Nemuro Line Local 2475D (Shisui) from Takikawa to Furano
The fastest way from Sapporo to Furano is also the least frequent. From my Limited Express Lilac 5, I transferred over to the Nemuro Line Local at Takikawa. However, the Nemuro Line from Takikawa to Furano has just 9 trains a day, and after my selected departure at 9.42am with 2475D, the next train to Furano would be departing at 3.38pm – a 5 hours and 56 minute gap in service. With such a low frequency on this single-track rural line, I had to ensure that I made this connection in good time, or it will cause an immediate re-planning of an entire day of joyrides.
Transferring at Takikawa Station from the Limited Express Lilac 5 to the Nemuro Line Local 2475D was easy with just a bridge to cross. A departure display on the bridge also shows which platform I should be descending to.
The timetable of trains at Furano Station. The last right column are for train departures on the Nemuro Line, with 8 Local trains an 1 Rapid train every day.
Platform 1 is right by the main station building.
The station sign at Takikawa at Platform 1 shows the next station on the Nemuro Line only.
A sign at the northern end of Platform 1 provides transfer information for arriving passengers from the Nemuro Line.
I wish I could have a look outside Takikawa Station, but this transfer was too close and risky to miss.
To my surprise, the stabling KiHa 40 Shisui from the yard was going to form my Nemuro Line Local 2475D. A surprise Joyful Train to spark joy indeed.
Being a 1-car train, the KiHa 40-1791 Shisui went all the way to the sheltered part of the platform to pick passengers up.
The KiHa 40-1791 Shisui forms 1 half of the Sanshisuimei Sightseeing Train.
The destination plate of the Nemuro Line Local on the KiHa 40-1791 Shisui.
Passengers boarded first while I was still taking photos, but surprisingly, there was not much of a crowd despite the next train being in almost 6 hours time.
The interior of the KiHa 40-1791 Shisui.
In fact, I had a box seat to myself throughout the ride.
The legroom on board the KiHa 40-1791 Shisui.
The view of the refurbished Shisui train from my seat.
Seat numbers are listed, but this was not in use on this Local train. All seats are unreserved.
At the ends of the train car, there are longitudinal seating to cater to those on short rides.
A cash machine is provided at the front of this one-man operated train for passengers paying by cash when alighting at unmanned stations.
A Japanese squat toilet is available on board the KiHa 40-1791 Shisui.
An exterior photo of KiHa 40-1791 Shisui being readied for departure with the headlights on.
Departing from Takikawa on time at 9.42am.
Passing by JR Hokkaido Iwamizawa Hosen Line Takikawa Hosen Line Control Office.
Going through the railway crossing on Nishiizumi-dori.
Turning on to the Nemuro Line
I’m not sure if this is a rare cameo picture, riding the Shisui with the JR Hokkaido Sapporo-Furano Area Pass.
The change to rural scenery was rather quick.
Approaching Higashi-Takikawa Station.
Making a brief stop at Higashi-Takikawa Station.
More rural scenery along the way.
Crossing over the Sorachi River.
Making a brief stop at Akabira Station.
Crossing with the Nemuro Line Rapid 3476D at Akabira Station.
Departing from Akabira Station.
Making a brief stop at Moshiri Station.
Heading alongside the Sorachi River.
Making a brief stop at Hiragishi Station.
The station building is ahead from the platform.
A disused siding with probably a godown platform at Hiragishi Station.
Continuing alongside the Sorachi River.
Making a brief stop at Ashibetsu Station.
Ashibetsu seems like a populous town with a manned station and buses standing by outside.
Crossing over the Ashibetsu River.
Making a brief stop at Kami-Ashibetsu Station.
Making a brief stop at Nokanan Station.
Passengers need to cross the track for the station building and exit at Nokanan Station.
Crossing with the Nemuro Line Local 2478D at Nokanan Station.
The Takikawa-bound platform is situated on the other end of the pedestrian crossing, not directly opposite the Furano-bound platform.
It’s a long 21-minute stretch from Nokanan to Furano, the last stretch of the journey.
Passing through the Takisato Tunnel and Shimanoshita Tunnel.
Passing by the confluence of the Sorachi River and Furano River.
Meeting with the Furano Line north of Furano Station.
The Furano Line merges with the Nemuro Line north of Furano Station.
Passing by Furano Freight Station on the right.
Approaching Furano Station.
The Nemuro Line Local 2475D arrived at Furano Station at 10.47.53am – 7 seconds early.
Looking back at the empty interior of KiHa 40-1791 Shisui.
KiHa 40-1791 Shisui at Furano Station.
A station staff changed the destination plate on the KiHa 40-1791 Shisui upon arrival at Furano.
A mascot and sign touts Furano as the middle point of Hokkaido.
The timetable of Nemuro Line trains at Furano. Train services are even more sparse on the next section from Furano to Higashi-Shikagoe, and the following section from Higashi-Shikagoe to Shintoku is covered by rail replacement bus due to typhoon damage sustained in August 2016.
The Furano Station building and exit is located across the tracks.
Heading out of the platform via the overhead bridge.
While there are no automated ticket barriers at Furano Station, a station staff i standing by at the side of the gate to and from the platform to check for tickets upon entry or exit.
The simple station concourse at Furano Station.
The Furano Tourist Information Centre in the station has moved to Concierge Furano which is a 3 to 5 minute walk away.
The old Furano Station sign still stands outside the station building.
The façade of Furano Station.
For those connecting onwards out of Furano Station by buses, the bus stops are located just outside the station building, within the station compounds.
The Nemuro Line Local 2475D offers a rural view of Hokkaido when heading to Furano, and is a fast but low-frequency connection from trains from Sapporo via Takikawa. Due to the low frequency and lack of promotion, this is also a fast and non-touristy route to travel from Sapporo to Furano without the need to go via Asahikawa and Biei.
Note that my Shisui experience may be by chance, so don’t visit with an expectation of a Joyful Train if you are planning to go.