Explore Hokkaido hassle-free!

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Clean air, blue skies, undulating hills and majestic mountains – these are some of the things you can expect in Hokkaido! No matter what season you visit, you can definitely expect to return home with memories of beautiful sights and full bellies.

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If you plan to visit the many regions in Hokkaido but don’t want the trouble of driving across cities, you’ll need the JR Hokkaido rail pass! You’ll not just get to enjoy UNLIMITED rides on the JR Hokkaido trains but also some designated JR buses within Hokkaido.

There are 5 different JR passes available for the Hokkaido region, as listed below
3 Day JR Hokkaido Rail Pass
5 Day JR Hokkaido Rail Pass
7 Day JR Hokkaido Rail Pass
JR Hokkaido Rail Pass Flexi 4 Days
6 Day JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass

Read on to find out how you can maximize your Hokkaido JR Pass on your next holiday to Hokkaido!

1. Transport trains covered by the JR Pass

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Each JR Pass caters specifically to different regions in Japan and comes with varying entitlements. Therefore, it is important to plan your itinerary carefully before deciding which JR Pass to purchase. While it is possible to cancel your JR Pass, do note that a 10% cancellation fee (of the cost of the purchased JR Pass) applies.

Types of Hokkaido JR PassIncluded Transport LinesTransport Lines NOT Included
3/5/7 Day JR Hokkaido Rail Pass and JR Hokkaido Rail *4 Day Flexi Pass1.Reserved and non-reserved seats on JR Hokkaido Limited Express trains
2.Reserved and non-reserved seats on JR Hokkaido Express trains
3.JR Hokkaido local trains
4.JR Hokkaido buses within Sapporo
5.JR Hokkaido buses between Sapporo and Otaru
1.South Hokkaido Railway, Sapporo Municipal Subway, and other train companies outside of JR
2.Hokkaido Hayabusa and Hayata Shinkansen
3.Buses between Sapporo-Asahikawa, Mobetsu, Hiro’o, Kiroro, Ohibiro, Erimo, Shin Sapparo-Atsubetsu Stadium, JR Shiroishi Station-Sapporo Dome
4.Chuo Buses
5.Hokkaido Shinkansen
**6 Day JR East-South Hokkaido Pass1.JR Hokkaido lines
2.JR East lines (including BRT)
3.Izu Kyuko Line
4.Tokyo Monorail
5.Aoimori Railway
6.Iwate Galaxy Railway (IGR)
7.Sendai Airport Transit
1.Tokaido Shinkansen
2.Between Goryokaku Station and Kikonai Station on the South Hokkaido Railway
3.JR Buses

*For the 4 Day Flexi JR Hokkaido Pass, you are allowed to choose any 4 days you wish to board the train within a 10-day period from which the pass is effective.

**For the 6 Day JR East-South Hokkaido Pass, you are allowed to choose any 6 days you wish to board the train within a 14-day period from which the pass is effective.

2. Cities covered by the JR Hokkaido Rail Pass

The JR Hokkaido Rail Pass covers the following cities :How-To-Use-Your-Japan-Rail-Pass-Hokkaido-map
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The cities covered by all the 6 Day JR East-South Hokkaido Pass include:How-To-Use-Your-Japan-Rail-Pass-Hokkaido-map
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This pass is great if you plan on travelling to multiple cities in Hokkaido! As compared to buying multiple one way single-trip tickets, the rail pass is definitely a more cost-efficient option!
These are the approximate prices (JPY) for one-way tickets between major cities in Hokkaido:

AsahikawaHakodateWakkanaiKushiro
Sapporo4500850010,0009000
Asahikawa12,500800013,000
Hakodate16,50014,500
Wakkanai16,500

Just a 2 way trip from Wakkanai to Kushiro would already amount to more than the Klook cost of the Japan Rail Pass. Save your wallets and opt for the JR pass for a more cost efficient way of travelling!

