Category Archives: Rapid service

Cruising train Izu Creile offers you very comfortable train experience to Izu peninsula from Odawara.

Izu Creile runs along very scenic shoreline in Izu peninsula.

Izu Creile was introduced in summer 2016. It runs between Odawara and Izukyu-Shimoda via Atami, Ito, other major spots in Izu peninsula as seasonal cruising train. It has very nice interior and you can enjoy very scenic view of shoreline from the large panoramic window.

I have received many photos of this train from my reader, James. Now I can write about this train with many beautiful pictures from James. Thank you very much for your support, James!

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Enjoy premium Japanese Sake on board. Cruising train Koshino Shu*Kura

You can enjoy Jazz performance and great view of Sea of Japan on board. (C) James Chuang
You can enjoy Jazz performance and great view of Sea of Japan on board. (C) James Chuang

This train, “Koshino Shu*Kura (越乃Shu*Kura)” was introduced in this past summer as seasonal cruising train. This train runs in Niigata prefecture. Niigata is known for one of the biggest production of rice in Japan. And also many kinds of premium Japanese Sake (rice wine) are produced by this rice in this district. This train has theme of Japanese Sake and you can taste many kinds of Sake on board. This train’s name, “Koshino Shu*Kura” means Echigo district (=Koshino) where the area train runs, Japanese Sake (=Shu), snow flake(=*) and brewery (=Kura). And also this train runs along the coast of Sea of Japan. You also can enjoy the beautiful scenery.

My reader, James Chuang posted many photos of this train. He allowed me to use these photos and I was very impressed! I would like to share the photos and information with you.

Thank you, James for sharing the beautiful photos. Continue reading

Save time and money to go to Niigata from Tokyo by train. Overnight rapid train Moonlight Echigo

***This train usually runs in peak periods. But since summer peak season in 2014, this train has not run any more. It seems that this train service is discontinued.***
Moonlight Echigo is operated by old type express train 183 series.
Moonlight Echigo is operated by old type express train 183 series.

Moonlight Echigo (ムーンライトえちご) is the overnight rapid service train that is operated between Shinjuku (新宿) and Niigata (新潟). This train used to be a scheduled train. But it was changed to a seasonal train. It is usually operated in same season as Moonlight Nagara, such as spring break (two weeks from late March to early April), summer break (late July to the end of August) and Christmas holidays. These periods are the seasons when “Seisyun 18 ticket” is sold. Anyone can buy this ticket. You can ride any local train throughout Japan for 5 days at 11500 yen. This train can be used by this ticket. So it is always busy.

This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. It may be hard to get a seat on this train because of only peak season operation. But it may be considerable for overnight transfer between Tokyo and Niigata, and any area in Tohoku and Hokuriku via Niigata. Let’s see the details about this train. Continue reading

Popular Steam Locomotive train, SL Banetsu Monogatari

902654_10151632611729924_1491466821_oThere are many steam locomotive trains in Japan. But this train, SL Banetsu Monogatari is only SL train that has Green seat. And it also has observation car, cafeteria and kids play space. I have received many nice photos of this train from one of my frequent reader, James. I would like to share the information of this train with you.

I would like to thank you, James for your photos. Continue reading

How to access from New Chitose airport to Sapporo, Otaru, Asahikawa and other cities in Hokkaido.

New Chitose airport station is located at the underground of the terminal building. (C) JP Rail
New Chitose airport station is located at the underground of the terminal building. (C) JP Rail

Hokkaido is one of the best destination in Japan. New Chitose airport (新千歳空港) is the biggest airport in Hokkaido. Some of you may be start your trip from this airport. I would like to show you how to get the train to Sapporo, Otaru and Asahikawa from New Chitose airport. And also I will show you how to transfer other trains to most of major cities in Hokkaido. Continue reading

Save money and time to go to Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka from Tokyo by train. Overnight rapid train Moonlight Nagara

185 series still run as limited express train Odoriko. This fleet is used for rapid Moonlight Nagara too.
185 series still run as limited express train Odoriko. This fleet is used for rapid Moonlight Nagara too.

