questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

hokkaido travel: green car pass vs. ordinary pass

Hokkaido travel: Green Car Pass vs. Ordinary Pass

Hi there,

I know this is a done to death topic, but my question is specifically for use of the JR 21 days Pass for Hokkaido travel. (Point of origin and return is Tokyo) I have read a few write ups that state that the Green Car is the best on the Hokkaido lines. Please advise.

We will also be in Hokkaido during the Golden Week (May). Will the Green Car Pass make a big difference in seat reservations? How many days in advance should the seat reservations be done (for both Green and Ordinary pass)? Some write ups state 3-4 days, a few state to make reservations upon exchanging the passes. And which major stations in Hokkaido can we arrange the reservations? (aside from the obvious Sapporo and Hakodate)

We had previously traveled on a 21 day Ordinary pass and we were fine with it, until we experienced Golden Week. Will the Green Pass make a significant difference during the Golden Week?

Would appreciate inputs. Thanks.


Hi there,

Trains are going to be busy during Golden Week, in every class. Still Green Class will give you a more relaxed travel experience as most people who want to travel on Green Seats will do so for the same reason.

When it comes to seat reservations, it is recommended to do so at least a couple of days in advance. While it may still be possible to get seats on the day of travel, it may for instance not be possible to sit together or reserve a specific train.
Tickets can be booked at any JR station or JR travel centre.

Using a Green Class is also great in Hokkaido as complementary drinks are served in Green Class for Tohoku/Hokkaido (Coffee, Tea, Water) in addition to Oshibori (wet hand towels).

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

Thank you Danial-san !


Hi Daniel-san,

We are currently in Hokkaido now and have ridden several trains already using the Green pass. I remember only now you mentioning complimentary drinks. How does this work? Because we have already bought water and coffee on the trains and no one mentioned anything about complimentary. Thanks!


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