Drift ice watching in Shiretoko by Ryuhyo Norokko train

Ryuhyo Norokko train is operated during very popular Drift Ice season in Hokkaido.
Ryuhyo Norokko train is operated during very popular Drift Ice season in Hokkaido.

Ryuhyo Norokko train has been stopped operation because of carriage was too old. Other train replaced Ryuhyo Norokko train but it is operated by common fleet.

Ryuhyo (Drift Ice=流氷) viewing is most popular things to do in Hokkaido during the winter time. This sea ice reach around Abashiri from late January to late March. The best season to view this ice is mid February. This train, Ryuhyo Norokko train is operated in this Ryuhyo season between Abashiri (網走) and Shiretoko-Shari (知床斜里) where is the gate town to Shiretoko peninsula. This train goes on Senmo line (釧網本線) along the coast of Sea of Okhotsk. You have lots of change to see the sea ice from the train. And also Abashiri can be reached by Limited Express Okhotsk or seasonal tran, Ryuhyo Limited Express Okhotsk no Kaze from Sapporo. Both express train from Sapporo and Ryuhyo Norokko train are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass.

Let’s see the detail about this train.

Route and schedule

Ryuhyo Norokko train is operated between Abashiri (網走) and Shiretoko-Shari (知床斜里). Two round trips of trains are started to operate in late January and stopped operating in early March.

Norokko is a combination word of “Noroi” and “Torokko” in Japanese. Noroi means very slow. Torokko means a mine cart originally. But Torokko means a observation car recently. So this train does not give you any luxury atmosphere. This is very nostalgic train and there are the wood bench seat only. But you can enjoy the beautiful scenery through the panoramic windows. This car is used as open air observation car in summer time. However these cars have the windows in winter time.

Ryuhyo Norokko train is operated everyday from late January to early March. Please check the most updated date of operation at Seasonal Trains Schedule.

Only the first train from Abashiri stop at this station.

Stations Remarks
Abashiri (網走) X Connect with Limited Express Okhotsk
Katsuradai (桂台) X Only the first train from Abashiri stop at this station.
Masuura (鱒浦) X
Mokoto (藻琴) X Only the first train from Abashiri stop at this station.
Kitahama (北浜) X This is the closest station to Sea of Okhotsk.
Hamakoshimizu (浜小清水) X
Yamubetsu (止別) X Only the first train from Abashiri stop at this station.
Shiretoko-Shari (知床斜里) X The gate town to Shiretoko peninsula.
Ryuhyo Norokko train is at Kitahama station. This is very small station, but there is small cafe in the station.
Ryuhyo Norokko train is at Kitahama station. This is very small station, but there is small cafe in the station.

The train crew is on board. They guide about Ryuhyo (in Japanese) and sell drinks, snacks and souvenirs at Car#3.

Operation dates

These express trains are operated from late April to late September. Please check the most updated information at Seasonal Trains Schedule.


View Ryuhyo Norokko in a larger map

Accommodation and train formations

This train is operated by open air observation car (=Torokko in Japanese). But it equip the window in winter time. Four of five cars are observation car and have wood benches only. But one of five cars is regular seat car. There are reserved seat and non reserved. But the accommodations are completely same.

Images

Ryuhyo Norokko train observation car interior Ryuhyo Norokko train regular seat car interior

Movie

Image copyright
Interior of observation car by Rsa [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Interior of regular seat car by Rsa [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Train formation

1 2 3 4 5
NR(R) NR NR R R

R=Reserved ordinary seat NR=Non reserved ordinary seat NR(R)=Non reserved ordinary seat (Regular seat car)

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