JR Hokkaido Pass: Unlocking Rail Benefits

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By ReddotExplorer

Are you planning an unforgettable journey through the enchanting landscapes of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island? If so, you're in luck! JR Hokkaido offers a range of rail passes tailor-made for your travel needs. 

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the various Hokkaido rail passes and help you decide which one is the perfect fit for your adventure. Let's dive in and discover how you can make the most of your Hokkaido exploration with these incredible rail passes.

Overview Of Hokkaido Rail Passes

Before we delve into the specifics of each rail pass, let's take a moment to understand the options available. JR Hokkaido offers several passes designed to cater to diverse travel itineraries. These passes are perfect for exploring Hokkaido's captivating cities, charming towns, and breathtaking natural wonders.

JR Hokkaido Pass

The JR Hokkaido Pass is your ticket to explore Hokkaido's extensive rail network. It allows you to traverse from the southern tip of Hokkaido in Hakodate to the northernmost point in Japan, Wakkanai, or the easternmost point in Nemuro. This pass is ideal for travelers arriving at New Chitose Airport.

Hokkaido Free Pass

The Hokkaido Free Pass is your key to unrestricted exploration of Hokkaido. It offers seven consecutive days of travel and is available to anyone, including foreign residents and Japanese passport holders. However, it cannot be used during peak travel periods.

Sapporo–Noboribetsu Area Pass

If your journey revolves around Sapporo, Otaru, Noboribetsu, and New Chitose Airport, the Sapporo–Noboribetsu Area Pass is the right choice for you.

Sapporo–Furano Area Pass

For those exploring Sapporo, Otaru, Asahikawa, Furano, Biei, and New Chitose Airport, the Sapporo–Furano Area Pass provides a convenient travel solution.

Now, let's dive deeper into the specifics of the JR Hokkaido Pass, the most popular choice for travelers exploring Hokkaido's treasures.

JR Hokkaido Pass: Your Key To Hokkaido

The scenic rail journey

The JR Hokkaido Pass opens up a world of possibilities on Hokkaido's rail network. While it doesn't cover the Hokkaido Shinkansen, it grants access to the essential rail lines connecting Hokkaido's major cities and attractions, including New Chitose Airport.


The JR Hokkaido Pass offers flexibility with options for five, seven, or ten consecutive days of travel. Here are the prices if purchased overseas:

  • 5-day pass: ¥15,000 (S$184.40*)
  • 7-day pass: ¥19,500 (S$239.73*)
  • 10-day pass: ¥24,000 (S$295.05*)

Children aged 6-11 can enjoy the same benefits at half the price of an adult pass.


To use the JR Hokkaido Pass, you must be a foreign passport holder on a temporary tourist visa.

Where to Purchase

You can acquire the pass from an overseas travel agent, including online options, or through the JR East website for an additional ¥740 (S$9.22*) fee.

What's Included In The JR Hokkaido Pass?

Have a rail experience

The JR Hokkaido Pass offers extensive coverage within Hokkaido, including reserved seats on limited express trains at no extra cost. However, seat reservations are necessary.

The pass encompasses JR Hokkaido buses, making it convenient for exploring Sapporo and its surrounding attractions. While it covers some bus routes, keep in mind that certain popular destinations may require additional non-JR bus fares.

Ferries to destinations like Rebun or Rishiri islands are not included in the pass's coverage.

JR Hokkaido Pass - A Good Deal?

Visit the scenic Lake Tōya

The answer depends on your travel plans. If you intend to explore multiple cities and cover significant distances in Hokkaido, the JR Hokkaido Pass offers substantial savings. For instance, a one-way limited express train fare between Hakodate and Sapporo costs ¥7,000 (S$87.04*). Thus, the pass can prove economical even without Shinkansen access.

However, if your journey takes you deep into remote wilderness areas, it's essential to consider alternative transportation options. For destinations like Daisetsuzan National Park, where trains may not be the most convenient mode of transport, other methods such as car rentals could be more suitable.

