The Hokkaido Shinkansen is a high-speed railway line in Japan that connects the island of Hokkaido to the main island of Honshu. The line opened in March 2016, and it has since become one of the most popular ways to travel between the two islands. The line runs from Shin-Aomori Station in Aomori Prefecture to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station in Hokkaido, with a travel time of about four hours.
The Hokkaido Shinkansen is operated by the Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido) and is part of the Shinkansen network that spans across Japan. The line features a variety of train services, including the Hayabusa, Hayate, and Yamabiko trains, which offer different levels of comfort and amenities. The trains are known for their punctuality, speed, and comfort, making them a popular choice among both locals and tourists.
The Hokkaido Shinkansen has had a significant impact on the economy and tourism industry of Hokkaido. The line has made it easier and more convenient for people to travel to and from the island, which has led to an increase in tourism and business activity. Additionally, the line has helped to revitalize the economy of the region by providing faster and more efficient transportation options. Overall, the Hokkaido Shinkansen has become an essential part of the transportation infrastructure of Japan, and it continues to play a significant role in the country’s economic and social development.
Hokkaido Shinkansen Route & Travel Times
The Hokkaido Shinkansen is a high-speed railway line that connects the northern island of Hokkaido with the main island of Honshu in Japan. The line starts from Shin-Aomori Station in Aomori Prefecture on Honshu and ends at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station in Hokkaido. The total length of the line is 148.9 km.
approximate travel times between Tokyo and Hokkaido for the Hokkaido Shinkansen line specifically:
|Station||Travel Time from Tokyo (Approx.)|
|Tokyo Station||0 hours|
|Omiya Station (Saitama)||0 hours 30 minutes|
|Sendai Station (Miyagi)||1 hour 30 minutes|
|Morioka Station (Iwate)||2 hours 20 minutes|
|Shin-Aomori Station (Aomori)||3 hours 20 minutes|
|Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station (Hokkaido)||4 hours 2 minutes|
Please note that this table provides approximate travel times for the Hokkaido Shinkansen, specifically the Hayabusa service. Actual travel times may vary depending on the specific train service, time of day, and other factors. For accurate and up-to-date information, consult the JR East website or use a service like Hyperdia to plan your journey.
The line has 17 stations, including Shin-Aomori, Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, and Sapporo. The journey from Tokyo to Sapporo takes approximately 4 hours and 4 minutes, with the Shinkansen Hayabusa going all the way to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. From there, travelers can transfer to the Hakodate Liner, which connects Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station and Hakodate Station in as little as 15 minutes, linking the Shinkansen with all train lines with.
The Hokkaido Shinkansen is a convenient way to travel between Honshu and Hokkaido, and it offers stunning views of the Japanese countryside along the way. The line passes through the Seikan Tunnel, which is the longest undersea tunnel in the world, stretching 53.85 km between Honshu and Hokkaido. The tunnel allows trains to travel at high speeds while avoiding the rough waters of the Tsugaru Strait.
Travel Time To Hokkaido Locations From Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station (last shinkansen stop)
From Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station, you can access various destinations around Hokkaido by transferring to the Hokuto Limited Express or other train lines. Here are some approximate travel times from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station to major places in Hokkaido:
|Destination||Travel Time (Approx.)|
|Sapporo Station||3 hours 40 minutes|
|Otaru Station||4 hours 10 minutes|
|Hakodate Station||20 minutes|
|Asahikawa Station||5 hours 30 minutes|
|Furano Station||6 hours 10 minutes|
|Obihiro Station||6 hours 40 minutes|
|Kushiro Station||7 hours 30 minutes|
|Wakkanai Station||7 hours 50 minutes|
|Abashiri Station||6 hours 20 minutes|
|Noboribetsu Station||2 hours 45 minutes|
|Toya Station||2 hours 10 minutes|
These travel times are approximate and may vary depending on the specific train service, time of day, and other factors. For accurate and up-to-date information, consult the JR Hokkaido website or use a service like Hyperdia to plan your journey
Shinkansen Travel Costs Between Tokyo and Sapporo
Here is a table outlining the approximate travel costs between Tokyo and Sapporo for each major station along the Hokkaido Shinkansen and Hokuto Limited Express route. The fares listed below are for one-way travel in an ordinary-class car:
|Station||Fare from Tokyo (Approx., JPY)|
|Omiya Station (Saitama)||5,400|
|Sendai Station (Miyagi)||11,200|
|Morioka Station (Iwate)||15,400|
|Shin-Aomori Station (Aomori)||17,500|
|Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station (Hokkaido)||22,700|
|Sapporo Station (Hokkaido)||27,000|
These fares may vary depending on the specific train service, time of day, and other factors. Additionally, there are discounts available for round-trip tickets, and the cost may be different for Green Car (first-class) seats.