Moonlight Nagara (ムーンライトながら) is the overnight rapid service train that is operated between Tokyo and Ogaki (大垣). This train is operated as the seasonal train. It is usually operated in spring break (two weeks from late March to early April), summer break (late July to the end of August) and Christmas to New Year holidays. These periods are the seasons when “Seishun 18 ticket” is sold. This ticket covers any rapid and local train’s non reserved seat throughout Japan for 5 days at 11,850 yen. This train can be used by this ticket with additional charge for reserved seat fare. Therefore this train runs for busy period only and it is very hard to book.

This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. But online reservation is not available for overseas visitor and ticket is on sale one month prior to departure date. It is very hard to book and not realistic to put this train in your plan.

Anyway it may be considerable for overnight transfer between Tokyo and Nagoya/Kyoto/Osaka. Let’s see the details about this train. Continue reading

Rail cruising in UNESCO World Heritage Shirakami mountains by Rapid train Resort Shirakami

HB-E300 Buna train set is the newest fleets for Resort Shirakami.

Resort Shirakami (リゾートしらかみ) is a rapid train that is operated between Akita (秋田) and Aomori (青森). This train is named from UNESCO World Heritage site “Shirakami mountains (白神山地)”. This train runs on Gono line (五能線) along the shoreline of Sea of Japan. Gono line is known as one of the most scenic lines. The view is amazing.

This train is not an express train but this cruising train offers very comfortable interior. It is operated by specialized train and it does not have any non reserved seat. This train is operated on weekend, holidays and the peak periods only. If you use Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass), JR East Pass, JR-East South Hokkaido Rail Pass, you can take this train with no extra charge.

I show you some images of this train and tell you the details of this train in this post. Continue reading

Access to Nara from Osaka by Japan Railway, Yamatoji Rapid Service

Yamatoji Rapid Service by 221 series
Yamatoji Rapid Service by 221 series

Yamatoji Rapid Service is the fastest local train that is operated between Osaka (=大阪) and Nara (=奈良). Most of local tourists take Kintetsu line (近鉄) to Nara. Because they have many more trains and very frequent. If you travel in Japan without Japan Rail Pass, you may use Kintetsu line. But most of travellers from foreign countries use Japan Rail Pass. So this Rapid Service is your best choice, because you don’t need to pay any extra by Japan Rail Pass. This line used to be very local and inconvenient. But JR West upgrade the trains and operate many Rapid trains. It is very convenient and frequent departure these days.

And there is no limited express train to Nara. So this Yamatoji Rapid Service is the fastest and best choice for accessing from Osaka. Continue reading

Access to Nara from Kyoto by Japan Railways, Miyakoji Rapid Service

Miyakoji Rapid Service is operated by JR West 221 series.
Miyakoji Rapid Service is operated by JR West 221 series.

Miyakoji Rapid Service is the fastest local train that is operated between Kyoto (=京都) and Nara (=奈良). Most of local tourists take Kintetsu (近鉄) line to Nara. Because they have many more trains and very frequent. If you travel in Japan without Japan Rail Pass, you may use Kintetsu line. But most of travellers from foreign countries use Japan Rail Pass. So this Rapid Service is your best choice, because you don’t need to pay any extra. This line used to be very local and inconvenient. But JR West upgrade the trains and timetable. Now JR West operate many Rapid trains. It is very convenient and frequent departure these days.

And there is no limited express train to Nara. So this Miyakoji Rapid Service is the fastest and best choice for accessing from Kyoto. Continue reading

Access to Kansai Airport and Wakayama from Osaka. Kansai Airport Rapid Service and Kishuji Rapid Service

Typical Rapid Service trains (JR West 223 and 225 series)
Kansai Airport Rapid Service trains (JR West 223 and 225 series)

These trains connect downtown Osaka (=大阪) with Kansai airport (=関西空港) and Wakayama (=和歌山). Both Kansai Airport and Kishuji Rapid Services are combined to operate between Tennoji (=天王寺) and Hineno (=日根野). Those trains are uncoupled at Hineno, then each trains go to Kansai Airport or Wakayama. If you arrive at Kansai airport, you can take Kansai Airport Rapid Service instead of airport access express “Haruka“. Of course both Limited Express Haruka and this rapid train are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. But if you buy a single ticket, you may consider to take this 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

Train to Shonan, Odawara and Atami with no surcharge from Tokyo. Rapid train on Tokaido line

Rapid trains on Shonan-Shinjuku line have green and orange colors.
Rapid trains on Tokaido line have Shonan (green and orange) colors.

