From Asahikawa the JR Sekihoku Line (石北本線) heads east to Okhotsk Region, passes through the northern part of Daisetsuzan National Park. The alternative route from Kamikawa to Rubeshibe or Kitami via Sounkyo offers great hikes and onsen experiences.
ORDINARY FARE: ¥5610 (Valid for 3-day)
▶︎ OKHOTSK Asahikawa – Abashiri
▶︎ TAISETSU Asahikawa – Abashiri
STOPS Asahikawa ● Kamikawa ● Shirataki ● Maruseppu ● Engaru ● Ikutahara ● Rubeshibe ● Kitami ● Bihoro ● Memanbetsu ● Abashiri
▶︎ KITAMI Asahikawa – Kitami
STOPS Asahikawa ● All stations Asahikawa-yojo – Sakuraoka (bound for Kitami) ● Toma ● Kamikawa ● Shirataki ● Maruseppu ● Engaru ● Yasukuni ● Ikutahara ● Rubeshibe ● Ainonai ● Higashi-Ainonai ● Nishi-Kitami ● Kitami
▶︎ DC 40 ● DC 54 ● DC 150 Asahikawa – Abashiri
▶︎ DC H100 Asahikawa – Kamikawa
STATIONS & STOPOVERS
LEGEND ⬇︎︎ Route Info // ☆ Attractions // ♨︎ Onsen // ☞ Transfer
ASAHIKAWA TO KAMIKAWA
The train passes into the Kamikawa Basin’s vast rice fields backed by the Daisetsuzan Mountains.
Hokkaido’s second largest city of Asahikawa lies on the Kamikawa Basin. The city is straddles the clear rivers and laid out in a grid pattern, with its varied attractions, izakaya, ramen spots, craft studios and home to Kamikawa Ainu. Asahikawa is a good base for Daisetsuzan National Park.
☆ Asahikawa City Museum (0.8km) Has excellent Ainu culture and historical displays.
☆ Asahi-bashi (1.5km) Asahikawa’s iconic bridge across Ishikari-gawa.
☆ Asahiyama Zoo (10km) Features wildlife of Hokkaido.
◎ POP Asahikawa-shi 331,000
⬇︎︎ 1.8km Asahikawa-yojo 旭川四条
☞ JR Soya Line (for Wakkanai)
☆ Asahikawa Ramen Village (0.6km) Collection of eight local ramen shops.
☆ Asahikawa Jinja (1km) There is a farmer soldiers museum on-site.
⬇︎︎ 13.9km Sakuraoka 桜岡
☆ Toma Limestone Cave (10km) The natural monument of Hokkaido. Closed in winter.
◎ POP Toma-cho 6300
⬇︎︎ 23.2km Ikaushi 伊香牛
⬇︎︎ The line runs along the upper stream of Ishikari-gawa, Hokkaido’s longest river originating from the Daisetsuzan Mountains.
♨︎ Kyowa Onsen (10km) Boasts carbonated spring and mushroom cuisine.
◎ POP Aibetsu-cho 2600
⬇︎︎ 35.7km Naka-Aibetsu 中愛別
⬇︎︎ 39.7km Aizan 愛山
⬇︎︎ 41.7km Antaroma 安足間
Kamikawa is the main gateway to Sounkyo Onsen at the foot of Kuro-dake, in the northeastern part of Daisetsuzan National Park. This town is also known for its tasty ramen. You will find the excellent ramen shops around the train station.
☆ Kamikawa Park (0.6km) Overlooking the town backed by the Daisetsuzan Mountains.
☆ Daisetsu Highland Asahigaoka (9.5km)
◎ POP Kamikawa-cho 3300
KAMIKAWA TO ENGARU
⬇︎︎ Just after Kamikoshi signal station, the train passes through the 4329m-long Sekihoku Tunnel (completed in 1931) on Kitami Pass and enters Okhotsk Region.
Western Engaru along the valley is situated within the Shirataki Geopark, Japan’s largest kokuyo-seki (obsidian) production area from the Paleolithic period. Ueshiba Morihei, the founder of Aikido (Japanese martial art), settled in Shirataki from Wakayama in 1912.
☆ Engaru Archaeological Center (1km) Has an extensive collection of obsidian.
⬇︎︎ The train runs along Yubetsu-gawa, which flows into the Sea of Okhotsk.
Maruseppu’s several attractions are dotted along Muri-gawa valley. From JR Maruseppu Station, there are three buses daily to the Maure Sanso (20min), stopping at the Ikoi-no-mori.
☆ Maruseppu Forest Park Ikoi-no-mori (10km) Well-equipped leafy campsite.
☆ Forest Railroad Steam Locomotive ‘Amemiya 21’ (Ikoi-no-mori)
♨︎ Maure Sanso (12km) Scottish-style onsen resort hotel.
