Asahikawa is the second biggest city in Hokkaido. Asahikawa is well known as Asahiayama zoo which is one of most popular zoos in Japan. And also Asahikawa is the gateway to Biei, Furano, Sounkyo and Daisetsu mountain.
Many trains runs between Sapporo and Asahikawa. And also train which goes to Wakkanai and Abashiri stop at Asahikawa. You may change trains at Asahikawa.
Ryuhyo Norokko train is operated during very popular Drift Ice season in Hokkaido.
Some part of winter season is the busiest period. Especially in Japan, New Years holidays are crazy busy. In this season, December 28 to 31, January 2, 3 and 6 are expected to be the busiest days. I recommend you to avoid getting a train on those days. The vehicle occupancy rate may be more than 200%. As long as trains have non reserved seat, you can get on anyway without any reservation. But you will be forced to stay on the isle or passenger’s deck without seat. There are many passengers without seats in the train during those busiest days.
As probably you know, it is icy freezing weather in Hokkaido and north part of Honshu island (Tohoku region). If you travel in these cold weather regions, please expect the delay due to snow or high wind. Please have time to spare in your itinerary. Don’t make a tight schedule.
In spring season, the busiest period is late April and the beginning of May. It is called “Golden Week” in Japan. April 29, May 3, 4, and 5 are National holidays. If you can, lease try to avoid travelling on those days.
Some part of winter season is the busiest period. Especially in Japan, New Years holidays are crazy busy. In this year, December 30, 11 (Fri) and January 4, 12 (Sun) will be busiest days. Please try to avoid taking a train on those days. the vehicle occupancy rate may be more than 200%. Sometimes it is almost impossible to get in or out from the train.
Even though Japan is very small country, Japan have several climate zone. It is icy freeeeeezing weather in Hokkaido. South part of Kyushu have very mild weather. It is very interesting season to travel. But if you travel in Hokkaido, Tohoku or Hokuriku region, please expect the delay due to snow. I do not recommend you to make a tight schedule.
Fall is good season to travel in Japan. JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during this season. But it is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the popular trains and are operated in the popular spot.