Going up along Japan’s third-longest river across the agricultural Ishikari Plain from Sapporo, one of Hokkaido’s most important rail lines (formally called JR Hakodate Line) follow the old coal mining towns and great rice fields in Sorachi Region. Limited express trains, such as Kamui and Lilac, run every half hour to one hour.
ORDINARY FARE ¥2860 (Valid for 2-day)
▶︎ KAMUI ● LILAC Sapporo – Asahikawa
▶︎ SOYA Sapporo – Asahikawa – Wakkanai
▶︎ OKHOTSK Sapporo – Asahikawa – Abashiri
DURATION (Sapporo – Asahikawa) 1hr 25min // STOPS Sapporo ● Iwamizawa ● Bibai ● Sunagawa ● Takikawa ● Fukagawa ● Asahikawa
▶︎ DC 40 Sapporo – Asahikawa
▶︎ DC 54 Takikawa – Asahikawa
▶︎ DC 150 Fukagawa – Asahikawa
▶︎ DC 201 Sapporo – Ebetsu
▶︎ EC 721 Sapporo – Asahikawa
▶︎ EC 731 ● EC 733 ● EC 735 Sapporo – Takikawa
▶︎ DC 150 Fukagawa – Asahikawa
▶︎ DC 201 Sapporo – Ebetsu
STATIONS & STOPOVERS
LEGEND ⬇︎︎ Route Info // ☆ Attractions // ♨︎ Onsen // ☞ Transfer
SAPPORO TO IWAMIZAWA
All limited expresses for Asahikawa (and further north) depart from Sapporo, Hokkaido’s major transport hub on the JR Hakodate Line (for Otaru) and the JR Chitose Line (for Muroran). Daytime local trains run to Ebetsu or Iwamizawa.
☞ JR Hakodate Line (for Otaru) ● JR Chitose Line ● JR Gakuen-toshi Line ● Nanboku Subway Line ● Toho Subway Line
☆ Hokkaido University (0.4km)
☆ Old Hokkaido Government Office Building (0.5km)
☆ Odori Park (0.7km)
◎ POP Sapporo-shi 1,970,000
⬇︎︎ Keep an eye out for the 147m-tall Sapporo TV Tower sits along Sosei-gawa.
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 Railway Technical Museum (0.5km) Inside the JR Hokkaido Naebo Factory.
⬇︎︎ The train crosses the bridge over Toyohira-gawa, the main river of Sapporo.
◎ POP Shiroishi-ku (Sapporo-shi) 214,000
⬇︎︎ 10.2km Atsubetsu 厚別
Shinrinkoen is a recommended day-trip destination from Sapporo if you like nature and history of Hokkaido. Nopporo Forest Park has not only hiking trails but also excellent historical museums. There are JR buses to the Historical Village of Hokkaido (called the Kaitaku-no-mura) from the train station east gate.
☆ Nopporo Forest Park (1km) Designated as a prefectural natural park.
☆ Hokkaido Museum (1.7km) First of all, learn about Hokkaido’s history and nature.
☆ Historical Village of Hokkaido (2km) An open-air museum with 53 historic buildings.
⬇︎︎ 14.5km Oasa 大麻
Founded as a Tondenhei-son (farmer soldiers village) in 1885, Nopporo is de facto city center of Ebetsu with a modern train station.
☆ Glass Crafts Hall (1km) Built in 1945 by the local red brick factory’s president.
☆ Ceramic Art Center (3.5km) Display on the history of local red brick and ceramics.
⬇︎︎ 19.2km Takasago 高砂
Japan’s top red bricks producing area founded in 1891, Ebetsu is the largest satellite city of Sapporo. There are more than 400 old and new red brick buildings in the city.
☞ Kuriyama (54min) ● Yubari (1.5hrs)
☆ Ebetsu City Museum (1km)
☆ Tsutaya Books (km) Stocks a wide selection of books in the stylish red brick halls.
◎ POP Ebetsu-shi 119,000
⬇︎︎ The train crosses the 600m-long bridge (built in 1937) over Yubari-gawa, the majestic artificial river.
⬇︎︎ 27.2km Toyohoro 豊幌
⬇︎︎ You leave Ishikari Region and enter Sorachi Region.
