Discount ticket for JR – Move from Sapporo to other cities in Hokkaido

If you are interested in exploring some cities in Hokkaido from Sapporo by JR, would be better to get a discount ticket in advance. It is not available at all areas in Hokkaido, but in case you are planning to visit to major cities like Asahikawa, Hakodate or Obihiro etc. , you can take advantage of some kinds of cheaper train tickets to reach there.
The places you can buy such discount ticket are travel agents or ticket counters in JR station called as “Midori no Madoguchi(みどりの窓口)”. If you starts the trip from Sapporo, I recommend to get the tickets at  “Hokkaido-Sapporo Tourist Information Center” English speaker is stationed.
JR is offering various kinds of cheaper tickets so far, then I listed some major types of discount tickets below. Should you want to know more detail about each ticket or plan to go to other cities rather than below destinations, please directly ask staffs at Midori no Madoguchi.

From/ToTo/FromName of available discount ticket
(In Japanese)
Discount ticket price for limited express
(Discount ticket + additional limited express fee)
Original ticket price for limited expressEffective priod for the discount ticketNotes
SapporoAsashikawaR Ticket
11 days
Non-reserved seat
SapporoNoboribetsuDiscount round trip ticket
6 days
Non-reserved seat
SapporoTouyaDiscount round trip ticket
7 days
Non-reserved seat
SapporoObihiroDiscount round trip ticket
10 days
Reserved seat
SapporoHakodateDiscount round trip ticket
8 days
Reserved seat
SapporoKushiroDiscount round trip ticket
9 days
Reserved seat

Where should you go as one day trip from Sapporo?

As you may know, Hokkaido is very big and it takes more than 10 days if you want to travel around whole Hokkaido. For those who stay in Sapporo less than two days but are interested in exploring near town from Sapporo, I introduce two suitable places as one day trip from Sapporo.

1) Otaru
Speaking of the sightseeing spot near Sapporo, Otaru would be the most popular place for tourists. I cannot count how many times visited to Otaru, but quaint city view with the canal, orgel doh and old style buildings never make me bored at all. This small but unique town always give me beautiful impression.
I especially recommend to stroll the sidewalk next to the canal at sunset. Street lamps above the sidewalk are gas lighting rather than electric lighting because the light by gas is waving, which creates romantic shining.

In addition to its beautiful scenery, Otaru is also famous as a gourmet town.
Most Japanese domestic tourists expect to eat Sushi in Otaru, and enjoy cakes or chocolates at confectionery shops, such as “Letao” which also currently attract many tourists.
You can go from Sapporo to Otaru during looking at Japan sea from the train window.

Public trasprtation from Saporo to Otaru
Option 1:JR
Time: Approximately 30 minutes
Fare: JPY 640 (Free seating)

Option 2:Bus (Kosoku Otaru Go)
Time: Approximately 50 minutes
Fare: JPY 610

Otaru tourism association official website has more detailed information.


2) Jozankei
A hot spring which is the nearest from Sapporo and most familiar to Sapporo citizen is Jozankei Onsen. Public buses run from New Chitose airport (It takes about 100min) as well as Sapporo downtown (It takes about 75min), so tourists can individually go and enjoy the hot spring.
Most hotels in Jozankei are offering day trip hot spring plan even for the guests who are not supposed to stay at hotels. If you use the plan, depart from Sapporo in the morning and possible to return within same day even after enjoying hot spring.
Regarding time table of the buses or other details of Jozankei Onsen, please refer to the official web site of Jozankei tourist association

Jozankei hot springs, blessed by the forest and the earth. | 定山渓温泉の観光ナビ「定山渓観光協会公式サイト」札幌の湯の杜 定山渓温泉の湯、食、遊びを目一杯楽しむためのガイド。お得な最新情報… via kwout


Inter city bus pass is available until 27 Mar 2019. This bus pass covers the routes from Sapporo to Otaru and Sapporo to Jozankei. Once you get the pass (JPY 6,000 for 3 days pass, JPY 9,000 for 5 days pass), you can reach 20 cities and more than 100 travel spots in Hokkaido by local buses.

