Direct transfer to Furano from Sapporo. Limited Express Furano Lavender Express / Furano Koyo Express

KIHA183 Crystal Express is one of the trains to use for Tomamu-Sahoro Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
KIHA183 Crystal Express is one of the trains to use for Tomamu-Sahoro Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Furano Lavender Express (フラノラベンダーエクスプレス) and Furano Koyo Express (フラノ紅葉エクスプレス) are limited express trains to Furano (富良野) directly from Sapporo (札幌). These trains can be used by Japan Rail Pass with no extra charge. Furano is one of very popular spot in Hokkaido for the tourists. These trains are the seasonal operation trains because the lavender season in summer time and the fall color leaves in September are busy periods. So when you build your itinerary, please check the latest operation date before you put this train in your plan.

Seasonal trains information.

I will show you some images of this train and tell you the details.

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

You can access to Furano from Asahikawa too. There is another cruising train from Asahikawa to Furano. Please find the information at Furano Biei Norokko train.

Route and schedule

This train connects Sapporo with Furano in 2 hours. Furano Lavender Express is operated from June to August. There are three round trips in peak periods from mid July to the end of July. But only one round trip is operated in early and late season. One round trip is continued to operate from September to mid October as Furano Koyo Express. Please check the most updated the date of operation at Seasonal trains information.

Stations
Sapporo (札幌) X
Iwamizawa (岩見沢) X
Takikawa (滝川) X
Ashibetsu (芦別) X
Furano (富良野) X

Operation dates

These express trains are operated from July to mid October. Please check the most updated information at Seasonal trains information.

If you go to Furano other than these months, you need to take Limited Express Super Kamui between Sapporo and Takikawa. And then you need to take local train between Takikawa and Furano. You have only 10 round trips a day between Takikawa and Furano. Please check the timetable before you go.

If you stay in Sapporo and you need to take local train from Takikawa to Furano, your sample itinerary is the following;
08:25 Depart from Sapporo by Limited Express Super Kamui 5
09:14 Arrive at Abashiri
09:37 Depart from Takikawa by the local train
10:48 Arrive at Furano


View Furano Lavender Express in a larger map

Accommodation and train formations

Furano Lavender Express and Furano Koyo Express are operated by three types of trains. These three trains are specialized for the trains to resort area. They have higher passenger’s deck and huge glass windows. Let’s see the detail and images of all three trains.

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

KIHA183 Crystal Express

KIHA183 Crystal Express has higher passenger's deck and double passenger's deck. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
KIHA183 Crystal Express has higher passenger's deck and double passenger's deck. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

This train is 4 cars formation. Car#1 and #4 have the passenger’s deck on 300 mm higher than regular floor. Car#2 is called Dome car. This car has 900 mm higher passenger’s deck. It is almost upper deck on double deck. Car#3 is double deck car. It has several compartment at lower deck, some semi compartment seats at upper deck and salon space. Usually upper deck on Car#3 is assigned as non reserved seat. If you use Japan Rail Pass, you can use compartment with 4000 yen per room extra. All seats are ordinary class seat. It does not have any green car. The seat configuration is 2+2 and the seat pitch is 960mm. This car had the observation deck at both end. But it is not allowed to access these deck now. JR Hokkaido had an accident at railroad crossing in 2010. The train had a heavy damage at the end. Since then, the observation deck is not accessible for safety reason.

Images

Ordinary seat at car#1 and 4
KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4

Ordinary seat at car#2 “Dome Car”
KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#2 Dome car KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#2 Dome car KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#2 Dome car KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#2 Dome car KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#2 Dome car KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#2 Dome car KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#2 Dome car

Ordinary seat in compartment at car#3 lower deck
KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in compartment at car#3 lower deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in compartment at car#3 lower deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in compartment at car#3 lower deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in compartment at car#3 lower deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in compartment at car#3 lower deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in compartment at car#3 lower deck

Ordinary seat in semi compartment at car#3 upper deck
KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in semi compartment at car#3 upper deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in semi compartment at car#3 upper deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in semi compartment at car#3 upper deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in semi compartment at car#3 upper deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in semi compartment at car#3 upper deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in semi compartment at car#3 upper deck

