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Hokkaido Airports Guide: Travelling to Hokkaido by Plane & Itinerary Tips!

Hokkaido Airports Guide: Travelling to Hokkaido by Plane & Itinerary Tips!

Date published: 14 July 2020
Last updated: 7 August 2020

There are 13 Hokkaido airports, making it easy to fly in and visit the many beautiful areas the island has to offer. Some of these airports also have direct international flights, letting you pretty much get straight to the ski slopes or other major sightseeing areas. Or if you intend to save time by hopping a domestic flight to Hokkaido from Tokyo or Osaka, you'll want to know what the main Hokkaido airports are.

If planned well, you can check out the usual Sapporo sights and visit some of Hokkaido's harder to reach spots, so here are the main airports in Hokkaido plus a few tips on how you can make the most your trip to Japan's north.

Table of Contents
  1. Three main Hokkaido airports: New Chitose Airport (CTS), Hakodate Airport (HKD), and Asahikawa Airport (AKJ)
  2. Sapporo Okadama Airport: Sapporo's "other" main airport
  3. Fly to Hokkaido airports, enjoy a trip across Japan's northern island!
  4. 1. Enjoy Rishiri Fuji on a 7-day itinerary!
  5. 2. Enjoy Shiretoko and Ainu culture on a 7-day itinerary!
  6. 3. Enjoy the hot springs and cityscape of Hakodate on a 4-day itinerary!
  7. Limited flights = more time to explore!

Three main Hokkaido airports: New Chitose Airport (CTS), Hakodate Airport (HKD), and Asahikawa Airport (AKJ)

With several direct international flights, New Chitose Airport is well-known as the gateway to Hokkaido.

The most frequent regional destinations from New Chitose are Hakodate Airport, Kushiro Airport (KUH), Rishiri Airport (RIS), Nemuro Nakashibetsu Airport (SHB), Memanbetsu Airport (MMB), and Wakkanai Airport (WKJ).

Chaiyianyian / Shutterstock.com

Travel times from New Chitose Airport to Hokkaido’s regional airports
Hakodate Airport: Flight, about 40 minutes. By car, 3 hours and 30 minutes.
●Tancho Kushiro Airport (Kushiro Airport): Flight, 40 minutes. By car, about 3 hours and 40 minutes.
Wakkanai Airport: Flight, 55 minutes. By car, about 5 hours and 15 minutes.
●Rishiri Airport: Flight, about 50 minutes. By car (plus ferry), about 7 hours and 40 minutes.
● Nemuro Nakashibetsu Airport: Flight, about 50 minutes. By car, about 5 hours to Nakashibetsu Airport and about 5 hours 30 minutes to Nemuro.
● Memanbetsu Airport: Flight, about 45 minutes. By car, about 4 hours and 50 minutes.
* (All driving times are based on top speeds.)

Of course, in addition to flights themselves, it takes time to travel to the airport and go through boarding procedures and baggage claim, but it’s still a shorter than driving.

Sapporo Okadama Airport: Sapporo's "other" main airport

Sapporo Okadama Airport: Sapporo's "other" main airport
tasch / Shutterstock.com

Located in the city itself, Sapporo Okadama Airport has great access from downtown Sapporo. Mainly for smaller planes, flights and seating may be limited, but you can reach the following three airports from Sapporo Okadama Airport:

Hakodate Airport: Flight, about 40 minutes. By car, Sapporo-Hakodate takes about 4 hours and 10 minutes.
●Tancho Kushiro Airport: Flight, about 40 minutes. By car, Sapporo-Kushiro takes about 4 hours and 10 minutes.
●Rishiri Airport: Flight, about 55 minutes. By car (plus ferry), Sapporo-Rishiri takes about 7 hours and 20 minutes.

Fly to Hokkaido airports, enjoy a trip across Japan's northern island!

Fly to Hokkaido airports, enjoy a trip across Japan's northern island!

There are very few flights between Hokkaido’s regional airports, so more remote areas are best accessed via New Chitose Airport or Sapporo Okadama Airport and then by car. For reference during your trip, here are some example itineraries departing from Sapporo.

1. Enjoy Rishiri Fuji on a 7-day itinerary!

1. Enjoy Rishiri Fuji on a 7-day itinerary!

Rishiri Island, the northernmost island in Japan, is home to Mt. Rishiri. Famously known as “Rishirifuji” because its profile is similar to that of Mt. Fuji, Mt. Rishiri is one of Japan's 100 Famous Mountains. Ferries to Rishiri Island, where Rishiri Airport is located, are often canceled due to poor weather, so plan your trip with plenty of time to allow for delays.

