Hokkaido train operation status in fall 2016. Guide for substitute train and bus service.

Hokkaido Area
Limited Express Okhotsk is suspended currently.
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Limited Express Okhotsk is suspended currently.

Tomamu – Obihiro segment will open on 22nd December.

Hokkaido was hit by very severe typhoon in late August. Many train lines are closed by this storm and many trains are suspended currently. Substitute bus service and tentative train are operated but trip time is much longer than original schedule. And also the accommodation of some trains are totally different from Limited Express train interior. It offers just commute train accommodation. It is obviously inconvenient. If you cannot accept this situation, I recommend you to change your trip plan. It may not be a right time to visit there.

Anyway I will guide the substitute train and bus service in this post.

Sapporo to/from Obihiro and Kushiro

Limited express Super Ozora is suspended now.

This segment will open on 22nd December. Substitute bus and train will run until 21st December. On 22nd December, all trains will start running and back to normal.

Some part of tracks are damaged very seriously between Tomamu and Obihiro. Limited Express Super Tokachi and Super Ozora supposed to connect Sapporo and Obihiro in 2.5 hours , and connect Sapporo and Kushiro in 4.5 hours directly. But these express train services are currently suspended. You have to change trains and bus at Tomamu and Obihiro. It takes at least 3.5 hours between Sapporo and Obihiro, 5.5 hours between Sapporo and Kushiro. And also train service between Obihiro and Kushiro is provided by ordinary train car. It does not offer express train interior. It is a sort of commute train.

Limited Express train runs between Sapporo and Tomamu. This train has ordinary car and green car. You cannot book a seat in advance. All seats are non reserved seat and it is basically first come first serve basis. If all seats are full, you have to stand up in the car. If you use JR Pass Green, you can use green seat without any extra. Ordinary seat are covered by any type of JR Pass and Hokkaido Rail Pass.

Please see the current substitute service schedule below:

Eastbound (From Sappprp to Obihiro, Kushiro)

Limited Express train from Sapporo to Tomamu
This train stops at Shin-Sapporo, Minami-Chitose, Oiwake, Shin-Yubari and Shimukappu.

Train number

Substitute bus service from Tomamu to Obihiro
This bus service connects Tomamu and Obihiro directly. It does not stop at any other stations.

Bus number

Train service from Obihiro to Kushiro
This train is rapid service but it does not offer limited express train accommodation. It stops at Ikeda, Urahoro and Shiranuka only.

Train number

Wesstbound (From Obihiro, Kushiro to Sapporo)

Train service from Kushiro to Obihiro
This train is rapid service but it does not offer limited express train accommodation. It stops at Shiranuka, Urahoro and Ikeda only.

Train number

Substitute bus service from Obihiro to Tomamu
This bus service connects Obihiro and Tomamu directly. It does not stop at any other stations.

Bus number

Limited Express train from Tomamu to Sapporo
This train stops at Shimukapp, Shin-Yubari, Oiwake, Minami-Chitose and Shin-Sapporo.

Train number

All train services and bus services between Tomamu and Kushiro can be taken by base fare ticket only. You must have limited express ticket to take train between Sapporo and Tomamu. If you use Hokkaido Rail Pass or JR Pass, these services are covered fully. But as I mentioned, some services are sorts of commute service. MIt does not give you any luxury interior and accommodation. You cannot get any refund even if you take these services.

This segment is damages very very seriously. JR Hokkaido said it will take until the end of November.

I update the train operation status at the link below too. Please refer this post too.

Train operation status

Sapporo to/from Abashiri

This segment has been restored completely on October 2nd, 2016. It is back to normal completely now.


  1. Dawn T – Singapore – Front-End Developer. Occasional Illustrator. Bumbling Homechef. Cat Snuggler.
    Dawn T says:

    Dear Takeshi-san,

    What a great website! Thank you for doing this.

    I am going to Hokkaido in December, and 2 of us need to get from Toya Station to Niseko Station. Is it better to get a rail pass or buy separate tickets for the two lines?

    And might you know if there is a smoking area on trains in Hokkaido?

    Thank you for your help.

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Dawn T san,

      You don’t need any rail passes. You cannot get the worth of any rail passes by Toya to Niseko trip.
      There is no smoking spaces in the train.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi San,

    I’ve plan to go to hokkaido early feb next week with below itinerary :

    Thu 8 Feb : Flight fr Tokyo ( New Chitose Airport to Tomamu )
    Fri 9 Feb : Tomamu – Sapporo
    Sat 10 Feb : Sapporo – Otaru
    Sun 11 Feb : Otaru – Hakodate
    Mon 12 Feb : Hakodate Airport (Flight to Tokyo)

    What is the best transportation to reach above itinerary?
    Should i buy Hokkaido Rail Pass for 5 Days or JR Tohoko-South Hokkaido Rail Pass for Flexible 5 Days?

    Thank you in advance for your help..

    Ulrike Nadia

  3. Wong says:

    Hi Takeshi San,

    I am Travelling from Asahikawa to Tomamu Hoshino Resort on 6 December 2017.

    Should I travel by train from Asahikawa to Furano and then transfer to bus to Shintoku Station.

    What do you suggest?

  4. Hi Takeshi san. 4 of us ladies are thinking of purchasing 4 day hokkaido rail flexi pass and train shin chitose -hakodate-asahikawa-kushiro-sapporo from 29 th aug till 12th sept 2017.
    We are thinking of hiring car at shin chitose for noborobetsu/otaru; at hakodate; at asahikawa for furano/ biei. Is that expensive? Practical?
    Thank you.


    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Bchoo san,

      Hokkaido rail pass 4 days will work. But I cannot say anything about about hiring car. I don’t have a rate and no idea at all unfortunately.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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