3. Types of seats on the Japan Rail

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There are reserved seatings on the following:

  1. Shinkansen
  2. Limited Express Trains
  3. Express Trains
  4. Rapid Airport Trains

*Special and Sightseeing Trains are not eligible for reserved seating.

All you have to do is present your JR Hokkaido Rail Pass at the station ticket counter (along with the date, train name and zone) and a Reserved Seat Ticket will be issued at no extra charge. Alternatively, you may purchase it one month in advance using JR-EAST Train Reservation.

When boarding, be sure to present both your rail pass and reserved seat ticket to the conductor.

Since reservations are free of charge, we encourage you to get them. By reserving, you’ll be guaranteed a seat in the cabin and it’ll be much easier to sit together when traveling with friends or family!

4. JR Pass voucher exchange points

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Once your booking is confirmed, you’ll be required to collect your Exchange Order Vouchers at the different pick-up locations or have it mailed to you. Be sure to select a pick-up date that is at least 3 working days from your checkout date! Also note that your exchange voucher will only be valid for 90 days so don’t book those passes too early! How-To-Use-Your-Japan-Rail-Pass-Hokkaido-railway
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Taiwan/West Malaysia/Thailand/Philippines/South Korea
Exchange Order Vouchers will be mailed to your address by registered post within 7 business days (excluding weekends and holidays).

Singapore
Exchange Order Vouchers can be self-collected from:

Address: Klook Office, 13 Hong Kong Street Singapore 059656
Pick up time slots: 10:00am-12:00pm, 2:00pm-7:00pm
Open Monday to Friday (closed on Public Holidays)

Do note that the JR Pass is only issued in Japan, and since the Exchange Order Voucher is linked with the personal details entered by the user, you must collect the passes in person with the original passport used when booking.

Upon collection, you will be asked to choose a date for which you would like to activate your JR Pass as well. This means that if your chosen starting date is 28th June and you begin using the pass at 11:59pm, your first day will end at midnight the very same day so start the day early to make full use of the the JR Pass!

5. Hokkaido Region Highlights

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There is every reason to purchase the Hokkaido JR Pass to make the most of your next holiday there. Sapporo beer aside, the region is popular and loved for its beautiful Insta-worthy landscapes and many hidden gems waiting to be uncovered and explored!
Witness the beauty of Hokkaido for yourself with the following Klook-approved activities!

5.1 Sapporo

5.1.1.Learn the secrets behind your favorite Japanese beers

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Learn the secrets behind everyone’s favorite Hokkaido produced Pale Ale Lager at the Sapporo Beer Museum ! Entrance is free while the real treasure appears at the end of the tour – beer tasting at a minimal fee!

Sapporo Beer Museum
Location: 9 Chome-1-1 Kita 7 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture 065-8633, Japan
Operating Hours: Daily 10.30am to 6.30pm (Closed on Mondays)
Nearest JR Station: JR Sapporo Station

If you prefer Kirin beer instead, head over to the Kirin beer garden for some delicious WAGYU beef! The King Crab & Genghis Khan Grilled Lamb Course is a must-try for its unbeatable mix of delicious and tender lamb, fresh Hokkaido seafood, sure to satisfy the foodie in you.

Be sure to walk off all that food with a stroll in the Nakajima Park nearby! You wouldn’t want to get beer belly.

Kirin Beer Garden
Opening Hours: Daily 11:30am-10:00pm
Address: 1-1-60 Minami 10(ju)-Jonishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Nearest JR Station: Nakajima Koen Station

Klook yourself a king crab and Genghis Khan grilled lamb course and all you’ll need to do is flash your mobile e-voucher and get ready to FEAST!

ActivityKlook Cost 
Kirin Beer Garden Hokkaido
King Crab & Genghis Khan Grilled Lamb Course for 1
US$43
(¥ 4,700)
Find out more!

5.1.2. Get one of the BEST views from the Sapporo TV Tower

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Get a bird’s eye view of the stunning city from the observatory at the Sapporo TV Tower observatory.

