How To Get There
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 further north such as Kamui Links, Furano or Asahidake, the Asahikawa airport
is another option.
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 Aiport.
You can use one of our flight search
engines to compare different airlines and routes to find a flight that suits you.
Flying Into Sapporo
Commonly you’ll need to fly into Sapporo (New Chitose) on a domestic flight from Tokyo or Osaka. For some flight schedules from Narita you may need to stay overnight in a Narita Airport hotel
There are now lots of flights from Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT – the international airport) 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.
There are also flights to Sapporo from the Haneda Airport (domestic airport), but try to avoid these where possible because it’s an hour plus bus ride across town from Narita to Haneda. This process can take quite a few hours, and has the added hassle of having to handle your luggage, re-check bags and await the connecting flight. Inexpensive flights between Haneda and Sapporo can be found with Air Do, Skymark Airlines, and ANA.
Other options for flights to Sapporo are via Hong Kong, Seoul or Taipei.
If flights arrive into Sapporo airport in the evening, depending on the shuttle schedule from Sapporo to your resort, you may need to overnight in a Chitose hotel
Flying Into Asahikawa
Flights to Asahikawa depart from Haneda (Tokyo's domestic airport) with Air Do, Skymark Airlines, ANA, JAL Express, and Japan Airlines. There are also a few flights from Tokyo Narita (the international airport) with Skymark Airlines, so try and get one of these if you can because flying via Haneda Tokyo can be somewhat messy and time consuming to transfer between the Tokyo airports.
Other flights to Asahikawa Airport are from Osaka and Seoul.
Getting to Hokkaido from Australia
Getting to Hokkaido isn’t as simple as it used to be. There used to be some direct flights from Australia into Sapporo, but these no longer exist.
Airlines to get to Sapporo include Qantas (via Tokyo), Jetstar (via Tokyo), Singapore Airlines (via Tokyo), Japan Airlines (via Tokyo), Korean Airlines (via Seoul), China Airlines (via Taipei) and Cathay Pacific (via Hong Kong).
If you fly with Jetstar, flights generally arrive at Narita in the early evening and will need to overnight in a Narita Airport hotel
JAL flights also arrive at Narita in the early evening but the timing enables a connecting flight up to Sapporo. Depending on the bus timetable to your resort, it may be necessary to stay overnight in a Chitose hotel
If you are travelling on Qantas or another airline that arrives in Tokyo in the morning, you can generally get up to Sapporo from Narita and on to your resort in one day.
Cheap Domestic Airfares
There are generally special air passes where you can save up to 70% on domestic flights with JAL and ANA. Somewhat like the Japan Rail Pass, some of these airfares have to be purchased outside of Japan, are only for non-residents of Japan, and those who arrive and depart from Japan via an international flight. Sometimes there are black-out periods for these special airfares such as the New Year holidays. See here
for more information, but we warned - it's a somewhat messy process!
There are a handful of inexpensive airlines travelling between the Tokyo Airports and Sapporo and Asahikawa, including Air Do, Skymark Airlines, and Jetstar.
Travel to Hokkaido By Train
A tunnel runs under the ocean between the main island of Honshu and Hokkaido making the entire journey by train possible, so another way to get to Hokkaido from Tokyo is by train. The train network in Japan is extensive, fast and efficient (and relatively inexpensive). The route is Tokyo to Aomori (about 4 hours) and then Aomori to Sapporo (about 5-7 hours). Some of the overnight trains have sleeper options. You can check timetables and fares
Should you decide to take a few days to get to Hokkaido, you can purchase a JR Rail National Pass
(only available to international visitors) in the form of 7, 14 and 21 consecutive days.
If you have the time and you would like to experience some Honshu ski areas en-route to Hokkaido, you pass several well known ski areas such as Zao Onsen, Appi Kogen and Hakkoda.