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Nemuro Line
A KiHa 261-1000 series DMU between Taisei and Memuro
Native name根室本線
StatusIn operation
OwnerJR Hokkaido
TypeRegional rail
Operator(s)JR Hokkaido
Rolling stockKiHa 261 series DMU, KiHa 40 series DMU, KiHa 54 series DMU, H100 series DEMU
Closed1 April 2024 (Furano–Shintoku) (planned)[1][JR Hokkaido 1]
Line length443.8 km (275.8 mi)
Number of tracksEntire line single tracked
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Operating speed120 km/h (75 mph) (max)
Route map

Nemuro Main Line (根室本線, Nemuro Honsen) is a railway line in Hokkaido operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido), connecting Takikawa Station in Takikawa and Nemuro Station in Nemuro, including Obihiro and Kushiro. Higashi-Nemuro is the most easterly situated station on the Japanese rail system.


Ōzora limited express train
A KiHa 54-500 DMU on a local service
Map with main stations (before 2024)

Local trains operate between Takikawa and Furano 9 times per day, and between Furano and Higashi-Shikagoe 4 times per day. Due to typhoon damage sustained in August 2016, the line is closed between Higashi-Shikagoe and Shintoku, and passengers must transfer to a bus.[2]

The segment east of Shintoku forms part of the trunk route between Sapporo (via the Sekisho Line) and eastern Hokkaido, and has more frequent service, although with decreasing frequencies as the line goes east. The limited express train Ōzora runs between Sapporo and Kushiro six times a day, while the Tokachi runs five times a day between Sapporo and Obihiro.[3] There are 11 daily local services between Shintoku and Ikeda, 8 daily local services between Ikeda and Urahoro, and 6 daily local services between Urahoro and Kushiro.[4]

The segment between Kushiro and Nemuro has the official nickname Hanasaki Line (花咲線, Hanasaki-sen). There are two rapid trains Nosappu (ノサップ) and Hanasaki (はなさき) which run once a day each. Six daily local services operate between Kushiro and Attoko, and four or five operate to the eastern terminus at Nemuro.[4] As of late 2022, this segment of the line saw frequent delays and cancellations due to deer incursions causing trains to make emergency stops.[5]

Nemuro can be reached in a continuous 1,559.2 km train journey from Tokyo Station, which takes a total of just over 15 hours on four trains, departing Tokyo at 6:32 am and arriving in Nemuro at 9:39 pm.[6]


LE: Limited express
R: Rapid
All non-local trains stop at stations signed "+", some stop at "*", no such trains stop at "-". Local trains stop at all stations, except Ikutora and Ochiai (no services since 2016 due to line closure), and stations marked "◌" where some local trains skip.
No. Station name Japanese Distance (km) LE R Transfers Location (all in Hokkaido)
A21 Takikawa 滝川 0.0 + Hakodate Main Line Takikawa
T22 Higashi-Takikawa 東滝川 7.2 -
T23 Akabira 赤平 13.7 + Akabira
T24 Moshiri 茂尻 17.2 +
T25 Hiragishi 平岸 20.7 -
T26 Ashibetsu 芦別 26.6 + Ashibetsu
T27 Kami-Ashibetsu 上芦別 30.5 +
T28 Nokanan 野花南 35.2 *
T30 Furano 富良野 54.6 + Furano Line Furano
T31 Nunobe 布部 60.9 *
T32 Yamabe 山部 66.7 +
T33 Shimo-Kanayama 下金山 74.7 * Minamifurano, Sorachi
T34 Kanayama 金山 81.6 +
T35 Higashi-Shikagoe 東鹿越 94.8 +
T36 Ikutora 幾寅 98.8
T37 Ochiai 落合 108.2
Kami-Ochiai Junction 上落合(信) 112.2
K23 Shintoku 新得 136.3 + + Sekishō Line Shintoku, Kamikawa
K24 Tokachi-Shimizu 十勝清水 145.4 * + Shimizu, Kamikawa
K26 Mikage 御影 155.9 - -
K27 Memuro 芽室 166.5 * + Memuro, Kasai
K28 Taisei 大成 168.6 - -
K29 Nishi-Obihiro 西帯広 173.4 - - Obihiro
K30 Hakurindai 柏林台 176.6 - -
K31 Obihiro 帯広 180.1 + +
K32 Satsunai 札内 184.9 - Makubetsu, Nakagawa
K33 Makubetsu 幕別 194.3 -
K35 Toshibetsu 利別 200.8 - Ikeda, Nakagawa
K36 Ikeda 池田 204.3 +
K37 Tōfutsu 十弗 212.8 - Toyokoro, Nakagawa
K38 Toyokoro 豊頃 218.2 -
K39 Shin-Yoshino 新吉野 225.3 - Urahoro, Tokachi
K40 Urahoro 浦幌 231.7 *
K42 Atsunai 厚内 250.1 -
K45 Onbetsu 音別 265.1 - Kushiro
K47 Shiranuka 白糠 281.1 * Shiranuka, Shiranuka
K48 Nishi-Shoro 西庶路 286.5 -
K49 Shoro 庶路 288.6 -
K50 Otanoshike 大楽毛 299.0 - Kushiro
K51 Shin-Otanoshike 新大楽毛 300.8 -
K52 Shin-Fuji 新富士 305.7 -
K53 Kushiro 釧路 308.4 + +
B54 Higashi-Kushiro 東釧路 311.3 * Senmō Main Line
Musa 武佐 312.5 *
Beppo 別保 317.0 * Kushiro Town, Kushiro
Kami-Oboro 上尾幌 331.7 * Akkeshi, Akkeshi
Oboro 尾幌 340.9 -
Monshizu 門静 350.1 -
Akkeshi 厚岸 355.0 +
Chanai 茶内 375.2 + Hamanaka, Akkeshi
Hamanaka 浜中 382.2 +
Anebetsu 姉別 392.3 -
Attoko 厚床 398.9 + Nemuro
Bettoga 別当賀 414.5 *
Ochiishi 落石 424.8 +
Konbumori 昆布盛 428.8 *
Nishi-Wada 西和田 433.6 *
Higashi-Nemuro 東根室 442.3 *
Nemuro 根室 443.8 +