Day 1: Morning arrival at New Chitose. Transit to Sapporo by JR train. Accommodation in Sapporo.
Day 2: Sightseeing and lodging in Sapporo.
Day 3: Sightseeing in Sapporo and departure from Sapporo Okadama Airport to Rishiri Airport at 14:00. Accommodation in Rishiri.
Day 4: Sightseeing and lodging in Rishiri.
Day 5: Sightseeing in Rishiri, ferry departing at 16:30 to Wakkanai. Accommodation in Wakkanai.
Day 6: Sightseeing in Wakkanai and departure from Wakkanai Airport at 11:50 to New Chitose. Accommodation in New Chitose.
Day 7: Return home via morning departure from New Chitose Airport.

2. Enjoy Shiretoko and Ainu culture on a 7-day itinerary!

2. Enjoy Shiretoko and Ainu culture on a 7-day itinerary!

This travel plan allows you to visit Sapporo after taking in Shiretoko, a World Natural Heritage site where you can experience the magnificence of nature, and learn about Ainu culture around the Lake Akan area. Arriving via Memanbetsu Airport and returning from Nemuro Nakashibetsu Airport, you’ll be able to efficiently travel around eastern Hokkaido.

Day 1: Take a morning flight to New Chitose Airport and a departure from New Chitose to Memanbetsu Airport at 10:15. Transfer to Shiretoko by bus. Accommodation in Shari.
Day 2: Sightseeing and lodging in Shiretoko.
Day 3: Rent a car and drive two and a half hours to stop by Lake Kussharo, and then head to Lake Akan. Sightseeing and overnight stay at Lake Akan.
Day 4: Akan sightseeing and accommodation.
Day 5: About one and a half hour drive to Nemuro Nakashibetsu Airport. Take a flight departing at 17:45 to New Chitose Airport. JR train to Sapporo.
Day 6: Sightseeing and lodging in Sapporo
Day 7: Sightseeing in Sapporo. Transit to New Chitose Airport. Return home via afternoon flight.

3. Enjoy the hot springs and cityscape of Hakodate on a 4-day itinerary!

3. Enjoy the hot springs and cityscape of Hakodate on a 4-day itinerary!

Hakodate, in southern Hokkaido, is a top tourist destination known for its historic buildings, morning market and gourmet food, Yunokawa Onsen resort, and the night view from Mt. Hakodate. With so many highlights, you’ll want to stay for a few nights.

Day 1: Arrival at New Chitose Airport, then fly directly to Hakodate. Sightseeing and lodging in Hakodate
Day 2: Sightseeing and lodging in Hakodate
Day 3: Take the 9:40 flight from Hakodate Airport to Sapporo Okadama Airport. Sightseeing and lodging in Sapporo.
Day 4: Sightseeing in Sapporo. Transit to New Chitose Airport by JR train. Return home on an afternoon flight.

(P.S. Hakodate is where you can see the gorgeous star-shaped garden, called Goryoukakuen!)

Limited flights = more time to explore!

Limited flights = more time to explore!

Since flights to regional Hokkaido airports use smaller planes, seats fill up quickly so be sure to make reservations in advance.

Also, regional airports only have one or two round trip flights per day, so a day trip can be difficult to schedule. If you want to visit remote areas, a more relaxed itinerary is recommended, and be sure to plan ahead for rental cars, train reservations, and lodging.

As you venture further away from Sapporo, you’ll see more of Hokkaido’s untouched natural beauty. Of course, you can experience outdoor activities like hiking and canoeing in Sapporo and Niseko, but doing so in northern and eastern Hokkaido will leave a different impression. Take a few short flights around Hokkaido and create your own adventure!

Text by:minna no kotoba sha

*The above article is based on information from May 2020

  • Sapporo Okadama Airport
    札幌飛行場(丘珠空港)
    • Address Okadamacho, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 007-0880
    • https://www.okadama-airport.co.jp/

  • Kushiro Airport
    釧路空港(たんちょう釧路空港)
    • Address 2, Tsuruoka, Kushiro, Hokkaido 084-0926
    • http://www.kushiro-airport.co.jp/

  • Rishiri Airport
    利尻空港
    • Address Motodomari-1143, Oshidomari, Rishirifuji, Rishiri District, Hokkaido 097-0101
    • http://www.town.rishirifuji.hokkaido.jp/rishirifuji/1184.htm

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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