Friday, August 2, 2013

Hokkaido Winter 2013 北海道冬季之旅 - Twinkle Bus Shiretoko-go

Joined 05.02.2013, 06.02.2013

- Shiretoko-go and Sounkyo-go Twinkle buses (from JR Hokkaido website) -
As part of Hokkaido winter tourism campaign, JR company introduces additional bus services (Shiretoko-go and Sounkyo-go Twinkle Buses) between late January to early March, to various destinations in East Hokkaido. These destinations include majestic natural landscapes such as Lake Mashu, Lake Kussharo, Mt Iou and Oshinkoshin falls, and hot spring paradise in Sounkyo, Kawayu and Utoro. What I like most about this service is that the departure/arrival timings of these buses are planned to fit into their existing train schedule, therefore allowing passengers to transit between bus and train efficiently!

Tip: Try as much as possible to reserve and purchase the bus tickets early (stated as 3 days beforehand in small prints), preferably at Twinkle Plaza which can be found at major train stations (Sapporo, Asahikawa, Obihiro, Hakodate, Kushiro and Abashiri). Did try to purchase the tickets on the day itself and fortunately was allowed to do that. As this bus service is exclusive to JR passengers only, you may be asked to show your JR Pass or tickets prior purchase.



Made use of three out of five available routes for Twinkle Bus Shiretoko-go. The fee for each route cost 1,000 yen.

(1) Shibecha - Kawayu Line: 
- SL Fuyu-no-Shitusugen Train from Kushiro arrives at Shibecha JR Station at 1224 hrs.
- Allows passengers to transfer to this bus that departs at 1240 hrs.
- Attractions covered: Lake Mashu and Mt Iou

(2) Kawayu - Utoro Line: 
- Same bus serving Shibecha-Kawayu Line, therefore one do not need to alight or change to another bus if you are continuing the journey to Utoro Onsen.
- Attraction covered: Oshinkoshin Falls

(3) Utoro - Shiretoko-shari Line:
- Bus pick up passengers from hotels in Utoro Onsen between 0735 to 0745 hrs.
- Arrive at Shiretoko-shari JR Station at 0835 hrs to catch Ryuhyo Norokko Train that departs at 0855 hrs.

JR Hokkaido website:
Shiretoko-go & Sounkyo-go Twinkle buses (2013 edition):


  1. Hi, thanks for the info shared.

    On the Tinkle Bus, at the attractions, did the driver allow passengers to get out of the bus to take some photos? I was considering the tinkle bus and a stop-over at Utoro but just not sure if it is worth doing so.


    1. Hi qingmoments! Yes, Twinkle Bus makes a 15 minutes stop at the attractions, more than enough time for you to capture good photos! If you are considering Kawayu - Utoro line, the bus will reach Oshinkoshin Falls when the sun is about to set - beautiful sunset view of drift ice floating on Okhotsk Sea. At night, you can also watch the laser light show in Utoro.