Access to Wakkanai from Sapporo. Limited Express Soya / Sarobetsu

When you go to Wakkanai at North end of Hokkaido, these trains take you there. Soya (宗谷) and Sarobetsu (サロベツ) take you to Wakkanai. Soya is operated between Sapporo and Wakkanai. But Sarobetsu runs between Asahikawa and Wakkanai.

Both trains are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see the details about these trains.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

Route, schedule and trip time

Soya runs one round trip a day and Sarobetsu runs 2 round trips a day. It takes about 5 hours to get Wakkanai from Sapporo by Super Soya and 3 hours 30 minutes by Sarobetsu from Asahikawa. Please see the timetable in the link below.

JR Hokkaido official site, train timetable

View Limited Express Super Soya / Sarobetsu‘ in a larger map


Sapporo (札幌) x
Iwamizawa (岩見沢) x
Bibai (美唄) x
Sunagawa (砂川) *
Takikawa (滝川) x
Fikagawa (深川) x
Asahikawa (旭川) x
Wassamu (和寒) x
Kamikawa (士別) x
Kamikawa (名寄) x
Bifuka (美深) x
Otoineppu (音威子府) x
Teshio-Nakagawa (天塩中川) x
Horonobe (幌延) x
Toyotomi (豊富) x
Minami-Wakkanai (南稚内) x
Wakkanai (稚内) x


KIHA-261 series is used for Soya and Sarobetsu. The seat configuration of this Green seat is 2+1 and the seat pitch is 1145 mm. But the seat facing the wall has only 850mm for leg space. This Green class equips a leather seat. If you really don’t like a leather seat, I do not recommend it. Only window side seat have the power outlet. You can charge your small device or laptop.

Ordinary class seat has 2+2 seat configuration and the seat pitch is 960 mm. There is no power outlet in both reserved and non reserved seat. Some of the trains in Hokkaido have different accommodation in reserved and non reserved. But KIHA- 261 series have completely same facility in both reserved and non reserved.

*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images of accommodations below.

Train formation

1 2 3 4

*R=Reserved seat NR=Non reserved seat G=Green seat
Smoking is not allowed on this train.


Green seat

Ordinary seat

Sanitary space

Passenger’s deck

15 thoughts on “Access to Wakkanai from Sapporo. Limited Express Soya / Sarobetsu”

  1. Hi
    I plan to travel from Tokyo to Wakkanai in mid April 2016, I search train schedule via but I found that no train schedule from Aomori station to Hakodate. I wonder if there are train or shinkansen from Aomori to Hakodate and back at that time. Thank you.

    1. Hi Jach,

      Hokkaido Shinkansen to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto will open on March 26, 2016. Please see the timetable at the link below:

      All trains timetable will be revised on March 26, 2016. But hyperdia does not show this updated timetable yet. I think it will come soon. Please check it later to find latest schedule.


      Takeshi /

  2. Hi, thank you for your helpful website here!

    Is it possible for me to have daytrip from sapporo to wakkanai? I really want to explore the cape soyu


  3. Traveling in Hokkaido by train is one of my dreams! Someday I’ll make it a reality; thanks for the useful information.

    1. Hi James,
      That’s right. It is very remote and thinly populated. That’s why there are lots of nature.
      I have never been there either. But we can see the real nature of Hokkaido.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. Hi all, I just took this train one week ago, thought I’d share some of the experiences:

    Finding a seat in non-reserved out of Sapporo is hard, but I noticed that almost everyone got off the train at the first stop, Iwamizawa, following which there were plenty of seats.

    I also heard from the train attendant that Super Soya 4 (arrives Sapporo 21:50) has a guaranteed connection with Hamanasu leaving at 22:00, but not sure how accurate that is.

    As for Wakkanai, I found it a nice small town, but not much to do in the dead of winter. Would have gone to Rishiri, but the Super Soya on the day I wanted to travel got cancelled. The main sights would probably be Rishiri, Rebun and Cape Soya.

    Hope that all helps!

  5. I haven’t really travelled to many places too far away from Sapporo because it is difficult for me to get a long holiday. I really want to go to Wakanai though. What is there to see and do there?


    1. Hi Ben,
      As Aaron mentioned above, Wakkanai is very small town. There is no well known spot. But It is the north end of Japan. Cape Soya is one of the place where I want to go. And also it is the gate town to Rishiri and Rebun islands.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  6. Takahashi san,

    I have stayed and travelled in Hokkaido many time, This is about the only limited express train I never managed to ride. I would agree that not only the reseved seats get booked early, but getting a seat in the unreseved sectiion can be difficult as well.

    I was travelling from Sapporo to Asahikawa one morning and thought I would take the Super Soya, I arrived 20 minuite early and the Line was already increadibly long, it was tough to get in standing let alone a seat, so I took another Asahikawa bound express a few minutes later.

    Anyway, the journey to Wakkanai is definitely on my to do list.

  7. Hi

    Personal experience , ALL express trains in Hokkaido can be hard to book, but there are tricks to get a seat, I noticed generally people don’t like to travel early in the morning(6, 7am) or late in the evening(after 6pm), also trains that connects with Super Hakucho are usually difficult to book, try to pick a train that doesn’t connect with it!

    You can also take any train from Sapporo to Asahikawa, then take Super Soya from Asahikawa as Sapporo to Asahikawa is a busy section for express trains

    JR Hokkaido trains are very comfortable and services are excellent, in terms of onboard service. JR Kyushu and JR Hokkaido in my opinion are the best transport operator I ever experience , better than top airlines!

    One last thing, winter weather usually cause train delay 10-30 mins is not uncommon in Hokkaido, if travelling in winter try not to plan for tight connection of less than 10 minutes.


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