Bus stops for airport coach in Sapporo downtown

As my previous post, major options to reach Sapporo downtown from new Chitose airport are JR and airport coach. (You can get taxi at the airport, but Japanese taxi is so expensive that I have not used before. The taxi fare from the airport to Sapporo downtown would be higher than JPY 10,000…) If you choose coach, it is easier to get to your hotel than JR as there are more than 10 bus stops in the downtown.
Two bus companies are operating airport coach currently. The one company, Hokuto kotsu provides a useful website which introduces names of bus stops in the route from new Chitose airport to Sapporo downtown with the city area map.
I prepared the below list which shows the closest bus stops for each hotel referred to the map. Hope the list would be helpful for your trip!

Bus stops for airport coach in Sapporo
Bus stops Hotel
Nakajima Park
*This bus stop is for Sapporo down town direct bus only
Hote Kaiko Sapporo Nakajima Koen, Business Inn Norte, Sapporo Kita Hotel, Hotel Lifort Sapporo, Sapporo Park Hotel, Premier Hotel Nakajimapark Sapporo, Hotel VISTA Sapporo Nakajima Koen, Hotel Resol Sapporo Nakajima Koen, Vessel Inn Sapporo Nakajima Koen, Hotel Show Sapporo, Hotel livemax Sapporo, Art Hotels Sapporo, Hotel North City, Sapporo Excel Hotel Tokyu, Hotel Clair Sapporo, Quintessa Hotel Sapporo, Ibis Styles Sapporo, Hotel Relief Sapporo Susukino
Minami 3 Jo Susukino
or Susukino
ANA Holiday Inn Sapporo Susukino, Mercure Hotel Sapporo, Apa Hotel Sapporo Susukino Ekimae, Daiwa Roynet Hotel Sapporo Susukino, Hotel Ronshan Sapporo, Hotel Route Inn Sapporo Chuo, Sapporo Tokyu REI Hotel, Toyoko Inn Sapporo Susukino Kosaten, Hotel Rener Susukino, Sapporo Tobu Hotel, L'Hotel de L' Hotel, Rechmond Hotel Sapporo Odori, Watermark Hotel Sapporo, Nest Hotel Sapporo Odori, Hotel New Budget Sapporo, Dormy Inn Annex, Dormy Inn Premium Sapporo, Hotel Sunroute New Sapporo, Apa Hotel Sapporo Susukino Ekinishi, Hotel Relief Sapporo Susukino, Marks Inn Sapporo, Apa Hotel Sapporo Susukino Eki Minami, Sapporo Daiichi Hotel, Apa Hotel Sapporo Susukino, Jasmac Plaza Hotel, Tiara Hotel Sapporo Susukino, Weekly Sapporo Annex, Weekly Sapporo 2000, Hotel Annex, Tmark City Hotel Sapporo, Hotel Kaiko Sapporo, Swanky Hotel Ohtomo, Super Hotel Sapporo Susukino, Business Hotel Line, Toyoko Inn Sapporo Susukino Minami
Odori ParkHotel Resoi Trinity Sapporo, Hotel Okura Sapporo, Rasso Life Stage Hotel, Unizo Inn Sapporo
Hotel Monterey Edelhof SapporoHotel Monterey Edelhof Sapporo, New Otani Inn Sapporo, Sapporo Sumire Hotel, Nest Hotel Sapporo Ekimae, Apa Hotel TKP Sapporo Ekimae, Cross Hotel Sapporo
ANA Hotel SapporoANA Hotel Sapporo, Hotel Pearl City Sapporo, R & B Hotel Sapporo Kita3 Nishi2, Toyoko Inn Sapporo Eki Minamiguchi, Richmond Hotel Sapporo Ekimae, Hotel Moterey Sapporo
Sapporo StationJR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo, Toyoko Inn Sapporo Eki Kitaguchi, Hotel Gracery Sapporo, Hotel Rote Inn Sapporo Ekimae Kitaguchi, Hotel Norh Gate Sapporo, Century Roral Hotel, KKR Hotel Sapporo
Hokkaido Government BuildingHotel Tokeidai, Hotel Hokke Club Sapporo,
Sapporo Grand HotelSapporo Grand Hotel, Unizo Inn Sapporo
Hotel Resol Trinity SapporoHotel Resol Trinity Sapporo, Hotel Okura Sapporo, Nest Hotel Sapporo Odori
Tokyo Dome Hotel SapporoNakatono Hotel, Sapporo Classe Hotel, Apa Hotel Sapporo, Hotel Bougainvillea Sapporo, Hotel Leopalace Sapporo, Apa Hotel Sapporo Odori Koen,
Sapporo Prince HotelHotel Tetora Spirit Sapporo, Comfort Hotel Sapporo, International Hostel Khaosan Sapporo, Sapporo Prince Hotel
Royton SapporoHotel Sapporo Geibunkan, Royton Sapporo, Hotel Sapporo Yayoi
Keio Plaza Hotel SapporoHotel Livemax Sapporo Ekimae, Hotel Keihan Sapporo, JR Inn Sapporo, Mitsui Garden Hotel Sapporo, Hotel Polestar Sapporo

