Welcome to the third section of my second edition about my enjoyable long winter vacation in Hokkaido, Japan in December 2011. There will be a total of five focus topics that will be covered in this section. They will mainly be the driving journey back to Otaru from Kutchan, visiting the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen, along with my myriad train journeys towards Hakodate, New Chitose Airport and Kushiro.
Part 3 ~ My Day Trip to Hakodate
The Hokuto (北斗) and Super Hokuto (スーパー北斗) are the names of limited express train services operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido) between Sapporo and Hakodate in Hokkaido, Japan. There are 11 daily return workings (seven Super Hokuto; four Hokuto) running in each direction, with the fastest journey time taking only three hours. The service is capable of reaching a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph).
The Hokuto service commenced operations on 1 November 1965, using KiHa 183 series DMUs, operating at a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph). These trains feature a high-decker Green Car (first class) carriage in their formations and services. From 1 March 1994, KiHa 281 series DMUs were introduced on these services, with some Hokuto services being upgraded to Super Hokuto services.
From 11 April 1998, KiHa 283 series DMUs were introduced on some services. Green Car (first class) accommodation is provided in Car No. 3 on each service. There is no extra charge required for both the Hokuto and Super Hokuto services for foreign tourists who are travelling with a Japan Rail Pass and / or a Hokkaido Rail Pass.
Hakodate Station (函館駅) is the central railway terminal which serves the suburban port city of Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan. The station serves as the southern terminus for the Hakodate Main Line, and the northern terminus for the Tsugaru-Kaikyo Line, as well as the eastern terminus for the Esashi Line. As of 17 March 2012, there are four island platforms serving a total of eight tracks. Hakodate Station also serves as the gateway for travellers coming into Hokkaido by train via the Seikan Tunnel on the Tsugaru-Kaikyo Line.