Salon space at car#3
KIHA183 Crystal Express salon space at car#3 KIHA183 Crystal Express salon space at car#3 KIHA183 Crystal Express salon space at car#3 KIHA183 Crystal Express salon space at car#3 KIHA183 Crystal Express salon space at car#3 KIHA183 Crystal Express salon space at car#3

Entrance deck
KIHA183 Crystal Express entrance deck KIHA183 Crystal Express entrance deck KIHA183 Crystal Express entrance deck KIHA183 Crystal Express entrance deck

Baggage space
KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space

Sanitary space
KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space

Train formation

1 2 3 4
H(R) D(R) B(NR)/SL H(D)
C(R*)/SL

H=Higher passenger’s deck car D=Dome car B=Box seat car C=Compartment SL=Salon space
(R)=Reserved ordinary seat (NR)=Non reserved ordinary seat (R*)=Reserved ordinary seat in compartment (Additional room charge 4000yen per room on regular fare or Japan Rail Pass)

KIHA183 North Rainbow Express

KIHA183 North Rainbow Express is one of the trains to be used for Furano Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
KIHA183 North Rainbow Express is one of the trains to be used for Furano Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

This train is 5 cars formation. Car#1, #2 #4 and #5 have higher passenger’s deck than regular floor. Car#3 is double deck car. It has ordinary seats at upper deck and salon space at lower deck. Usually upper deck on Car#3 is assigned as non reserved seat. All seats are ordinary class seat. It does not have any green car. The seat configuration is 2+2 and the seat pitch is 960mm.

Images

Ordinary seat at higher deck car (Car#1,2,4 and 5)
KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat

Ordinary seat at double deck car (Car#3)
KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat on double deck car KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat on double deck car KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat on double deck car KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat on double deck car

Salon space
KIHA183 North Rainbow Express salon space KIHA183 North Rainbow Express salon space KIHA183 North Rainbow Express salon space

Baggage space
KIHA183 North Rainbow Express baggage space KIHA183 North Rainbow Express baggage space

Sanitary space
KIHA183 North Rainbow Express sanitary space KIHA183 North Rainbow Express sanitary space KIHA183 North Rainbow Express sanitary spaceKIHA183 North Rainbow Express sanitary space

Train formation

1 2 3 4 5
H(R) H(R) D(NR) H(D) H(D)
SL

H=Ordinary seat on higher passenger’s deck car D=Ordinary seat on double deck car SL-Salon
(R)=Reserved ordinary seat (NR)=Non reserved ordinary seat

KIHA183 Niseko Express

KIHA183 Niseko Express is the oldest train in three trains to use for Furano Lavender Express (C) Sonic Rail Garden
KIHA183 Niseko Express is the oldest train in three trains to use for Furano Lavender Express (C) Sonic Rail Garden

This train is 3 cars formation. All three cars have 200 mm higher passenger’s deck than regular floor. This train is very basic. It does not have any double deck or salon space. All seats are ordinary class seat. It does not have any green car. The seat configuration is 2+2 and the seat pitch is 960mm.

Images

Ordinary seat
KIHA183 Niseko Express ordinary seat KIHA183 Niseko Express ordinary seat KIHA183 Niseko Express ordinary seat KIHA183 Niseko Express ordinary seat KIHA183 Niseko Express ordinary seat KIHA183 Niseko Express ordinary seat KIHA183 Niseko Express ordinary seat

Baggage space
KIHA183 Niseko Express baggage space KIHA183 Niseko Express baggage space KIHA183 Niseko Express baggage space

Vending machine
KIHA183 Niseko Express vending machine KIHA183 Niseko Express vending machine

Sanitary space
KIHA183 Niseko Express sanitary space KIHA183 Niseko Express sanitary space KIHA183 Niseko Express sanitary space KIHA183 Niseko Express sanitary space KIHA183 Niseko Express sanitary space

