The 2 ports you should know to enter in and out of Hokkaido.

Image from Mitsui Shosen HP

It makes us very happy to see more and more people from overseas traveling long term/distances across Japan!

Did you know that you can take a ferry from the mainland to travel Hokkaido?

The price ranges from 8000~10,000 yen, and the duration takes roughly 20 hours.

So if you have a tight budget but have longer time to travel, this might be the travel plan for you.

Also, the interesting thing about our ferries is we can ship our car on the same ferry.

I myself ride the ferry with my car from Otaru to Niigata to travel every once in a while.

I’ve met some people from abroad with their car traveling on the ferry, but we realized that it was complicated to plan their ferry trip.

Today we will be talking about the 2 ports that you should know in Hokkaido to travel, and hope this information will help your sea travels in Japan!

Otaru and Tomakomai

These 2 cities are the places to know when you travel by ferry in Hokkaido.

Otaru takes the Japan Sea route and the Tomakomai takes the Pacific Ocean route.

To plan the route, you can do so simply by deciding which area you want to depart from.

Entering from Kansai area: Otaru

The best way to enter Hokkaido from the Honshu mainland is to use the ferry route from Niigata or Maizuru to Otaru.

Image from Shin Nihonkai Ferry HP

The ferry is slightly cheaper and the facilities are actually better than taking the Tomakomai route.

The lobby of the ShinNihonKai Ferry

This is most likely due to the lower demand. The Otaru route is mostly tourism ferries, whereas the other is mainly commercial ferries.

To add to this, the chance of cancellation due to weather conditions is lower in the Otaru route.

Otaru is also one of the most historical cities in Hokkaido. It prospered as a port town to ship goods to and from Sapporo.

You will see unique buildings that you will not see from other cities in Japan, so if you like to learn a little bit of history, Otaru is the city to go to!

These areas are the places that are convenient to go to from Otaru:

  • Sapporo
  • Niseko
  • Asahikawa
  • Furano

Entering from Tokyo area: Tomakomai

If you are going to Hokkaido from Tokyo area, the closest port will be Oarai in Ibaraki.

Image from Shosen Mitsui Ferry HP

There is a bus that you could take from Tokyo Station which probably is the cheapest and easiest way to get there.

These are the go-to areas that are closer from Tomakomai:

  • Noboribetsu
  • Chitose Airport
  • Lake Toya

Tomakomai is one of the warmest areas in Hokkaido, and has one of the least snow.

The port is important for commercial goods to be shipped for us, but it isn’t very touristic.

The only place that might be good to go is this chain rotating sushi Clipper distinct to the area.

It only has 5 outlets and are all in the Tomakomai area.

The sushi is very fresh and is shockingly cheap!

It also usually has seasonal local seafood like Shako and Hokki shell.

Try the famous local Hokki Shell!

Hope this helps!

We hope this information helps you plan your travels well!

If you have any questions, feel more than free to comment below or book a free call with us and we will be there for you!

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