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Getting there & around

Asahikawa is a central location with frequent plane, train and bus access. Flights head directly to and from Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo. Buses between the airport and JR Asahikawa station (JR; ¥570, 35 minutes) are timed to connect with arrivals and departures.

Trains link Asahikawa with Sapporo (tokkyū ¥4680, 1½ hours) to the south, Wakkanai (¥8070, four hours) to the north, Abashiri (¥7750, 3¾ hours) to the east, and to the smaller sightseeing towns of Biei (¥530, 30 minutes) and Furano (futsū ¥1040, 1¼ hours).

Buses leave from 20 different stops spread out over three streets in front of the train station. If you are using Asahikawa as a springboard for a day trip to Daisetsuzan, set your alarm early and catch the 9.10am bus: the next one leaves at 10.45am and arrives an hour later, which does not leave much time for hiking – and don’t miss the last bus back to Asahikawa at 5.05pm.

Unless you feel confident reading the frequently changing route schedules, you’re best off asking for assistance either at the tourist information counter in the station or at the bus info booth across the street from the train station parking lot. Plan on allowing extra time for navigating if you’re on a tight schedule, and be sure to check departure times – it’s easy to miss a bus and end up with very little time at your destination.