Today was one of the most anticipated days of the trip for me, but Nicole, not so much. I love the train system in Japan and this was the longest train journey of our trip. Not only that, the train we took up to Hokkaido was the new Hayabusa which launched in March 2016. This train shaved off 2 hours from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, which is the first stop after passing under the tunnel between Honshu and Hokkaido. From Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto would transfer onto a different line for the rest of the journey up to Sapporo, our first stop on the trip up North.
Episode 2: https://youtu.be/VIQjEuez2qI
The Hayabusa is a beautiful Shinkansen, both inside and out. The green car was especially nice, it was this trip that convinced us to go with the Green JR Rail Pass. The trip from Tokyo Station to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto is 4 hours and 25 minutes. At points along the way we hit speeds of 320 km/h, the fastest part of track in Japan. I really enjoyed the whole trip up to Sapporo, and once up there was very excited to finally be exploring Hokkaido!
There were several locations featured in this episode
- Shiodome Media Tower – The building which houses our hotel. This is an office building with a hotel starting on floor 25.
- Park Hotel Tokyo -We started our day in the Park Hotel Tokyo, in the castle room on the artist floor. You’ll see more of the hotel in future episodes as we stayed here when we returned to Tokyo for the end of our trip.
- Shimbashi Station – Not featured much in this episode, but you will see more of Shimbashi in future episodes. The station we were pulling out from during the title sequence was Shimbashi.
- Tokyo Station – Tokyo station is massive! Easy to feel overwhelmed, but there is no reason to be. A little extra time and a bit of planning and you will be fine navigating. The subway/metro stop is separate from the train stop. Also, if you take an extended trip from Tokyo, be sure to leave extra time to find some food for the trip.
- Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station – It’s at this station where we transferred from the Hayabusa Shinkansen to the Super Hokuto which took us the rest of the trip to Sapporo Station. There wasn’t much of the station in the video, but I did catch the Super Hokuto pulling in from the platform.
- Sapporo Station – A large station with lots of shopping and restaurants attached. Our hotel is also part of the station complex, which made getting to our bed very quick and easy after the long trip.
- JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo – Our home for 5 nights as we explored Sapporo and a couple of close by towns. Our room was very comfortable and spacious (we had a corner room), and the view South over Sapporo was amazing. I think our favourite part of this hotel was the ridiculously good breakfast buffet.
- Nemuro Hanamaru – The conveyor belt sushi restaurant we found in the train station complex. Really great food, and highly recommended if in the area.
Thanks for watching/reading!