Sapporo to Asahikawa train to get to asahiyama zoo. with JR pass, with JR hokkaido pass. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan travel blog

 

 

Hi there!

 

So you’re going from…

 

Sapporo…

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa. Things to do in Sapporo. Day trip to asahikawa for asahiyama zoo. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

…to…

 

…Asahikawa!

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa. Day trip to asahikawa for asahiyama zoo and penguin walk. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

 

Asahikawa is probably best known for the Asahiyama Zoo, particularly for the penguin walk in winter.

 

It’s possible to make it a day trip to Asahikawa from Sapporo.

Or if you’re making a loop around Hokkaido, with Asahikawa being a big city, there are a few different accommodation options too.

Or… if you just want to go from Sapporo to Asahikawa, visit the zoo for a few hours, and then move on to another city on the same day…

There are coin lockers at the Asahiyama train station that you can store your luggage at while you go off and explore the city.

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa. Coin lockers at Asahikawa train station for luggage storage. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

There were also signs at the tourist information office located at the train station that they offer luggage storage as well.

 

What I did was arrive to Asahikawa in the morning, dropped off my luggage in a coin locker, and then took a bus to the Asahiyama zoo.

Then after the visit to the zoo, I returned back to the train station to get my luggage and then went to check in to my Asahiyama hostel that was about a 20 minute walk away.

The Asahiyama zoo penguin walk can be a perfect part of a 7-day Hokkaido winter itinerary with a JR pass!

 

 

All that said…

It can be pretty easy to get from Sapporo to Asahikawa by train!

 

 

🗾⛄

 
Side note! The JR pass makes it time efficient to travel around Japan by train and is a popular option among travelers! See the cost of a JR pass and how to figure out if it will be worth it for you! Also be sure to see more quick Japan travel tips if it's your first trip to Japan, as well as ideas for how to spend winter in Japan - 10 day winter itinerary with the Japan Alps and 7 day winter itinerary in Hokkaido!


 

 

So…

How to get to Asahikawa from Sapporo?!

Once you’ve taken the train a couple of times in Hokkaido, it’ll become pretty easy.

That’s because once you’re at the Sapporo train station, you basically just follow the signs!

 

First you’ll follow the signs to the JR train line…

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa train. Sapporo station JR train how to get there. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

And then you’ll arrive at the ticket gate.

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa train. Sapporo station train ticket gate. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

And then you mainly just need to know the final destination of your train.

 

So in the case of Asahikawa…

You’re looking for a train to Asahikawa, to Abashiri, or to Wakkanai

Sapporo to Asahikawa train. Sapporo station train timings to Asahikawa for lilac, okhotsk, soya limited express jr train to asahikawa. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

Depending on your timing, there will be trains with a final destination of Asahikawa, Abashiri, or Wakkanai that will all make a stop at Asahikawa.

But most frequent is a train with final destination Asahikawa.

 

You’ll be getting on a limited express train called one of the following:

  • Lilac
  • Okhotsk
  • Soya
  • Kamui

 

But it’s really not that important to remember the name of the train.

Just make sure you remember the final destination of the train.

The digital boards switch between English and Japanese.

The sign will also tell you which platform the train departs from, so you’ll check to see where you need to go…

And then go there!

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa train. Sapporo station platform. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

And then wait for the train to arrive!

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa train - limited express JR train - soya or lilac or okhotsk. Sapporo train station. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

Then enjoy the train ride that’s around 1.5 hours.

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa train seating - reserved or nonreserved. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

Sapporo to Asahikawa train ride along in winter. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

Sapporo to Asahikawa train ride along in winter. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

And then arrive at the Asahikawa Station!

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa train - limited express JR train - soya or lilac or okhotsk. Asahikawa train station. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

 

How much does the limited express train to Asahikawa cost?

Google Maps and the Japan Travel Navitime app can be good for figuring out a rough estimate of how much any journey around Hokkaido may cost. (It may not be perfect, but it’s good for getting an idea.)

You can expect the Sapporo to Asahikawa limited express train to cost around 4,810 yen (US$45).

If you’re traveling with a JR pass, it’s FREE!

The JR Hokkaido line has a network of trains around Hokkaido.

While there aren’t shinkansen bullet trains around most of Hokkaido, there are limited express trains that go to the main cities.

And on these trains, if you’re traveling with a JR pass or a JR Hokkaido pass, your pass will cover you.

If you’re NOT traveling with a JR pass, you may consider looking into taking the bus to Asahikawa which will be cheaper.

There are also day trip tickets to Asahikawa that include transportation and admission to the zoo that can be purchased as a bundle to save money. You can inquire about this at the tourist information center at Sapporo Station.

 

Do you need to make seat reservations with the JR pass?

