My flight out of Sapporo was at 7:40am. The only way to get to the airport in time was to catch the first airport limousine bus at 5:07am across the street from Sapporo station.
For some airport buses you need to make a reservation. Sometimes there’s a machine nearby where you can book a ticket, but for Sapporo, according to the information desk, you just need to be there and grab a seat if they’re available. The Sapporo station stop is first and it’s called Sapporo Eki Mae it arrives at New Chitose Airport at 6:32am and with public transportation that is the earliest you can arrive at New Chitose Airport from Sapporo. It costs 1,100 yen (~$11). The first train running is the JR Hakodate Line but it doesn’t start until 5:56am with arrivals at 6:51am. This costs 1,070 yen. The fastest is the airport rapid which starts at 6:10am and arrives around 6:55am but costs 1,590 yen. Please keep this all in mind when book your flight out of Hokkaido because I nearly panicked that there’d be no way to get to the airport without loosing a couple hundred dollars to a taxi because I’d booked such an early flight.
I really enjoyed my time in Hokkaido. I’m glad I made it my big Japan goal of this year. It’s an interesting part of Japan with delicious food, nicer summer temperatures, and a vibe that’s very different from the rest of Japan. I really didn’t want to leave. (Not just because I was up at 4am) It was just so much fun and I hope one day to return, maybe enjoy the beer garden with friends or visit during winter and enjoy the snow festivals.