The limited express Okhotsk / Taisetsu train guide and the timetable. The trains to Abashiri from Sapporo and Asahikawa

The limited express OkhotskAbashiri, Shiretoko-Shari
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The limited express Okhotsk
The limited express Okhotsk is passing over Jomon Pass.

The limited express Okhotsk and Taisetsu take you to Abashiri from Sapporo and Asahikawa. Abashiri is well known as the place to see a drift ice viewing tour in the winter time. And also when you go to the world heritage site, Shiretoko, you may use this train for Abashiri and transfer to a local train to Shiretoko-Shari. If you need the information about the access to Shiretoko, please see one of my posts, “How to get to Shiretoko“.

You can ride on this train by Japan Rail Pass with no restriction. I would like to show you the information about the limited express Okhotsk and Taisetsu.

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Route and timetable

We have 4 round trips a day to Abashiri. 2 of 4 round trips are operated by the limited express Okhotsk between Sapporo and Abashiri. Another two round trips are operated by the limited express Taisetsu which runs between Asahikawa and Abashiri. It takes 5 hours 30 minutes to get Abashiri from Sapporo and 3 hours 45 minutes from Asahikawa.

You can find the timetable in the link below:

Due to COVID-19, it may be operated on a schedule different from the normal timetable. Check the train schedule on Hyperdia.
Hyperdia perfect guide, train timetable and route search engine

I traveled from Asahikawa to Abashiri by the limited express Okhotsk. You can find how nice Green seat is and the scenery from this train in the movie below:

The express train trip in winter Hokkaido, Japan: The limited express Okhotsk to Abashiri

Accommodation

The limited express Okhotsk and Taisetsu are operated by KIHA-183 series. 183 series is the oldest diesel fleet for the limited express train of JR Hokkaido. But it has been renovated a few times. It does not look bad. The interior of this train is still okay. The 2+1 seat configuration in Green class offers very spacious seat. The 2+2 in Ordinary class is not much different from the other fleets. This train has only 21 seats in Green class. So if you want to get it, try to book as soon as possible.

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

Train formation

1234
NRNR/RR/GR

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

Images

Green seat

Ordinary seat

Sanitary space

Comments

  1. Nove says:

    Hi,

    Anyone know how can I make reservation for Okhotsk train as I need to travel on a specific date and time. I went to this JR-East Train Reservation web page but I couldn’t make reservation as I am not a member. I cant locate the registration page to become a member. Anyone can advise me?

    Thank you

  2. yan says:

    hi!Im looking to travel from Abashiri back to sapporo.. Do I take the same line ? and what would the train timings be?
    Thanks in advance!

  3. Kit says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    If we buy JR Hokkaido Rail pass, can we still take this train to Abashiri?

  4. JAyre says:

    For a few weeks a year, JR Hokkaido also runs a seasonal service “Okhotsk no Kaze” during the drift ice season in Abashiri.

    It makes one round trip per day, and takes the same amount of time, but is a bit more comfortable and plays movies and has some basic train information. Some of the information on-screen is multilingual and is in Japanese, Korean and English. It also has one bi-level car with a lounge/kiosk on the lower level which is quite nice.

    For anyone thinking of going to Abashiri during the drift ice season, I highly recommend considering this train as an option over the regular Okhotsk service. It’s still fully covered on the Japan Rail Pass, but the train I caught was very full. I was able to book tickets easily 3 weeks beforehand but I would guess the service is quite popular.

    • JPRail says:

      Hello Jonathan,
      Thanks again for your useful comment!
      I have never been to Hokkaido in the drift ice season. I go there one day!
      Takeshi / JP Rail

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