Furano Biei Norokko train, Easy rail trip around Furano area for everyone.

Furano Biei Norokko train goes on Furano line. (C) 800px-Norokkogou-furano-biei / Birdman
Furano Biei Norokko train takes you one of most popular spot, Furano and Biei. (C) 800px-Norokkogou-furano-biei / Birdman

Furano (富良野) is one of most popular spot in Hokkaido. Especially July is the busiest season because the bloom of Lavender. You can enjoy Furano in not only summer season but also autumn. You may see the fall color leaves in September. The scenery in autumn is breathtaking too. Furano can be accessed directly from Sapporo (札幌) by Limited Express Furano Lavender Express / Furano Koyo Express from July to mid October. There are three round trips in the peak season. But if you want to have a nice rail excursion and enjoy the scenery from the train, I recommend you to take this train “Furano Biei Norokko train” (富良野・美瑛ノロッコ号). Of course you can take this train by Japan Rail Pass with no extra charge. Let’s see the details about this train.

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

Route and schedule

There are three round trips between Asahikawa (旭川) or Biei (美瑛) and Furano. One round trip connects Asahikawa with Furano in 1 hour 40 minutes, and another two round trips connect Biei with Furano in 50 minutes. N

Norokko is a combination word of “Noroi” and “Torokko” in Japanese. “Noroi” means very slow. Torokko originally means an open air mine cart. But Torokko means an open air observation car in these days. This is very popular type of fleet for cruising train during summer time. On the other hand, this train does not give you any luxury atmosphere. There are the wood bench seats only. But you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and the fresh air from the nature of Hokkaido.

Furano Biei Norokko train is usually operated from early June to late September. Please check the latest operation date information at Seasonal trains information.

Stations
Asahikawa (旭川) X
Biei (美瑛) X
Bibaushi (美馬牛) X
Kamifurano (上富良野) X
Lavender Batake (ラベンダー畑) X
Nakafurano (中富良野) X
Furano (富良野) X
Farm Tomita lavender field is one of the most popular spot in Furano.  ©Yasufumi Nishi/© JNTO
Farm Tomita lavender field is one of the most popular spot in Furano. ©Yasufumi Nishi/© JNTO

Lavender Batake station is open for this train only. It is only 7 minutes away from one of the most popular spot in Furano, Tomita Farm Lavender Field. So you can take this train to Lavender Batake from Furano.

Operation dates

These express trains are operated from early June to late September. Please check the most updated information at Seasonal trains information.


View Furano Biei Norokko in a larger map

Accommodation and train formations

This train is operated by open air observation car (=Torokko in Japanese). There are reserved seat and non reserved. But the accommodations are completely same. There are the wood bench seat.

Images

Ordinary seat
Furano Biei Norokko train exterior Furano Biei Norokko train interior

Image copyright
Interior by Rsa [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Exterior by 100yen [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Train formation

1 2 3
R NR NR

R=Reserved ordinary seat NR=Non reserved ordinary seat

You can watch the movie at Lavender Batake station.

38 thoughts on “Furano Biei Norokko train, Easy rail trip around Furano area for everyone.”

  1. Hi Takeshi,

    I would like to know you advice re the pass i will get for the Itinerary below:

    aug 26 HAKODATE
    aug 30-31 FURANO/BIEI
    Sept 1-3 Sapporo

    Option 1:
    Buy 7 days JR PASS (29119Yen)

    Option 2:
    Buy Skymark Flights : Sapporo to Haneda
    and buy JR pass 7 days pass

    Option 3:
    Buy Peach airline NRT to Sapporo and Sapporo to HND
    plus the peach eastern hokkaido pass
    http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/pdf/e/peach.pdf

    1. Hi Caroll,

      Option 1
      I think you will arrive in Narita and depart from Haneda. If so, you cannot go back to Tokyo by JR Pass 7 days. You need to add single fare for trains or domestic flight.

      Option 2
      It is more realistic than Option 1 because you can secure your way to go back to Tokyo. I don’t know the fare of skymark. But probably it’s cheaper than single fare for trains.

      Option 3
      You cannot get Hakodate by this deal. If you give up Hakodate, you can use Furano Biei Rail Ticket. This is cheaper than Peach deal.
      http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/travel/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi-san
    I intend to buy the Furano Biei Rail ticket, but I will not use the A ticket because I will based my stay in Asahikawa and I will go to Asahikawa directly from the airport. Is this allowed if I use only the B ticket?

    I also intend to use the Furano-Biei Norokko Train, I can still aboard the Non reserved car even though it is full and I have stand correct?

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Ashleigh san,

      Actually this deal was on sale in the last month. I don’t have enough info about this pass.
      I believe you can use only portion B. When you purchase it, tell station staff you will give up portion A. You can take non reserved car of Norokko train by this pass.

      By the way, I don’t know this is sold in New Chitose airport station. It may be sold at Sapporo only.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi san,

    Need some advise. I’m looking at the Furano Biei Round trip ticket that starts and ends in Sapporo – http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/travel/pdf/fb02.pdf

    It states that the set of tickets consist of Ticket A and Ticket B and ticket validity is 4 days. Is the 4-day validity for both Ticket A and B together or Ticket B? If I used up Ticket A on 18 Jul and start using Ticket B only on 20 Jul, will Ticket B expires on 21 Jul or 23 Jul?