Intrigued by the prospect of exploring Hokkaido with a rail pass? Let's explore other options!

Hokkaido Free Pass: Freedom to Roam

Don’t miss the scene at Shikisai No Oka

The Hokkaido Free Pass offers the same benefits as the 7-day JR Hokkaido Pass but with more flexibility in terms of eligibility. It is available to anyone, including foreign residents and Japanese passport holders.


  • 7-day pass: ¥20,350 (S$252.91*)

Travel Restrictions

The Hokkaido Free Pass cannot be used during Golden Week (April 27–May 6), Obon (August 10–19), or over the New Year (December 28–January 6).

Where To Purchase

You can obtain the Hokkaido Free Pass at any major JR Hokkaido station up to one month before your planned use. Similar to the JR Hokkaido Pass, seat reservations are required.

Regional Rail Passes For Specific Adventures

Explore the beauty of Noboribetsu Onsen Flower Tunnel

JR Hokkaido also offers two new regional rail passes catering to popular destinations in Hokkaido. These passes are ideal for travelers exploring specific regions of Hokkaido.

Sapporo–Noboribetsu Area Pass

This pass is perfect for those planning to visit Sapporo, Otaru, Noboribetsu, and New Chitose Airport.

Sapporo–Furano Area Pass

Travelers interested in Sapporo, Otaru, Asahikawa, Furano, Biei, and New Chitose Airport can benefit from the Sapporo–Furano Area Pass.

Limited Express Train Fares

To help you determine if a rail pass suits your travel needs, here are some sample limited express train fares from Sapporo. The table provides a clear overview of the fares for reserved and unreserved seats to various destinations in Hokkaido.

DestinationReserved Seat Fare (¥)Unreserved Seat Fare (¥)Reserved Seat Fare (S$)Unreserved Seat Fare (S$)
New Chitose Airport1,48086018.35*10.60*

*Prices may vary and are subject to change. Please verify the latest pricing and eligibility criteria before purchasing a rail pass.

FAQs: JR Hokkaido Pass

  • What is the JR Hokkaido Pass, and what does it offer?

    The JR Hokkaido Pass is a rail pass that provides access to Hokkaido's extensive rail network. It allows you to travel from Hakodate in the south to Wakkanai in the north or Nemuro in the east. It's ideal for travelers arriving at New Chitose Airport.
  • How much does the JR Hokkaido Pass cost?

    The JR Hokkaido Pass is available in three options: 5-day, 7-day, and 10-day passes, priced at ¥15,500, ¥19,950, and ¥24,350, respectively. Prices in Singapore Dollars (S$) may vary.
  • Who is eligible to use the JR Hokkaido Pass?

    The JR Hokkaido Pass is available to foreign passport holders on a temporary tourist visa.
  • Where can I purchase the JR Hokkaido Pass?

    You can purchase the pass from here at Trip.com.
  • What is included in the JR Hokkaido Pass?

    The JR Hokkaido Pass covers extensive rail travel within Hokkaido, including reserved seats on limited express trains. It also includes JR Hokkaido buses.

JR Hokkaido Pass Conclusion

Onsen experience while at Hokkaido

With the JR Hokkaido Pass, you can unlock the scenic beauty and cultural wonders of Hokkaido effortlessly. Whether you're planning to visit bustling cities, tranquil towns, or natural wonders, these rail passes offer exceptional value and flexibility for your journey. Start your Hokkaido adventure today, and discover the enchanting beauty of Japan's northern gem.

❤️ Pro Tip #1: How about taking a train from Tokyo to Hokkaido? The journey is a great way to sightsee the changing landscape.
Pro Tip #2: There are so many things to do in Hokkaido! Get your JR Hokkaido Pass and start exploring! Check out our Hokkaido map to navigate this enchanting gem and you can even use this Hokkaido itinerary guide to make the best of your trip!
🔥 Pro Tip #3: Do remember to check on Hokkaido weather before booking your tickets! Know when is the best time to visit Hokkaido
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