The main rail route between Sapporo and Eastern Hokkaido on the JR Sekisho and Nemuro lines, the limited express train passes through the forested mountains and land of sprawling fields. You can easily get off the train for relax, outdoors or wine tasting.
ORDINARY FARE: ¥6820 (Valid for 3-day)
▶︎ OZORA Sapporo – Kushiro
DURATION 4hrs to 4.5hrs // MAJOR STOPS Sapporo ● Shin-Sapporo ● Minami-Chitose ● Oiwake ● Shin-Yubari ● Tomamu ● Shintoku ● Obihiro ● Ikeda ● Urahoro ● Shiranuka ● Kushiro
▶︎ TOKACHI Sapporo – Obihiro
DURATION 2hrs 40min // MAJOR STOPS Sapporo ● Shin-Sapporo ● Minami-Chitose ● Oiwake ● Shin-Yubari ● Shimkappu ● Tomamu ● Shintoku ● Tokachi-Shimizu ● Memuro ● Obihiro
▶︎ DC 40 Chitose – Shin-Yubari // Shintoku – Kushiro
▶︎ DC 54 Onbetsu – Kushiro
▶︎ DC 150 Chitose – Shin-Yubari
STATIONS & STOPOVERS
LEGEND ⬇︎︎ Route Info // ☆ Attractions // ♨︎ Onsen // ☞ Transfer
SAPPORO TO OBIHIRO
The limited express train Tokachi for Obihiro and the limited express train Ozora for Kushiro (via Obihiro) depart from Sapporo.
☞ JR Hakodate Line (for Otaru) ● JR Hakodate Line (for Asahikawa) ● JR Gakuen-toshi Line ● Nanboku Subway Line ● Toho Subway Line
◎ POP Sapporo-shi 1,970,000
The first stop of the limited express train on the JR Chitose Line is Shin-Sapporo.
☞ Kaitaku-no-mura (20min) ● Tozai Subway Line
Local trains for Oiwake and Shin-Yubari leave from Chitose. Limited express trains for Obihiro and Kushiro don’t stop here.
☞ Shikotsuko Onsen (45min)
◎ POP Chitose-shi 97,000
JR Sekisho Line officially starts at Minami-Chitose, the junction for New Chitose Airport and Tomakomai.
☞ JR Chitose Line (for New Chitose Airport, Tomakomai)
⬇︎︎ From Minami-Chitose, the train heads east and passes through the Maoi Hills.
This is Iburi Region’s eastern junction with the JR Muroran Line. Oiwake was once an important railway town and Japan’s last regular steam locomotive train reblogged demise here in 1976.
☞ JR Muroran Line (for Tomakomai, Iwamizawa)
◎ POP Abira-cho 7500
⬇︎︎ 71.0km Kawabata 川端
⬇︎︎ Before passing through Takinoue, look out on the right for a red brick hydroelectric power plant (built in 1925).
Takinoue is the nearest station to the scenic gorge Ryusenkyo (Takinoue Park) along the Yubari-gawa, called Ponsou Kamui Kotan (the place where Northern God lives) in Ainu. Just four local trains stop here per day.
☆ Takinoue Park (0.5km) It is beautiful in the seasons of cherry-blossoms and leaves change color.
Shin-Yubari is a southern gateway of Yubari (in Sorachi Region), once the ‘capital of coal’ and 117,000 people lived here in 1960. You will find the mining remnants and declining towns along Yubari-gawa.
☆ Coal Mine Museum (20km) Exhibits on the local history and hold an old mine tunnel.
◎ POP Yubari-shi 7400
⬇︎︎ There are no local trains this section, but the ordinary ticket (or the Seishun 18) users can be take the limited express train’s non-reserved seats (need to change trains at Shintoku).
⬇︎︎ The line from Shin-Yubari to Shintoku, in the deep Hidaka Mountains, was completed in 1981, with many tunnels and bridges.
Bordering on both Central and Eastern Hokkaido, the peaceful village Shimukappu (in Kamikawa Region), once Hokkaido’s most inland village, embraced by the majestic forest in the mountains.
☞ Furano (1hr 13min) ● Ikutora in Minamifurano (1hr) ● Hidaka Sogo Shisho (25min)
☆ Michi-no-eki Shizentaikan Shimukappu (1.7km) There are bike rentals throughout the year.
♨︎ Yunosawa Onsen (7.3km) Perfectly rustic lodging on the bus route to Furano.
◎ POP Shimukappu-mura 1300
Tomamu is one of Hokkaido’s most accessible ski resorts, with its own train station at the base of slopes. Free shuttles buses, timed to meet all trains, make a few minutes run to the Resort Center.
☞ Ikutora in Minamifurano (30min)
☆ Tomamu Ski Area (1.8km) One of Hokkaido’s most accessible ski resorts.
⬇︎︎ A few kilometers after Tomamu the train heads into Shin-Karikachi Tunnel (5810m) on the border between Kamikawa Region and Tokachi Region. From where, the dramatic highland farm spreads out of the train.
The refreshing highland town Shintoku is a main gateway of Western Tokachi and the end of the JR Sekisho Line. If you plan to head north to Furano on the JR Nemuro Line, the alternative JR buses run between Shintoku and Higash-Shikagoe (in Minamifurano), from where you can catch a train.
