation with the JRPass, this is often hard. There is no harm in trying however, and there is often success if you are travelling singly or in couples rather than small-medium groups.
  5. In theory, if there are places left on the sleeper you can book in order to travel the next day.

Day train

  1. No - you do not need to pay extra for this since the Tohoku shinkansen opened. Your route would take you from Tokyo up to Shin-Aomori by Shinkansen, and then into Hokkaido by normal express train.
  2. If you use the Hayabusa from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori, then yes, you will need to make a seat reservation (free). If you use the other shinkansen such as the Hayate service, then you can hop on/off as you need.
  3. Reservations on all JR lines are free for JR Pass holders. For the Hayabusa I recommend you book as early as possible though there will be places available usually up to the day of travel.
  4. You can book seats at the JR ticket office in any JR mainline station. We have more on making seat reservations here.
  5. The journey with Hayabusa is about 9h20m. Here's a sample itinerary for you with all the transfer detailed.

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Thank you very much for you speedy and useful information.

As you mentioned about Tohoku Shinkansen (day train with no reservation or extra charge needed) that the route would take you from Tokyo up to Shin-Aomori by Shinkansen, and then into Hokkaido by normal express train.
Here are questions,
1. where can I take this train fromTokyo, which station in Tokyo?
2. Then when I get to Shin-Aomori, I have to get off the train and take normal express train to Hokkaido.
Does this normal express train go all the way to Sapporo? and this is all with no extra charge?
3. From what you mentioned earlier, I would need to make only 1 stop to change the train at Shin-Aomori, right?
4. Where can I get timetable for the arrival and departure time for Tohoku Shinkansen option?
5. I can use JR rail pass for this whole route from Tokyo to Sapporo, right?
6. What is the approximate time does it take to get from Tokyo to Sapporo if I take this option?

Thank you very much.

suvanee
suvanee

Hi there,

Here is the full itinerary I link to in my original answer. Please click this link as it answers many of your questions about the route/times/stations and transfers needed. You can use this search as a base for your travel by modifying the dates, times and so on.

The starting station would be Tokyo station - the main bullet train terminal in Tokyo. There are changes at Shin-Aomori and then Hakodate on the way up to Sapporo from Tokyo. I can also confirm that this route is 100% covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

Here is a link to a pure Tohoku Shinkansen itinerary from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori. You can modify the departure and arrival times in the search to find the train you want.

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

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