Head northeast from Sapporo along the west bank of Ishikari-gawa, Route 275 is an idyllic alternative road to Northern Hokkaido across the rich rice fields in Sorachi Region. There are several shortcut roads connect Route 275 with Route 12 on east bank of Ishikari-gawa. Don’t miss the sunset views in the port town Rumoi.
Sapporo to Rumoi (via Route 275)
DURATION: 3 hours +
BEST TIME: May to October / July and August for Hokuryu Sunflower Fields
- Sapporo Station
- Ishikari-Tobetsu Station
- Hokkaido-iryo-daigaku Station
- Tsukigata Bus Station
- Urausu Station
- Michi-no-eki Tsurunuma
- Shintotsukawa Yakuba bus stop
- Michi-no-eki Den’en-no-sato Uryu
- Hokuryu Himawari-no-sato
- Michi-no-eki Sunflower Hokuryu (Hokuryu Onsen bus stop)
- Hashimoto-cho bus stop
- Rumoi Ogon-misaki
Tsukigata ›› Hokkaido’s first prison has been converted into a historical museum.
Tsurunuma ›› Halfway between Sapporo and Rumoi, this area has Japan’s largest vineyard and some pleasant picnic spots.
Hokuryu ›› Himawari-no-Sato is covered with 1.5 million sunflowers from late July to mid August.
Route 275 in Sapporo is officially start at the crossroad on Route 12 at Azuma-bashi bridge along Toyohira-gawa, just 2km east of the Clock Tower. Check out the blue sign for Tsukigata and Tobetsu.
TRAVEL BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT ›› There are no direct buses between Sapporo and Tobetsu on Route 275. Take the local train to Ishikari-Tobetsu or Hokkaido-iryo-daigaku terminus on the JR Gakuen-toshi Line (about 40 minutes).
Tobetsu is one of Sapporo’s closest rural towns and there is a few rustic attractions around the town. King of Sweden Carl Gustaf visited here in 1990. At the crossroad of Central Tobetsu, turn right on Route 275 for Shintotsukawa and Tsukigata.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› From JR Ishikari-Tobetsu Station south gate (石狩当別駅南口), the municipal bus Tobe-ru-go (とべーる号) runs to Tsukigata (月形駅 / 9 daily / 50min / ¥400) via JR Hokkaido-iryo-daigaku Station (北海道医療大学駅).
Founded as Hokkaido’s first prison in 1881, this town was named after the first warden Tsukigata Kiyoshi. Not much remain of the prison today except the museum. 1046 prisoners are buried at Shinotsuyama Reien (篠津山霊園) cemetery, about 3km west of Tsukigata on Route 275. Kairaku Park (皆楽公園) in the town center has Tsukigata Onsen with a campsite.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Tsukigata bus station (月形駅) is located near Kabato Prison Museum. From here, the municipal bus Kabato-ru-go (かばとーる号) runs to Urausu Station (浦臼駅 / 5 daily / 30min / ¥400) via Tsukigata Onsen. Chuo Bus connects Tsukigata with Iwamizawa terminal.
This small agricultural town is a key transit point on the road if you travel by bus. Urausu Town Museum (浦臼町郷土資料館 / 10am-4pm Sat & Sun & holiday May-late Sep / FREE), just 450m southwest of the bus station, displays on local history until the 1960s.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Urausu bus station (浦臼駅) is just a short walk from the town hall. Four to five Chuo buses daily run to JR Takikawa Station (滝川駅前 / 38min / ¥600) via Shintotsukawa Yakuba (22min / ¥350) and Hashimoto-cho (橋本町). On weekdays, five municipal buses run to JR Naie Station (24min / ¥200).
About 3km north of Urausu, Tsurunuma (‘crane marsh’ in Japanese) is a good place to break up your driving on Route 275, through there is a pleasant park with a campsite, onsen, restaurant, scenic shrine and vineyard around the Michi-no-eki Tsurunuma (道の駅つるぬま). We recommend to visit here in spring or autumn.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Chuo Bus Urausu-Takikawa Line and the municipal bus Urausu-Naie Line stops at Tsurunuma Koen-mae (鶴沼公園前) at the park.
