New Chitose Airport (新千歳空港) is the main airport for Hokkaido’s (北海道) capitcal city Sapporo (札幌). The city also has a second airport named Okadama Airport (札幌飛行場), but that one only serves domestic flights within Hokkaido.
This means, should you ever want to fly to Sapporo from Tokyo (東京), Osaka (大阪) or even outside of Japan (日本), you will land at New Chitose Airport. Because of the size and traffic of this airport, it is located about 50 kilometers away from Sapporo’s city center.
Getting to and from the airport is not hard at all though. I’ll give you a rundown on the options towards the end of this article.
Facts & Information about New Chitose Airport
The airport is among the younger ones, being opened back in 1991, replacing the adjacent Chitose Airport (hence “new”). Chitose airport still exists but serves as an air base.
New Chitose Airport is amongst the top 5 busiest airports in all of Japan, serving Japan’s busiest air route from Haneda airport (羽田空港) (Tokyo) to Sapporo. This route is also ranked third worldwide with over 8,000,000 passengers served every year.
As of February 2019, the airport still only has one main terminal building. An additional one is being built at the moment which is scheduled to be finished in later 2019.
Due to its ever-growing size and importance, New Chitose Airport receives a lot of upgrades and additions on a regular basis.
Facilites & Services
As with every other airport that I have covered already, this airport is a huge playground besides the usual airport business.
Referring back to the aforementioned upgrades, the airport has quite recently added a new complex with lots of shopping and dining options. You can choose from a similar variety as in airports like Haneda or Narita (成田).
A special feature of New Chitose airport is an Onsen (温泉) bathhouse inside the terminal building. If you’re looking to relax a little before or after a long flight, this is the place to go.
Another great thing is the Doraemon themed Wakuwaku Skypark that comes with a playground for children as well as a café and souvenir shop. A must-see for every fan of the character!
Chocolate manufacturer Royce’ Chocolate World exhibits the making of chocolate in their own area, as well as shopping opportunities for their products.
All-in-all, I find New Chitose Airport to be a very pleasant place to be. You can of course also find the usual services like car rentals, tourist information centers, JR offices and money exchange centers.
How to transfer between Sapporo and New Chitose Airport
As I already mentioned above, the airport is located about 50 kilometers south-east of Sapporo’s city center. It is however pretty easy to get there using one of the following options:
The train is, again, the most convenient and fastest method to travel between these two spots. New Chitose Airport has a direct connection to Sapporo Station (札幌駅). You can use the JR Rapid Train on this route which takes about 35 minutes and costs 1,070 Yen (8,63€/$7.73).
4 trains leave per hour so you should not have any trouble catching one of them. If you travel at a busy time it could be useful to reserve a seat which costs an additional 520 Yen (4,19€/$4.73). It shouldn’t be a problem most of the time though.
The bus is the other major option that you can use if you’re not in a hurry or want to see more of the environment. It’s the same rate as with the Rapid train, with 4 buses leaving per hour.
Multiple major destinations in Sapporo city and even some bigger hotels are served by these buses. A one-way trip takes about 80 minutes and costs 1,030 Yen (8,31€/$9.36).
Just like with any of the other airports, I do not recommend using a taxi. Please only use it as a last resort as the horrendous prices of 20,000+ Yen (161+€/$182+) can easily be spent on a nice meal or souvenirs instead.
New Chitose Airport is, just like any other Japanese airport, an amazing piece of work. Everything runs smoothly and the staff is great.
With their frequent upgrade policy, you can expect the airport to stay up-to-date with current standards well into the future.
It is the perfect gateway to Sapporo/Hokkaido if you want to check out the area after you’ve been to other places in Japan. Flying there is easily the cheapest and fastest option.
Overall a 10/10 experience, be sure to check it out if you can!
That’s it for New Chitose Airport, I hope you enjoyed it!
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Next up we are going to take a look at my beloved Japanese convenience stores (konbini, コンビニ)!
See you there!