***This rapid line will be connected with Takasaki and Utsunomiya rapid lines in March 14, 2015. Now Tokyo is departure station and it makes us be easy to get a seat. But after March 14, 2015, all trains will come from Takasaki, Utsunomiya via Omiya and Ueno. Tokyo station is in the middle of this train network. That means it may be harder to get a seat. You may have to stand up on board.***

Tokaido line is the name of major line that connects Tokyo (=東京) with Kobe (=神戸) via Nagoya (=名古屋), Kyoto (=京都) and Osaka (=大阪). But this name is used as Rapid train route for operating between Tokyo and Atami (=熱海) via Yokohama (=横浜), Odawara (=小田原). This train is traditionally called Shonan Densha (=湘南電車=Shonan train). Because this train goes throuth Shonan area where Kamakura and Enoshima are located in. If you go to Yokohama from Tokyo station, this train is fastest and even faster than Shinkansen, because Shinkansen does not have any station in downtown Yokohama. This train is a sort of commute train. But all trains have two double decker Green cars in the formation. This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Especially you use Japan Rail Pass Green, you may take Green car of this train. Let’s see the details. Continue reading

Access to Narita airport and Kamakura from Tokyo. Rapid Train on Yokosuka-Sobu line (Airport Narita)

Ivory and blue are Yokosuka-Sobu train's color.
Ivory and blue are Yokosuka-Sobu train’s color.

Sobu-Yokosuka line (=横須賀総武線) means the operation route of one of the Rapid train network in Greater Tokyo. This train is operated on Sobu line, Tokaido line and Yokosuka line. Most of trains are operated between Chiba (=千葉) and Kurihama (=久里浜)/Yokosuka (=横須賀) via Tokyo (=東京) and Yokohama (=横浜). Some trains are extended to operate to Narita airport (=成田空港) and other stations in Chiba Pref. This train is a sort of commute train. But all trains have two double decker Green cars in the formation. Especially Rapid train to Narita airport may be replacement of Narita Express if you want to save the fare. These trains are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Of course if you use Japan Rail Pass Green, you can take Green cars with no extra cost. Continue reading

Direct access from Shinjuku to Yokohama and Kamakura. Rapid train on Shonan-Shinjuku line

Rapid trains on Shonan-Shinjuku line have green and orange colors.
Rapid trains on Shonan-Shinjuku line have green and orange colors.

Shonan-Shijuku line is not the name of line, but it is the name of Rapid train’s route. This line connects west side of downtown Tokyo, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Shibuya with major cities in Saitama, Gunma, Tochigi, Kanagawa prefectures. This is a sort of commute train. But all trains have two double decker Green cars in the formation. This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Of course if you use Japan Rail Pass Green, you can take Green cars with no extra cost. Continue reading

No express surcharge! Fast, economical and convenient! Rapid service network in Greater Tokyo

Tokyo rapid lines map (Click to enlarge)
Tokyo rapid lines map (Click to enlarge)

Japan Railway operate Rapid trains throughout Japan. Especially lots of Rapid trains are operated in urban area, such as Greater Tokyo. In Tokyo, these trains are operated basically for commuters. But there are many operation routes. Of course you can use these trains for your exploring in surrounding Tokyo area. These trains connect Tokyo (=東京) and Shinjuku (=新宿) with Yokohama (=横浜), Kamakura (=鎌倉), Odawara (=小田原) (for Hakone (=箱根)), Utsunomiya (=宇都宮) (for Nikko (=日光)), Mito (=水戸), Narita airport (=成田空港) and even Atami (=熱海) (Izu peninsula hot springs (=伊豆半島)). These trains are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. If you have Japan Rail Pass Green, most of Rapid trains in Greater Tokyo have double decker Green cars. You will feel same type of atmosphere in a commute train. Continue reading

Save time and money! Learn more about Overnight Trains. Which overnight train can we take with no extra charge by JR Pass?

Overnight train Hamanasu runs between Aomori and Sapporo. It is very useful train to get Hokkaido. But it may be discontinued when Hokkaido Shiknansen open.
Overnight train Hamanasu runs between Aomori and Sapporo. It is very useful train to get Hokkaido. But it may be discontinued when Hokkaido Shiknansen open.

Japan Railways used to operate many overnight trains. But in these days, many of those train services were discontinued. Now the choice is very limited. Continue reading