The Limited Express Soya / Sarobetsu timetable and the train information. The train to Wakkanai from Sapporo and Asahikawa

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When you go to Wakkanai at North end of Hokkaido, the limited express trains, Soya and Sarobetsu take you to Wakkanai. Soya is operated between Sapporo and Wakkanai and Sarobetsu runs between Asahikawa and Wakkanai.

Both trains are fully covered by JR Pass and Hokkaido Rail Pass. I will show you this train guide and the timetable in this post.

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Route and timetable

Soya runs one round trip a day and Sarobetsu runs 2 round trips a day. It takes about 5 hours to get Wakkanai from Sapporo by Super Soya and 3 hours 30 minutes by Sarobetsu from Asahikawa. Please see the timetable in the link below.

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

Hotels in Wakkanai (from US$104)
Hotels in Sapporo (from US$35)


KIHA-261 series is used for Soya and Sarobetsu. The seat configuration of this Green seat is 2+1 and the seat pitch is 1145 mm. But the seat facing the wall has only 850mm for leg space. This Green class equips a leather seat. If you really don’t like a leather seat, I do not recommend it. Only window side seat have the power outlet. You can charge your small device or laptop.

Ordinary class seat has 2+2 seat configuration and the seat pitch is 960 mm. There is no power outlet in both reserved and non reserved seat. Some of the trains in Hokkaido have different accommodation in reserved and non reserved. But KIHA- 261 series have completely same facility in both reserved and non reserved.

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

Train formation


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


Green seat

Ordinary seat

Sanitary space


  1. Boon Toh says:

    Dear Takahashi-San,

    I’ll like to seek your advice. Can the Japan Rail Pass or Hokkaido Rail Pass be used on the Soya Bus company buses between Wakkanai Bus Terminal and Cape Soya?

    Thank you for your time.

    Best regards,

    Boon Toh

  2. Jach says:

    I plan to travel from Tokyo to Wakkanai in mid April 2016, I search train schedule via but I found that no train schedule from Aomori station to Hakodate. I wonder if there are train or shinkansen from Aomori to Hakodate and back at that time. Thank you.

  3. Claudia says:

    Hi, thank you for your helpful website here!

    Is it possible for me to have daytrip from sapporo to wakkanai? I really want to explore the cape soyu


  4. Traveling in Hokkaido by train is one of my dreams! Someday I’ll make it a reality; thanks for the useful information.

  5. James says:

    Information for Wakkanai, I think there are ferry go to Sakhalin (Japanese call it 樺太) not sure if is worth visit but I heard Sakhalin stuff are expensive!

    As for the railway line to Wakkanai north of Asahikawa I heard its quite remote, scenic at times especially spring.


    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hi James,
      That’s right. It is very remote and thinly populated. That’s why there are lots of nature.
      I have never been there either. But we can see the real nature of Hokkaido.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  6. Tommy says:


    I came across this website when planning my trip, it listed all the available seats for limited express in hokkaido area, just need to compare the kanji of the stations. It even have hokutosei and twilight express.

  7. Aaron says:

    Hi all, I just took this train one week ago, thought I’d share some of the experiences:

    Finding a seat in non-reserved out of Sapporo is hard, but I noticed that almost everyone got off the train at the first stop, Iwamizawa, following which there were plenty of seats.

    I also heard from the train attendant that Super Soya 4 (arrives Sapporo 21:50) has a guaranteed connection with Hamanasu leaving at 22:00, but not sure how accurate that is.

    As for Wakkanai, I found it a nice small town, but not much to do in the dead of winter. Would have gone to Rishiri, but the Super Soya on the day I wanted to travel got cancelled. The main sights would probably be Rishiri, Rebun and Cape Soya.

    Hope that all helps!

  8. ben says:

    I haven’t really travelled to many places too far away from Sapporo because it is difficult for me to get a long holiday. I really want to go to Wakanai though. What is there to see and do there?


    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hi Ben,
      As Aaron mentioned above, Wakkanai is very small town. There is no well known spot. But It is the north end of Japan. Cape Soya is one of the place where I want to go. And also it is the gate town to Rishiri and Rebun islands.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  9. Andy says:

    Takahashi san,

    I have stayed and travelled in Hokkaido many time, This is about the only limited express train I never managed to ride. I would agree that not only the reseved seats get booked early, but getting a seat in the unreseved sectiion can be difficult as well.

    I was travelling from Sapporo to Asahikawa one morning and thought I would take the Super Soya, I arrived 20 minuite early and the Line was already increadibly long, it was tough to get in standing let alone a seat, so I took another Asahikawa bound express a few minutes later.

    Anyway, the journey to Wakkanai is definitely on my to do list.

  10. James says:


    Personal experience , ALL express trains in Hokkaido can be hard to book, but there are tricks to get a seat, I noticed generally people don’t like to travel early in the morning(6, 7am) or late in the evening(after 6pm), also trains that connects with Super Hakucho are usually difficult to book, try to pick a train that doesn’t connect with it!

    You can also take any train from Sapporo to Asahikawa, then take Super Soya from Asahikawa as Sapporo to Asahikawa is a busy section for express trains

    JR Hokkaido trains are very comfortable and services are excellent, in terms of onboard service. JR Kyushu and JR Hokkaido in my opinion are the best transport operator I ever experience , better than top airlines!

    One last thing, winter weather usually cause train delay 10-30 mins is not uncommon in Hokkaido, if travelling in winter try not to plan for tight connection of less than 10 minutes.


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