    My planned trip is:
    18 Jul Sapporo -> Asahikawa (stay 2 nights)
    20 Jul Asahikawa -> Furano (stay 1 night)
    21 Jul Furano -> Asahikawa (stay 1 night)
    22 Jul Asahikawa -> Sapporo

    1. Hi Traveller san,

      It’s valid for 4 days from Sapporo to Sapporo. This 4 days include A and B tickets.
      So if you use this deal for your trip, you need to add single fare for Asahikawa to Sapporo on 22 Jul.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi,
    If I want to take visit Furano-Biei-Asahikawa area on Oct 4th, what is best way to take to tour around that area since Furano Biei Norokko is not active at that time? I will be coming from Tomamu St. and mostlikely will arrive at Furano St. at 12.50.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Desi,

      In last year, Norokko train ran until Oct 12. I expect this train will run during same period in this year too.
      Fall train schedule will come up sometimes in late August. Please see the link below in late August or early September. You will find the updated info:
      http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/ttable/index.html

      Even if this train will not run, you can take regular train to go around this area.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi Takeshi san,

    I will travel to Asahikawa, Biei, and Furano this July. I want to ask, if i buy furano biei rail ticket (6500 yen), can i use this pass as transportation to visit furano cheese factory, blue pond, and so on?

    thank you

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        thank you for the information. Sorry i want to ask one more question. how if i use the hokkaido JR pass 7 days. Can i use that pass for local train or bus to reach the city attraction?

        Thank you
        Regards,
        Fenny

        1. Hi Fenny,

          You can take any trains of JR in Hokkiaod other than Hokkaido Shinkansen by this pass. So you can take JR local trains. But Hokkaido rail pass does not cover any local bus, street car and subway lines.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

        2. Hi Fenny,

          Transportation in Hokkaidō to quite many attractions is harder than in other region of Japan. Subways, street cars, and local buses are often needed, and they are not covered by JR Pass.

          However, there are several solution.
          If you will use subways more than 3-4 times a day, you may consider a one-day pass.

          For Furano & Biei, apart from the local buses, you may consider a a tour course (bus) as also in the link of Takeshi-san. All of them are right at the stations, and are guided to match with train schedules.

          If you travel in a group of 4, taxi can also be your choice for some not-very-far-from-the-station places like Cheese Factory and Furano Winery. (Around ¥1,200 one-way. The venues can call a taxi for you on the way back for a small fee (to the taxi driver) about ¥200.)

          Renting a bike is also a good choice, ¥200, and even electric-powered one at ¥600, for an hour.
          Especially for 2 great attractions, Hokusei Hill & Zerubu Hill. Better than riding on Patchwork Course tour bus … if your group is ok with bike. (My mum says no, so no. -.-”)

          Even so, for the blue pond, you need to use other local bus “for Shirogane Onsen” that runs 5 round-trip a day: http://www.furanotourism.com/jp/static/pdf/jikokuhyo.pdf
          look for the Bus for Hot Spring on Page 2, centre of the page, far-right-side — “Aoi-ike Entrance” is the Blue Pond. Be aware that the return bus comes in about 30 mins, or you have to wait 2 hours for the next one! But, walking to the Pond takes 10 min one-way already.

          All for all, you might consider Car Rental to experience the most, by the point that fares for doing some of the above together for 3+ people can sum up to exceed the car rental price.

          My family and I will go to Japan this July 9-17, being in Sapporo 10-14, Furano & Biei on 12 or 13.
          Just one day for Cheese Factory (they have Ice Cream Fac & Pizza Fac in there, too.), then Norroko Train (special for summer) to Farm Tomita, then to Biei for more flowersss on Panorama Course bus tour, and taste Curry/Omu Rice (special recipé in Biei/Asahikawa) for dinner, take whole day already. (So we decide not to go to Blue Pond as we will have only 33 mins walking & seeing the pond & rushing for the last bus back! — Car rental can solve this, but we decide to cut a bit of places and save money for later days).

          We might pass each other on the days, eh? Have a nice trip!

  6. Hi Takeshi san,

    May I ask for the reserved seats on Norokko Train? I wonder where can we reserve them? Since there seems to be no JR offices in Furano and Biei.
    Not sure if it is the same as the first comment (because it was posted in 2011) that I have to show my JR Pass to the “unlikely-” staff right at the station?

    Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

      1. Arigatou gozaimashita Takeshi san,

        That means, if I want reserved seats, I will have to strict and make up my mind for the exact train I will take because I will have to book it from Sapporo, right?

        (I can’t do it at Asahikawa since I will take Lavender Express right to Furano, and travel up to Lavender Batake, walk on the trail and back to NakaFurano, get to Bibaushi for the Shikisai no Oka, then Biei for all the scenery and 2 great Oka. (Hope to take a bus for Aoiike, but with only 5 round buses a day, I will have only 39 minutes MAX to walk to the pond and back – less than 15 mins for viewing, or miss the bus & wait 2 hrs+ for the next one…), and then Asahikawa to get Super Kamui (or any Ltd. Exp.) back to Sapporo.)

        Yoroshiku onegaishimasu

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