All limited express trains between Hakodate and Sapporo pass through this route, via the JR Muroran Line (室蘭本線) in Iburi Region and the JR Chitose Line (千歳線) in Ishikari Region. The main attraction along the route is Shikotsu-Toya National Park (支笏洞爺国立公園), one of Hokkaido’s most popular destinations and easily accessible from Sapporo or New Chitose Airport.
DISTANCE (via Chitose): Hakodate to Sapporo 318.7km, Muroran to Sapporo136.2km
ORDINARY FARE (via Chitose): Hakodate to Sapporo ¥6270 (Valid for 3-day), Muroran to Sapporo ¥2860 (Valid for 2-day)
▶︎ HOKUTO Hakodate – Sapporo
DURATION 3.5hrs to 3hrs 50min // STOPS Hakodate ● Goryokaku ● Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto ● (Onuma-koen) ● Mori ● Yakumo ● Oshamanbe ● Toya ● Date-Monbetsu ● Higashi-Muroran ● Noboribetsu ● (Shiraoi) ● Tomakomai ● Minami-Chitose ● Shin-Sapporo ● Sapporo
▶︎ SUZURAN Muroran ● Higashi-Muroran – Sapporo (runs as a local train between Muroran and Higashi-Muroran)
DURATION 1.5hrs // STOPS All stations Muroran – Higashi-Muroran ● Washibetsu ● Horobetsu ● Noboribetsu ● Shiraoi ● Tomakomai ● Numanohata ● Minami-Chitose ● Chitose ● Shin-Sapporo ● Sapporo
▶︎ AIRPORT New Chitose Airport – Sapporo ● Otaru
DURATION 37min to Sapporo ● 1hr 17min to Otaru // STOPS New Chitose Airport ● Minami-Chitose ● Chitose ● Eniwa ● Kitahiroshima ● Shin-Sapporo ● (Shiroishi) ● Sapporo ● Kotoni ● Teine ● Otaru-chikko ● Minami-Otaru ● Otaru
▶︎ DC 40 Oshamanbe ● Muroran – Tomakomai
▶︎ DC 143 Muroran – Sapporo
▶︎ DC H100 Oshamanbe ● Muroran – Tomakomai
▶︎ EC 721 ● EC 731 ● EC 733 ● EC 735 Tomakomai – Sapporo
STATIONS & STOPOVERS
LEGEND ⬇︎︎ Route Info // ☆ Attractions // ♨︎ Onsen // ☞ Transfer
OSHAMANBE TO HIGASHI-MURORAN
⬇︎︎ 112.3km from Hakodate
Halfway between Sapporo and Hakodate, Oshamanbe is a major rail junction on the JR Hakodate Line. All limited express trains for Sapporo stop here and enter the JR Muroran Line for Toya. The town is famous for both its kegani (crab) and kanimeshi (crab meat and rice).
☞ JR Hakodate Line (for Hakodate, Otaru) ● Setana (1hr 40min)
♨︎ Oshamanbe Onsen (0.5km)
◎ POP Oshamanbe-cho 5000
⬇︎︎ JR Muroran Line follows the scenic shoreline along the Uchiura Bay passes through eight tunnels to Toya, where you enter Iburi Region.
⬇︎︎ 122.9km Shizukari 静狩
Some local trains stop at this hidden station, sandwiched between the long tunnels and there are no roads from here. During the warmer months, you can walk down to the rugged coastline.
☆ Iwaya Kannon (1km) Wooden kannon (Goddess of Mercy) are enshrined in the coastal cave.
⬇︎︎ 135.9km Rebun 礼文
⬇︎︎ You will find pleasant beaches with campsites near the train stations from Rebun to Toyoura.
⬇︎︎ 140.0km Okishi 大岸
On the rugged northern coast of the Uchiura Bay (Funka-wan) is a small town of Toyoura just outside of Toya-ko. A couple of beaches and campsites scattered along the coastline. The town is famous for its hotate (scallop).
♨︎ Toyoura Onsen Shiosai (1km) Overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
◎ POP Toyoura-cho 3700
Toya is the gateway to Toyako Onsen in the western part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park. The calm caldera lake of Toya-ko is a unique tourist spot in the western part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Toyako Onsen lies on its southern shore. Take at least stay one night off your trip.
☞ ♨︎ Toyako Onsen (16min)
☆ Showa-shinzan (398m) Volcanic lava dome appeared in 1944.
☆ Usu-zan (737m) Hokkaido’s most active volcano offers dynamic views and geological sites.
◎ POP Toyako-cho 8400
⬇︎︎ Look north to see the two volcanos of the rugged Usu-zan (737m) and the triangle-shaped Showa-shinzan (398m).
Usu is the nearest station of the quaint temple Usu Zenko-ji established in 826 by Ennin. You can climb to the Gairin-zan Viewpoint on Usu-zan (737m) from the train station.
