Direct transfer to Furano from Sapporo. Limited Express Furano Lavender Express / Furano Koyo Express

KIHA183 Crystal Express has higher passenger's deck and double passenger's deck. (C) Sonic Rail GardenFurano, Tomamu, Shintoku
KIHA183 Crystal Express has higher passenger's deck and double passenger's deck. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
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KIHA183 Crystal Express is one of the trains to use for Tomamu-Sahoro Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

KIHA183 Crystal Express is one of the trains to use for Tomamu-Sahoro Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Furano Lavender Express (フラノラベンダーエクスプレス) and Furano Koyo Express (フラノ紅葉エクスプレス) are limited express trains to Furano (富良野) directly from Sapporo (札幌). These trains can be used by Japan Rail Pass with no extra charge. Furano is one of very popular spot in Hokkaido for the tourists. These trains are the seasonal operation trains because the lavender season in summer time and the fall color leaves in September are busy periods. So when you build your itinerary, please check the latest operation date before you put this train in your plan.

Seasonal trains information.

I will show you some images of this train and tell you the details.

You can access to Furano from Asahikawa too. There is another cruising train from Asahikawa to Furano. Please find the information at Furano Biei Norokko train.

Route and schedule

This train connects Sapporo with Furano in 2 hours. Furano Lavender Express is operated from June to August. There are three round trips in peak periods from mid July to the end of July. But only one round trip is operated in early and late season. One round trip is continued to operate from September to mid October as Furano Koyo Express. Please check the most updated the date of operation at Seasonal trains information.

Stations
Sapporo (札幌)X
Iwamizawa (岩見沢)X
Takikawa (滝川)X
Ashibetsu (芦別)X
Furano (富良野)X

Operation dates

These express trains are operated from July to mid October. Please check the most updated information at Seasonal trains information.

If you go to Furano other than these months, you need to take Limited Express Super Kamui between Sapporo and Takikawa. And then you need to take local train between Takikawa and Furano. You have only 10 round trips a day between Takikawa and Furano. Please check the timetable before you go.

If you stay in Sapporo and you need to take local train from Takikawa to Furano, your sample itinerary is the following;
08:25 Depart from Sapporo by Limited Express Super Kamui 5
09:14 Arrive at Abashiri
09:37 Depart from Takikawa by the local train
10:48 Arrive at Furano


View Furano Lavender Express in a larger map

Accommodation and train formations

Furano Lavender Express and Furano Koyo Express are operated by three types of trains. These three trains are specialized for the trains to resort area. They have higher passenger’s deck and huge glass windows. Let’s see the detail and images of all three trains.

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

KIHA183 Crystal Express

KIHA183 Crystal Express has higher passenger's deck and double passenger's deck. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

KIHA183 Crystal Express has higher passenger's deck and double passenger's deck. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

This train is 4 cars formation. Car#1 and #4 have the passenger’s deck on 300 mm higher than regular floor. Car#2 is called Dome car. This car has 900 mm higher passenger’s deck. It is almost upper deck on double deck. Car#3 is double deck car. It has several compartment at lower deck, some semi compartment seats at upper deck and salon space. Usually upper deck on Car#3 is assigned as non reserved seat. If you use Japan Rail Pass, you can use compartment with 4000 yen per room extra. All seats are ordinary class seat. It does not have any green car. The seat configuration is 2+2 and the seat pitch is 960mm. This car had the observation deck at both end. But it is not allowed to access these deck now. JR Hokkaido had an accident at railroad crossing in 2010. The train had a heavy damage at the end. Since then, the observation deck is not accessible for safety reason.

