Getting Around Central Hokkaido
The public transport system in Hokkaido is rather limited when compared to the rest of Japan. Travel between major cities within Hokkaido is relatively simple, although visiting attractions outside of the main city centres may require relying on infrequent and expensive buses. Because of this, the most recommended option for making the most of central Hokkaido is travelling by rental car.
Asahikawa has an extensive bus network which connects the station with all major attractions. The Sightseeing Bus Fun Fun is a great service which covers three circuits and stops at all the town’s main points of interest, including the famous Asahikawa Zoo. The buses run every hour with one and two day tickets selling for 800 yen and 1000 yen respectively.
Asahikawa can easily be enjoyed on foot, with most attractions residing not too far of a walk from Asahikawa station. There are some exceptions of course, most notably being the zoo, the Otokoyama Brewery, and the town’s many ski resorts which live a little farther away from the station.
With its relatively flat topography and its many scenic cycling paths, cycling around Asahikawa is highly recommended in the summer months. The tourist information centre, located in Asahikawa Station, is a great place for obtaining extensive information on getting around Asahikawa.
Furano is serviced by the JR Furano Line which runs through the stunning Furano Valley which fills with blooming flowers in the summer, and continues north to Asahikawa. The Furano-Biei Norokko tourist train also runs daily in the summer months and continues a weekend service in through autumn, with a special seasonal stop at a Lavender Field Station near Farm Tomita.
Located conveniently nearby the entrance to JR Furano Station is the bus company Furano Bus which provides the majority of local services. Its office is also next to the Furano Tourist Association – a great place to obtain tips on how to reach the various splendid attractions in and around Furano. There are many outlets around Furano Station and the surrounding areas which offer bicycle rental, a nice scenic alternate option for exploring the town when weather permits.
Biei can be easily reached directly from Asahikawa Airport due to its close proximity, with the one way bus ride taking around 15 minutes and costing 370 yen. The town is extremely bicycle friendly and as such there are many places throughout the town which offer bicycle rental, both electric and standard. The usual rate for such services is 200 yen per hour for a standard bike and 600 yen per hour for an electric bike.
Biei is serviced by a number of tourist sightseeing shuttle buses during the summer months, including the Round Trip Bus Tour which departs from Furano Station and the Biei View buses from Biei Station.