Category Archives: Kobe, Himeji

Limited time operation. Specialized Shinkansen train 500 TYPE EVA

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This is a collaboration of Shinkansen and very popular Japanese Anime “New Generation Evangelion (link to Wikipedia)” as Sanyo Shinkansen 40 years anniversary special project. This unique Shinkansen fleet has very different exterior that is painted by Evangelion color. And also it has Evangerion exhibition in car #1. There are many more Evangerion characters and designs in the trains. If you know this anime, you must be excited. Even if you are not familiar with this anime, you will be impressed by these decorations.

I just have got on this train in this early February, 2016. I would like to share the information and many photos of this train with you. Continue reading

Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen (Bullet Train), Most popular train to Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Hakata from Tokyo.

Shinkansen is the high speed train service in Japan. It is known as Bullet Train too.
Shinkansen is the high speed train service in Japan. It is known as Bullet Train too.

Tokaido Shinkansen is the oldest and busiest Shinkasen line and it is operated between Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka. Sanyo Shinkansen is operated between Osaka, Okayama, Hiroshima and Hakata (Fukuoka). Both lines are connected each other. Many trains, “Nozomi” that is the fastest train on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen, run from Tokyo to Hiroshima and some of those run to even Hakata.

Most of Hikari run between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, But some of those run to Okayama and Hiroshima.

Sanyo Shinkansen connected to Kyushu Shinkansen at Hakata. Many trains, Mizuho and Sakura are operated between Shin-Osaka and KUmamoto or Kagoshima-Chuo directly. Please see the post, Kyushu Shinkansen to get details.

Many of you will use this train system between Osaka/Kyoto and Tokyo. In this post, I would like to share the information of this train system with you. Continue reading

Sanyo Shinkansen image gallery. Check the interior and accommodations.

The logo of Hikari Rail Star
The logo of Hikari Rail Star

Sanyo Shinkansen is operated between Shin-Osaka and Hakata. But Sanyo Shinkansen is connected with Tokaido Shinkansen (from Nagoya, Kyoto and Tokyo) at Shin-Osaka and Kyushu Shinkansen (from Kumamoto and Kagoshima) at Hakata.

Most of trains run from Tokyo (Nozomi and Hikari) are operated by Tokaido Shinkansen fleet, 700 series or N700 series. If you look for the images of these trains, please see Tokaido Shinkansen image gallery.

Most of trains to Kyushu, such as Kumamoto or Kagoshima-chuo (Mizuho and Sakura) are operated by Kyushu Shinkansen fleet, N700 series. If you look for the image of this train, please see N700 series for Kyushu Shinkansen Mizuho and Sakura.

In this post, I show you the images of 700 series and 500 series. These train sets are used as “Kodama” (stops at all stations) of Sanyo Shinkansen.

And you can find 800 series of Kyushu Shinkansen segment (Hakata – Kagoshima-Chuo) at Kyushu Shinkansen.

*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images below.
Continue reading

Access to Tottori from Osaka, Kobe and Himeji with no extra charge by JR Pass. Limited Express Hamakaze

Limited Express Hamakaze crossing one of famous bridge, Amarube Bridge. (C) RSA – JR West KiHa 189 series DMU on a Hamakaze limited express service crossing the Amarube Viaduct on the Sanin Main Line

Limited Express Hamakaze (はまかぜ) connects Osaka (大阪) with Tottori (鳥取) Kasumi (香住) and Hamasaka (浜坂). Even though there is only one round trip, Hakamaze is only train that connects Osaka with Tottori directly by Japan Rail Pass or other JR rail passes without any extra charge. Actually the primary train goes to Tottori from Osaka is Limited Express Super Hakuto. This train is much more frequent and much faster than Hamakaze. But this train goes through Non JR line, Chizu Kyuko Railway. Therefore you have to pay extra charge if you want to take this train by Japan Rail Pass or other JR passes. Please check the post, The fastest access to Tottori from Osaka, Shin-Osaka and Kyoto, Limited Express Super Hakuto to get the details.

As I mentioned above, this train, Limited Express Hamakaze can be used by Japan Rail Pass with no restriction. Let’s see about route, schedule and accommodations. Continue reading

The fastest train access to Tottori from Osaka and Kyoto. Limited Express Super Hakuto

Limited Express Super Hakuto is operated by high speed diesel fleet HOT 7000 series. (C) Mitsuki-2368 – Chizu Express Company HOT7000 Super hakuto

Limited Express Super Hakuto (スーパーはくと) connects Kyoto (京都), Shin-Osaka (新大阪), Osaka (大阪), Sannomiya (三ノ宮) and Himeji (姫路) with Tottori (鳥取) and Kurayoshi (倉吉). This it the fastest and most frequent direct train service to Tottori from Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. But this train goes through non JR line, Chizu Kyuko Railway. That means you need to pay extra if you use this train by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t want to pay extra, Limited Express Hamakaze is available between Osaka and Tottori. However there is only one round trip and travel time is 1.5 hours longer than Super Hakuto.

