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Japan to postpone plan to extend Hokkaido shinkansen line by 2031


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Who uses a baggage check when flying domestically? Luggage is spent ahead to the hotel or just a carry-on bag for short stays.

Himeji to Sapporo is a 12-14 hour Shinkansen journey. ¥40,000.

Flying from Kobe to Sapporo is about 2 hours and ¥7,000.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

No need to rush for that line development there's always plane to go to Hokkaido for affordable price, 7000 yen one way.


6 ( +9 / -3 )

Who uses a baggage check when flying domestically?

I do. Don't you?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

More trains costing more money to serve fewer and fewer people.

The bullet train to Sapporo would not have been realized in time for the Olympics...

So what. The visitors are there to be in Sapporo and its surrounding areas for the Games. Most don't need to go to other parts of Japan. Anyway, if they did, then Sapporo wont get a lot less economic benefits from the Games.

4 ( +6 / -2 )


There are more countries in Europe then just the UK. The UK is an outlier to begin with as they currently don't have many high-speed railways.


4 ( +4 / -0 )

Burning Bush

I don't want to spend 12 hours on a Shinkansen.

> You don't have to. And frankly that's attitude is selfish. Sorry to be so blunt.

How do you make a Shinkansen journey shorter than it actually is? Probably your own carbon footprint is greater.

I doubt many people need to travel these days Especially at 7000 yen

Not sure I understand that. Paying Y80,000 return from Himeji to Sapporo is better than paying ¥14,000 to fly. Not many people will agree with you.

Fact is cheap air travel is decadent. That's why electric infrastructures are being invested in and air travel discouraged.

Simple question. How many flights have you taken in the last five years?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Fly for convenience,,,,

But I do like the train, similar to the Twilight Express Mizukaze.....


4 ( +5 / -1 )

Flying is cheaper.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

This project strikes me as something of a vanity project on the part of the government and Hokkaido. Who is actually going to ride it?

Business people can currently catch an early a.m. flight to Sapporo, do a couple meetings, and be back in Tokyo or Osaka by late evening. At most, they need to stay one night. A Shinkansen will require at least a half day or travel or overnight travel. The same one-day trip is at least two, possibly three days. How does that help productivity or cut expenses?

Japanese tourists frequently take short, two-day or three-day vacations. On Honshu, the Shinkansen makes that possible. To Hokkaido, much of the vacation is eaten up on the train.

Tokyo to Hakodate is 4 hours on a good day. Sapporo is farther, and the line is through some harsh areas in winter. Winter usage on Hokkaido trains is appallingly low for good reason. JR already has to slow the Shinkansen a lot to accommodate the many freight trains using that line, so the trains won’t zip along like people in Tokyo and Osaka are used to. This seems like it could prove a bigger boondoggle than the Yamagata Shinkansen was.

And while flying is usually more polluting on a single trip, we have to count the environmental costs of construction, too. A big percent of the world’s CO2 emissions is from concrete. How much exactly does tunneling to Hokkaido, laying all new train lines, and building new train stations cost?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Too many assumptions here that people JUST want to travel from Tokyo to Sapporo. Have you thought about how many journeys this will make easier between other cities between Tokyo and Sapporo? Also a lot better for the environment thanf lying. I always try to take the train in Japan - despite the cost, its stress free, I'm not couped up in a egg crate which are all these cheap fares are anyway.

Flying Biz class between Tokyo and Osaka isn't any different from the Green Car on the Shinkansen - as an example.

For tourists - what a wonderful way to SEE the country.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

So what. The visitors are there to be in Sapporo and its surrounding areas for the Games. Most don't need to go to other parts of Japan.


And where are the visitors coming from??? From other parts of Japan? Right? And what after the games???? The vast majority of the people using the line will be Japanese and their coming from other parts of Japan.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I will take the Shinkansen any day once completed. It takes another hour on train from the airport to Sapporo city central.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

We need to visit family in Aomori and when we do we will fly.

Post-cancer conditions makes all long travel periods very difficult .

