Tokyo-Hokkaido bullet-train fees to be cheaper than airfares


Hokkaido Railway Co. said Tuesday that a reserved-seat ticket for bullet-train service between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station in Hokkaido will cost ¥22,690 per adult, cheaper than current fares for flights linking the capital and Hakodate.

The company, better known as JR Hokkaido, filed for transport ministry approval for fares for its Hokkaido Shinkansen Line, scheduled to open on March 26, 2016, between Shin-Aomori Station and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, which is located in the city of Hokuto, next to Hakodate.

Shin-Aomori, in Aomori Prefecture, is the northern terminal of East Japan Railway Co.’s existing Tohoku Shinkansen Line, which links it with Tokyo Station. The Tohoku and Hokkaido Shinkansen lines will be directly connected, allowing passengers to travel between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto without changing trains.

The fare level for the section between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto is for the medium-demand period.

A ticket for travel between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto has been set at ¥7,260.

AirDo, a regional carrier in Hokkaido, currently sets its airfare for a flight between Tokyo’s Haneda airport and Hakodate Airport in the city of Hakodate at ¥27,390 for the medium-demand period.

The ticket price for the same route stands at ¥35,490 at Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.

Meanwhile, travel between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto on the Tohoku and Hokkaido Shinkansen lines will take a little more than four hours, compared with one hour and 20 minutes for a Haneda-Hakodate flight.

A JR Hokkaido official said the company set the fares “at levels that can give users a sense of affordability, by taking into account various factors including operational costs, the revenue-spending balance and competition with airlines.”

  • Don Corleone

    Madonna mia, that’s a lot for a train. But I’m sure it’s luxuriously appointed, and certainly less of a hassle to board than a plane.

    • ishyg

      Less hassle for sure, but boarding time is too strict. Also, an hour away from Tokyo is the Narita airport, which have flights that offer fare around 5000JPY at its lowest without check-in baggage.

      • 108

        Taking off at 6 or 7 am; not exactly convenient if you don’t live nearby.

      • ishyg

        That’s true. Cost over convenience, the choice is with the consumer. I think in this case, people will take the shinkansen. As for me, I’m a cheap guy. I’d probably fly from Narita. Faster, cheaper.

        People living nearby Narita airport must be having a blast getting the cheaper travel tickets, but it’s not convenient being so far from Tokyo as well.

  • Guillaume Vares

    What about dynamic pricing? The fixed pricing structure is obsolete and inefficient.

  • Starviking

    That’s pretty good. It can be 2 times the cost to use the shinkansen instead of the plane in Japan.

  • R0ninX3ph

    It isn’t that hard to beat airline prices in Japan… they’re kind of ridiculous considering the comparatively small distances they actually fly.

  • Hans Gruber

    Jetstar will fly you from Narita to Sapporo for between ¥4,870 to ¥7,770 each way

  • Rebane

    How many hours will it take from Hakodate to Sapporo?

  • krr

    the station where the shinkansen is going to stop is 20km from central Hakodate, which is a 30 minute car ride (minus traffic) or a change onto a local train for 25 minutes. This takes a lot of the convenience away…