Basic information for the airport coach (Updated in Nov 2019)

*Ticket price for adult: JPY 1,100(For child: JPY 550)
*Value ticket set
1)”4枚つづり回数券” is a ticket set including 4 pieces of one way trip ticket, which can be also used for two persons on the round trip.
The ticket set price is JPY 4,000 (JPY 1,000 per single ticket)
2)”往復割引乗車券” is a ticket set for one person on the round trip.
The ticket set price is JPY 2,100 (JPY 1,050 per single ticket)
*The first bus from new Chitose airport: 8:40
*The last bus: 22:55
*Buses are operated every fifteen minutes.
*It takes about 70 minutes to 80 minutes from the airport to the downtown without any accident or weather trouble
*Buses from New Chitose airport to Sapporo downtown are operated by two bus companies, Chuo bus and Hokuto Kotsu
*Tickets of Chuo bus and Hokuto Kotsu are valid for both lines
*Tickets including value ticket set are sold at the ticket counter in the airport or by each bus driver

Updated on Jan 2019
Bus stops around Susukino area are a little bit complicated, so let me update some additinal information.

“Minami 3 Jo Susukino” bus stop : For the bus from new Chitose airport to Sapporo central, located on the right next street of Sapporo Ekimae Dori (Street)
Timetable at Minami 3 Jo Susukino bus stop (To Sapporo central)

*There is another “Susukino” alighting bus stop for the bus heading to Sapporo central, but the bus only runs once every an hour.

Susukino” bus stop : For the bus from Sapporo central to New Chitose airport, located on Tsukisamu Dori a.k.a Route 36.
Timetable at Susukino bus stop (To new Chitose airport)

Buy authentic brand goods at recycle shops in Sapporo

For those who want to buy authentic brand goods with much cheaper price in Japan, shopping at recycle shops is one of good options.
Goods sold at recycle shops has been examined with appropriate evaluation by appraisers who belong to shops at the time of purchase from original sellers.
Therefore, quality or value of each items is highly ensured.
Because Japanese people has been educated to use any goods with care since the childhood, even second hand goods are kept good condition and less damaged.
In addition, the goods before sale has been experienced proper maintenance under credible management system, so those goods look as if new one.
Of course, the price of second hand goods is much lower than the price of new goods.
I do not recommend  this option to people who mind using goods others have used before, however, I still assume recycle shops in Japan are quite attractive places especially for those who want genuine bland goods at cheaper price.

There are some recycle shops in Sapporo downtown. I introduce two shops on this post.

