Traveling between New Chitose Airport and Sapporo is easily done by train, bus, or rental car. JR Hokkaido’s Airport Rapid service provides the fastest service at 37 minutes. However, limousine bus services are slightly cheaper and run directly to and from some Sapporo hotels. If you want more freedom to explore the Hokkaido countryside, then you may prefer to rent a car and this is also easily done either at New Chitose Airport or in the area around Sapporo Station. In this article we will look at each of these three travel options.
JR Hokkaido run a fast, reliable and regular railway service called the Airport Express that runs between New Chitose Airport and Sapporo Station. Services run roughly every 15 minutes, and take around 37 minutes to cover the distance between those two destinations. This is the fastest service between the airport and Sapporo and costs only 1,150 yen.
The Rapid Airport is a 6-car train and non-smoking throughout. Five cars have non-reserved seating which requires no extra fare, and Car 4 has reserved seating. Reserved seats costs only 530 yen extra and may be worthwhile if you are carrying large suitcases as Car 4 has large baggage storage areas. Car 4’s seating also consists of spacious “u-seats” which are reclinable. For more detailed information on the railway link between New Chitose Airport and Sapporo, please see our full article on the Rapid Airport service.
The railway station at New Chitose Airport is located in the basement of the domestic terminal building.
Tickets can be bought from automatic ticket machines which are located beside the ticket gates at New Chitose Airport Station. These machines are operated by a touch screen, have English guidance and are very easy to use. There is also a fare chart above the machines showing destinations and fares in both English and Japanese.
This station also has a ticket office where you can buy tickets and an information counter with multilingual staff who can help you with your travel enquiries in English, Chinese and Korean. At the ticket office you can buy tickets with major international bank cards such as VISA, MASTER CARD, American Express, and DINERS.
Travelers can also pass straight through the ticket gates using prepaid IC cards such as JR Hokkaido’s Kitaca card. Kitaca cards can be bought from ticket machines or ticket counters at any JR Hokkaido Station and can be used on any JR network in Japan. However, all the major regional cards such as JR East’s Suica card or JR West’s ICOCA card are compatible with each other and can also be used on JR Hokkaido railway lines. For more information, see our comprehensive guide to Japan’s IC card system.
Popular Hotels near Sapporo Station
There are regular airport limousine bus services that run between New Chitose Airport and various locations in Sapporo including Sapporo Station, Sapporo Beer Garden, Nakajima Park, and several hotels in the downtown area. These services are run by the Hokuto Kotsu and Hokkaido Chuo Bus companies. However, the fare between the airport and Sapporo is the same for both companies at 1,100 yen and this is slightly cheaper than taking the train. Taking a bus from the airport to Sapporo Station should take around 1 hour and 20 minutes, dependent on traffic and weather conditions. At New Chitose Airport bus ticket counters are located on the 1st floor of both the international and domestic terminals and bus stops are located outside both these terminals.
One advantage of taking an airport limousine bus is that there is plenty of storage space for your luggage. Another important point that could make your journey much easier is that many bus services run directly to certain designated Sapporo hotels. It is a good idea to check if your hotel is on the route of such a service. Some hotels that are included are Hotel Monterey Edelhof Sapporo, ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel Sapporo, Sapporo Grand Hotel, Hotel Resol Trinity Sapporo, Sapporo View Hotel Odori Koen, Sapporo Prince Hotel, Royton Sapporo Hotel, and the Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo. For more details on bus stops and timetables please check the bus service information page on the New Chitose Airport website.
By Rental Car
Traveling by car is a good option if you plan to explore some of the more rural areas in Hokkaido that may be harder to access by train. From New Chitose Airport to Sapporo can take around 1 hour depending on traffic conditions, and should cost 1,330 yen in toll fees. Of course you should add to that the cost of gas and renting a car. There are rental car reception counters at New Chitose Airport where several reputable car rental companies are represented. These include Nippon, Times, Nissan and Toyota; all of which have English websites that you can check in advance.
You can compare the rates and book a car rental online through our Car Rental in Sapporo search engine, it’s easy and fast to use!
Remember that you will need a valid international driver’s license in order to rent a car in Japan. You will also need snow tires during the Hokkaido winter which lasts from November to April. The simplest route from New Chitose Airport is to take the Hokkaido Expressway (also called the Do-O Expressway) from Chitose Interchange, change to the Sasson Expressway at Sapporo Junction, and leave the highway at Sapporo-Kita Interchange. However, once you have put your destination’s address into the rental car’s GPS satellite navigation system, it will show you the way.
It is possible to take a taxi between New Chitose Airport and Sapporo, but because of the distance most people would consider taking a taxi to be far too expensive. The cost of a regular taxi service between these two locations would be around 15,000 yen if your driver avoids toll roads but this would take around 2 hours. If your driver uses toll roads it would probably only take 1 hour and the cost would be around 18,000 yen. The exact fare, toll fares and the journey time will differ according to the time of the journey and the traffic conditions.
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It is possible to save some money by booking a fixed-fare taxi service in advance with MK Taxi. MK Taxi have two sizes of car available for this service. The smaller car can seat two passengers with three large suitcases or three passengers with two large suitcases and it costs just 9,000 yen. The larger car can seat 3 people with 4 suitcases or 5 people with 2 suitcases and this car costs 11,000 yen. However, toll fees will be added to the fare and this can cost around 1,330 yen extra depending on the time of day. If you book the service online, you should make your booking at least 2 days in advance. If you make the booking by telephone (011-777-5058) then you can do so 1 hour in advance of your journey from Sapporo to the airport, or 2 hours in advance if you are traveling from the airport to Sapporo. Unfortunately, the booking service for the fixed-fare taxi is only available in Japanese, so you will need to have a Japanese speaker help you to make the booking. You can find further details about this service on MK Taxi’s Japanese language website.
At New Chitose Airport the taxi ranks are located outside the 1st floor of the domestic and international terminals.
Staying Overnight at New Chitose Airport
If your plane arrives late at the New Chitose Airport or you have an early departing flight you may need to stay overnight.
There are two hotels directly connected to the New Chitose Airport: Portom International Hokkaido at the International terminal, and Air Terminal Hotel at the Domestic terminal. Check the Sapporo Airport Hotel website for availability of rooms. Domestic and International terminals are connected by an indoor walkway, both hotels are accessible landside.
Article by Michael Lambe. Photos by Michael Lambe and Angkana Unthaya. All rights reserved.