☆ Usu Zenko-ji (1.6km)
☆ Usu-zan (737m) Trailhead is 2km northeast of the train station.
⬇︎︎ 163.8km Nagawa 長和
Located on the southeast of Toya-ko, Date was founded by Tohoku-born samurai chief Date Kunishige in 1869. The bayside climate is mild, but the inland valley is cold and snowiest in winter.
☞ Sobetsu (20min) ● ♨︎ Kitayuzawa Onsen (1.5hrs) ● Kutchan (2hrs 24min)
☆ Date City Museum of History and Culture (2km) Inside Date Rekishi-no-mori cultural park.
☆ Kita-Kogane Shell Mound Park (10km) Old hillside village in the Jomon period.
◎ POP Date-shi 33,000
⬇︎︎ 169.7km Kita-Funaoka 北舟岡
⬇︎︎ 172.9km Mareppu 稀府
⬇︎︎ 177.4km Kogane 黄金
⬇︎︎ 179.6km Sakimori 崎守
⬇︎︎ After passing through some tunnels along the Uchiura Bay, keep an eye out for the 1380m-long Hakucho-ohashi, Eastern Japan’s longest suspension bridge across Muroran Port.
⬇︎︎ 185.0km Moto-Wanishi 本輪西
Higashi-Muroran is where the 7km-long branch line for local trains heads west to Muroran.
☞ Muroran Branch Line (for Muroran)
☆ Itanki-hama (1.6km) Muroran’s most scenic sandy beach facing the ocean.
HIGASHI-MURORAN TO MURORAN
⬇︎︎ 2.3km Wanishi 輪西
⬇︎︎ 4.2km Misaki 御崎
Bokoi is the closest station of the scenic cape Chikyu-misaki, also known as the ‘Earth Cape’. From the train station, take bus to Chikyu-misaki Danchi (8min), then walk about 20 minutes up the hill.
☆ Chikyu-misaki (2.6km) Muroran’s most famous cape overlooking the Uchiura Bay.
☆ Bokoi-fuji (156m) Trailhead is 600m south of the train station.
The heavy industrial city Muroran sits on the Etomo Peninsula, between the Uchiura Bay and the Pacific Ocean, with a natural harbor. There are several scenic walks and viewpoints around the town.
☆ Muroran Port-side Museum of Literature (0.1km)
☆ Old Muroran Station (0.6km) Built in 1912. Has a tourist association.
☆ Sokuryo-zan (199m) Offers a wonderful view of the city. 3km east of the train station.
◎ POP Muroran-shi 81,000
HIGASHI-MURORAN TO TOMAKOMAI
⬇︎︎ 189.5km Washibetsu 鷲別
⬇︎︎ 191.4km Horobetsu 幌別
⬇︎︎ 204.6km Tomiura 富浦
Noboribetsu Station is the gateway to Noboribetsu Onsen, one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts near the hell valley. Frequent buses run from the train station.
☞ ♨︎ Noboribetsu Onsen (12–20min)
☆ Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura (3.5km) Edo period (17th- to mid 19th-century) theme park.
◎ POP Noboribetsu-shi 46,000
Kojohama is a coastal onsen town with quite ageing ryokan and minshuku along Route 36. Most travelers pass through the town and go to Noboribetsu Onsen, but this town is much-loved by locals and onsen enthusiasts.
♨︎ Kojohama Onsen (0.8km) All onsen has 100% free-flowing hot sulfur spring and open for day use to the public.
⬇︎︎ 215.2km Takeura 竹浦
⬇︎︎ 218.0km Kita-Yoshihara 北吉原
⬇︎︎ 220.1km Hagino 萩野
Known as the lakeside Ainu village of Poroto Kotan facing the pleasant Poroto-ko (‘large lake’ in Ainu), Shiraoi is home to Upopoy (‘singing in a large groupe’ in Ainu) National Ainu Museum and Park.
☆ Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park (0.8km) On the pleasant shore of Poroto-ko.
☆ Sendai Clan Shiraoi Moto-Jinya (2km) Once the facility of Sendai clan soldiers established in 1856. There is a museum.
◎ POP Shiraoi-cho 16,000
⬇︎︎ From Shiraoi, the train runs on Japan’s longest straight rail line to Numanohata (28.7km).
⬇︎︎ 231.4km Shadai 社台
⬇︎︎ Look out for lovely racehorses backed by the volcano Tarumae-zan (1041m).
⬇︎︎ 237.7km Nishikioka 錦岡
⬇︎︎ 242.9km Itoi 糸井
⬇︎︎ 245.1km Aoba 青葉
⬇︎︎ Before arriving at Tomakomai, look out for the Oji Paper Mill that has 200m-high chimneys and the world’s fastest papermaking machine.
