Hakodate tram shiden streetcar. How to get around Hakodate public transportation. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan travel blog

 

 

So, is it easy to take the tram in Hakodate to get around the city by public transportation?!

Well, it can be!

Once you ride it 1 or 2 times, you will feel like a pro!

 

Here’s a bit what to expect and how you can feel confident in riding the Hakodate tram even if it’s your first time.

 

Hakodate tram aka shiden streetcar

Hakodate tram shiden streetcar. How to get around Hakodate public transportation. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

The Hakodate tram is called the “shiden.”

If you’re using Google Maps to navigate your way around Hakodate, then you’ll probably see the option of the “shiden” often.

This refers to the tram.

This is basically a streetcar that runs through the middle of the street alongside cars.

 

Hakodate tram shiden streetcar. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

The tram runs through the main parts of the city which means that it can be a convenient way to get to different tourist spots in Hakodate.

 

One day tram pass

In the case that you do plan on taking the tram several times a day because you’re making it a Hakodate sightseeing day, there’s a one day tram pass that you can get.

The pass will probably be worth it if you plan on taking the tram at least 3 times in a single day.

You can buy the tram pass at Hakodate station.

This is not a JR train, so you can’t use your JR pass to take the Hakodate tram.

 

 

Using an IC card on the Hakodate tram

If you have an IC card, you can use it on the Hakodate tram too.

An IC card is a recharge cash card to swipe to pay for your public transportation and more.

If you have plans to take public transportation locally without any sort of passes, then IC cards are highly convenient in cities across Japan!

In Tokyo, you’ll likely get a Suica card or Pasmo card. In Kyoto, an ICOCA card. If your first stop is Sapporo, you can get a Kitaca card.

These cards can all be used in the same way, and you can use any of them whenever you see that “IC cards” are accepted.

This means that you can use a suica, pasmo, icoca, or kitaca card on the Hakodate tram.

 

 

What are the tram timings?!

Hakodate tram timings. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

Basically, the Hakodate tram timings are frequent enough that you don’t have to be all that concerned about the timings.

Just show up to the tram stop, and it likely won’t be long until the next one comes!

The official Hakodate travel guide says the tram comes every 6-12 minutes.

 

 

πŸ—Ύβ›„

Side note! The JR pass makes it time efficient to travel around Japan by train and is a popular option among travelers! See the cost of a JR pass and how to figure out if it will be worth it for you! Also be sure to see more quick Japan travel tips if it's your first trip to Japan, as well as ideas for how to spend winter in Japan - 10 day winter itinerary with the Japan Alps and 7 day winter itinerary in Hokkaido!


 

 

Okay, so now…

What’s it like to take the Hakodate tram?!

So, the biggest “challenge” might be making sure that you are standing on the correct side of the platform!

 

Hakodate tram stop shiden streetcar. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

The trams go around the city in opposite directions, so you’ll want to make sure you get on the one that’ll get you to your destination.

This can also be relatively easy to figure out, especially if you’re using Google Maps to guide your way.

 

There will be sign boards that tell you the final destination the tram is bound for.

Google Maps will tell you the destination, so you can match it up.

 

And then there will also be a map of the tram route for the side you’re on.

So you can make sure you see your tram stop!

 

Hakodate tram route map. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

If you’re headed to a popular tourist destination, there might be a separate sign board indicating that the tram does make a stop where you’re going.

 

Hakodate tram route of tourist spots. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

 

Getting on the tram

So once you get to the tram stop to board the tram, you’ll stand in a line.

 

Hakodate tram stop shiden streetcar. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

The front of the tram is for getting off.

So you will be boarding in the middle area of the tram.

 

Once the tram arrives, grab a ticket as you get on the tram.

OR…

If you’re using an IC card, then you swipe your card. (And you don’t need to grab a ticket.)

 

Hakodate tram: How to take the shiden tram - IC card or ticket fare. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

Swipe the IC card on the left side, grab a ticket on the right side.

 

Then you can grab a seat!

 

Hakodate tram seating. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

…if a seat is available.

If not, you’ll be standing and be sure to grab onto something.

It could be a rocky ride.

 

Hakodate tram seating. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

It will be okay to bring carry-on size luggage onto the tram.

If you have a bigger suitcase, personally I think that would be fine too.

Either way, just keep in mind you might struggle a bit if it’s a crowded tram ride. No problem though, this is normal. πŸ˜‰

 

 

Getting ready to get off the tram

So if you’re using Google Maps, you can use the GPS location to keep an eye on when you’re getting close to your tram stop.

Otherwise, there will be announcements on the tram, in English too.

There will also be a sign board indicating what the next stop is.

 

Hakodate tram: How to take the shiden tram - how to know next stop. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

When your stop is next, press the button to alert the driver that there will be someone getting off next.

 

Hakodate tram: How to take the shiden tram - next stop button. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

Hakodate tram: How to take the shiden tram - next stop button. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

If you’re paying your ticket fare in cash, make sure you have exact change.

No change will be given once you place your money in the tram fare box.

There is a money exchange box on the tram.

You’ll find this at the front of the tram.

 

Hakodate tram seating. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

Hakodate tram: How to take the shiden tram - cash coin exchange. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

There will be a coin slot so you can get smaller yen coins, and you can also break your 1,000 yen bill.

If you do need to get smaller change, do this well BEFORE your tram stop.

You don’t want to do it as you get off the tram, or else you will be holding up the line.

 

 

How much does the tram cost?!

This depends on where you get on and where you get off.

That’s why the ticket you grab as you get on the tram is important.

On that ticket will be a number.

When your stop is next, you will look up at the sign board at the front of the tram (and possibly back also), and look at the number that corresponds with your ticket.

 

Hakodate tram: How to take the shiden tram - how much ticket cost. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

This is the amount you will pay!

 

 

Getting off the tram

Hakodate tram: How to take the shiden tram - cash coin exchange. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

So you have arrived at your stop!

 

If you’re paying with your IC card, just as you swiped to get ON the tram, you will swipe to get OFF the tram.

And that’s when the tram fare will be deducted from your card!

 

Hakodate tram: How to take the shiden tram - how much cost pay with IC card. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

If you are paying in cash, then you’ll insert the coins and the ticket into the fare box.

 

Hakodate tram: How to take the shiden tram - pay with cash ticket fare. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

And then off the tram you go to your Hakodate destination!!

 

 

Is there a tram stop at Hakodate Station?

Hakodate tram - jr hakodate train station. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

There is a tram stop right near the JR Hakodate Station, and if you’re staying in a convenient part of the city, there’s a good chance you can even take the tram to get to your hotel for your first tram experience!

I stayed at a hostel in HakodateΒ that was on a Motomachi slope that took a 5 minute tram ride to get there.

 

Hakodate tram - hakodate tourist attractions. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

 

How to get from JR Hakodate train station to Hakodate ekimae tram stop

 

Once you arrive at Hakodate station…

Hakodate tram - JR train to Hakodate station super hokuto express. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

Just follow the signs for the tram!

 

Hakodate tram - hakodate station to tram stop. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

Hakodate tram - hakodate station to tram stop. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

Once you’re outside the station, look for the Four Points Sheraton hotel across the street.

 

Hakodate tram - hotel near jr hakodate train station - four points sheraton. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

You’ll cross the street to that side, and then walk along that street until you get to the intersection.

Then you will start to see the tram stop.

 

Hakodate tram stop city streets near jr hakodate train station. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

Then get yourself to the stop going in the direction you want to go!

 

Hakodate tram shiden streetcar near JR hakodate train station. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

HAPPY HAKODATE TRAM RIDE!

 



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