☞ JR Nemuro Line (for Furano, Takikawa) ● ♨︎ Shikaribetsu-kohan Onsen (1hr 10min) via Shikaoi (30min) ● ♨︎ Tomuraushi Onsen (1hr 30min: only in summer)
☆ Shintoku Soba-no-Yakata (5km) Offers tasty soba noodles from its own farm.
☆ Sahoro Resort Ski Area (12km) Eastern Hokkaido’s premier ski resort with 21 slopes and 8 lifts.
♨︎ Tomuraushi Onsen (60km) Wonderful hideaway sits at the base of Tomuraushi-yama (2141m).
◎ POP Shintoku-cho 5800
⬇︎︎ The train enters the vast Tokachi Plain on the JR Nemuro Line.
The rural town of Tokachi-Shimizu is a key point of road traffic on Route 274, Route 38 and the Doto Expressway. Take time to stop and admire the pleasant rural landscapes with the wonderful Hidaka Mountains view.
☆ Shimizu-Maruyama Viewpoint (16km) Has a spectacular view over the Tokachi Plain.
◎ POP Shimizu-cho 9300
⬇︎︎ 196.0km Mikage 御影
◎ POP Memuro-cho 18,000
⬇︎︎ 208.7km Taisei 大成
⬇︎︎ 213.5km Nishi-Obihiro 西帯広
⬇︎︎ 216.7km Hakurindai 柏林台
Tokachi Region’s capital and transport hub, Obihiro boasts numerous reputable restaurants, sweet shops and onsen sento (public bathhouses). A well-laid-out city center was modeled on Washington DC, which makes an ideal for pleasant strolling. It is hot in summer and cold in winter. Obihiro Station bus terminal is located at the north gate.
☞ ♨︎ Shikaribetsu-kohan Onsen (1hr 40min) ● Kamishihoro (1hr 10min) ● ♨︎ Nukabira Gensenkyo (1hr 48min) ● ♨︎ Tokachigawa Onsen (28min) ● Hiroo (2hrs 20min) ● Rikubetsu (2hrs 50min)
☆ Midorigaoka Park (1.4km) A 50-hectare scenic park with a city museum and a zoo.
☆ Obihiro Racecourse (1.7km) Home to the Banei horse racing.
♨︎ Obihiro has a number of onsen sento (public bathhouses) dotted around the town.
◎ POP Obihiro-shi 165,000
OBIHIRO TO KUSHIRO
⬇︎︎ 225.0km Satsunai 札内
Makubetsu is the birthplace of park golf, Hokkaido-style putt-putt golf invested in 1983. You will find park golf courses around the train station. Only local trains stop here.
◎ POP Makubetsu-cho 26,000
⬇︎︎ 240.9km Toshibetsu 利別
Ikeda is best known for its winemaking and a handy stopping-off point to Rukubetsu and Okhotsk Region. Look out for the hillside Wine Castle on the left.
☞ Rikubetsu (1hr 50min) ● Kitami (3hrs 30min)
☆ Wine Castle (0.7km) Dating back to 1974 as Japan’s first winery overlooking the town.
♨︎ Kiyomi Onsen (1.3km) Boasts the region’s top saline springs.
◎ POP Ikeda-cho 6400
⬇︎︎ 252.9km Tofutsu 十弗
A pleasant riverside setting, Toyokoro is a quiet gateway of the Tokachi Coast. Only local trains stop here.
☆ Harunire-no-ki (2.2km) Toyokoro’s iconic elm trees on the vast embankment of Tokachi-gawa.
◎ POP Toyokoro-cho 3000
⬇︎︎ 265.4km Shin-Yoshino 新吉野
Urahoro is more or less halfway between Obihiro and Kushiro.
☆ Historical Museum of Urahoro (0.6km) Above the town library.
☆ Urahoro Jinja (1km) Known as the ‘nipple shrine’ on Route 38.
◎ POP Urahoro-cho 4500
⬇︎︎ 290.2km Atsunai 厚内
⬇︎︎ Soon after Atsunai you meet the Pacific Ocean and enters Kushiro Region.
⬇︎︎ 305.2km Onbetsu 音別
⬇︎︎ A few kilometers after Onbetsu, the train passes into the peaceful brackish marsh Pashikuru-numa.
◎ POP Shiranuka-cho 7500
⬇︎︎ 326.6km Nishi-Shoro 西庶路
⬇︎︎ 328.7km Shoro 庶路
⬇︎︎ 339.1km Otanoshike 大楽毛
⬇︎︎ 340.9km Shin-Otanoshike 新大楽毛
⬇︎︎ 345.8km Shin-Fuji 新富士
Kushiro is Eastern Hokkaido’s largest port town and one of Japan’s premier fishing bases facing the Pacific Ocean. Summer is often cool and grey, but a foggy night on the river bank is fantastic. A wide variety of tasty seafood and sushi fascinates many travelers.
☞ JR Hanasaki Line (for Nemuro) ● JR Senmo Line (for Abashiri) ● Tsurui (1hr 6min) ● Akan-ko (2hrs) ● Rausu (3hrs 40min)
☆ Nusamai-bashi (1km) Hokkaido’s most well-known bridge across Kushiro-gawa.
☆ Kushiro Fisherman’s Wharf MOO (1km) Striking shopping complex designed by Mozuna Kiko.
☆ Harutori-ko (2.8km) A 36-hectare brackish lake.
◎ POP Kushiro-shi 165,000
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