You’ll be rewarded with views of the vast Sea of Japan and popular ski resortIshikari Heigen from 90 meters above ground level! Remember to snap #travelgoals photos and upload them instantly to spruce up your Instagram feed with complimentary WiFi available at the observation deck.

Sapporo TV Tower
Location: 1 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture 060-0042, Japan
Operating Hours: Daily 9am to 10pm
Nearest JR Station: JR Sapporo Station

Klook your tickets to skip the long queues at the ticketing counter! Don’t worry about wet weather spoiling your plans as Klook tickets are OPEN DATED. This way you can get rearrange those plans and ensure you get the BEST backdrop to those Instagram pictures!

ActivityKlook Cost 
Sapporo TV Tower Ticket
1 day open dated admission to Sapporo TV tower
US$7 (¥720)Find out more!

5.1.3. Have tea the Japanese way

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Your trip to Hokkaido would not be complete without learning the REAL art of serving tea. Take an inside look into the intricate Japanese tea culture as you savour authentic Japanese tea and sample Japanese desserts.

Upgrade your experience and experience brewing tea in a traditional kimono! You’ll also get to immortalise your experience with a take-home souvenir photo.

Hokkaido Tea Ceremony
Location: 2 Chome-7-1 Minami 2 Johigashi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, 060-0052, Japan
Operating Hours: Daily 9.00am – 5.30pm (unavailable on Tuesday and Wednesday)
Nearest JR Station: JR Sapporo Station

Klook your tickets to the Tea ceremony and all you need to do is flash your mobile voucher and you’re all set for some qualiTEA time with your loved ones.

ActivityKlook Cost 
Tea Ceremony Experience
Fix dated 1.5 hours Tea Ceremony experience
US$35 (¥3,780)Find out more!

5.2 Otaru

5.2.1. Cruise through the city on the Otaru rickshaw tour

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One of the best ways to explore the quaint harbor city of Otaru is by rickshaw. Learn about the rich history and iconic streets of the city as your local guide takes you on a customized tour!

#Klook Fun Fact: The Japanese film, “Love Letter” was shot mainly in the beautiful streets of Otaru.Follow the exact spots where the fantasy love story was filmed and recreate your own version of the love story with your loved ones.

Otaru Rickshaw Tour Hokkaido
Meet up Location:Chuo Bridge, Chuo Dori, Hokkaidō, Japan
Tour Timings: Daily 10.30am to 5pm
Nearest JR Station: JR Hakodate Station

Klook your tickets to the Otaru Rickshaw Tour and you’ll get a private tour of the city! All you need to do is flash your mobile e-voucher to the rickshaw driver with Otaru’/’小樽 on his back and you’re all set!

ActivityKlook Cost 
30 Min Otaru Rickshaw Tour
Customized 30 min tour of Otaru on rickshaw
US$40
(¥4,374)
Find out more!
1 Hour Otaru Rickshaw Tour
Customized 60 min tour of Otaru on rickshaw
US$78
(¥8,505)
Find out more!
2 Hour Otaru Rickshaw Tour
Customized 120 min tour of Otaru on rickshaw
US$145
(¥15,795)
Find out more!

5.3 Furano

5.3.1. Munch on cheese at the Furano Cheese Factory

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Furano is synonymous with its picturesque landscapes and blooming lavender seasons. But, apart from the flowers, did you know the most delicious cheese is produced in Furano?
You’ll be in for an interesting experience at The Furano Cheese Factory where you can observe the production process of Local Camembert Cheese. All ingredients used in the produces are sourced locally gifting it with a distinct Furano taste!

Yes, you’ll be able to enjoy some cheese samples during the post tasting session!
At additional fees, you may attend hands-on workshops to learn the art behind making butter, ice-cream, cheese and even bread (advanced reservations required for bread-making workshop).

Furano Cheese Factory
Location: Nakagoku, Furano, Hokkaido Prefecture 076-0013, Japan
Operating Hours : Daily 9.00am – 5.00pm (Closed Dec 31 to Jan 3)
Nearest JR Station: JR Furano Station

5.4 Hakodate

5.4.1.Feast on seafood at the Hakodate morning market

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Hakodate is the third largest city in Hokkaido located in the South, best known for its delicious and fresh seafood!

