HOME Hokkaido Hokkaido Sapporo / Chitose JR Hokkaido Free Passes have been updated, making travel more convenient and economical!
JR Hokkaido Free Passes have been updated, making travel more convenient and economical!

JR Hokkaido Free Passes have been updated, making travel more convenient and economical!

Date published: 26 March 2021

Trains are an indispensable means of transportation for sightseeing in Hokkaido. The Hokkaido Rail Pass, JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass, and JR Tohoku-South Hokkaido Rail Pass for international tourists have been updated as of April 1, 2021 for added convenience. Plus, two new types of “Free Passes” are also available!

Main image: Peera_stockfoto / Shutterstock.com

Table of Contents
  1. Get through the ticket gates smoothly! Four Free Passes updated
  2. Two new types of passes: Great for sightseeing in Noboribetsu and Furano!
  3. E-ticket exchange certificates now available!

Get through the ticket gates smoothly! Four Free Passes updated

Get through the ticket gates smoothly! Four Free Passes updated
tkyszk / Shutterstock.com

JR Hokkaido’s “5-Day Hokkaido Rail Pass,” “7-Day Hokkaido Rail Pass,” “JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass,” and “JR Tohoku-South Hokkaido Rail Pass” Free Passes for overseas tourists visiting Japan have been updated for 2021.

And as of April 1, the method of use, validity period, price, etc. have changed. Additionally, the “Hokkaido Rail Pass for 3 days” and “Hokkaido Rail Pass for flexible 4 days” were discontinued on March 31, 2021.

The four types of passes will be even more convenient, but how will they change specifically?

Automated ticket gates save time!
Previously, you had to show your Free Pass to a station staff member at the staffed ticket gate to enter, but with the updated tickets, you will be able to use automated ticket gates.

Introduction of seat reservation service at reserved seat ticket vending machines
Previously seat reservations could only be made at JR Travel Service Centers, but now reservations can also be made at a “reserved seat ticket vending machine.”

The following stations have reserved seat ticket vending machines:
*Sapporo Station, *Soen Station, Kotoni Station, *Teine Station, *Otaru Station, *Naebo Station, *Shiroishi Station, *Shin-Sapporo Station, *Kita-Hiroshima Station, *Shimamatsu Station, *Chitose Station, *Minami-Chitose Station, *New Chitose Airport Station, *Iwamizawa Station, *Tomakomai Station, Shiraoi Station, *Higashi-Muroran Station, *Datemombetsu Station, *Toya Station, *Noboribetsu Station, *Shinkawa Station, *Hachiken Station, *Ainosato-Kyoikudai Station, Asahikawa Station, Nayoro Station, Wakkanai Station, Engaru Station, Kitami Station, Abashiri Station, Shintoku Station, Obihiro Station, Kushiro Station, Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station, Hakodate Station, Goryokaku Station, Kikonai Station, Okutsugaru-Imabetsu Station
(*Stations feature “speaking ticket vending machines” where you can talk with an operator and make ticket reservations.)

Pricing and validity period will change and one pass has a significantly reduced price!
Various points have changed, like the price reduction of the “Hokkaido Rail Pass for 5 days” and the validity period of the “JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass” and “JR Tohoku-South Hokkaido Rail Pass.”

7-Day Hokkaido Rail Pass
If purchased overseas, there is a 710 yen discount.

Price
Until March 31, 2021
25,710 yen (same price for overseas and domestic purchase)
From April 1, 2021
25,000 yen (purchased overseas), 26,000 yen (purchased in Japan)
*Half price for children
*Some trains require an additional charge

5-Day Hokkaido Rail Pass
The price will be reduced by 4,480 yen for overseas purchases and by 3,480 yen in Japan.

Price
Until March 31, 2021
23,480 yen (same price for overseas and domestic purchase)
From April 1, 2021
19,000 yen (overseas), 20,000 yen (in Japan)
*Half price for children
*Some trains require an additional charge

JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass
The price will be the same for purchases overseas and in Japan, and the validity period will be changed to “6 consecutive days.”

