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Sapporo & Beyond

Climate | Transportation | Money | Electricity |

Sapporo is the fourth-largest city in Japan by population, and the largest city on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Located in the Ishikari sub-prefecture, it is the capital of Hokkaido Prefecture, and an ordinance-designated city of Japan.

One of Japan's newest and nicest cities, Sapporo's population has grown from seven in 1857 to nearly two million today. Being a new city, especially by Japanese standards, means it has little in the way of traditional architecture and the like of cities such as Kyoto. But what it lacks in "Japanese-ness" it makes up for with its lovely open, tree-filled boulevards to enjoy in summer and beautiful snow (and facilities to cope with said snow) in the long winter.


Summer in Sapporo is generally warm but not humid. The temperature in July ranges from 17.3°C to 24.9°C and temperature in August ranges from 19.1°C to 26.4°C.


Japan Rail Pass – In and Around Japan
The Japan Rail Pass is a special pass available only to the following:

  1. Foreign tourist visiting Japan for sight-seeing, under the entry status of “Temporary Visitor”.
  2. Japanese national living in a foreign country,
    a. who is qualified to live permanently in that country, or
    b. who is married to a non-Japanese residing in a country other than Japan
For more details, please click here:

Japan Rail Pass types and prices

There are two types of Japan Rail Pass:
Green – for superior class Green cars
Ordinary – for coach class cars

Type Green Ordinary
Duration Adult Child Adult Child
7-Day 37,800 YEN 18,900 YEN 28,300 YEN 14,150 YEN
14-Day 61,200 YEN 30,600 YEN 45,100 YEN 22,550 YEN
21-Day 79,600 YEN 39,800 YEN 57,700 YEN 28,850 YEN

The Japan Rail Pass can only be used for certain railways, buses, ferry boats and JR trains:

Validity Period

  • The validity period of a Japan Rail Pass is the consecutive 7, 14 or 21 days beginning on the date the Pass is first used.
  • Within 3 months from the date the Exchange Order was issued, you must turn in your Exchange Order to obtain your Japan Rail Pass. At that time, you have to specify the date that you want to start using the Pass. It can be any date within one month from the date the Pass is received.
  • Once the Pass has a starting date written on it, the date cannot be changed.

How to Obtain a Japan Rail Pass

A Japan Rail Pass cannot be purchased inside Japan. You must purchase an Exchange Order from an authorized sales office or agent before you come to Japan. After you arrive in Japan, you have to go to a Japan Rail Pass exchange office to turn in the Exchange Order. Passport verification is required in order to obtain the Japan Rail Pass .

For more information, please click here:

Japan Rail Pass – Within Hokkaido

The JR Hokkaido Railway Company offers several different types of passes for foreigners to travel easily in and around Hokkaido.

  • Hokkaido Rail Pass
  • JR Hokkaido Foreign Students Pass
  • JR Hokkaido Working Holiday Pass
  • Sapporo-Otaru Welcome Pass
For more information, please click here:


Kitaca is a rechargeable contactless smart card ticketing system for public transport in Sapporo, Japan. It can also be used as electronic cash for shopping.

There are three types of Kitaca, the "Kitaca Pass", "Registered Kitaca" and the "Non-registered Kitaca", all of which are rechargeable. The Kitaca cards are sold at "JR Ticket Counter " inside the Kitaca card range. The "Non-registered Kitaca" can be purchased at ticket machines that handle the Kitaca card.

For more information, please click here:


The unit of Japanese currency is yen. Coins are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen and bank notes in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen.

The exchange rate from USD to Yen: 1 USD = 88.99 YEN

You can buy Yen at foreign exchange banks and other authorized money exchangers. The exchange rate fluctuates daily depending on the money market.

Credit, Debit and Prepaid Cards
Credit, debit and prepaid cards of international brands are acceptable at a wide variety of merchants. There will be instances where merchants may not display the card acceptance marks so do not hesitate to ask the salesperson if your card is accepted. You can use cards for Narita Express (JR) and Shinkansen (JR) fares. Cards may not be used to pay for short distance train/subway fares. Cards may not be accepted outside the major cities.

You can withdraw cash using your international brand credit, debit, prepaid and cash cards nationwide at ATMs of Japan Post Bank and Seven Bank. Citibank ATMs are also in service but number of ATMs is very limited with most of their ATMs located in major international airports and in their branch offices.

Visa provides an ATM locator on their website which you can use to locate ATMs by your nearest subway/train station.

Visa-ATM Locator:


The voltage used throughout Japan is 100 volts, A.C. There are two kinds of frequencies in use; 50 Hertz in Eastern Japan (Tokyo, Kawasaki, Sapporo, Yokohama, Sendai) and 60 Hertz in Western Japan (including Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka).

A convertible type of electrical appliance such as a hair dryer, travel iron and shaver will therefore be handy; otherwise a step-down transformer is required to convert the voltage.

There are no columnar-shaped plugs or 3-pin plugs used in Japan but 2-flat-pin plugs are used instead. It is therefore advisable to purchase a plug adapter beforehand.

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