The coastal industrial city of Tomakomai has one of Japan’s vital commercial ports and the major gateway to Hidaka Region. Most travelers skip this city, but Tomakomai offers a somewhat unique attractions such as a skating rink and bird sanctuary. The train station offers unique seafood ekiben (railway boxed meals) at the ticket gate.
☞ JR Hidaka Line (for Mukawa) ● JR Muroran Line (for Iwamizawa) ● Shizunai in Shinhidaka (2.5hrs)
☆ Tomakomai City Museum (1.5km) Houses a collection of Ainu livingware and artwork.
☆ Midorigaoka Park (2km) Hilltop park overlooking the city and Tarumae-zan.
☆ Utonai-ko (11km) One of Hokkaido’s major landing zones for 260 migratory birds.
◎ POP Tomakomai-shi 170,000
TOMAKOMAI TO SAPPORO
JR Chitose Line branches off from the JR Muroran Line (for Iwamizawa) at Numanohata, but all trains run from Tomakomai direction.
☞ JR Muroran Line (for Iwamizawa)
⬇︎︎ 262.7km Uenae 植苗
⬇︎︎ You enter Ishikari Region. The scenic Northern Horse Park, operated by One of Japan’s big stallions, can be seen on the right.
At Minami-Chitose, the 2.6km branch line turns southwest to New Chitose Airport and the JR Sekisho Line heads east for Kushiro. Hokkaido’s largest outlet mall Rera, in front of the train station, is suitable spot for shopping and eating while waiting for a train.
☞ JR Sekisho Line (for Obihiro, Kushiro) ● JR Chitose Line (for New Chitose Airport)
☆ Chitose Outlet Mall Rera (0.1km)
Chitose is famous for its Hokkaido’s airline hub and a convenient gateway to the lake Shikotsu-ko. If you have early-morning plane the next day or avoid the unpredictable transport troubles (especially in winter), staying out in Chitose saves you time. A lot of hotels operating free airport transfers for guests.
☞ Shikotsuko Onsen (45min)
☆ Chitose Aquarium (1km) There is an Indian Fish Wheel for salmon fishing.
◎ POP Chitose-shi 97,000
☆ Kirin Beer Park Chitose (0.8km) Offering a 80-minute free guided tour.
Sapporo Beer Teien サッポロビール庭園
Real Sapporo Beer lovers are worth visiting the Hokkaido’s leading brewery facing the train station.
☆ Sapporo Beer Hokkaido Brewery (0.4km) Also offering a free guided tour (book ahead).
◎ POP Eniwa-shi 70,000
⬇︎︎ 288.2km Megumino 恵み野
⬇︎︎ 290.4km Shimamatsu 島松
Kitahiroshima was founded by Hiroshima-born immigrants from the late 19th-century. William Smith Clark, the Hokkaido University’s first vice-principal, said to his students here: ‘Boys, be ambitious!’ when he leaves the position in 1877.
☞ Ebetsu (52min) ● Naganuma Onsen (33min) ● Nanporo Bureau (35min)
◎ POP Kitahiroshima-shi 58,000
⬇︎︎ 304.9km Kaminopporo 上野幌
Shin-Sapporo is a convenient transport hub in Eastern Sapporo. There are some hotels, shopping malls and family-oriented attractions within a short walking distance from the train station. All trains stop here and JR buses run to the Historical Village of Hokkaido (Kaitaku-no-mura) in Nopporo Forest Park.
☞ Kaitaku-no-mura (20min) ● Tozai Subway Line
☆ Sunpiazza Aquarium (0.2km) Houses more than 300 hands-on exhibits for kids.
☆ Sapporo Science Museum (0.3km) Has some 200 species of fishes.
◎ POP Atsubetsu-ku (Sapporo-shi) 126,000
⬇︎︎ 310.7km Heiwa 平和
☞ JR Hakodate Line (for Ebetsu)
◎ POP Shiroishi-ku (Sapporo-shi) 214,000
Sapporo’s first industrial area founded in the late 19th-century, Naebo has a variety of factories, warehouses and historical museums on the west bank of Toyohira-gawa.
☆ Sapporo Beer Museum (0.3km) Houses in the magnificent old red brick brewery.
Hokkaido’s 150-year-old capital and Japan’s fifth-largest city, Sapporo is a spacious and laid-back place. The compact city center is well-laid-out and it has a lot of parks dotted with Western-style historical landmarks, which makes a pleasant stroll. About half of the rapid trains from New Chitose Airport for Sapporo continue to the nostalgic port town Otaru (32min).
☆ Hokkaido University (0.4km)
☆ Old Hokkaido Government Office Building (0.5km)
☆ Odori Park (0.7km)
◎ POP Sapporo-shi 1,970,000