Prices/time are as follows:
"En" = "Yen"
Bus: 500 En (depends on route), 4 hours!
JR Hokkaido (Rapid Airport Express): 1040 En, 40 minutes average.
Taxi: At least 100,000 En (no kidding!), 1-2 hrs depending on traffic conditions.
Use this link for currency conversion.
Earliest time to reach airport taking first available train from Sapporo Station is 0713 hrs, therefore ensure your flight time is at least 0745 hrs or later, or you will not be able to take this mode of transport!
If you want to save time AND money, this is the best option. Buses are cheapest but they take forever, and car rentals are most expensive. Train travel is quickest and most economical method.
Buy a 3-day pass if you're travelling around Hokkaido. See my other tips.
I haven't tried because I prefer walking, but I've seen tourists on them. There's alot to see and do in Otaru therefore it would be good if you can have someome take you on a preview around town before zooming into the places of interest.
Hokkaido is a vast landscape, that compared to the main land, is not as densely populated. It is a great place to enjoy nature and its flora and fauna.
While its train network is not very extensive, the buses go everywhere. It is the best way to travel around Hokkaido and explore its many smaller cities and towns, and great scenic attractions. They are also a cheaper way to travel, and you get to enjoy the many surprises on Hokkaido's backroads.
It isn't difficult to travel by bus in Hokkaido. We didn't have any timetable or anything like that. We turn up at the bus station and then ask about our next destination. Usually, the station masters are always extremely helpful.
Buses are always on time and comfortable.
Two bus companies JR Hokkaido Bus and Hokkaido Chuo Bus travels the dense network bus lines. Timetables (in Japanese) are available on both.
First, I choose a hotel near JR station at SAPPORO, which is the largest city in HOKKAIDO.
Second, I use the JR-pass, taking JR trains everyday morning from SAPPORO to where I want to go.
Moving by trains from SAPPORO is so convenient that, so many routes pass by there :)
Taking the kaisoku train is the most logical way to get to Sapporo from the New Chitose Airport. It costs 1040 yen and it gets you to Sapporo station in 36 minutes. There is a train in every 15 minutes.
To facilitate tourism to Furano, you can take the Lavender Express which runs everyday during summer and weekends of September and October. It runs directly from Sapporo to Furano and costs 4340 yen and travel time is around 2 hours. What we did, however, is avail of the new Furano/Biei Round Tour Ticket and costs only 5000 yen which includes round trip ticket to and from Sapporo and in-between travels in Furano and Biei. The website below shows a model course and all you have to do is follow the itinerary there and you are good to go. Don't forget to stop by the JR Tourist Desk in the Sapporo Station and they have staffs that can take you through the course.
Norokko line are lines that travel between and around Furano and Biei. During the lavender season, they even set up a temporary station called Lavender Field which is just 7 minutes walk away from Farm Tomita. The trains are interestingly decorated (this time with Holloween theme) and they even give out candies as part of their welcome to you! Just get the timetable from the JR station and follow the course advice and you'll be fine. If you have the Furano/Biei Tour Pass then you don't have to pay to get to this train, if not, it costs 620 yen from Furano to Biei; 1040 yen from Furano to Asahikawa; and 220 yen from Furano to Lavender Field.
It's the best option to go to Otaru from Sapporo and it takes just 30 minutes. Fare is 620 yen. There's a slower option but same price called futsu. Trains are very frequent, a couple of times in an hour.
This is a cheap way to get to Hokkaido.
We slept most of the time because we left late at night. We arrived in Otaru in the late afternoon the next day.
Travelling by ferry is cheap and comfortable.
There are 3 choices you can accept as accomodations go. You can sleep in a large open room with a bunch of other people. You can pay a bit more and have your own bunk or you can pay the most and get your own room. We went for the bunks which also have a curtain.
It's more like a sightseeing bus that picks you up at the Biei station and takes you around famous spots in Biei. What we took is the Hills Course and the other option is the Art Road Course. Hills Course takes you around the hilly lands of Biei and showing you some famous trees like Ken and Mary, etc. If you don't have the Furano/Biei Tour Pass, the sightseeing bus costs 600 yen for Hills Course and 1500 yen for Art Road. It operates everyday during July/August but only on weekends for Sept. to October.
2-5-2 Chuoku kitagojonishi, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-0005, Japan
Good for: Couples
Let's start by saying that this hotel was quite a bit outside our normal budget of about 10,000 a...more
This hotel is located about 30 min. by car from Otaru Station, though there is regular free shuttle...more