The line was built as a link line between central and eastern Hokkaido, by Hokkaido Government Railway (北海道官設鉄道, Hokkaidō Kansetsu Tetsudō). The first section of the current Nemuro Line was opened between Kushiro - Shiranuka in 1901. The line was extended westward, reaching Furano in 1907. In 1913 the Furano - Takikawa section opened, shortening the route by 53.5 km. The first section, originally included as part of the Nemuro Line, become classified as the Furano Line in 1913.

In 1911, 1st class sleeping accommodation was included on the Hakodate to Kushiro train, and a dining car was added from 1916.

The first section of the line east of Kushiro opened in 1917, reaching Nemuro in 1921.

In 1966, two major deviations opened, the first, east of Kanayama, associated with the construction of the Kanayama Dam, and the second between Ochiai and Shintoku, including the 5,790 m Shinkarikachi tunnel allowing the line to bypass the 1907 Karikachi tunnel and associated 1 in 40 (2.5%) grades.

In 1971, a refrigerated container train was introduced between Kushiro and Tokyo.

In 1990, a new tunnel and associated alignment opened near Atsunai, and a deviation near Shimanoshita associated with the construction of the Takisato Dam was opened in 1991.

Decline and closures

In 1981, the Sekishō Line opened between Shin-Yubari and Shintoku, becoming the main route between central and southeastern Hokkaido and shortening the distance for stations east of Shintoku to Sapporo. This led to a rapid decline in ridership on the Furano-Shintoku segment of the Nemuro Main Line, from 4,664 a day in 1980 to 654 a day in 1985. Population decline in the area also contributed to a decline in ridership. By 2015, only 152 people per day were using this segment of the line, most of whom were commuting senior high school students.[7]

On 31 August 2016, torrential rainfall damaged the 17.4 km section between Higashi-Shikagoe and Kami-Ochiai Junction resulting in the passenger service from Higashi-Shikagoe to Shintoku being replaced by a bus.[7] Thereafter, on 19 November 2016, JR Hokkaido's president announced plans to rationalise the network by up to 1,237 km, or ~50% of the current network,[8] including closure of the Nemuro Line between Furano and Kami-Ochiai Junction. In January 2022, the four local governments between Furano and Shintoku gave up on maintaining this segment of the line, and in December the president of JR Hokkaido announced a goal to convert this portion to bus service in 2023 or thereafter.[9] A notice of abolition was submitted on March 31, 2023.[1][JR Hokkaido 1]

The section between Kushiro and Nemuro was also proposed for conversion to Third Sector operation, but if local governments were not agreeable, such sections would also face closure. In April 2021, Nemuro City raised over 50 million yen through crowdfunding to keep the eastern Hanasaki Line portion open, after JR Hokkaido stated that the line was difficult to maintain on its own.[10] As of mid-2021, this portion of the line saw only about 200 passengers per day.[11]

On 4 March 2017, 3 more stations were closed - Shimanoshita Station (T29), Kami-Atsunai Station (K41) and Inashibetsu Station (K33).[12] On 17 March the following year, Haobi Station (K25) was closed.[13]

On 16 March 2019, Chokubetsu Station (K43), Shakubetsu Station (K44) and Hattaushi Station were closed, two of these becoming signal points: Chokubetsu and Shakubetsu.[14]

On 14 March 2020, Furuse Station (K46) was closed, reducing the number of stations on the Nemuro Main Line to 60.