Train formation

1 2 3
H(NR/R) H(NR/R) H(NR/R)

H=Ordinary seat on higher passenger’s deck car
(R)=Reserved ordinary seat (NR)=Non reserved ordinary seat

72 thoughts on “Direct transfer to Furano from Sapporo. Limited Express Furano Lavender Express / Furano Koyo Express”

  1. Hello,

    I’m flying to Sapporo on May 7th from Tokyo early morning. Because Sakura will be in full bloom around that time in Hokkaido, I hope I get to view it. I wanted to visit Furano and Biei for flower fields but I read above that I may not be able to view it in early spring?
    I will have JR pass and I’m planning to rent a bicycle in Biei. Planning to take the train back to Tokyo from Sapporo and wanted to stop at some stations. I’m not sure if we can squeeze Matsumae in our plan but can you suggest a few stops on our way back from Sapporo to Tokyo that might be worth looking? It takes about 9 hours by train to come back to Tokyo, so I was hoping if it’d be worth it to stop somewhere? I know I’m trying to pack a lot in such a short trip but if possible I’d like that.

    Thank you in advance for taking your time to reply 🙂

    1. Hi Shikha,

      In early May, Furano and Biei do not have any flowers yet. If you expect to see flower field, you will be disappointed. It will be just brown and green. It may be chilly to take a bike in this season. If you are okay to see fresh spring green, you can go there.

      Hakodate is Must-See place on the way to Tokyo. Matsumae is very popular to see cherry blossom but you have to take a bus to get there from Kikonai. There is no railway from Kikonai to Matsumae.
      http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5380.html

      If cherry blossom season will be a bit behind the forecast, Kitakami is a nice place to drop by.
      http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5077.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hello!
    I would like to ask about the JR Hokkaido Twinkle Bus (Bus tours that make the rounds to all the famous and scenic spots centering around Furano and Biei). Do you know when does it starts this year? Is is available every day starting from June 2017? Thank you.

    Regards, Desrene

    1. Hi Desrene,

      At this point, there is no information. JR Hokkaido has not released any info yet. But in last season, the bus ran from July 2 to Aug 7 only. I think it will not be much different from last year. If you visit there in June, I don’t think you can take the bus.

      I don’t know when JR Hokkaido will release the info. But last year, the info was came out in mid May.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JRPail.com

      1. Thank you so much for the prompt reply!

        What would then be the best way to travel around Furano in June?

        Below are the places I would like to visit!
        Furano:
        Cheese Factory
        Farm Tomita, Tomita Melon House
        Popura Farm (Furano)
        Flower Land Kamifurano
        Kanno Farm, Shikisai No Oka 四季彩の丘, 拓真館

        Biei: Patchwork no Michiパッチワークの路, Panorama Road パノラマロード, blue pond

        Asahikawa: Asahidake Onsen, Asahikawa zoo and Daisetsuzan National Park

        Is it ok to advise me?
        Thank you!

        1. Hi Desrene,

          You have to drive or hire taxi to access to most of places in Furano. Some places can be accessed by train, such as Farm Tomita. But other places are too far to access by walk and there is no public transportation.

          I have never used taxi for sightseeing in Furano. So I have no idea how much it will cost. But it will be very expensive. You will spend 10000 yen or more quickly if you take taxi.

          You may use rental cycle in Biei.

          You can access to Asahiyama zoo from Asahikawa by bus, and Daisetsuzan, Asahidake Onsen from Asahikawa station by bus too.

          You may get some info at the link below:
          http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6825.html
          http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6775.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Mr. TAKESHI,
    We plan to be in Sapporo from April 22-25,2017. Is it advisable to visit Furano and Biei during this time of the year? Will we be able to see anything worth while. We are planning to purchase a JR Pass.