Note that a JR Rail Pass will save you a LOT of money if you are planning to travel to Hokkaido and back from Tokyo.
Trains and Services
The Hokkaido Shinkansen offers two train services: the limited-stop Hayabusa services and the semi-fast Hayate services. The Hayabusa services are the fastest and most popular option for traveling between Tokyo or Sendai and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, with a travel time of approximately 4 hours and 10 minutes. The Hayate services, on the other hand, make a few more stops along the way and take slightly longer to reach their destinations.
Both the Hayabusa and Hayate services are operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and are equipped with the latest technology, including the E5 and H5 series trains. These trains offer comfortable seating, ample legroom, and a variety of amenities, such as power outlets, Wi-Fi, and onboard food and beverage service.
Passengers traveling on the Hokkaido Shinkansen can choose between reserved and non-reserved seating. Reserved seating is recommended during peak travel periods, as trains can get crowded and seats can fill up quickly. Non-reserved seating is a good option for travelers on a budget or those who prefer more flexibility in their travel plans.
It’s worth noting that most trains along the Hokkaido Shinkansen provide through-service with the Tohoku Shinkansen, which means they operate all the way between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori. This makes it easy for travelers to connect between the two regions and explore all that northern Japan has to offer.
History Of The Hokkaido Shinkansen
The Hokkaido Shinkansen is a high-speed railway line that connects Aomori on Japan’s main island of Honshu with Hakodate on the southern tip of Hokkaido. The line was first proposed in the 1970s, but construction did not begin until 2005. The first section of the line, between Shin-Aomori Station and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station, opened in March 2016.
Construction of the Hokkaido Shinkansen was a massive engineering project that involved building 211 kilometers of new track and 25 tunnels. The line was built to withstand the harsh winter conditions of Hokkaido, including heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures. The trains that run on the line are equipped with special snowplows and de-icing equipment to ensure that they can operate safely even in the most severe weather conditions.
The Hokkaido Shinkansen is part of the larger Shinkansen network, which is colloquially known in English as the bullet train. The first Shinkansen line, between Tokyo and Osaka, opened in 1964 and was a revolutionary development in the history of rail transport. The Shinkansen trains are known for their speed, safety, and punctuality, and have become an iconic symbol of modern Japan.
Today, the Hokkaido Shinkansen is an important transportation link between Honshu and Hokkaido, and has helped to boost tourism and economic development in the region. The line has also helped to reduce travel times between major cities in northern Japan, making it easier for people to commute and do business across the region.
Construction and Future Plans
Construction of the Hokkaido Shinkansen began in 2005, and the first section of the line, between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, opened in 2016. The second phase of the project, which will extend the line from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto to Sapporo, is currently under construction.
According to JRTT, the Hokkaido Shinkansen is expected to be completed by 2030. The extension of the line to Sapporo will reduce travel time from Tokyo to Sapporo from around 10 hours to approximately 5 hours. The total construction cost of the Hokkaido Shinkansen between Shin-Hakodate Hokuto and Sapporo is estimated to be 1,670 billion yen, according to the City of Sapporo.
With the extension of the Hokkaido Shinkansen to Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido, construction is gradually underway at Sapporo Station, according to Japan Rail Times. JR Hokkaido is also planning to extend the line from Sapporo to Asahikawa, which is the second-largest city in Hokkaido, by 2035.
The Hokkaido Shinkansen has had a significant impact on the economy and society of Hokkaido. Here are some of the benefits:
- Increased tourism: The Hokkaido Shinkansen has made it easier for tourists to travel to Hokkaido from other parts of Japan. This has led to an increase in tourism revenue for the region.
- Higher passenger revenue: The passenger revenue of Hokkaido Railway Company’s high-speed trains has increased since the launch of the Hokkaido Shinkansen.
- Improved transportation: The Hokkaido Shinkansen has made it easier and faster for people to travel between cities in Hokkaido. This has improved transportation and made it more convenient for residents.
- Increased job opportunities: The construction of the Hokkaido Shinkansen created job opportunities for people in the region. Additionally, the increase in tourism has led to job growth in the hospitality industry.
While the Hokkaido Shinkansen has had many benefits, it has also faced some challenges:
- Low occupancy rates: The occupancy rates of the rail line have been impacted by the winter season, with recorded occupancy reaching a low of 19% in the months of January and February.
- Local protests: The construction of the Hokkaido Shinkansen was met with some local protests. Plans for a shinkansen line to link Tokyo and Narita Airport were abandoned due to local protests about the construction.
Despite these challenges, the Hokkaido Shinkansen has had a positive impact on the region and has improved transportation and job opportunities.