Hokkaido’s main connection to the rest of the world is through Chitose International Airport, located about 45 minutes away from Sapporo by train and about an hour’s bus ride from Niseko. With a brand new international terminal which opened in 2010 this is a first rate airport for it’s size and the market it serves. There are very good facilities with plenty of shops and restaurants, and transport connections are convenient with buses located just outside and a Japan Rail station in the basement. The staff are very helpful, although English ability is somewhat limited. Security/customs/immigration is usually quick and painless. There are help desks located in central areas on each floor, and the staff at each airline desk can also assist with queries. The signage is sometimes a bit lacking, especially in English, but the staff can quickly point you in the right direction. There is a fairly large shopping area with many shops selling local items. There is no shortage of available souvenirs to choose from, although you may find that most shops sell basically the same items. There are also a good selection of restaurants to choose from, though they are a bit pricey. Overall this airport gets very good reviews, and with the new terminal is fast becoming a better airport than Japan’s aging main hub Narita International. The only complaint could be with the number of international routes connecting, but with deregulation of Japan’s airways this has been improving, and new low cost carriers like Jetstar and Peach Airlines are opening up more and more routes.
Bibi Chitose, Hokkaido Prefecture 066-0012