⬇︎︎ 113.4km Setose 瀬戸瀬
JR Sekihoku Line turns southwest and southeast at Hokkaido’s only reversing station Engaru near the huge rock Ganbo-iwa. You might find yourself in the town while waiting for the bus to Monbetsu on the coastal byway Okhotsk Line. Otherwise, take a dip in the tranquil Setose Onsen or visit the flower gardens.
☞ Monbetsu (1hr 25min) via Yubetsu (35min)
☆ Ganbo-iwa (1km) 78m-high huge rock with views over the town.
☆ Engaru Park (2.5km) Japan’s largest cosmos garden.
♨︎ Setose Onsen (20km) Self-contained hidden onsen in the deep valley.
◎ POP Engaru-cho 19,000
ENGARU TO ABASHIRI
⬇︎︎ 124.5km Yasukuni 安国
JR Ikuhtahara Station (in Southeastern Engaru) has Okhotsk Literary Museum. Enjoying the delightful Museum of Worldwide Wooden Toys and a skin-friendly onsen near the train station.
♨︎ Ikutahara Onsen North King (0.1km)
☆ Chacha World (0.9km) Delightful museum of worldwide wooden toys.
⬇︎︎ The train passes through the 507m-long Jomon Tunnel (completed in 1914), which killed over a hundred workers during the construction.
⬇︎︎ 159.9km Nish-Rubeshibe 西留辺蘂
Rubeshibe is the main gateway to Onneyu Onsen along Muka-gawa. There are also several reputable onsen around the town.
☞ ♨︎ Onneyu Onsen (20min)
♨︎ Kitami Onsen Pon-yu (2km)
♨︎ Shiobetsu Tsurutsuru Onsen (18km)
⬇︎︎ 172.8km Ainonai 相内
⬇︎︎ 177.4km Higashi-Ainonai 東相内
⬇︎︎ 180.0km Nishi-Kitami 西北見
⬇︎︎ The train passes through the 2km-long Kitami Tunnel under the urban area.
Hokkaido’s widest city (1427-sq-km) of Kitami makes a convenient stopover point en route to Abashiri, and is also jumping off point to the beautiful lakes of Chimikeppu-ko, Saroma-ko and Akan-ko. The city has a few interesting sights and a large number of yakiniku restaurants.
☆ Kitami Mint Memorial Museum (0.9km)
☆ Pierson Memorial House (1km) Designed by William Merrell Vories in 1914.
☆ Chimikeppu-ko (23km) 1-sq-km hidden lake in Tsubetsu.
◎ POP Kitami-shi 116,000
⬇︎︎ 187.4km Hakuyo 柏陽
⬇︎︎ 189.6km Itoshino 愛し野
⬇︎︎ 191.0km Tanno 端野
⬇︎︎ East of Tanno, the train crosses the bridge over Tokoro-gawa, Okhotsk Region’s longest river (120km).
⬇︎︎ 198.3km Hiushinai 緋牛内
☆ Bihoro Pass (27km) At 525m. For a spectacular view over Kussharo-ko.
◎ POP Bihoro-cho 18,000
⬇︎︎ 216.8km Nishi-Memanbetsu 西女満別
The pleasant brackish lake Abashiri-ko is just a short walk from the train station. You can pitch a tent and relax in an onsen on the greenery shore. Memanbetsu Airport is about 5km south of the town center.
☆ Abashiri-ko (0.1km) 33-sq-km brackish lake. There is a camping ground on the shore.
◎ POP Ozora-cho 6900
⬇︎︎ 229.6km Yobito 呼人
⬇︎︎ The train runs along the lake Abashiri-ko as it approaches the Sea of Okhotsk. After passing the lakeside, look out for the riverfront Abashiri Prison and its red brick wall on the left.
Abashiri is the historical and cultural heart of Okhotsk Region and the JR Senmo Line runs to Kushiro via Shiretoko-Shari. This city has varied museums, lakes and places to stay, which makes it an ideal place for explore. In winter most tourists take an drift icebreaker cruises into the frozen sea.
☆ Icebreaker Aurora-go Terminal & Michi-no-eki Ryuhyo Kaido Abashiri (1.7km)
☆ Moyoro Shell Mound Museum (1.5km) Exhibit on the history of the Okhotsk Culture.
☆ Abashiri Prison Museum (4km) Impressive outdoor collection of old prison buildings at the foot of Tento-zan.
☆ Tento-zan & Ryuhyo-kan (5km) At 207m. Breathtaking views over the ocean.
☆ Notoro-misaki (12km) Northern Abashiri’s scenic cape on the glassy meadow.
◎ POP Abashiri-shi 34,000