7 best day trip plans from Sapporo. DIY trip planner with a rail pass

1 to 3 days

Traveling with luggage may be a hassle for you. If you want to minimize traveling with a luggage, consider a day trip.

In this post, I will show you seven places where you can reach from Sapporo by a rail pass, such as JR Pass, Hokkaido Rail Pass. You can maximize using your pass to get more worth.

1. Otaru

Otaru canal
The nightview of the Otaru Canal is amazing.

Otaru is only 30 minutes away from Sapporo by a rapid train. It is easiest place to visit as a day trip from Sapporo.

Otaru is one of most historical places in Hokkaido. There are many heritage buildings around the famous Otaru Canal.


TimePlace and transporation
09:12Sapporo station
(Rapid train “Rapid Airport”)
09:44Otaru station
10:00 / 10:15Funamizaka
10:25 / 10:45Ryugu Shrine
11:00Sankaku Ichiba Market (early lunch)
12:30 / 14:30Otaru Canal area
14:40 / 15:10Orgel Doh
15:15 / 16:30Sakaimachi streeet, Kitaichi Glass and Kitaichi Hall cafe
16:45 / 17:03Minami-Otaru station
(Rapid train “Rapid Airport”)
17:32Sapporo station

You can go back to the Otaru Canal to see the night view of the canalafter visiting Kitaichi Glass. There are lots of restaurants around the canal. You can take a dinner there too.

Please see the link below You will find Sapporo and Otaru 2-day trip. This one day trip plan is a part of this 2-day trip.

2. Asahiyama zoo

Asahiyama zoo
“The flying Penguin” showcase spreaded the popularity of Asahiyama Zoo over Japan.

Asahiyama Zoo is most popular one in Japan. It wasn’t before but this zoo tried to make some difference with very tight budget. They tried many things which other zoos had never tried, such as “the flying penguin” exhibition. And they did it.

Many other zoos follow their way in these days. But Asahiyama Zoo is still most popular in Japan.


The limited express trains run between Sapporo and Asahikawa mostly every 30 minutes. The buses between Asahikawa station and Asahiyama Zoo run every 30 minutes as well. You can leave Sapporo earlier or later to adjust your time in Asahiyama Zoo. And you can have a dinner before leaving Asahikawa if you are hungry.

TimePlace and transporation
08:30Sapporo station
(The limited express Lilac 5)
09:55 / 10:10Asahikawa station
(Asahikawa Denkikidou Bus)
10:49 / 17:10Asahiyama Zoo
(Asahikawa Denkikidou Bus)
17:10 / 17:30Asahikawa station
(The limited express Lilac 38)
18:15Sapporo station

3. Sounkyo and Daisetsuzan

kurodake sounkyo daisetsuzan
The chair lift takes you to the seventh station of Mt. Kurodake. (C) Yasufumi Nishi/JNTO

I used this trip plan as a part of Asahikawa, Biei and Daisetsuzan 3 days sample trip plan. But you can make this trip plan as a day trip from Sapporo.

You can visit Mt. Kurodake which is one of the peaks of the Daisetsu Mountains. You can get to the 7th station of Mt. Kurodake by a gondola and a chair lift from the base of the canyon.

The view is amazing especially in the fall season. There are 30 minutes walking train at the 7th station. Anyone can enjoy the mountain walking in the high elevation area.

Sounkyo is about 20km long canyon along Ishikari river. But Ginga no Taki is located 2.5 km away from Sounkyo Onsen bus stop. You can hike up there if you like.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2640153_s-600x450.jpg
Ginga no Taki (the fall of Galaxy) is one of the highlihts in Sounkyo Canyon.


TimePlace and transporation
07:30Sapporo station
(The limited express Super Soya 1)
08:58 / 09:15Asahikawa station
(Dohoku Bus)
11:10Sounkyo Onsen bus stop
(walk 5 minutes)
11:15 / 11:20Kurodake Ropeway base station
(Kurodake Ropway)
11:28 / 11:40Kurodake 5th station
(Kurodake chair lift)
11:50 / 12:30Kurodake 7th station
Walking on the trail for 30 minutes.
(Kurodake chair lift)
12:30 / 13:40Kurodake 5th station
Lunch time and walking around the station
(Kurodake Ropway)
13:50Kurodake Ropeway base station
Free time in Sounkyo canyon
If you have lots of energy, you can walk to Ginga falls
which is 2.5 km away from Sounkyo onsen
17:30Sounkyo Onsen bus stop
(Dohoku Bus)
19:25 / 20:00Asahikawa station
(The limited express Super Kamui 46)
21:25Sapporo station

4. Furano and Biei

Blue Pond Biei
Blue Pond is located outside Biei.

This trip plan is a part of Asahikawa, Biei and Daisetsuzan 3 days sample trip plan as well. You can make this trip plan as a day trip from Sapporo.

You can visit Blue Pond, Shirahige Falls, Farm Tomiya and ride the popular sightseeing train, “Furano Norokko train.”

Blue pond bie
Blue Pond is one of most popular places in Biei.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1120714_s-600x423.jpg
Shirahige falls are located near Shirogane Onsen.
Biei Shikisai no Oka
Shikisai no Oka is one of the popular flower fields in Biei and Furano area.
farm tomita
Farm Tomita is most well known flower field in Biei/Furano area. (C) Farm Tomita/ (C) JTA/ (C) JNTO
Furano Biei Norokko train goes on Furano line. (C) 800px-Norokkogou-furano-biei / Birdman
Furano Biei Norokko train offers the open air carriages. You can enjoy mountain fresh air even in the train. (C) 800px-Norokkogou-furano-biei / Birdman


TimePlace and transporation
08:43Asahikawa station
(Furano line local train)
09:16 / 09:45Biei station
Sightseeing by Biei View Bus
Visit the places in Biei
Blue Pond, Shirahige falls, Shikisai hill and some more places
12:30 / 14:19Biei station
(Furano line local train)
14:44Nakafurano station
Visit Farm Tomita
16:41Lavender Farm station
(Norokko train #6)
17:45 / 18:00Asahikawa station
(The limited express Lilac #40)
19:25Sapporo station

I put the sightseeing bus “Biei View Bus” from Biei station. But you can take a scheduled bus to Blue Pond and ride a bike around the town of Biei.

