The scenic JR Senmo Line (釧網本線) connects Kushiro with Abashiri, cutting across Kushiro Shitsugen and Akan-Mashu national parks. Although this line is best done with stopovers over two or three days, you can easily visit the breathtaking viewpoints, picturesque lakes and coastal wildflower gardens.
ORDINARY FARE: ¥2860 (Valid for 2-day)
▶︎ SHIRETOKO-MASHU-GO Kushiro – Abashiri
▶︎ DC 40 Abashiri – Midori
▶︎ DC 54 Kushiro – Abashiri
▶︎ KUSHIRO SHITSUGEN NOROKKO-GO Kushiro – Toro
TIMING June to September // STOPS Kushiro ● Higashi-Kushiro ● Kushiro-shitsugen ● Hosooka ● Toro
▶︎ SL FUYU-NO-SHUTSUGEN-GO Kushiro – Shibecha
TIMING Late January to late February // STOPS Kushiro ● Higashi-Kushiro ● Kushiro-shitsugen ● Toro ● Kayanuma ● Shibecha
▶︎ RYUHYO MONOGATARI-GO Abashiri – Shiretoko-Shari
TIMING Late January to late February // STOPS Abashiri ● Kitahama ● Toro ● Hama-Koshimizu ● Shiretoko-Shari
STATIONS & STOPOVERS
LEGEND ⬇︎︎ Route Info // ☆ Attractions // ♨︎ Onsen // ☞ Transfer
KUSHIRO TO SHIBECHA
Kushiro is Eastern Hokkaido’s largest port town. 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. From Kushiro, the scenic rail lines head east for Nemuro on the JR Hanasaki Line and west for Sapporo via the JR Sekisho Line.
☆ 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
☞ JR Hanasaki Line (for Nemuro)
⬇︎︎ 10.3km Toya 遠矢
⬇︎︎ For the fine views from Toya to Toro, sit on the left side.
From this unstaffed wooden train station, you can easily accessible on foot to Hosooka Viewpoint overlooking the wetland and its meandering streams. Keep in mind that most local trains don’t stop here from December to April.
☆ Hosooka Viewpoint (0.3km)
⬇︎︎ 20.0km Hosooka 細岡
Toro is a turning point of the seasonal Kushiro Shitsugen Norokko Train. The surrounding marshland area is a good for strolling and canoeing.
☆ Toro-ko (1km) Kushiro Shitsuge’s largest lake.
☆ Shibecha Historic Museum (1km)
☆ Sarubo Viewpoint (1.7km) Offers panorama of lakes and marshes.
⬇︎︎ From Toro, the line runs on the western shore of Shirarutoro-ko.
⬇︎︎ 34.2km Kayanuma 茅沼
After passes through the wetland, the train stops at Shibecha, where local buses run to Shibetsu on the Nemuro Strait. There are two onsen in the town center.
♨︎ Shibecha Onsen (0.3km)
◎ POP Shibecha-cho 7400
SHIBECHA TO SHIRETOKO-SHARI
⬇︎︎ 58.7km Isobunnai 磯分内
Eastern Hokkaido’s first onsen town founded in 1883, Mashu (formerly known as Teshikaga) is a convenient location for exploring both Mashu-ko and Kussharo-ko by public transport. There is a free open-air ashi-yu (footbath) outside the train station.
☆ Mashu-ko (11km) Up to 211m deep and once the clearest lake in the world.
☆ Kussharo-ko (15km) Japan’s largest caldera lake. There are onsen roten-buro on the shore.
◎ POP Teshikaga-cho 11,000
⬇︎︎ 82.1km Biruwa 美留和
A 10-minute bus journey north of the train station, Kawayu Onsen is one of Eastern Hokkaido’s most recommended places to soak and a good base for exploring the town.
♨︎ Kawayu Onsen (3.3km) Boasts highly acidic water supplied to the all hotels.
⬇︎︎ The train passes through Senpoku Tunnel (549m) at the border between Kushiro Region and Okhotsk Region.
♨︎ Midori-no-yu (0.3km) Public bathhouse.
☆ Midori Ski Area (0.5km) Small ski slope overlooking Shari-dake.
♨︎ Papas Land Sattsuru (0.6km) Attached to the michi-no-eki (roadside station).
With its picture-book countryside and windproof forests, Kiyosato is one of the loveliest rural towns in Okhotsk Region. Look out for the majestic Shari-dake, known as the ‘Matterhorn of Eastern Hokkaido’.
♨︎ Kiyosato Onsen Ryokuseiso (0.9km)
☆ Kiyosato Shochu Distillery (1.6km) Produces all its shochu (distilled spirits from potato).
☆ Shari-dake (1547m) Seigaku-so trailhead is 14km southeast of the town center.
◎ POP Kiyosato-cho 3900
⬇︎︎ 127.2km Naka-Shari 中斜里
Shiretoko-Shari is a main gateway for the Western part of Shiretoko Peninsula and Utoro Onsen along the Sea of Okhotsk. Most travelers pass through this town, but there are picturesque rural landscape views against the mountains.
☆ Shiretoko Museum (1.3km)
◎ POP Shari-cho 11,000
SHIRETOKO-SHARI TO ABASHIRI
⬇︎︎ The train follows the shoreline of the Sea of Okhotsk. In winter you might be able to see ryuhyo (drift ice).
The cafe Ekibasha is inside the wooden train station. Our picks are tsuu-ramen (topped with shredded green onion) and ekicho-no-ramen (topped with seafood).
JR Hama-Koshimizu Station and the michi-no-eki (roadside station) Hanayaka Koshimizu are in one building. On-site cafe serves potato curry, ikura-don (rice topped with salmon roe), coffee and ice cream.
☞ Koshimizu (20min)
☆ Furetoi Observatory (0.2km) This pyramid-shaped observatory feature scenic views of the sea.
♨︎ Genseitei (2.1km) Near the lake Tofutsu-ko. The waters are full of botanical minerals (hot!).
◎ POP Koshimizu-cho 4600
⬇︎︎ After leaving Hama-Koshimizu the line sandwiched between the sea and the brackish lake Tofutsu-ko.
The seasonal station Genseikaen (1 May to 31 Octover) is located beside the sandbank wildflower garden Koshimizu Genseikaen, with over 40 species of flowers bloom from June to July.
☆ Koshimizu Genseikaen (0.1km)
This lovely wooden train station has a charming cafe and an observation deck overlooking the sea. The pleasant lake Tofutsu-ko, about a 10-minute walk east of Kitahama Station, is visited by many birds, especially in winter.
☆ Tofutsu-ko Waterfowl and Wetland Center (0.9km) Good base for birdwatching.
The nostalgic wooden train station has a cafe decorated with old railway items. From here, Abashiri Kanko Bus runs to Higashi-Mokoto.
☞ Higashi-Mokoto (20min)
⬇︎︎ 162.9km Masuura 鱒浦
Katsuradai is the nearest station to the city center of Abashiri and the icebreaker Aurora-go Terminal.
☆ Icebreaker Aurora-go Terminal & Michi-no-eki Ryuhyo Kaido Abashiri (0.6km)
☆ Abashiri Municipal Museum (0.6km)
☆ Moyoro Shell Mound Museum (1.4km) Exhibit on the history of the Okhotsk Culture.
Abashiri is the historical and cultural heart of Okhotsk Region. The town 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.
☞ JR Sekihoku Line (for Asahikawa) ● Memanbetsu Airport (26min) ● Tokoro (50min)
☆ 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