Address: 1F MK 2.3 Building, Minami 2 Nishi 3, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
Open: 10:00-20:00

Photo by 買取 札幌のリサイクルショップ アレイズ|店舗、営業所案内 via kwout

Address: 1-4, Minami 1 Nishi 2, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
*1 minute walk from subway Odori station
Open: Open: 11:00- 20:00

Photo by LIPS via kwout

LIPS Susukino branch
Address: 1F No8 Keiwa building, Minami 6 Nishi 3, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
*5 minutes walk from subway Susukino station, 2 minutes walk from subway Hosui Susukino station
Open: 13:00-22:00
Close: Wednesday

KENT Odori branch
Address: Nishi 1-13, Minami 1, Chuo-Ku, Sapporo
Open: 10:00-19:00
Official Website:

Blue Pond In Biei

“Blue pond”in Biei became popular after a photo taken at the pond was adopted for wallpaper for Apple Inc. The blue pond looks as if it is painted by blue ink, but it’s natural color caused by hot spring component.

In the beginning of April when snow was still remaining, I enjoyed beautiful scenery of color combination between white by birch & snow, and blue by blue pond.If you go to the blue pond in winter, it’s not blue, but white pond actually.

The blue pond is located to the foot of Mt. Tokachi, therefore snow there is so many that the pond and surrounding trees are all covered by snow white. However, the pond is illuminated during certain period in winter, which shows very special scenery, and not a few people visit especially to see such a romantic view.

By the way, except joining any bus tour, the best way to reach the blue pond is using a rental car. * As a public transportation service, buses run from JR Biei station to blue pond, but the service is very limited that only 4 buses are operated a day.
Biei, this hill town, whose beautiful scenery attracts you all seasons. Every view on the way to the blue pond is also excellent, and driving around the town would make your travel truly memorable.

Blue pond in Biei
Address: Shirogane, Biei, Kamikawa, Hokkaido
* It takes 30 minutes from JR Biei station, 40 minutes from Asahikawa airport and 5 minutes from Shirogane hot spring by car

Biei town tourist information site

Don Quixote Sapporo branch

From cosmetics, daily goods and clothes to foods, various kinds of items are available at low price in “Don Quixote (ドン・キホーテ)”
There are a few branches in Sapporo City. I especially recommend tourists visit to “Don Quixote Sapporo branch(ドン・キホーテ札幌店) ” which is located in popular shopping spot, Tanuki Koji arcade.
Very popular goods for foreign tourists or goods they should buy in Don Quixote are as follows.

Foods: Snacks, especially green tea flavored “Kit Kat” or any Matcha tast snacks.
Baby goods: Diaper, milk powder
Electric appliances: Rice cooker, electric shavers, beauty appliances, particularly “Hitachi hada clie”, and any products made in Japan.
Health related goods: Healthcare supplements, eye drops such as ” Sante FX” etc.
Beauty care goods: Eyelash, cleansing oam such as “Shiseido perfect whip”.
Others: Japanese language T shirt, pet products etc.


Not a few shops except restaurants or bars are close before 9:00 pm at Sapporo city center. I often hear tourists who plan to go shopping after the dinner are disappointed to the situation of night shopping in Sapporo. In this point, Don Quixote is the suitable place for them. It is open 24 hours, so very convenient for most travelers who have limited time for shopping. As you can see above goods selection, Don Quixote is dealing variety of goods like shopping mall. Once enter the shop, you may find all what you want are sold at this shop. Don Quixote Sapporo branch is not very big, but wide variety of items are compactly arranged at selling space. (The arrangement of goods at Don Quixote is very unique and not like other shops in Japan)
Since some goods sold at Don Quixote are much cheaper than supermarkets or drug stores, many local people also often visit here to buy daily goods.