Price
Until March 31, 2021
26,900 yen (overseas), 27,930 yen (in Japan)
From April 1, 2021
27,000 yen (same price for overseas and domestic purchase)
*Half price for children

JR Tohoku-South Hokkaido Rail Pass
The price will be the same for purchases overseas and in Japan, and the validity period will be changed to “6 consecutive days.”

Price
Until March 31, 2021
19,750 yen (overseas), 20,790 yen (in Japan)
From April 1, 2021
24,000 yen (same price for overseas and domestic purchase)
*Half price for children

Two new types of passes: Great for sightseeing in Noboribetsu and Furano!

Two new types of passes: Great for sightseeing in Noboribetsu and Furano!

From April 1, 2021, two new types of rail passes are now available, allowing four days of unlimited transit on regular and limited express trains from Sapporo's suburbs to the Noboribetsu and Furano areas.

Both can be purchased overseas from a designated travel agency, or in Japan at the JR Hokkaido purchase locations.

Sapporo-Noboribetsu Area Pass
Convenient for visiting popular sightseeing spots like Noboribetsu Jigokudani and “Upopoy (National Ainu Museum and Park)” that opened in 2020.

Featured Train Lines
Muroran Main Line / Chitose Line (Sapporo Station - Noboribetsu Station)
Hakodate Main Line (Otaru Station - Iwamizawa Station)
Sassho Line (Gakuentoshi Line) (Sapporo Station – Hokkaido-Iryodaigaku Station)
Price
Overseas purchase 8,000 yen
Purchase in Japan 8,500 yen
*Half price for children
Purchase locations in Japan
Sapporo Station, New Chitose Airport JR Information Desk, Noboribetsu Station

Sapporo-Furano Area Pass
Asahikawa and Biei are also included, so you can visit popular sightseeing spots like the Asahiyama Zoo and Shirogane Blue Pond.

Featured Train Lines
Chitose Line (Sapporo Station - New Chitose Airport Station)
Hakodate Main Line (Otaru Station - Asahikawa Station)
Nemuro Main Line (Takikawa Station - Furano Station)
Furano Line (Asahikawa Station - Furano Station)
Price
Overseas purchase 9,000 yen
Purchase in Japan 9,500 yen
*Half price for children
Purchase locations in Japan
Sapporo Station, New Chitose Airport JR Information Desk, Asahikawa Station

Since both passes include major stations like New Chitose Airport and Sapporo Station, and Otaru, a popular tourist destination close to Sapporo, they’re useful for visiting many tourist destinations.

The Hokkaido Rail Pass, JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass, JR Tohoku-South Hokkaido Rail Pass, Sapporo-Noboribetsu Area Pass, and Sapporo-Furano Area Pass are available only to those who have a non-Japanese passport and/or a non-immigration, short-stay Japanese visa.

Please note that these passes are not available to residents of Japan or those who have entered the country without a tourist visa.

E-ticket exchange certificates now available!

E-ticket exchange certificates now available!
Sample Image

For the “Hokkaido Rail Pass,” “Sapporo-Noboribetsu Area Pass,” and “Sapporo-Furano Area Pass,” E-ticket exchange certificates (QR codes) are now available online. If you get a QR code before traveling, you can easily present it at an exchange office designated by JR Hokkaido to receive your rail pass.

Purchasing an E-ticket voucher
Valid for:
Hokkaido Rail Pass, Sapporo-Noboribetsu Area Pass, Sapporo-Furano Area Pass
Sales:
Overseas travel agencies (KKday, KLOOK, myrealtrip, Traveloka, etc.) *Plans to expand in the future
Availability:
From April 1, 2021 *Depending on purchase site
How to purchase:
Can be purchased from websites of travel agencies listed above. For further details please check out agency websites.

Text by: Minna no Kotobasha
*Information accurate as of March 202. Please check official websites for latest information.

*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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