Images

Ordinary seat at car#1 and 4
KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4 KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#1 and #4

Ordinary seat at car#2 “Dome Car”
KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#2 Dome car KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#2 Dome car KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#2 Dome car KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#2 Dome car KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#2 Dome car KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#2 Dome car KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat at car#2 Dome car

Ordinary seat in compartment at car#3 lower deck
KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in compartment at car#3 lower deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in compartment at car#3 lower deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in compartment at car#3 lower deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in compartment at car#3 lower deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in compartment at car#3 lower deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in compartment at car#3 lower deck

Ordinary seat in semi compartment at car#3 upper deck
KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in semi compartment at car#3 upper deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in semi compartment at car#3 upper deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in semi compartment at car#3 upper deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in semi compartment at car#3 upper deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in semi compartment at car#3 upper deck KIHA183 Crystal Express ordinary seat in semi compartment at car#3 upper deck

Salon space at car#3
KIHA183 Crystal Express salon space at car#3 KIHA183 Crystal Express salon space at car#3 KIHA183 Crystal Express salon space at car#3 KIHA183 Crystal Express salon space at car#3 KIHA183 Crystal Express salon space at car#3 KIHA183 Crystal Express salon space at car#3

Entrance deck
KIHA183 Crystal Express entrance deck KIHA183 Crystal Express entrance deck KIHA183 Crystal Express entrance deck KIHA183 Crystal Express entrance deck

Baggage space
KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space

Sanitary space
KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space KIHA183 Crystal Express baggage space

Train formation

1234
H(R)D(R)B(NR)/SLH(D)
C(R*)/SL

H=Higher passenger’s deck car D=Dome car B=Box seat car C=Compartment SL=Salon space
(R)=Reserved ordinary seat (NR)=Non reserved ordinary seat (R*)=Reserved ordinary seat in compartment (Additional room charge 4000yen per room on regular fare or Japan Rail Pass)

KIHA183 North Rainbow Express

KIHA183 North Rainbow Express is one of the trains to be used for Furano Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

KIHA183 North Rainbow Express is one of the trains to be used for Furano Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

This train is 5 cars formation. Car#1, #2 #4 and #5 have higher passenger’s deck than regular floor. Car#3 is double deck car. It has ordinary seats at upper deck and salon space at lower deck. Usually upper deck on Car#3 is assigned as non reserved seat. All seats are ordinary class seat. It does not have any green car. The seat configuration is 2+2 and the seat pitch is 960mm.

Images

Ordinary seat at higher deck car (Car#1,2,4 and 5)
KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat

Ordinary seat at double deck car (Car#3)
KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat on double deck car KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat on double deck car KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat on double deck car KIHA183 North Rainbow Express ordinary seat on double deck car

Salon space
KIHA183 North Rainbow Express salon space KIHA183 North Rainbow Express salon space KIHA183 North Rainbow Express salon space

Baggage space
KIHA183 North Rainbow Express baggage space KIHA183 North Rainbow Express baggage space

Sanitary space
KIHA183 North Rainbow Express sanitary space KIHA183 North Rainbow Express sanitary space KIHA183 North Rainbow Express sanitary spaceKIHA183 North Rainbow Express sanitary space

Train formation

12345
H(R)H(R)D(NR)H(D)H(D)
SL

H=Ordinary seat on higher passenger’s deck car D=Ordinary seat on double deck car SL-Salon
(R)=Reserved ordinary seat (NR)=Non reserved ordinary seat

KIHA183 Niseko Express

KIHA183 Niseko Express is the oldest train in three trains to use for Furano Lavender Express (C) Sonic Rail Garden

KIHA183 Niseko Express is the oldest train in three trains to use for Furano Lavender Express (C) Sonic Rail Garden

This train is 3 cars formation. All three cars have 200 mm higher passenger’s deck than regular floor. This train is very basic. It does not have any double deck or salon space. All seats are ordinary class seat. It does not have any green car. The seat configuration is 2+2 and the seat pitch is 960mm.

Images

Ordinary seat
KIHA183 Niseko Express ordinary seat KIHA183 Niseko Express ordinary seat KIHA183 Niseko Express ordinary seat KIHA183 Niseko Express ordinary seat KIHA183 Niseko Express ordinary seat KIHA183 Niseko Express ordinary seat KIHA183 Niseko Express ordinary seat

Baggage space
KIHA183 Niseko Express baggage space KIHA183 Niseko Express baggage space KIHA183 Niseko Express baggage space

Vending machine
KIHA183 Niseko Express vending machine KIHA183 Niseko Express vending machine

