Learn how to activate the Japan Rail Pass at Sapporo station, where to go, opening hours and where to reserve tickets.
Sapporo is the capital city of the island prefecture of Hokkaido, as such Sapporo station is the main hub of train transport. When visiting Sapporo, you’ll likely arrive by flight at the closely Shin-Chitose airport or with the Hokkaido Shinkansen. Today we’ll explain how to activate the JR Pass and Hokkaido Rail Pass at Sapporo station, where to go, how to book seats and a couple of expert tips to make the best of your trip!
Activating the JR Pass at Hokkaido station:
There are three activation points at Sapporo station, so finding one will be easy. These are:
- JR Information Desk: open between 8:30-19:00, this exchange point is located in the central hall of Sapporo station, just besides the JR Ticket office, and close to the west ticket gate.
- JR Travel Service Center (Twinkle Plaza) Sapporo Branch : open between 10:00-18:00, this exchange point is located to the left of the tourist information centre and operated by the same desk, and located near the east ticket gate.
- JR Travel Service Center (Twinkle Plaza) Sapporo South Exit Branch : open between 11:00-19:00 this exchange point is located close to the south station exit.
Note that each exchange point has different opening hours, and the best place to activate the JR Pass may depend on your arrival time. We recommend using the JR Travel Service Center (Twinkle Plaza) Sapporo Branch near the tourist information, as you can ask any question about travelling around Hokkaido there at the same time.
For tickets and seat reservations, each exchange point can make these. In case you want to reserve multiple tickets at once, bring a written/printed list of trains and dates you want to travel on. This will make the process a lot quicker and easier.
Travelling onwards from Sapporo Station
Sapporo is the central terminus for all rail travel in Hokkaido, the following lines start or pass through Sapporo station:
Hakodate Main line: Running from Hakodate in the south to Asahikawa north of Sapporo. The Hakodate Main line connects to the Hokkaido Shinkansen at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station.
Chitose line: Running between Sapporo station and Tomakomai, a branch line runs to Shin-Chitose airport.
Sassho line: Local only line that runs from Sapporo station to Hokkaido-Iryodaigaku station.
Expert tips and suggestions for Sapporo station
- Part of the station complex is JR Sapporo station tower, on inside to get up to the 38th story for a full 360 degree panoramic view over Sapporo. It’s a great place for pictures, there’s a tiny museum about railway history as well.
- One of the best and easiest day trips to make from Sapporo is Otaru
- Meeting someone at Sapporo station? The central clock is a popular meeting point and easy to locate.
- JR operates local buses around Sapporo, these can be used for free with the pass.
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