Map of section Nemuro Main Line closed at 2024

In June 2023, it was revealed that effective 1 April 2024, the section of the line between Furano and Shintoku will be closed, splitting the line in two.[1] In addition, five stations (Higashi-Takikawa (T22), Atsunai (K42), Oboro, Bettoga, Kombumori) will be closed owing to low ridership.[15]

Former connecting lines

Taushubetsu bridge on the former Tokachi Mitsuma line

Ashibetsu area

The Mitsubishi Mining Co. opened an 8 km line to Penke Sanko in 1949, and a 1 km branch to the Yuya mine in 1954. Both closed with the mine in 1964.

A 762 mm (2'6") gauge logging tramway was operated from Kamiashibetsu commencing 1934. By 1954 it had a 31 km 'main line' and 5 branches totalling 44 km. The lines closed in 1961 when log trucks replaced the tramway.

Shintoku area

Wagon used on the Kamishihoro line

Obihiro area

Former Chihoku line, 2006

The 78 km Shihoro Line to Tokachi Mitsuma opened in sections between 1925 and 1939. An 18 km deviation built in association with the Nukabira Dam opened in 1955. The line closed in 1987.

The 84 km Hiroo Line opened between 1929 & 1932 and was closed in 1987. A proposal to extend the line to Samani and connect to the Hidaka Main Line did not eventuate.

A 4 km private 1067mm (3'6") line connected a sugar beet factory to Obihiro. The sugar beets were transported to the factory by a 3 line 762mm gauge network totalling 59 km, which operated 1924–77.

Shakubetsu - Higashi-Kushiro section

Hokushin station in winter

Hamanaka - Nemuro section

1963 railcar from the Shibetsu development lines

See also


  1. ^ a b "根室線(富良野・新得間)の鉄道事業廃止届の提出について" (PDF) (Press release). 北海道旅客鉄道. 2023-03-31. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2023-03-31. Retrieved 2023-03-31.


  1. ^ a b c "北海道旅客鉄道株式会社の鉄道事業の一部を廃止する届出及び本届出に係る公衆の利便の確保に関する意見の聴取について" (PDF) (Press release). 国土交通省北海道運輸局. 2023-03-31. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2023-03-31. Retrieved 2023-03-31.
  2. ^ "Notice of rail replacement bus service between Higashi-Shikagoe and Shintoku" (PDF). March 12, 2022.
  3. ^ "The Limited Express Ozora for Kushiro, Obihiro, and Sapporo – Sapporo Station". Retrieved 2023-01-06.
  4. ^ a b JR Hokkaido online timetable, January 2023
  5. ^ "Increase in JR train cancellations caused by deer, with 88 in 12 days - The Hokkaido Shimbun Press". Retrieved 2023-01-06.
  6. ^ "Cape Nosappu: The most eastern point in Japan". Retrieved 2023-01-06.
  7. ^ a b "JR根室線 富良野〜新得廃止へ 地域の足はどうなる?". NHK北海道 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-01-06.
  8. ^ "JR Hokkaido says it can't maintain half of its railways". The Japan Times. 19 November 2016. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017.
  9. ^ "富良野―新得、早期バス転換目指す JR北海道社長 新幹線延伸「目標通りに」:北海道新聞 どうしん電子版". 北海道新聞 どうしん電子版 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-01-06.
  10. ^ "Over $455,000 donated to save local line in Hokkaido for use as 'train trips' for children". Mainichi Daily News. 2021-04-07. Retrieved 2023-01-06.
  11. ^ Tandler, Agnes (2021-06-02). "Loneliness at the End of the Line". Retrieved 2023-01-06.
  12. ^ "About JR Hokkaido March 2017 timetable revision" (PDF). Hokkaido Railway Company (in Japanese). Japan. 16 January 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  13. ^ "About JR Hokkaido March 2018 timetable revision" (PDF). Hokkaido Railway Company (in Japanese). Japan. 15 December 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  14. ^ "2019年3月ダイヤ改正について" [About March 2019 schedule revision] (PDF). JR Hokkaido (in Japanese). 14 December 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 December 2018.
  15. ^ Sugiyama, Junichi (26 June 2023). "「JR北海道が42駅廃止検討」報道、宗谷本線の駅がごっそり消える?" [Report of JR Hokkaido regarding abolition of 42 Stations, majority of which are on the Soya Main Line]. MyNavi Corporation (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 27 June 2023. Retrieved 4 July 2023.