Biei station 9:26 – 9:46 Blue Pond 10:24 – 10:53 Biei station

But you have to give up Shirahige falls instead.

5. Lake Toya

The cruise boat takes you to the Nakanoshima which is the island in the lake.

Lake Toya is the third biggest crater lake in Japan. You can ride a cruise on the lake and drop by Nakanoshima island in the lake. You can enjoy short walking in the forest.

Before taking the cruise on the lake, you have two options.

Toya trail
Ruins of lava flow

The first option is a trail walking. There are some trails around the ruins of the lava flow of the 2000 eruption of Mt. Usu. You can see some destroyed houses, roads and some craters. The first part is called Nishinoyama trail. It is only 2km flat trail and it takes only 30 minutes. After that, you will go down to the lake which is called Konpirayama trail. It is about 3km trail and takes about 1 hour. You can find somre more craters and destroyed houses. Please find more information in the official site below:

Toya-Usu UNESCO Global Geopark (English official site)

Toya Usuzan usu gondola
The view from Usuzan Ropeway

The second option is visiting Usuzan Ropeway. You can go up the peak of Mt. Usu which is the active volcano. If you walk 1.1 km trail to reach the viewpoint, you can see the stunning view of Lake Toya, Mt. Yotei and the Pacific Ocean.

Usuzan Ropeway (English official site)


TimePlace and transporation
08:32Sapporo station
(The limited express Hokuto 6)
10:30 / 10:46Toya station
(Donan Bus)
You may remove Nishinoyama trail walking.
10:52Kyushoku Center mae bus stop
Hiking on Nishinoyama trail (1.8km)
11:35Nishinoyama Yuhodo bus stop
Hiking on Konpirayama trail (2.8km)
13:00Toyako Onsen bus terminal
Lunch time
Option 1
Toyako Onsen bus terminal
(Donan Bus)
Showa Shinan bus stop
Riding Usuzan Ropeway and lunch
(Donan Bus
14:05Toyako Onsen bus terminal
Option 2
14:30Toyako Onsen pier
(Toyako Cruise)
14:55 / 15:25Walking in the Nakanoshima island
(Toyako Cruise)
15:50 / 16:05Toyako Onsen pier / bus terminal
(Donan Bus)
16:24 / 16:50Toya station
(The limited express Hokuto 6)
18:47Sapporo station

6. Noboribetsu

The hell valley is located just a step away from Noboribetsu hot spring town.

Noboribetsu is a great place to stay overnight. It is one of most popular hot springs resorts in Hokkaido. But it is very attractive as a day trip destination.

Jigokudani is the highlight of this hot springs town. It means simply a hell valley in Japanese. You can see many steam vents along the trail in this valley. This is a main source of Noboribetsu Onsen.

Ride a gondola to get the bear park.

noboribetsu kuma bear
Noboribetsu Onsen Bear Park

In this bear park, they don’t hiberbanate because they have enough food there.

Some hotels in Noboribetsu Onsen takes daily use of Onsen bath. You can enjoy the hot spring without overnight stay.


TimePlace and transporation
08:32Sapporo station
(The limited express Hokuto 6)
09:48 / 10:25Noboribetsu station
(Donan Bus)
10:47 / 16:00Noboribetsu Onsen bus terminal
Sightseeing in Noboribetsu Onsen
Hell Vallery
Kuma Bokujo (Bear Park)
(Donan Bus)
16:12 / 16:27Noboribetsu station
(The limited express Hokuto 13)
17:47Sapporo station

7. Niseko

Niseko Mt Yotei Shiribetsu river
The view of Shiribetsu river and Mt. Yotei in the distance from Niseko Ohashi bridge

Niseko is well known as the world class winter resort. It is such a nice summer resort town too. You can enjoy mountain fresh air in the summer time. You can rent a bike to run in this mountain resort. You can download a map in the official site of Niseko.

Niseko Resort Tourist Association (official)

In the early summer, you have the other option which is watching Shibazakura (pink moss).

Niseko kutchan shiba zakura
The peak season is early June.

There are two places to see Shibazakura near Kutchan station. Those are Asahigaoka Park and Mishima Family’s garden. Both places are located within 15 minutes from the station.

If you go to Niseko, the trains do not run frequently. If you go to Kutchan, it is better than the access to Niseko but it is not frequetly train service either.


TimePlace and transporation
07:14Sapporo station
(JR local train)
08:01 / 08:06Otaru station
(JR local train)
09:19 / 09:51Kutchan station
(JR local train)
10:06 / 17:56Niseko station
(JR local train)
19:52 / 19:58Otaru station
(JR local train)
20:42Sapporo station
Regular version
TimePlace and transporation
07:14Sapporo station
(JR local train)
08:01 / 08:06Otaru station
(JR local train)
09:19 / 12:35Kutchan station
Drop by two Shibazaraku places
(JR local train)
12:50 / 17:56Niseko station
(JR local train)
19:52 / 19:58Otaru station
(JR local train)
20:42Sapporo station
Watching Shibazakura addtional version
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