Getting To Hokkaido

Getting To Hokkaido

Travel to Hokkaido Japan

Flights to Hokkaido

The most common way for international tourists to travel to Hokkaido is to fly into New Chitose Airport (Sapporo). This is the closest airport to the very popular Niseko ski resort, and most visitors to other Hokkaido ski resorts also use Sapporo as the gateway airport.

If you want to go to the ski resorts in Central Hokkaido such as Furano or Asahidake, the Asahikawa airport is another option.

Flying Into Sapporo/New Chitose

You can search here for flight routes to New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido. Commonly you’ll need to fly into Sapporo (New Chitose) on a domestic flight from Tokyo or other Japanese airports. Where possible, try to book your domestic flight within Japan in conjunction with your international flight so as to get the international baggage allowance. Economy baggage allowance on domestic flights is not generous and some of the airlines are pedantic, not only with respect to the weight but also the size of your ski/board bag.

There are lots of flights from Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) to Sapporo each day, with the last flight departing about 6:30-7pm. Both Skymark and Jetstar provide very cheap flights between Narita and Sapporo (New Chitose), whilst Japan Airlines' flights tend to be much more expensive. For some flight schedules from Narita you may need to stay overnight in a Narita Airport hotel.

There are also flights to Sapporo from the Tokyo Haneda Airport. Inexpensive flights between Haneda and Sapporo can be found with Air Do, Skymark Airlines, and ANA. For some routes, you may need to overnight in a Haneda Airport hotel.

If you are coming into Tokyo on an international flight, where possible fly in and then out to Sapporo from the same airport. It’s an hour plus bus ride across town between Narita and Haneda. This process can take a few hours, and adds a lot of hassle.

There are also domestic flights to New Chitose Airport from various other Japanese cities including Osaka, Aomori, Hanamaki, Niigata and Toyama, which can be handy for those transitting between ski areas such as Myoko and Hokkaido.

Options for international flights to Sapporo are via Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei, Singapore, Beijing and Shanghai.

If flights arrive into Sapporo airport in the evening, and you’re planning to get a shuttle bus onwards to a ski resort (rather than a private transfer), be mindful that the schedules don’t depart particularly late and you may need to overnight in a Chitose hotel. Hotels in the New Chitose Airport terminal are Air Terminal Hotel (domestic terminal) and Portom International Hokkaido, and there are other nearby New Chitose Airport hotels.

There are various options for onwards travel to the ski resorts from New Chitose Airport. See the travel around Hokkaido page for more information.

Flying Into Asahikawa Hokkaido

You may wish to fly into Asahikawa Airport in Hokkaido if you’re basing yourself in Asahikawa or Furano, although flights to Asahikawa are not as prolific relative to the New Chitose Airport. You can look at flight options here.

Flights to Asahikawa Airport originate from Tokyo Haneda or Tokyo Narita. As above, if you’re transitting from an international flight, try to fly in and out of the same Tokyo airport to avoid the messy and time consuming transfer between the Tokyo airports.

Other flights to Asahikawa Airport originate from Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, Cheongju and Taipei.

Obihiro Airport

Another potential gateway airport is Obihiro airport, which provides easy access to Tomamu and Sahoro ski resorts, although it’s probably just easier to fly into the Sapporo Chitose Airport.

Travel Between Honshu and Hokkaido By Train

Another way to get to Hokkaido from Honshu is by train. A tunnel runs under the ocean between the main island of Honshu and Hokkaido, making the entire journey by train possible. This is a viable option, especially if you’re travelling between northern Tohoku on Honshu and Hokkaido.

The train network in Japan is extensive, fast and efficient, although shinkansen (bullet trains) have not made it far into Hokkaido yet. For example, to get from Tokyo to Sapporo, the route from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori (at the northern end of Honshu) is just over 3 hours. The bullet train from Shin Aomori to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto takes about an hour, then slow trains to Sapporo take about 3.5 hours. You can look at train routes, schedules and fares on google maps, Jorudan or Japan Travel Navitime. It's worth comparing train fares to flights between New Chitose and Tokyo for example, because often it’s cheaper to fly.


There are ferries between Honshu (Aomori) and Hokkaido (Hakodate) that cross the Tsugaru Strait. The trip takes about 3.5 hours. Cars can go on the ferry, but be mindful that it’s not possible to rent a car on one island and drop it off at the other, and not all car rental companies allow you to take the car on a ferry. You may need to swap rental cars at Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, and take the train instead.