North along Route 40 and the JR Soya Line from Asahikawa cross over the Shiokari Pass, the peaceful Nayoro Basin spreads alongside Teshio-gawa, Hokkaido’s second longest river that flows gently to the Sea of Japan. Many travelers just go through this area and aim for Wakkanai, but a few relaxed places are worth to take a placid time and get their taste of the night sky full of stars.
TRAIN: A few daily limited express trains run to Nayoro from Sapporo (2.5hrs / ¥7260), Asahikawa (1hr / ¥3040) and Wakkanai (2.5hrs; ¥6710). All trains stop at Wassamu, Shibetsu, Bifuka, Otoineppu and Teshio-Nakagawa, too.
BUS: From Nayoro, highway buses (3.5hrs / ¥3090) run from Sapporo (stopping at the Michi-no-eki Kenbuchi), Dohoku Bus 1 and 2 runs to Asahikawa (2.5hrs / ¥1300) and Meishi Bus has seven daily runs to Okoppe (1.5hrs / ¥1790) on the Okhotsk Line.
Horokanai is served by infrequent JR buses from JR Fukagawa Station (73min / ¥1130) and JR Nayoro Station via Shumarinai.