Don Quixote Sapporo branch
Address: 3-6 Nishi, Minami 2 Jo, Chuo ku, Sapporo
Tel: 011-219-4811
*Entrances are facing to Tanuki Koji side and Ekimae Dori side

Eat Hokkaido’s speciality – Genghis Khan

You would find there are many chances to eat delicious seafood when you visit to Hokkaido, on the other hand, may miss some meat during travel around this seafood paradise. If you feel eating any meat, I recommend the mutton and vegetable dish, called as “Genghis Khan” which is known as Hokkaido’s speciality. In general, meats eaten in Japan are beef, pork and chicken, but mutton or lamb are very common for Hokkaido local people. Considering overall Japan, most areas of Japan except Hokkaido don’t provide sheep meat in the restaurants so much, therefore if you visit Hokkaido, I especially recommend you to enjoy “Genghis Khan” at the local restaurant.
There are a few types of “Genghis Khan”. If you are interested in traditional one, a Genghis Khan restaurant, “Daruma” which provides fresh and tender mutton meat with special sauce and fresh vegetables is good choice to enjoy it. “Daruma” has been keeping its original taste since 1956. Mutton meats grilled on clay charcoal brazier are rich and very juicy, which would surely attract you once you taste it.
By the way, “Genghis Khan” is eaten not only at restaurants but also at home. It is grilled on the pan as home cuisine or enjoyed at outside BBQ as party dishes.


Information about “Daruma”
*The most convenient subway station for all branches is Susukino station
*Daruma is very popular for both local people and tourists, so you may need to que and wait for a while. Around 17:00, just the time restaurants open or after 22:00 is better timing to visit if you don’t want to wait for a long time.

Daruma-Main branch
Address: 1F Crystal building, Minami 5 Nishi 4, Chuo-Ku, Sapporo
Open: 17:00-3:00

Daruma-6.4 branch
Address: 1F Noguchi building, Nakadori, Minami 6 Nishi 4, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
Open: 17:00-5:00
*This is the biggest branch which has 26 seats.

Minami 4 Nishi 4 Chuo-ku, Sapporo
Open: 17:00-3:00
*This branch is closest to subway Susukino station and located just behind of Lafiler.

Daruma-4.4 branch 2 floor restaurant
2nd floor of Daruma-4.4branch
Open: 17:00~3:00
*This branch is especially recommended to ladies who mind smoke and smell of grilled meat. Smoke ventilation and lockers are equipped.


Access from New Chitose airport to Sapporo downtown

Most common ways to move from New Chitose airport to Sapporo downtown are bus or train (JR). The merit of bus is there are some bus stops in Sapporo city. In case you choose train to go to downtown even though your hotel is far from train station in Sapporo, you need to take a local bus or taxi from the station to the hotel. If you take bus from the airport, it can directly carry you to bus stops which are close to major hotels in Sapporo downtown.
The merit of train is strictness about time.
Sapporo or other cities in Hokkaido face some troubles due to heavy snow in winter. Closure or speed limit of highways are one of major happenings to annoy people, which could be happened many times during winter season.If you take bus while snow is falling, it may be difficult to guess what time you can reach your destination hotel.
Please kindly refer to following detail information for both bus and train to move from the airport to Sapporo downtown.

1.Bus(Updated in Jan 2019)
*Ticket price for an adult: JPY 1,030(For a Child: JPY 530)
*The first bus: 8:44
*The last bus: 22:57
*Buses run every fifteen minutes until 19:00 and almost every 30 minutes after 19:00
*It takes about 70 minutes to 80 minutes from the airport to the downtown without any accident or weather trouble
*Buses from New Chitose airport to Sapporo downtown are operated by two bus companies, Chuo bus and Hokuto Kotsu
*Tickets of Chuo bus and Hokuto Kotsu are valid for both lines
*There are some bus stops in Sapporo downtown (Please kindly refer to Bus route map and my previous post )
*Boarding point for the bus to Sapporo central is located at 1st floor of international terminal as well as domestic terminal
*You can buy the bus ticket at the ticket machine before boarding and it is also acceptable for the cash payment when you get off.
*No. 65 is the boarding point for the bus to Sapporo central

Ticket machine on the 1st floor of international terminal

Exit at international terminal

No.65 boarding point for the bus to Sapporo central

2.Train (JR)
*Ticket price for an adult: JPY 1,070 (For a Child: JPY 520)
*The first train:6:56
*The last train:22:53
*Trains run every fifteen minutes.
*It takes about 36 minutes to 45 minutes from the airport to Sapporo station without any accident
*Time table for train

Where to see cherry blossoms in Sapporo?

