Shiretoko-shari JR Station (0855 hrs) > Abashiri JR Station (1000 hrs)
Fee = 810 yen + 300 yen for reserved seats = 1,100 yen
Another seasonal sightseeing train available only during winter. There are a total of two trains in operation per direction daily. It travels along the section of Senmo line between Shiretoko-shari and Abashiri JR Stations.
- This section of Senmo line moves along the circumference of Hokkaido overlooking Okhotsk Sea, which is covered by huge masses of floating drift ice in winter. Similar to other series of "Norokko" trains in Hokkaido, this train moves at a much slower speed of 85 km/h, enabling passengers to get a better view of the vast Okhotsk sea during the journey. In reserved seats carriages, some of the wooden benches are oriented to face the window directly, allowing one to admire the scenery without straining his/her neck. Same train carriages are also seen in Kushiro Shitsugen Norokko Train, which is in operation between April to September.
- A small stand selling snacks and souvenirs is found in one of the train carriages. One of the most popular food on this train is milk pudding (made by Cafe&Cake 風花, a confectionary shop in Abashiri). Do grab one as soon as possible since only limited number is available on board (only 20 was for sale on the day of my travel). Similar to Fuyu-no-Shitsugen, coal stoves are also available in every train carriage. Decided to give it a try to grill a piece of dried squid over the stove, but the outcome was not to our expectation - found the meat too hard and chewy for our liking.
- Train makes a 10 minutes stop at Kitahama JR Station, the train station closest to Okhotsk Sea. An observatory is erected beside this train station, which offers a panoramic view of the majestic Okhotsk Sea.
- Not forgetting to collect a commemorative stamp before you alight the train!
- Related train information: http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/train/tr026_01.html