So you’re going…
Noboribetsu is a small little onsen hot springs town in Hokkaido.
There’s also “hell valley” (jigokudani) here, so you’ll see “demon” statues all over town too.
You can do most of the main “things to do in Noboribetsu” in one day, which means that a day trip from Sapporo can work out well.
But you may also consider staying overnight here in order to stay at a Japanese style ryokan or accommodation with the hot springs.
This can be especially nice if you’re in Hokkaido in winter.
And hot springs relaxation with mineral-rich water can be the perfect form of recovery after a ski trip or snowboarding trip in Hokkaido too!
If you’re planning some long travel days during your time in Hokkaido and you want to get in an onsen experience in Noboribetsu, consider adding it towards the end of your Hokkaido trip so you can use it as a rejuvenation day after several days of intense travel!
How to get to Noboribetsu 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…
And then you’ll arrive at the ticket gate.
And then you mainly just need to know the final destination of your train.
So in the case of Noboribetsu…
You’re looking for a train to Hakodate or to Muroran
Trains going from Sapporo to Hakodate or Sapporo to Muroran will have a stop at Noboribetsu.
This will be a train called either “Super Hokuto” or “Suzuran.”
You don’t really need to remember the name of the train, but knowing the destination is important!
The digital signboards 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!
And then wait for the train to arrive!
Then enjoy the train ride that’s about an hour and 15 minutes.
Arrive at Noboribetsu train station.
There are also coin lockers for luggage storage at the Noboribetsu train station if you just want to spend a few hours in Noboribetsu onsen before you move on to another city.
How much does the limited express train to Noboribetsu 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 Noboribetsu limited express train to cost around 4,480 yen (US$40).
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, there are cheaper ways to get to Noboribetsu that you may want to look into. It will require a few transfers, but it could potentially save around 1,500 yen (US$15).
The limited express JR train from Sapporo to Noboribetsu requires no train transfers.
Do you need to make seat reservations with the JR pass?
It’s not a requirement to make seat reservations if you’re traveling with a regular JR pass.
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.
If you don’t make seat reservations, you just need to make sure you’re sitting in the “non-reserved” car. This is pretty easy to figure out once you’re at the train station.
If you’re traveling with a JR green car pass, then you do want to make reservations no matter what.
What are the train timings to Noboribetsu?!
JR Hokkaido train timetable
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 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 JR Hokkaido train timings for general research purposes, and then confirm the timings when you’re in Hokkaido.
Sapporo to Noboribetsu 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 – Noboribetsu station arrival time (Sapporo station platform number)
- 6:53am – 8:04am (4)
- 7:30am – 8:45am (6)
- 8:39am – 9:51am (5)
- 9:32am – 10:43am (8)
- 10:44am – 11:55am (8)
- 11:24am – 12:45pm (5)
- 12:16pm – 1:27pm (4)
- 1:32pm – 2:42pm (7)
- 1:55pm – 3:09pm (8)
- 2:45pm – 3:57pm (7)
- 3:39pm – 4:54pm (7)
- 4:02pm – 5:22pm (8)
- 4:39pm – 5:51pm (8)
- 6:08pm – 7:24pm (5)
- 6:54pm – 8:11pm (9)
- 8:00pm – 9:08pm (4)
- 10:00pm – 11:19pm (5)
Page 9 of the 2019 JR Hokkaido train timetable
Page 10 of the 2019 JR Hokkaido train timetable
The train from Sapporo to Noboribetsu takes around 1 hour 15 minutes, and there are generally trains leaving around once an hour.
And looking at the timetable, you can see that the final destination is Hakodate or Muroran. So in case you forget, just refer to your timetable booklet!
Noboribetsu Station to Noboribetsu onsen town
So the train from Sapporo will take you to Noboribetsu station.
This won’t drop you in the immediate area of the main tourist area.
So from the train station, there’s a bus that you can take to get to Noboribetsu onsen.
There’s a bus stand right in front of the train station.
You might have to wait 20-30 minutes for the next bus, but in general the bus timings are frequent enough so it’s not that much of a concern.
HAPPY SAPPORO TO NOBORIBETSU TRAIN RIDE!
How to spend winter in Japan
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
Among the top 3 things people get specific for a trip to Japan
- JR pass for quick and easy long distance train travel (see price here and see here how to calculate train routes to figure out it's worth it for you)
- Pocket wifi to make travel in Japan easier (see price here)
- Travel insurance for natural disasters just in case especially for travel disruptions (see price here and see here for past natural disaster that affected foreigners)
Food in JapanIf you are in Japan for FOOD, then be sure to see where to try different types of Japanese food! (Sometimes for cheaper!)
And also have a look at some of these cooking classes in Japan too.
If you're looking for a route for winter in Japan, here are some ideas!
- 10 day Japan winter itinerary
- Tokyo to Nagano bus
- 2 days in Nagano with snow monkey pass // Stay at this Nagano hostel (private rooms available)
- A few days in popular ski resort area Hakuba (go here for at least a day even if you don't ski for the winter landscape in the mountains!) // Stay at this Hakuba hostel (private rooms available)
- Hakuba to Takayama (Hakuba to Matsumoto train / a few hours in Matsumoto / Matsumoto to Takayama bus)
- A few days in Takayama with day trips: Shirakawago / Shinhotaka ropeway on a sunny day // Stay at this Takayama hostel (private rooms available) and eat regional Takayama ramen
- Takayama back to Tokyo OR Takayama to Nagoya airport to fly to Hokkaido for more winter landscapes!
Hokkaido winter itinerary (train to get around - there are JR Hokkaido passes available, and you can use a regular JR pass too)
- Sapporo to Asahikawa (Asahikawa for penguin walk at zoo)
- Asahikawa to Abashiri (Abashiri for drift ice cruise)
- Abashiri to Obihiro (night in Obihiro and go to Lake Shikaribetsu ice village the next day)
- Obihiro to Sapporo
- Sapporo to Noboribetsu onsen hot spring town (day trip)
- Sapporo to Hakodate // Stay in this Hakodate hostel
- Hakodate to Tokyo on shinkansen bullet train through the underwater tunnel! (Regular JR pass will be worth it if you take this train ride along with one more long distance train ride within 7 days)
When the JR pass is worth itIn general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it. But here's how to calculate it to be sure. See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.
Natural disasters in JapanUnfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.
My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon. There have been a few typhoons that have hit Japan in the past couple of years and they can cause real travel disruptions!
See how much insurance costs for your trip.
More for your Japan itinerary
- 5 days in Kyoto
- Cost of climbing Mt Fuji from Tokyo
- Where to go for famous Mt Fuji views as seen in pictures
- Know before you go to Hiroshima
- One day in Miyajima with famous floating torii views
- 3 days in Okinawa, Japan's tropical islands
- Cherry blossom photo walk
- When is the JR pass worth it for train travel?
- Tokyo to Kyoto train
- Hostels in Japan