I guess most of people who plan to visit Japan in spring are looking forward to seeing cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms in Hokkaido are bloomed 1 month later than Tokyo area, around beginning of May.
Characteristics of cherry-viewing party, “Ohanami” in Hokkaido is to eat lamb BBQ, called as “Genghis Khan” which is Hokkaido’s specialty during cherry blossom viewing.
There are still chilly days in May, therefore eating “Genghis Khan” works to make body warm and it makes sense. “Ohanami” with “Genghis Khan” is one of unique customs in Hokkaido.
By the way, according to some reliable weather forecasts , it is expected cheery blossoms will bloom in the period from 26 Apr to 1 May in 2016. If you just visit to Sapporo during this period, it would be interesting activity for you to enjoy “Ohanami” with local people.
For Sapporo citizen, the most popular place to enjoy cherry-viewing would be Maruyama park. It is located close to Sapporo city center and accessible by subway, Tozai line directly.
Maruyama Zoo and the biggest shrine in Hokkaido, Hokkaido Jingu are located next to Maruyama park, so you can also drop in there after viewing cherry blossoms.

Maruyama Park(円山公園)
Address: Miyagaoka, Chuo ku, Sapporo
*5 minutes walk from “Maruyama koen” station by subway Tozai line
円山公園の歴史(植物編) | 円山公園
via kwout

Except Maruyama park, following places are also popular to enjoy cherry-viewing in Sapporo.

Makomanai Park(真駒内公園)
Address: Makomanai koen 3-1, Minami ku, Sapporo
*30 minutes walk from “Makomanai” subway station by Nanboku line
Moere numa park(モエレ沼公園)
Address: 1-1 Moere numa koen, Higashi ku, Sapporo
*Bus stop at “Moere Koen Higashi guchi by Chuo Bus (No. Higashi 69)
Finally, I introduce my secret recommended spot, Shiroishi cycling road(白石サイクリングロード)
Although this is the place where local residents mostly enjoy seeing cherry blossoms and not so familiar for tourists, bloomed flowers are very gorgeous and must be attracting you!

*Overall length of Shiroishi cycling road is 20km. Avobe photos were taken at the place near “Nango 7 chome” subway station of Tozai line.

Sapporo free travel support for foreigners

In my personal opinion, compared to other popular tourist spots in the world, there is not a lot of free travel support service in Hokkaido, although it has been getting popularity among people who like beautiful scenery and delicious food there. Under such circumstance, “Hokkaido-Sapporo Tourist Information Center” should be reassuring place for tourists visited from foreign countries. “Hokkaido-Sapporo Tourist Information Center” is located inside of the “Hokkaido-Sapporo Food and Tourism Information Building” which is linked to JR Sapporo station.
Due to the transportation convenience, it is very useful for both people who enjoy shopping around Sapporo city center and people who plan to go outside of Sapporo by JR.
Staffs who can communicate in Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese are stationed at the counter, and they can help you as free travel support service. Reservation arrangement for tour bus, hotel and JR tickets in Hokkaido are also available here.
In addition, you can get information about sightseeing spots, events to be held in Sapporo and local food restaurants. Brochures to introduce other areas in Hokkaido, discount vouchers for tourist facilities and restaurants, etc. are also provided here.


A shop called as Hokkaido Dosanko Plaza (Sapporo branch) which deals Hokkaido’s local products and food is located next to Hokkaido-Sapporo Tourist Information Center. I also recommend stopping by this shop to get nice souvenirs for your friends or gift for yourself after visiting Hokkaido-Sapporo Tourist Information Center.


Hokkaido-Sapporo Tourist Information Center
Address: JR Sapporo West Concourse, Kita 6-jyo Nishi 4-chome, Kita-ku, Sapporo
Open: 8:30–20:00 (JR General Information Center 8:30–19:00)
Tel: 011-213-5088