Named after the mother village in Nara Prefecture, Shintotsukawa (meaning ‘New Totsukawa’ in Japanese) was founded by Totsukawa-born refugees in 1891. This town has a riverside sake brewery and a pleasant hillside park. It is easily getting away to Takikawa (just 4km east) on Route 12.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› From Shintotsukawa Yakuba (新十津川役場) bus stop at the town hall, hourly buses run to Takikawa Station on the JR Hakodate Line and the JR Nemuro Line. If you plan to head north on Route 275 from Urausu or Shintotsukawa by bus, get off at Hashimoto-cho (橋本町) near Kinteki Sake Brewery, then walk 200m north to the Suzuki car shop and take bus (4 daily) for Hekisui-shigai (碧水市街 / 38min) via Uryu and Hokuryu.
This town is a gateway of the high altitude wetland Uryu-numa Shitsugen, about 26km further west.
Some 2km north of the town center, Michi-no-eki Den’en-no-sato Uryu (道の駅田園の里うりゅう / www.michinoeki-uryu.com) has a good farmer’s market and a photo gallery of Uryu-numa Shitsugen. There are also eateries and take-away shops.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Chuo Bus Takikawa–Hekisui Line, Takikawa-Fukagawa Line (via Uryu) and highway buses (for Rumoi via Takikawa) from Sapporo stop at Uryu. If you go to the michi-no-eki, get off the bus at Uryu 4 (雨竜4丁目).
DETOUR: 30km West of Uryu
Uryu-numa Shitsugen 雨竜沼湿原
This high altitude wetland is referred to as the ‘heavenly paradise’ that makes up Shokanbetsu-Teuri-Yagishiri Quasi-National Park. About 700 marshes are scattered with 200 kinds of wildflowers, you can climb up to the wetland from the Gate Park trailhead (26km west of Central Uryu) between mid June to early October. At least allow five hours for the 6km return hike. There is no public transport from Uryu except taxi.
Hokuryu Himawari-no-Sato 北竜ひまわりの里
From July to August, Hokuryu Himawari-no-Sato is covered with 1.5 million sunflowers from late July to mid August. You can walk in the sunflower maze (8am-6pm / ¥300) and rent a bike (¥100 per hour).
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Hokuryu Chugakko (北竜中学校) is the nearest bus stop of the sunflower fields. Local buses run from Takikawa and Fukagawa (see below). During the sunflower season (mid Jul-mid Aug), highway buses (for Rumoi via Takikawa) from Sapporo also stop here.
Hokuryu Onsen 北竜温泉
About 1km north of the Himawari-no-Sato, this roadside onsen has Michi-no-eki Sunflower Hokuryu (道の駅サンフラワーほくりゅう) with a restaurant and hotel.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› From here, Sorachi Chuo Bus runs to Fukagawa Shiritsu Byoin (深川市立病院前 / 6 daily) hospital, stopping at Fukagawa Jujigai (深川十字街 / 33min / ¥680 / 250m south of the train station) and Hokuryu Chugakko. The timetable is www.sorachi.chuo-bus.co.jp/rosen/rosen.html.
In Hekisui Route 275 crosses Route 233 for Fukagawa and Rumoi. There is a convenience store Seicomart (6am-midnight) at the crossroads, opposite Hekisui bus stop for Rumoi. Continue west on Route 233 from Hekisui, where you will meet Hokuryu-Himawari IC on the Fukagawa-Rumoi Expressway (Free) heading to Rumoi.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Chuo Bus from Takikawa via Hashimoto-cho ends at Hekisui-shigai (碧水市街), 160m west of the main crossroads. You can switch to the Engan Bus (11 daily) for Rumoi (留萌 / 11 daily / 40min / ¥860) or Asahikawa (旭川 / 70min / ¥980) on Route 233.
Halfway between Sapporo and Wakkanai along the Sea of Japan, Rumoi Region’s small capital was once herring fishing and colliery town. It serves as a transport hub for Mashike and Haboro. The scenic cape Ogon-misaki (黄金岬), about 1km northwest of Engan Bus Rumoi Jujigai (留萌十字街) terminus, is the best point to finish this road trip and it boasts gorgeous sunset.
CONNECTIONS ›› The coastal Ororon Line (Route 239 and Route 232) towards north to Wakkanai. Return to Sapporo, drive south on the coastal Route 231 via Mashike (about 130km). Engan Bus leaves from Rumoi-ekimae (留萌駅前) bus stop near the train station.