Your TripGetting Around
In Hokkaido, there are 12 airports including 1 international airport and other domestic airports. Most airports are for domestic flights only. Please choose an airport based on your plan, as Hokkaido is wide. The new International Terminal building of New Chitose Airport has opened on 26 March 2010. For detailed information please see here.
Many airplanes connect major cities within Hokkaido. Please note that flight data may vary in different seasons, so please check it beforehand. Airplane might help save your time. The data here may be subject to change as well.
Railways connecting major cities in Hokkaido are the basic transportation means in Hokkaido. Railways in Japan run on time. Cars of most trains are comfortable, and different discounted tickets are available.
If you want to save transportation cost, buses connecting cities are convenient. Although it takes time to travel compared to railways, they made accessible places where you cannot go by railway. Intercity buses running long distance have reclining seats as well as rest rooms, and they are very comfortable.
Renting a car might be a good idea to travel Hokkaido where you can have a pleasaure to drive in the vast land. Still it may be dangerous to do self-driving during the winter time, which is from late November to end of March, as there is much snow and roads get slippery. Rent-a-Car offices are located in major airports and towns in Hokkaido and certain documents including a proper driver's license will be required so please check the necessary procedure beforehand.
Taxies are convenient in a big city like Sapporo, Asahikawa, Hakodate, Obihiro, etc. Raise your hand to catch a taxi, and get on the car as the backseat door automatically opens. Japanese drivers are generally kind, but they may not understand English. It may be helpful if you prepare some memos. If you need to use a trunk, let the driver know before getting on so that he/she will help you.
Ferry to Isolated Islands
There are many attractive isolated islands in Hokkaido. Although taking a plane is one choice, ferry is the major means to go to isolated islands. Ferry is also suitable if you move around in the island by car. Please note that it may be canceled due to the bad weather in winter, and so please check the schedule when you plan.
In Hokkaido, subway is available only in Sapporo. Subways in Sapporo consist of 3 lines, "Namboku Line", "Tozai Line" and "Toho Line". They operate with bus lines, and discounted tickets are also available if you take both bus and subway. A wide variety of services are offered. Subway is convenient for sightseeing in Sapporo.