⬇︎︎ 30.4km Horomui 幌向
☞ Shinshinotsu Onsen (18min)
Founded in 1878 as Sorachi’s transport hub and capital, Iwamizawa is a good base of visit the region’s old coal mine towns, such as Mikasa. You will find the red brick Rail Center (built in 1899) at the north gate of the train station. Daytime local trains on the JR Hakodate Line require a change here.
☞ JR Muroran Line (for Tomakomai via Kuriyama) ● Mikasa (36min) ● Tsukigata (40min) ● Shinshinotsu Onsen (30min)
☆ Iwamizawa Park Rose Garden (5.5km)
♨︎ Maple Lodge (20km)
◎ POP Iwamizawa-shi 79,000
IWAMIZAWA TO TAKIKAWA
⬇︎︎ 49.0km Minenobu 峰延
⬇︎︎ 53.5km Koshunai 光珠内
⬇︎︎ From Koshunai to Sunagawa, the train runs along Japan’s longest straight road (29.2km!) on Route 12.
Bibai was once Hokkaido’s second largest coal mining city sits halfway between Sapporo and Asahikawa. About 90,000 people lived here in the 1950s, but the last underground coal mine was closed in 1973. Today Bibai is putting effort into tourism and tasty yakitori.
☆ Tomei Park (4km) Sorachi’s top cherry-blossom viewing spot on a scenic hill.
☆ Arte Piazza Bibai (5km) Yasuda Kan’s photogenic sculpture park in an old wooden school.
♨︎ Pipa-no-yu Yurinkan (5km)
◎ POP Bibai-shi 20,000
⬇︎︎ 61.8km Chashinai 茶志内
☞ Urausu (20min: only on weekdays)
◎ POP Naie-cho 5000
⬇︎︎ 72.7km Toyonuma 豊沼
The small industrial city of Sunagawa is a transfer point for Utashinai. The main bus stop is close to Sunagawa City Medical Center (shiritsu byoin), about 200m west of JR Sunagawa Station. If you waiting for a bus, stroll around the Oasis Park behind the medical center.
☞ Utashinai (40min)
☆ Oasis Park (0.7km) Waterside recreation area along Ishikari-gawa.
◎ POP Sunagawa-shi 16,000
⬇︎︎ The train crosses Sorachi-gawa, the longest tributary of Ishikari-gawa.
Takikawa is both transfer hub to Furano on the JR Nemuro Line and right bank towns along Ishikari-gawa on Route 275 for Hokuryu and Urausu.
☞ JR Nemuro Line (for Furano) ● Urausu (38min) ● Hokuryu (37min)
◎ POP Takikawa-shi 39,000
TAKIKAWA TO ASAHIKAWA
⬇︎︎ 91.9km Ebeotsu 江部乙
⬇︎︎ The train crosses Ishikari-gawa, Hokkaido’s longest river (268km) originating from Daisetsuzan National Park.
♨︎ Moseushi Onsen Peperu (1.2km)
◎ POP Moseushi-cho 2800
The northernmost city of the Ishikari Plain that has a nickname Rice Land, Fukagawa is a jumping-off point for Rumoi by train, Shumarinai-ko (via Horokanai) and Hokuryu Onsen by bus. The city has a variety of orchards, cycle paths and trails.
☞ Rumoi (1hr) ● Shumarinai (2hrs) ● Nayoro (3hrs) ● Hokuryu (35min)
☆ Kunimi Park (5.7km) Offers good views over the rice fields and Ishikari-gawa.
◎ POP Fukagawa-shi 20,000
⬇︎︎ 114.0km Osamunai 納内
⬇︎︎ The tracks once continued along Ishikari-gawa to Kamuikotan (119.8km) continue to Chikabumi. The 4523m-long Kamui Tunnel was completed in 1969 at the time of electrification.
☆ Arashiyama Park (1.8km) Overlooking the city of Asahikawa from the the mountaintop.
☆ Kawamura Kaneto Ainu Memorial Museum (2km) Founded in 1916.
⬇︎︎ Another crossing over Ishikari-gawa.
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, bustling izakaya, ramen spots, craft studios and home to Kamikawa Ainu. Asahikawa is a base for Daisetsuzan National Park.
☞ JR Furano Line (for Biei) ● JR Soya Line (for Wakkanai) ● JR Sekihoku Line (for Abashiri) ● ♨︎ Asahidake Onsen (1hr 40min)
☆ 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
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