    1. Hi Mable,

      It depends on what you expect to see. Late April is a sort of transition season. You may still be able to see snow there. It’s almost no chance to see flowers and fresh greens in this season. If you are okay to see a big country view of Hokkaido, Biei is a nice place. But if you expect to see spring or early summer scene, it’s not recommended.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Mr. Takeshi,
        Thank you so much for your reply.
        Could you please suggest an itinerary for us for these dates
        being able to maximize the use of the JR Pass?
        What about Noboribetsu? Is it worthwhile going there for 2 nights. Travelling from Sapporo?
        It is a bit difficult for me to see the train route from Noboribetsu
        to Tokyo Shinjuku. Can you please assist me with this?
        Thank you so much

        1. Hi Mable,

          Noboribetsu is a good place to stay. It’s very well known Onsen town. You can get Noboribetsu Onsen from Noboribetsu station by bus. It takes 20 minutes to get Onsen from the station.
          Hakodate is also highly recommended to visit. It’s my more favorite town in Hokkaido.
          http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6750.html
          http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5350.html

          Timetable from Sapporo to Tokyo, Hakodate and Noboribetsu are located on the way.
          http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/ttable/01.pdf

          Shinjuku is 15 minutes away from Tokyo station by local train.

          I have visited both places a week ago. I will post my trip report sometimes in next week. You may find some more info from my trip report. Please stick around.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Do you know, or can you estimate based on previous years, what will be the first weekend of operation of these trains in 2017?

  5. Hi,
    My plans to Hokkaido.
    June 7 leave morioka to furano
    June 14 leave furano to narita airport ter 2 for homeward bound to singapore on ANA flight @ 5pm.
    Please advise what is best option for me.
    1. To get a JR rail pass – 7 days
    (Now that I’m in japan, how to purchase it?)
    2. To get JR EAST -south Hokkaido rail pass and then use local bus to travel to furano.
    I hope to hear your suggestions.

    Thank you
    Susan

    1. Hi Susan,

      JR pass is better choice but there are some issues. First, you have to order online. I have never used online purchasing of JR pass. If you google it, you will find some companies. As I have never used it, I cannot recommend any companies. And also if you order JR pass online, you may not be able to receive until June 7th. Because you have to receive actual exchange order and use it to exchange actual JR pass.

      So JR East south Hokkaido pass is more realistic. You can purchase it at Morioka station.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi takeshi San
        Thank you for your prompt reply.
        I google a website and it said it can deliver the exchange order in 2 days but I’m not sure if that is realistic considering that it is the weekend now.
        In what way is the JR rail pass more suitable than JR east? Is it cost saving or more options on trains?
        So if I decide to use JR east, how do I book my trip to furano? Does the JR east pass gives me option to travel the local lines in Hokkaido? I like the shortest option to reach furano.
        By the way, is the JR office opens on Sunday in morioka? What is the opening hours?
        Thank you for your help.
        Susan

        1. Hi Susan,

          It’s because of cost. The difference in price is quite small between these two passes but JR pass covers trip to Furano from Sapporo. These two passes cover same trains. The differences are coverage area and price only.
          You may book a ticket when you purchase/exchange the pass. Please see the link below to find the info about Morioka station hours.
          http://www.jreasthokkaido.com/e/

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi takeshi San,
            Please confirm that with JR rail pass I could travel from sapporo JR station to furano station now and not wait until summer?
            Do I use the hyperdia to check on the trains schedule?
            I just want to be sure that when I plan my return on 14 June to narita airport, I will not miss my flight at 5pm.
            Also, If I have the exchange order I could exchange for the pass at morioka station.
            Thank you.

          2. Hi Susan,

            Please see the links below:
            http://www.japanrailpass.net/en/exchange.html
            http://jprail.com/travel-informations/seasonal-trains-schedule/schedule-of-2016-summer-seasonal-trains-of-japan-railways.html#Furano_Lavender_Express_Furano_Koyo_Express

            You can get Furano by other express train and local train.
            http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/ttable/index.html

            It takes 8 hours to get Tokyo from Sapporo. And you will spend another one hour to get Narita from Tokyo. So you have to stay closer to Tokyo before departure day. You may check the timetable at Hyperdia. And also you can use JR Hokkaido timetable in the link above and JR East timetable in the link below:
            http://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/english/wb/common/timetable/index.html

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

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