I think Super Hakuto may be your choice even if you have to pay extra on top of Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see about route, schedule and accommodations. Continue reading

Kyushu Shinkansen N700 series for Mizuho, Sakura and Tsubame image gallery

N700 series was introduced for Mizuho and Sakura when Kyushu Shinkansen was completed. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
N700 series was introduced for Mizuho and Sakura when Kyushu Shinkansen was completed. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

N700 series was introduced for Kyushu Shinkansen in this past March. The fleet is the newest and the fastest on Kyushu and Sanyo Shinkansen. If you will use Japan Rail Pass, you may take this train as Sakura from Shin-Osaka to Hakata, Kumamoto or Kagoshima-Chuo.
This series is basically on same types of N700 series on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen. But this series is strictly called N700-7000/8000. The exterior is not much different between N700 and N700-7000/8000. But the interior is quite different. This N700-7000/8000 is much better than original N700. Of course this has the best facility on Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen. Some of my frequent visitors rate Green class of this series higher than even the highest seat in Japan, Glan class of E5 series on Tohoku Shinkansen. Let’s see the interior images of this beautiful train. Continue reading

Most convenient and the fastest train among Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. Special Rapid Service

Special Rapid Service operated by JR West 223 series.
Special Rapid Service dominates Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe-Himeji transfer.

Special Rapid Service is the fastest local train that is operated between Tsuruga (=敦賀) and Kamigori (=上郡) via Kyoto (=京都), Shin-Osaka (=新大阪), Osaka (=大阪), Sannomiya (=三ノ宮), Kobe (=神戸) and Himeji (=姫路). Especially JR West compete with Hankyu (=阪急) and Keihan (=京阪) between Kyoto and Osaka, with Hankyu and Hanshin (=阪神) between Osaka and Kobe. So JR West have to offer fast and good quality of services. As a result, the time required by this train is faster than Shinkansen between Osaka and Kyoto. Since Shinkansen do not have a station in downtown Kobe, this trains is faster than Shinkansen between Osaka and Kobe too. Of course this train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see the details. Continue reading

Most economical transfer, No express surcharge! Rapid Service Network in Kansai area

Special rapid trains route map (Click to enlarge)
Special rapid trains route map (Click to enlarge)

JR West operates many commute trains, rapid and local between 5:30 am and midnight. But when you travel in Kansai area by JR trains, special rapid service trains are the best way to travel among cities, like Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Wakayama and Kansai airport. These “Special” rapid service skips many stations and much faster than rapid and local trains. If you use JR pass, you may take limited express trains. But these rapid service trains are sometimes faster than express trains and run much more frequently. That means you do not check the timetable. These are commute trains and mostly very busy in even daytime and late night, but it is convenient. It is a key to understand this rapid train system to travel among cities in Kansai area.

In this post, I would like to show you the route of Rapid service trains network and how to use these trains. Continue reading

Passenger’s review of “Hikari Railstar”

Hikari Rail Star at Okayama station
Hikari Rail Star at Okayama station

I took Hikari Rail Star from Okayama to Hiroshima on the way to Miyajima. This Hikari has a different paint from the regular Hikari. It is gray and orange. Continue reading

No extra charge with Japan Rail Pass to take this overnight train! Passenger’s review of "Sunrise Seto"

Sunrise Seto / Sunrise Izumo

I took “Sunrise Seto” from Tokyo to Takamatsu on April 23, 2010.

I reserved “Nobi Nobi seat”. This is one of the reserved seat. But I could lie down to sleep. It seemed to be a berth. Continue reading

Overnight train to/from Tokyo and Izumoshi via Okayama, Sunrise Izumo. JR Pass user can take with no extra charge!

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Sunrise Izumo is the Overnight train that operated between Tokyo and Yonago, Matsue and Izumo-shi in Sanin area. This train is combined with Sunrise Seto between Tokyo and Okayama.

Some of overnight train consist of the bedroom and the berth only. This train has the reserved seat. So Japan Rail Pass holder can take this train without the extra. This reserved seat is called “Nobi Nobi Seat”. It is like a berth and much more comfortable than the coach type seat. You can lie on the seat. And you have some privacy because there is a small partition between the seat and the seat.

But some of Japan Rail Pass users want to take a bedroom or another choice even though additional will be charged. Let’s see the accommodation of Sunrise Seto. Continue reading

Overnight train to/from Tokyo and Takamatsu via Okayama, Sunrise Seto. JR Pass user can take with no extra charge!

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Sunrise Seto is the Overnight train that operated between Tokyo and Takamatsu in Shikoku island. This train is combined with Sunrise Izumo between Tokyo and Okayama. This train depart late night and arrive early morning. If you want to save the time, this train is the perfect choice.

(Please see my passenger’s review too)

Some of overnight train consist of the bedroom and the berth only. This train has the reserved seat. So Japan Rail Pass holder can take this train without the extra. This reserved seat is called “Nobi Nobi Seat”. It is like a berth and much more comfortable than the coach type seat. You can lie on the seat. And you have some privacy because there is a small partition between the seat and the seat.

But some of Japan Rail Pass users want to take a bedroom or another choice even though additional will be charged. Let’s see the accommodation of Sunrise Seto. Continue reading