On May 25th, 2021,
How much does it cost to travel in Hokkaido?
Here’s a handy travel article to help you work out how much does it cost to travel in Hokkaido, from Adventure Hokkaido guide and founder Ayaka Yoshikawa. She explains the costs of accommodation, transport, food and day to day travel expenses in Hokkaido, plus a daily travel budget for your trip.
Are you planning a trip to Hokkaido and trying to figure out how much it’s going to cost?
Konnichiwa. I’m Ayaka from Adventure Hokkaido and today I’m going to explain how much it will cost you to travel in Hokkaido, including transportation, accommodation, food, activities and day-to-day expenses.
I’ve written this article for people who want to experience eating out, staying in comfortable accommodation, enjoy guided outdoor activities and some other special experiences during their trip to Hokkaido. This is not a backpacker’s penny pinching guide, but hopefully anyone can find something useful here!
I know you will all be excited about travelling to Hokkaido and see all of its natural beauty, and undoubtedly you’ve been thinking about one big aspect of that trip – how much will it cost? You’ll find everything you’ll need for your Hokkaido trip budget in this article, so read on.
Read the full article for a total overview, or click on one of the links below to go straight to the section you’re most interested in.
Enabling your smartphone to work in Japan is like cladding yourself in samurai armour! I’d highly recommend you pre-order one to pick it up at the airport or ship to your first hotel. It costs around 4,000 yen for a week.
Choosing where to stay during your trip can set the mood for your whole experience. Are you looking for somewhere simple to just rest your head in between activities, or do you want a more luxurious experience on your travels? Let’s start by taking a look at the common types of accommodation offered in Japan.
Hotels tend to be similar the world-over; a conventional space to sleep, with a variety of rooms to accommodate travellers of all preferences. Most hotels in Japan offer breakfast, and some will also have dinner options as well if you are looking to stay in for meals. They obviously will cover a wide range of prices, depending on the quality of the hotel as well as the season and location.
Themes of hotels vary greatly; business hotels, city hotels, resort hotels, airport hotels to name the core ones. Business hotels are obviously preferred by business travellers who spend less time in-room and don’t mind sleeping in a compact space. They will be a great fit for solo travellers, seeking an affordable room in a convenient location. They usually cost around 5,000 yen per person for a room only.
City hotels are more common these days and popular with urban visitors. The prices are about 1.5 times higher than the business hotels in the same area, though they provide more comfort and attractiveness for travellers, for instance, larger rooms, local gastronomy and hot spring spas on-site.
Resort or tourist hotels in Hokkaido are somewhere between a normal western style hotel and a ryokan inn. At a glance they may look similar to a western style hotel, however, they often have Japanese style rooms, western style rooms, and a hybrid room (with western beds in a Japanese style room) too. Like many things in Japan, a crossover between traditional Japanese and western culture! Expect to pay at least 10,000 yen per person for staying in resort or tourist hotels.
You will find some unique aspects to hotels in Japan, even in the big international chains. Things like separate slippers for your bathroom and automatic Japanese toilets, all those things which make your hotel stay a very Japanese experience!
Many travellers interested in coming to Japan have already heard of ryokan, traditional Japanese inns. Ryokan offer a classy Japanese experience – sleeping in tatami rooms on futon beds, eating local seasonal foods, and many ryokan also have hot springs baths on the premises.
Ryokan come in all price ranges, from the budget friendly to the more luxurious, but an average ryokan will cost around 10,000 yen per person per night, without any included meals. Including dinner and breakfast, an average ryokan in Hokkaido costs around 15,000 yen per person. They are definitely worth the cost if you are looking for a unique Japanese experience!
Minshuku can be considered the alternative to motels in Japan – though banish all thoughts of a dingy place by the side of the highway!
Minshuku are basically a smaller version of ryokan, where you are more likely to use shared bathrooms. Many minshuku in Hokkaido have hot springs, and they are usually family-operated small accommodations, similar to bed-and-breakfasts. They are great for catching a sense of what is like to sleep in a Japanese home and interacting with the owner family – local people.
Most often found in more rural areas, minshuku tend to cost from around 8,000 yen per person, and often will include dinner and breakfast.
Recently hostels are having a second wave in Sapporo and new ones are cropping up rapidly. As a result of how many of them are newly built, the hostels available tend to be on the more fashionable side, and are not as cheap as many American or European travellers would expect.
They are still a good and clean alternative for those who are traveling light and just want a place to rest their heads at night! Expect to pay at least 3,000 yen per person per night.
Many people who have heard of Japan know how famous capsule hotels are here! They are the peak of budget accommodation, offering a micro-sized room — often only a bed with a lockable door — and space to store luggage.
