Beginner's Guide

Beautiful scenery and delicious food can be found throughout Hokkaido. The most convenient way to see all Hokkaido has to offer is by train. This guide will provide first time JR Hokkaido users with a wealth of useful information.

1. What kind of ticket do I need to board a train?

  • A basic fare ticket is required for boarding.
  • In order to board a Limited Express, a limited express ticket is required in addition to a basic fare ticket.
  • For reserved seats, a reserved seat ticket is required in addition to a basic fare ticket and limited express ticket.

Ticket Types

Train Types in Hokkaido Local Rapid Limited Express Shinkansen
Stops Stops at every station. Some trains do not stop at some stations. Does not stop at some stations. Stops only at major stations. Stops only at Shinkansen Stations.
Car & Seat Type All cars are Non-reserved Non-reserved Seat Reserved Seat Non-reserved Seat Reserved Seat Some trains have Green Car connected. Ordinary Car First-class car (Green Car) Gran Class
Ticket(s) Required

Car Formation (Example)

Long Distance (Sapporo - Kushiro, etc.) Limited Express Train

Short Distance (Sapporo - Asahikawa, etc.) Limited Express Train

Local/Rapid Train (Some trains have reserved seats)

Car Types of Limited Express Train

There are two types of car: Ordinary and Green.

The difference between Ordinary and Green cars is…

Green cars have wider seats for a more comfortable and relaxing trip.

Reserved Seat
Because the date, train, departure time, arrival time, and seat number are determined, a seat is guaranteed.
Non-reserved Seat
You may sit in any vacant seat of a Non-reserved car (on the date of your choosing). Because a seat cannot be reserved, you may be unable to sit if the train is crowded.

Passenger Classification

Adult Ages 12 and older
Child Ages 6 through 11
Infant Ages 1 through 5
Baby Less than 1 year old

Fares & Charges for Children

Children's basic fare, limited express, express, and reserved seat tickets are 50% of the adult price (fractions under ¥10 are rounded down). Green car, sleeper car, and numbered tickets are the same as the adult price.

Fares & Charges for Infants/Babies

Though infants and babies travel for free, a child ticket is required in the following cases.

When three or more infants accompany one adult or a child (tickets are required for the third and any additional infants).

When an infant or baby occupies his or her own reserved seat, Green Car seat, or berth.

When an infant travels alone.

When infants travel as a group.