Sapporo to Asahikawa train. Reserved train tickets. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

It’s not a requirement to make seat reservations if you’re traveling with a regular JR pass on the limited express Hokkaido trains.

But if you want to, you can do so at Sapporo Station at any time before your train leaves by going to the ticket counter office with the little green seat picture.

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa train. Sapporo station JR ticket office for seat reservations, reserved tickets. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

If you don’t reserve a seat, you’ll just need to make sure to sit in the unreserved compartment. The non-reserved seating and reserved seating are clearly marked.

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa train. Seating for reserved train tickets. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

 

Now…

What are the train timings to Asahikawa?!

 

JR Hokkaido train timetable

Sapporo to Asahikawa train - JR Hokkaido train timetable. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

Once you get to Hokkaido, head to the JR office at a train station to grab yourself the little JR Hokkaido train timetable booklet!

 

I referred to this SO much when I was traveling around Hokkaido.

I did occasionally check Google Maps for suggested routes, which can help to know which train routes to look for.

But because the train timings for some areas are fewer in some parts of Hokkaido, it’s important to confirm the timings.

So the listed train timings below are from the timetable booklet for dates March 2019 onwards.

You can generally expect this to last for about a year, although someone at the JR ticket counter did tell me that it usually doesn’t change much from year to year.

So in case you’re doing research for a trip for April 2020 onwards, you can use these timings for general research purposes, and then confirm the timings when you’re in Hokkaido.

 

 

Now…

Sapporo to Asahikawa train timings

These are the listed train timings and platform for the limited express trains – always confirm once at the train station, as timings and platform can change!

 

Listed as: Sapporo station departure time – Asahikawa station arrival time (Sapporo station platform number) Final destination if NOT Asahikawa
  • 6:35am – 8:00am (8)
  • 6:56am – 8:32am (8) Abashiri
  • 7:30am – 8:58am (8) Wakkanai
  • 7:49am – 9:14am (7)
  • 8:30am – 9:55am (10)
  • 9:00am – 10:25am (8)
  • 9:30am – 10:55am (9)
  • 10:00am – 11:25am (8)
  • 11:00am – 12:25pm (7)
  • 12:00pm – 1:25pm (7)
  • 1:00pm – 2:25pm (7)
  • 2:00pm – 3:25pm (7)
  • 2:30pm – 3:55pm (7)
  • 3:00pm – 4:25pm (8)
  • 3:30pm – 4:55pm (8)
  • 4:00pm – 5:25pm (5)
  • 4:30pm – 5:55pm (9)
  • 5:00pm – 6:25pm (8)
  • 5:30pm – 7:05pm (7) Abashiri
  • 6:00pm – 7:25pm (7)
  • 6:30pm – 7:55pm (8)
  • 7:00pm – 8:25pm (8)
  • 7:30pm – 8:55pm (8)
  • 8:00pm – 9:25pm (8)
  • 9:00pm – 10:25pm (8)
  • 10:00pm – 11:25pm (8)
  • 11:05pm – 12:30am (8)

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa train - JR Hokkaido train timetable timings morning. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

Page 12 of the 2019 JR Hokkaido train timetable

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa train - JR Hokkaido train timetable timings afternoon. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

Page 13 of the 2019 JR Hokkaido train timetable

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa train - JR Hokkaido train timetable timings evening, last train. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

Page 14 of the 2019 JR Hokkaido train timetable

 

 

Summary?!

The limited express train from Sapporo to Asahikawa takes around 1.5 hours.

In the morning and late evening, there are generally trains leaving once an hour

In the afternoon and early evening, generally twice an hour.

And looking at the timetable, you can see which trains are final destination Asahikawa, Abashiri, or Wakkanai. So in case you forget, just refer to your timetable booklet!

 

 

Asahikawa Station to Asahiyama Zoo

Sapporo to Asahikawa. Bus from Asahikawa train station to asahiyama zoo. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

So getting to Asahikawa Station won’t get you within walking distance of Asahiyama Zoo. (It would take you 2.5 hours to walk.)

So from the train station, there’s a bus that you can take to get to the zoo.

There’s a bus stand right in front of the train station.

The bus timings generally match the train schedule of arrival timings from Sapporo.

This also means that you don’t have too much time to loiter around at the train station.

You don’t have to be in a mad rush to get to the bus stand, but you do want to get there relatively soon after you arrive at the train station.

Also you may want to check the opening hours of the zoo.

When I went in the winter, the zoo opened at 10:30am.

I ended up getting to the zoo a little bit early, but I knew this meant I’d be waiting for a little bit.

There are cafes around the zoo entrance if you want to wait with a cup of tea or something.

 

Sapporo to Asahikawa train to get to asahiyama zoo. with JR pass, with JR hokkaido pass. Backpacking Hokkaido Japan

 

HAPPY SAPPORO TO ASAHIKAWA TRAIN RIDE!

 

 



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