Capsule hotels will often have shared lounges and baths, separated by gender. Be careful if you are reserving a capsule hotel! Some hotels cater exclusively to men or women, and will turn away all other customers.
Capsule hotels are only found in metropolitan areas of Hokkaido such as Sapporo, and typically cost around 3,000 yen a night.
Accommodation costs in Hokkaido – a guide
This is a guide to give you an idea of comparative rates (per person) in different parts of Hokkaido, for specific prices and availabilities for your travel dates search Hokkaido accommodation on Booking.com here.
Even if you stay in Western style hotels in Hokkaido, storage space and rooms will be smaller than you’re used to so keep your luggage to one day pack and one mid-sized travel bag.
Due to Hokkaido’s large size in comparison to the other prefectures of Japan, transportation across the island requires more thought when it comes to traveling around Hokkaido. First of all I’ll outline the best options for getting around Hokkaido, then include some costs of major Hokkaido routes. For more detailed information on how to get around Hokkaido, read our blogpost here.
Although train lines do not reach all throughout Hokkaido, they link the large cities of the island and are a convenient and comfortable way to travel. Although the more rural areas will have lesser options throughout the day, common routes such as Sapporo-Asahikawa have frequent trains available.
Keep in mind that round-trip tickets generally cost less to book than single-trip tickets, and if you have a JR Pass they can be used on the JR lines in Hokkaido as well! There’s also the JR Hokkaido Pass, which is a great value way to see Hokkaido.
Buses are useful for both in-town travel as well as traveling across Hokkaido itself. For local fares within cities expect to pay under 1,000 yen (obviously depending on the length of your trip). Longer trips, however, will obviously cost more, and typically fall in the 3,000 to 5,00 range for a one-way trip.
Train & Bus Costs in Hokkaido – a guide
|Sapporo to New Chitose Airport|
|Sapporo to Asahikawa|
|Sapporo to Wakkanai|
|Sapporo to Abashiri|
|Sapporo to Hakodate|
|Sapporo to Kushiro|
|Asahikawa to Asahidake Onsen|
|Sapporo to Shiretoko
This is a summary of Hokkaido train and bus costs to give you an idea of the relative costs, for specific prices and costs for your travel dates search for Hokkaido bus and train journeys on Hyperdia.
Ferries in Hokkaido
Although there aren’t many places to use the ferry for travel within Hokkaido itself, there are a couple of locations where it is necessary- namely, to visit Rishiri and Rebun Island! Departing from Wakkanai, to travel to each island will cost a bit of time and money, but both are well worth the trip!
There are a few other outlying islands, as well, that are a good place to visit for a unique experience and travelling by ferry is your only option to the islands of Okushiri, Teuri & Yagishiri.
Ferry costs in Hokkaido – a guide
|Wakkanai to Rishiri Island|
|Wakkanai to Rebun Island|
|Rishiri to Rebun Island|
|Esashi to Okushiri Island|
|Haboro to Teuri Island|
|Haboro to Yagishiri Island|
Rental car costs in Hokkaido
This is by far the most flexible option for traveling in Hokkaido. Being less populated and much larger than the other regions of Japan, in Hokkaido there are a lot of wide roads that are easy to navigate, and most locations that are not within Sapporo will have their own parking lots.
However, this only applies to summer- unless you have experience driving in winter conditions, it may be better to stick to public transportation or organised tours.
On average, the costs of renting a mid-sized car will cost around 5,000 yen a day, not including petrol prices.
Taxi costs in Hokkaido
Although not viable for long-distance travel, taxis are useful for scooting around big cities like Sapporo.
In general taxis in Hokkaido will cost around 670 yen for the first 1.5 kilometers of your trip, then an additional 80 yen per 275 meters after that. The size of the taxi will have differing costs, however, and there is an additional charge for nighttime (10PM- 5AM) fares.
Remember that tipping is not common in Japan- you only need to pay what is on the meter!
When you’re out exploring the far corners of Hokkaido you are likely to be served up dishes you have never tried before. It’s all part of the experience so have an open mind and give new things a go.
Traveling is hard work, and eating out is one of the biggest joys of traveling! Getting to experience new foods in a new place is always exciting, and with how popular and yummy Japanese food is getting to eat the real thing is great!
Japan is known for its quality food, and everything from picking up rice balls at the convenience store to fine dining will be sure to be delicious. Most often, people are surprised at produce prices (fruits and vegetables) in comparison to their home countries, but dining out is often comparable.