1 ( +4 / -3 )

oh mikey, train infrastructure is extremely less polluting per passenger than air travel. like foghorn leghorn might say, you gots to be pullin' the head out. now go back to your cereal.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have already answered that.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Are you talking to me?

My carbon footprint over 50 years is much lower than the average and not something I need to be concerned about. I have been reducing it for five decades.

And you?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Ryan Air does not fly in Japan. If you lived in Japan you would know that.

Travelers using crowded public transport with cases or large backpacks are a real pain for all.

Courier services carry many items not just one.

Trains are very good here in Japan and we are frequent users.

But in this case, Himeji to Sapporo is a very long and expensive trip. I don't want to spend 12 hours on a Shinkansen.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Burning Bush

In response to Wallace 2:15 pm

Simple question. How many flights have you taken in the last five years?

It's none of your concern. But I will indulge. None. I haven't flowed since I left the air force.

It is my concern that you have questioned and criticized my own travel arrangements.

So I can take it you don't live here in Japan and have never visited.

How do you make a Shinkansen journey shorter than it actually is?

Stop over somewhere nice Osaka, Kyoto Tokyo, (is Hirauzumi on the Shinkansen)?, Sendai. All great places or read a book to pass the time. You get the drift. Better still. Stay local.

Well, there are additional problems. Overnight hotel at Y10,000 per person. You can't break your journey on a Shinkansen and would require additional tickets.

Paying Y80,000 return from Himeji to Sapporo is better than paying ¥14,000 to fly.

That's right. It reduces your carbon footprint.

We need to visit family in Aomori and when we do we will fly

You are entitled to do that. But why tell us?

Because we all live here in a free country that allows for choice.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Readers, enough of this. Please discuss the story and don't get personal.

I guess you guys who live in Tokyo don't know the country expands well beyond that.

Kyushu to Aomori by Shinkansen is 16 hours.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Why are all you people slagging each other over the difference between and rail travel? Last time I was in Japan I used the shinkansen extensively, and my trip from Aomori to Hakodate and then to Sapporo certainly didn't take half a day. And a few nights and days in Hakodate were great! Can't understand you people who are in such a hurry to get somewhere. Stop along the way, smell the roses!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I prefer the Shinkansen. For a number of reasons:

It is more convenient. No baggage checks, security and all the palaver associated with flying.

A better view from your seat

Safer and better for the environment, too.

Domestic flights in Japan should be banned like in France, considering Japan's excellent rail network.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

I agree with Wallace. Shinkansen for journeys up to about 5 hours, after that I'm looking for a flight.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

A slight delay. No real problem. In Europe, they have stop building high speed rail, because they are broke.


UK's Sunak abandons part of high-speed train line meant to open up Northern England



-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Depending on the train the shortest time from Hakata to Aomori is about 9 hours and the longest time 16 hours. The flight is much quicker. You can be there and back on the same day.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )


Well I travel sometimes from Osaka to Sapporo with me missus to visit her family.

Mind you last time we went we took train to Nagoya (Hinotori) then 40 hour ferry, 40 hour scan you believe it?

It made a change and my son had never been on a ship before. He was as happy as a sandboy

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I agree with Wallace. I take flights occasionally, last one was from Chitose to KIX. We had bought lots of things during our trip in Hokkaido and my partner packed this up with some of her gear. We posted it back by Japan Post for 2300 Yen and it arrived at our place two days later.

Mind you for some cities we use Shinkansen, Shizuoka for instance and a few times to Tokyo. During the pandemic there were really good deals for Platt Kodama and was cheaper than flights.

My carbon footprint too is tiny compared to most, I don’t drive you see, never have. I walk around, cycle or take public transport. Average 85km a week walking and plenty cycling. Helps keep me healthy and I don’t pollute the environment, you see.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

You're carbon footprint seems to be very larger.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

And the extension to Asahikawa should be added. Climate change is slamming Japan. Go north.

Electric trains to travel domestic are better for the environment. This Shinkansen project should be accelerated.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Once completed, no more flights to Sapporo! That would be nice.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

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