JR Hokkaido Rapid Airport 172 from Otaru to Sapporo by Train

Rapid Airport 172 Train from Otaru to Sapporo

The Rapid Airport is a rapid train service that provides a fast train service from Otaru to Sapporo and New Chitose Airport without any additional fees needed. The line between Sapporo and Otaru is simple to travel on with just Local and Rapid trains, so only 1 type of ticket is needed and no supplement is needed with a valid free pass. Heading back to Sapporo, I took Rapid Airport 172 from Otaru to Sapporo after sunset with my JR Hokkaido Sapporo-Furano Area Pass.


Otaru Station

The façade of Otaru Station.

The concourse of Otaru Station.

Heading through the ticket gates at Otaru Station.

The next train departing from Otaru to Sapporo is the Local.

I was hoping that the Local would be operated by a 721 series EMU with transverse seats, of which I would take it instead of the Rapid Airport, but unfortunately, it was operated by a 731 series EMU instead.

Still 1 more change to try to get a 721 series EMU with transverse seats for the journey.

The interior of the 721 series EMU with longitudinal seats.

The 721 series EMU features tip-up seats by the doors, which was folded down to provide 2 additional seats.

The 721 series EMU at Otaru Station.

733 series EMU

Unfortunately, the incoming Rapid Airport Otaru was operated by a 733 series EMU. Oh well.

Reserved Seat (U Seat)

The Rapid Airport has a premium Reserved Seat (U Seat) car featuring individual seats in a 2+2 configuration rotated to the direction of travel. A seat reservation costs 840 yen, but is also included in the Japan Rail Pass or Hokkaido Rail Pass without any additional charge. Seat reservations must be made at the ticket counter before entering the platform.


Luggage racks are available in the U Seat car.

Seats are laid out in a 2+2 configuration which can be rotated to face the direction of travel.

Non-Reserved Seat

As for me, I travelled in the Non-Reserved Seat with my JR Hokkaido Sapporo-Furano Area Pass. Non-Reserved Seats on the Rapid Airport 733 series EMU features longitudinal seats only for high-density loading.


A western-style sitting toilet is available on board the Rapid Airport 733 series EMU.

The route map of the Kitaca usage area around Sapporo, which also features the local trains around Sapporo and service patterns of the Rapid Airport, the twice-a-day Special Rapid Airport, and the once-a-day Rapid Niseko Liner.

My Rapid Airport 172 733 series EMU at Otaru Station.

It was quite impossible to take any photos out of the window with the darkness and snow on the windows.

The Rapid Airport stops at Minami-Otaru, Otaru-Chikkō, Teine, and Kotoni on the way to Sapporo.

Sapporo Station

My Rapid Airport 172 from Otaru arrived at Sapporo at 5.06pm.

The Rapid Airport 172 will continue on to New Chitose Airport at 5.11pm via Shin-Sapporo, Kitahiroshima, Eniwa, Chitose, and Minami-Chitose.


The Rapid Airport is a fast way to travel from Otaru to Sapporo. I took the train at a meal time opposite the peak direction of travel, so I had a relatively empty train car for this journey, as compared to my onward journey in the morning.


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