Convenience Stores in Hokkaido
This will be the most basic and cheapest option (though I don’t recommend this for every meal!) Convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, Lawson, and Seicomart offer a lot of cheap on-the-go food choices. They also offer a large variety, from rice balls to fried chicken, all for a couple hundred of yen.
Plus, all sorts of bottled drinks and snacks are available as well. Because most restaurants are not open for breakfast options, if you don’t choose to eat at your hotel this might be your only option (besides chain restaurants and cafes like Starbucks).
Ramen, sushi and other quick dining in Hokkaido
Hokkaido and Japan are known for ramen, and it is not difficult to find noodle shops in most places. Ramen typically runs from around 700 to 1,000 yen, though it can vary greatly between shops.
There are other “quick dining” restaurants and chains that also serve filling and tasty food, such as sushi, gyoza (dumpling), udon noodle, soba noodle, and a large variety of other Japanese foods. Most of these shops will be around 1,000 yen, though prices differ depending on the dish.
Mid to high-end dining in Hokkaido
Hokkaido is known for its seafood and seasonal dining, and across the island there are a large variety of famous places. In these situations the sky (and your stomach) is the limit- from locally grown produce to Michelin-star sushi restaurants, let your tastes and your wallet lead you to a unique culinary experience.
For a nice dinner with drinks, expect to pay around 4,000 yen per person.
Dining Costs in Hokkaido
|Meal costs per person|
There are a wide range of activities in Hokkaido, for both those who want to enjoy a slower pace and those who are seeking adventure. Let’s take a brief look at the most popular attractions in Hokkaido in 2021 and their associated costs.
Activity prices in Hokkaido – a guide
|Mt Moiwa Gondola|
|Mt Hakodate Gondola|
|Mt Asahidake Gondola|
|Mt Kurodake Gondola & Chair lift|
(Hokkaido Historical Village)
|Asahiyama Zoo, Asahikawa|
|Kawamura Kaneto Ainu Museum, Asahikawa|
|Upopoy Ainu Museum|
|Sounkyo River Rafting|
|Minami Furano Rafting|
|Hidaka Half Day Rafting|
|Lake Shikotsu Canoeing|
|Lake Kussharo Canoeing|
|Brown Bear Watching Cruise, Shiretoko|
|Whale Watching, Shiretoko|
|Sea Kayaking, Rishiri Island|
|Bicycle Rental, Sapporo|
Like most places, Hokkaido has a range of shopping and prices. Most things will cost about the same as in Europe or the US, but visitors are often surprised by the prices of fresh foods and sporting goods.
Take a look at the following chart to see how prices compare to your country.
Prices of common items in Hokkaido
|AA batteries (10 pack)|
|A good outdoor jacket|
|A pair of hiking shoes|
We have looked at a mix of available options throughout Hokkaido, so now let’s sum it all up and come up with a daily travel budget for Hokkaido.
Obviously depending on the style of your trip and the activities you want to do in Hokkaido your daily costs will change, but let’s see how much a mid-level trip throughout Hokkaido would cost roughly per day.
You would be staying in 3+ star hotels and the odd onsen resort or ryokan inn, eating fantastic Japanese food each night and exploring the great Hokkaido outdoors and discovering the local history and culture with guided activities and cultural visits.
Hokkaido daily travel costs – a summary
Accommodation: 8,000 – 14,000 yen
Transportation: 4,000 – 6,000 yen (rental car)
Food: 6,000 – 8,000 yen
Activities: 1,000- 8,000 yen
This brings us to around 19,000 – 36,000 yen per day, depending on where you stay, what you decided to eat, and the activities that you may want to do each day. Obviously, this can change easily, but this should give you an idea.
Make it easy and join an organized tour
As with travelling anywhere, especially somewhere as large and wild as Hokkaido, planning your trip is not without challenges. There are a lot of things to research, organize and keep track of and by joining a tour a lot of your travel costs are included and taken care of through one point of contact.
You’ll also love having English speaking support both before you travel and once you’re here. A lot of accommodation and activity operators in Hokkaido don’t speak English, especially the ones in the more remote and exciting places. At Adventure Hokkaido, we’ve been travelling all over Hokkaido for all our lives you can relax and leave all this work to us.
Travelling on a tour allows you to make the most of your time, whilst meeting like minded people along the way and never having to stress about misunderstandings over prices or worries about your trip going over budget. Plus you’ll have a guide with you to help you navigate shopping or any other purchases you need to make while you’re here.
See more about our Hokkaido tours here, we offer small group fully guided tours with local English speaking guides. Tours range from one to eleven days and include hiking, cycling, wildlife, cultural and adventure tours.
See our Hokkaido hiking, cycling & nature tours