WITH the season coming to a wrap here in Niseko, it’s a good time to go and explore the rest of Hokkaido. One of the most convenient ways to do that is making use of the island’s extensive and efficient train network, with Japan Railways offering a Hokkaido Rail Pass for foreigners.
Most foreign travellers would have heard of the Japan Rail Pass, which allows them to ride almost any JR railway line in all of Japan for a one-, two or three-week period. The disadvantage is that this pass must be purchased in the respective homecountry before arriving in Japan. The Hokkaido Rail Pass, however, can be bought here anytime and gives foreign travellers access to ride all JR trains within Hokkaido, and even some designated JR buses.
There are four types of passes. The 3-Day pass costs ¥15,000, the 5-Day ¥19,500, and the 7-Day ¥22,000. There is also a Flexible 4-Day pass for ¥19,500, which can be used any four days within a 10 day period from the date it is issued. All passes can be purchased at any main JR train station on the island.
For more information go to the JR website: http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/railpass/rail.html