Nihonkai (日本海) is one of JR Overnight Express trains. It connects Osaka (大阪) with Akita (秋田) and Aomori (青森). This train has only the berth. So if you will use Japan Rail Pass, Japan Rail Pass does not cover an accommodation charge and also limited express surcharge. Even though Japan Rail Pass cover a basic fare, Nihonkai is still considerable way to get Aomori from Osaka. Let’s see the types of accommodation and extra charge.
Route and timetable
Nihonkai is operated between Osaka and Aomori. This train goes through Kyoto (京都), Kanazawa (金沢), Toyama (富山), Niitsu (新津) and Akita. This train is the easiest way to get Aomori from Osaka. If you go to Hokkaido, Twilight Express is the easiest way. But Twilight Express is very expensive and too popular to get the seat. So Nihonkai might be alternative. You can get via Aomori from Osaka. Then transfer to Super Hakucho/Hakucho to get Hakodate in Hokkaido.
And also if you transfer from Hokuriku region, such as Kanazawa and Toyama, to Akita or Aomori, this train is very convenient. Even though this train go through Niigata (新潟) area in late night, this train stop at Niitsu (新津) where is five stations away from Niigata.
You need to pay lots of extra to take this train, but this train can save your valuable hours in Japan.
View Nihonkai in a larger map
|Station||Osaka to Aomori||Aomori to Osaka|
Limited Express surcharge
As I mentioned to you, Japan Rail Pass can cover the basic fare only when you take Nihonai. Because Nihonkai has only berth and it does not have any ordinary seat. Other overnight trains, such as Akebono, Sunrise Seto, have ordinary reserved seat (Nobi Nobi seat or Goron to seat). So you can take these trains without any extra charge. But if you take this train, you need to pay the extra anyway.
*But you can use this train as daytime train in the following sections.
- from Higashi-Noshiro to Aomori
- from Aomori to Akita
In case of using this train as daytime express train, you don’t need to pay any extra. But you need to make a reservation before you get.
Limited Express Surcharge
|Stations||Akita||Hirosaki / Aomori|
|Osaka / Shin-Osaka / Kyoto||3150 yen||3150 yen|
|Kanazawa / Toyama||2830 yen||3150 yen|
Types of accommodations
Nihonkai has only two types of accommodations. It does not have any compartment. Most of JR overnight trains used to be like this. So Nihonkai might be very traditional JR overnight train.
*B=Berth B A=Berth A
Smoking is allowed Car#1, 4 and 9 on this train.
Accommodation charge 9,540 yen for Upper berth, 10,500 yen for Lower berth
This is upper class of the berth. Lower berth is 193 cm X 93 cm X 113 cm. (Length/Width/Height) Upper berth is 1853 cm X 88 cm X 92 cm. Lower berth is obviously bigger, easy to get out from the bed and has a glass window. Upper berth is quieter, but it has very tiny window. And also lower berth can be converted to daytime seat layout by yourself. It is quite easy. This train does not have any dining car, salon car and public space. So when you don’t sleep, this daytime seat layout is very useful.
*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images below.
Accommodation charge 6,300yen for either Upper or Lower
This is very basic sleeper in Japan. 4 beds are in one section. Lower berth is 195 cm X 70 cm X 111 cm. (Length/Width/Height) Upper berth is 195 cm X 70 cm X 95 cm. Lower berth has a little more head room.
This train does not have any compartment. So there are the public washrooms.
Food and drink
No dining car, No vending machine! On board sales is available Nihonkai from Aomori to Osaka train only in the morning. Since it is very limited service, I recommend you to get some foods and drinks before boarding.
In Japan, most of schools have a school trip. It is called “Shugaku Ryoko” (修学旅行). This means pre-graduation trip. Nihonkai is used by this school trips group very often. If you get Nihonkai with this group, you will have very noisy night. May, June, September and October are school trips season.