Sanitary space
KIHA183 Niseko Express sanitary space KIHA183 Niseko Express sanitary space KIHA183 Niseko Express sanitary space KIHA183 Niseko Express sanitary space KIHA183 Niseko Express sanitary space

Train formation

123
H(NR/R)H(NR/R)H(NR/R)

H=Ordinary seat on higher passenger’s deck car
(R)=Reserved ordinary seat (NR)=Non reserved ordinary seat

Comments

  1. Marites Domingo says:

    Hi Takeshi san. I am Marites and my family and I (around 5 of us) will be going to Japan on June 10-17. First we arrive in Tokyo (june10-13) and to hokkaido on June 14-17. In hokkaido we are planning to stay in Sapporo. What is best for us, to ride in a taxi or train if we wanted to go to otaro , furano and Sapporo beer tasting? What train is best for such a short visit?

  2. Jessica says:

    Hi Takeshi san,
    I’m so glad I found this website! I’m going to Sapporo May 10-17th, and I have a concern about going to Naka Furano to go to Farm Tomita. I’ve checked how to get there by train and found the JR train schedules for the Sapporo to Takikawa leg, and the Furano to Nakafurano leg, but I can’t find any timetable for the local JR Nemuro Main Line which I need to get the connection train from Takikawa to Furano. (Tomita’s website suggests going Sapporo-Takikawa- Furano-Nakafurano). Do you know where I can find this or what times do the trains run? I read your sample itinerary and I’ll probably use it to go to Furano but I’m not sure if there’ll be a connection train (From Furano to Takikawa) when I head back into Sapporo. I’ll probably leave Nakafurano on the 16:33 or 17:31 train, meaning I’ll be at Furano at 16:43 or 17:41. Alternatively, is it better to take the other route of going from Sapporo to Asahikawa station to Nakafurano station since we only need to change trains once (but it seems longer and 1530 yen more expensive per person) ? Also, is it easy to get a taxi to farm Tomita from nakafurano as my mother might not want to walk. Your advice will be greatly appreciated, this is the only problem I have in organizing my trip!

  3. Kato-san says:

    Hi Takeshi San,

    I will be travelling to Hokkaido in August for 10 days. I will buy the 7-day Hokkaido Rail Pass and use it to go Otaru -> Noboribetsu. Then from Noboribetsu -> Hakadote. Then finally from Hakadote -> Sapporo. Each place i will stay a 2 days. On the 7th day, I want to take a day trip from Sapporo to Furano. May I know if the Furano Lavender Express is covered by the Hokkaido Rail Pass? What about the Furano-Norokko train? Is that covered too? If not, where can i buy and reserve seat for the Furano-Norokko train.

    Thank you for your advise.

  4. DO HUY XUAN says:

    Dear Takeshi-san,
    I plan to visit Furano from Sapporo in July 23. I will buy JR Pass 7 days in advance. Do I need to book Furano Lavender Express /Furano Koyo Express in advance or I just come to Sapporo station and get on the train? In case I book in advance with reserved seat, do I need to pay extra fee? Thanks.

    • Hi DO HUY XUAN san,

      I recommend you to book it in advance. You can book it at most of JR stations throughout Japan.
      Reserved seat fee is covered by JR pass fully. You don’t need to pay any extra.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Elise Ang says:

    Can I purchase Hokkaido Rail Pass at Sapporo Chitose Airport. Please advise.

  6. Shikha Rawat says:

    Hello,

    I’m flying to Sapporo on May 7th from Tokyo early morning. Because Sakura will be in full bloom around that time in Hokkaido, I hope I get to view it. I wanted to visit Furano and Biei for flower fields but I read above that I may not be able to view it in early spring?
    I will have JR pass and I’m planning to rent a bicycle in Biei. Planning to take the train back to Tokyo from Sapporo and wanted to stop at some stations. I’m not sure if we can squeeze Matsumae in our plan but can you suggest a few stops on our way back from Sapporo to Tokyo that might be worth looking? It takes about 9 hours by train to come back to Tokyo, so I was hoping if it’d be worth it to stop somewhere? I know I’m trying to pack a lot in such a short trip but if possible I’d like that.

