questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

tokyo to sapporo

Tokyo to Sapporo

Hi. I am planning for a 3 weeks trip to Japan in April 2016. I am planning to include Hokkaido at the end of my trip in my itinerary. My questions are;
1. What is the best way for me to travel from Tokyo to Sapporo using the JR Pass, preferably by overnight trains so I could save on accommodation and time. And what are the options that I have?
2. Is it possible for me to make reservations on the trains ( Tokyo to Sapporo) as soon as I reached Japan? As far as I am concern, it is mandatory for me to make reservations on this trains and I can't do it outside Japan.

I am also planning to visit Tateyama-Kurobe Japanese Alps. Anybody know roughly when the route will be open next year? Will it be open by mid-April?

Thank you and thanks in advance for the help


Hi there,

1.) There are little to no night services left in Japan because of the coming of the Shinkansen. Night trains that are available are very popular can generally are sold out way in advance. Using the JR Pass, your best bet is to use the Shinkansen to Hakodate and from there take a limited express train to Sapporo from there. In a way this is pretty cool as the new Hokkaido Shinkansen to Hakodate will just have opened in March 2016.

2.) Yes you can make seat reservations once you are in Japan had have exchanged the JR Pass. The Kurobe Alpine route opens in the first or second week of April. It's best to have a look at their website closer to that date.

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

Oh thanks. I know that there's Hayabusa Shinkansen which I can use from Tokyo to Shin Aomori. I didn't know that Hokkaido Shinkansen will be open next year. Another alternative for me as well. I may not be able to use the popular night trains as they may sold out fast.
Thanks for the help!


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