Travel between Hokkaido & Niigata by overnight ferry. If you want to start your Japan snow trip in Hokkaido and then Niigata or Nagano, the usual way to travel would be to fly from Sapporo to Tokyo then Shinkansen to Nagano/Niigata. But, if you use Shin Nihonkai Ferry, you can travel from Hokkaido to Niigata while you are sleeping!
The Shin Nihonkai Ferry runs from Otaru in Hokkaido to Niigata & takes about 14 hours. The ferry departs from Otaru port at 17:00 and arrivies at Niigata port at 9:15. To get to Otaru port, there is a connecting bus from JR Otaru station (30 mins). To get to Niigata train station from Niigata port, there is also a connecting bus which takes about 30 minutes.
There is a choice between Japanese style rooms, western style rooms and capsule style beds but we would recommend westen style rooms for the most comfort. The room has two single beds, a sofa, TV and a private bathroom which is just like a hotel room. Deluxe Twin A room : 24,000 yen per person twin share in a including a 3,000 yen multi coupon which you can use in the restaurant and the shop.
The ferry has a couple of restaurants, cafe, communal bathroom, sauna, gym, laundry and shop.