    Thank you in advance for taking your time to reply 🙂

    • Hi Shikha,

      In early May, Furano and Biei do not have any flowers yet. If you expect to see flower field, you will be disappointed. It will be just brown and green. It may be chilly to take a bike in this season. If you are okay to see fresh spring green, you can go there.

      Hakodate is Must-See place on the way to Tokyo. Matsumae is very popular to see cherry blossom but you have to take a bus to get there from Kikonai. There is no railway from Kikonai to Matsumae.
      http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5380.html

      If cherry blossom season will be a bit behind the forecast, Kitakami is a nice place to drop by.
      http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5077.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Desrene says:

    Hello!
    I would like to ask about the JR Hokkaido Twinkle Bus (Bus tours that make the rounds to all the famous and scenic spots centering around Furano and Biei). Do you know when does it starts this year? Is is available every day starting from June 2017? Thank you.

    Regards, Desrene

    • Hi Desrene,

      At this point, there is no information. JR Hokkaido has not released any info yet. But in last season, the bus ran from July 2 to Aug 7 only. I think it will not be much different from last year. If you visit there in June, I don’t think you can take the bus.

      I don’t know when JR Hokkaido will release the info. But last year, the info was came out in mid May.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JRPail.com

      • Desrene says:

        Thank you so much for the prompt reply!

        What would then be the best way to travel around Furano in June?

        Below are the places I would like to visit!
        Furano:
        Cheese Factory
        Farm Tomita, Tomita Melon House
        Popura Farm (Furano)
        Flower Land Kamifurano
        Kanno Farm, Shikisai No Oka 四季彩の丘, 拓真館

        Biei: Patchwork no Michiパッチワークの路, Panorama Road パノラマロード, blue pond

        Asahikawa: Asahidake Onsen, Asahikawa zoo and Daisetsuzan National Park

        Is it ok to advise me?
        Thank you!

        • Hi Desrene,

          You have to drive or hire taxi to access to most of places in Furano. Some places can be accessed by train, such as Farm Tomita. But other places are too far to access by walk and there is no public transportation.

          I have never used taxi for sightseeing in Furano. So I have no idea how much it will cost. But it will be very expensive. You will spend 10000 yen or more quickly if you take taxi.

          You may use rental cycle in Biei.

          You can access to Asahiyama zoo from Asahikawa by bus, and Daisetsuzan, Asahidake Onsen from Asahikawa station by bus too.

          You may get some info at the link below:
          http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6825.html
          http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6775.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. MABLE WONG CHUA says:

    Mr. TAKESHI,
    We plan to be in Sapporo from April 22-25,2017. Is it advisable to visit Furano and Biei during this time of the year? Will we be able to see anything worth while. We are planning to purchase a JR Pass.

    • Hi Mable,

      It depends on what you expect to see. Late April is a sort of transition season. You may still be able to see snow there. It’s almost no chance to see flowers and fresh greens in this season. If you are okay to see a big country view of Hokkaido, Biei is a nice place. But if you expect to see spring or early summer scene, it’s not recommended.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      • MABLE CHUA says:

        Mr. Takeshi,
        Thank you so much for your reply.
        Could you please suggest an itinerary for us for these dates
        being able to maximize the use of the JR Pass?
        What about Noboribetsu? Is it worthwhile going there for 2 nights. Travelling from Sapporo?
        It is a bit difficult for me to see the train route from Noboribetsu
        to Tokyo Shinjuku. Can you please assist me with this?
        Thank you so much

  9. Duncan Peattie says:

    Do you know, or can you estimate based on previous years, what will be the first weekend of operation of these trains in 2017?

  10. Susan Eng says:

    Hi,
    My plans to Hokkaido.
    June 7 leave morioka to furano
    June 14 leave furano to narita airport ter 2 for homeward bound to singapore on ANA flight @ 5pm.
    Please advise what is best option for me.
    1. To get a JR rail pass – 7 days
    (Now that I’m in japan, how to purchase it?)
    2. To get JR EAST -south Hokkaido rail pass and then use local bus to travel to furano.
    I hope to hear your suggestions.

    Thank you
    Susan

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