The Hakodate Morning Market boasts a huge area spanning about four city blocks. So open your eyes wide, socks up and be ready to delve into the wide array of fresh seafood available. Think crabs, salmon eggs, sea urchins and squids!

Try your hand at catching an unlucky (or lucky for you) squid swimming vigorously in fish tanks. All it takes is a basic rod with a hook on the end and some arm skills…easy right? Achef will transform your fresh catch into a delectable squid sashimi!

Remember not to leave Hakodate without gobbling down the infamous Seafood Rice Bowl at “Donburi Yokocho Ichiba” located along the Morning Market.

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Hakodate Morning Market
Location: Wakamatsu 9−19, Hakodate, Hokkaido Prefecture 040-0063, Japan
Operating Hours: Daily 5.00am – 12 noon
Nearest JR Station: JR Hakodate Station

6. Choosing a Hokkaido JR Pass 

Having a hard time deciding with Hokkaido JR Pass to get? Here’s something to guide you along!

Scenario 1: If I’m planning to spend most of my time within Hokkaido, especially Sapporo and Furano, which pass should I get?
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Valid for 5 days, the 5 Day JR Hokkaido Rail Pass will give you access to the following:

1.Reserved and non-reserved seats on JR Hokkaido Limited Express trains
2.Reserved and non-reserved seats on JR Hokkaido Express trains
3.JR Hokkaido local trains
4.JR Hokkaido buses within Sapporo
5.JR Hokkaido buses between Sapporo and Otaru

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This is perfect for exploring the best of all Hokkaido! If you think 5 consecutive days might be a bit too long, look out for the JR Hokkaido Rail Pass Flexible 4 Days that allows you to choose any 4 days you wish to board the train within a 10-day period from which the pass is effective.

Scenario 2: If I’m intending to toggle between Tokyo and visiting places such as Sapporo and Lake Toya during my trip, which pass should I get?

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Since you’re spending more time in the Eastern part of Japan and areas along the South of Hokkaido, we recommend you purchase the 6 Day JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass!

With the 6 Day JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass, you are entitled to the following:

1.JR Hokkaido Lines
2.JR East Lines (including Rapid Bus Transit)
3.Izu Kyuko Line
4.Tokyo Monorail
5.Aoimori Railway
6.Iwate Galaxy Railway
7.Sendai Airport Transit
8.Local and Rapid trains between Shimo-imaichi and Tobu-nikko/Kinugawa-onsen on Tobu Railway Lines
9.Limited Express trains that connect directly with Tobu Railway Lines between Kurihashi and Shimo-imaichi Station

Besides travelling between Tokyo and other parts of the Eastern region hassle-free, it also allows you to use it for any 6 days within 14 days of purchase date.

Scenario 3: It’s my first time to Japan and I’m thinking of exploring the many regions, should I still purchase the JR Hokkaido Pass?

Congratulations on booking your first trip to Japan, you’ll love it!

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In this case, it seems like you aren’t planning to stay in one specific region for long therefore we suggest you purchase the 7 Day Whole Japan Rail Pass (also available in 14 or 21 days).

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To Hokkaido we go!

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Are you ready to delve into the wonders of Hokkaido? All that’s left is picking out your preferred JR Pass and perhaps booking a personal Airport Transfer to be transportation-worry free! To immortalize your trip and share those Insta-worthy moments, remember to snag yourself a 4G WiFi Device as well!

Still unsure about how the JR pass works? Check out our guide to the JR pass to find out more details about what exactly this pass does and how you should go about booking one.

Book your flights, pack your bags and get ready to explore Hokkaido! For a very limited time only, Scoot can take you direct from Singapore to Sapporo for as low as S$219! Direct flights from Singapore to Sapporo will only run from Nov 2017 to Feb 2018.