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.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

Route and timetable

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!

Monterey Hotel Yokohama
Located downtown by the harbour
Tokyu Hotel Nagoya
Located in most popular area Sakae

This train connects Tokyo with Ogaki. Ogaki is 30 minutes away from Nagoya to the west. This train is a rapid service train. That means a kind of local train. But this train stops at only 8 stations. It is very similar to limited express train service.

This train is connected with other local trains to/from Osaka/Kyoto at Ogaki. But if you will use Japan Rail Pass, you can take Shinkansen from/to Nagoya. But if you go to Himeji or other cities to the west from Himeji, Sunrise Seto or Sunrise Izumo is better. This train is a scheduled train, more comfortable and faster. But if you are looking for overnight transfer to Nagoya, this train is better choice. If you want to go to Takayama as soon as possible by Japan Rail Pass, this train is connected with the first Wide View Hida to Takayama that depart from Nagoya at 07:43am.

If you are single ticket traveller, you can take the first Nozomi from Tokyo is connected with Wide View Hida. You don’t need to take overnight train. Japan Rail Pass user can take Hikari or Kodama. The first Hikari is not connected with the first Wide View Hida.

Stations
Tokyo (東京) X
Shinagawa (品川) X
Yokohama (横浜) X
Odawara (小田原) *
Numazu (沼津) X
Shizuoka (静岡) X
Hamamatsu (浜松) X
Toyohashi (豊橋) *
Nagoya (名古屋) X
Gifu (岐阜) X
Ogaki (大垣) X

*Only train to Ogaki stop at Odawara and train to Tokyo stop at Toyohashi.

This train is a seasonal train. It is operated in the peak season only. Please check the most updated schedule and timetable at Seasonal Trains Schedule.

Accommodation and train formations

This train is operated by 185 series. 185 series was used for many limited express train around Tokyo area. At this point, this fleet is used for only Odoriko as limited express train. But this fleet is still very good as the rapid train. All cars are reserved ordinary seat. It does not have any berth, compartment, and even green cars. And this train does not have any non reserved cars either. You need to get a reserved seat before you ride.

*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images of accommodations below.

Images
Reserved ordinary seat
185 series - Limited Express Odoriko 185 series - Limited Express Odoriko 185 series - Limited Express Odoriko 185 series - Limited Express Odoriko 185 series - Limited Express Odoriko

Train formation

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
R R R R R R R R R R

R=Reserved ordinary seat

57 thoughts on “Save money and time to go to Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka from Tokyo by train. Overnight rapid train Moonlight Nagara”

  1. Hi,
    in which website is it possible to reserve a ticket on this train? How is the process to use the seishun 18 kippu in order to make the reservation online?
    thanx

  2. Hi Takeshi, 5 of uswill be traveling to japan this Dec 13-20, 2016. We’re planning to take the moonlight nagara from tokyo to kyoto on dec 13, then kyoto to tokyo on dec 19. Will this train be operating on the said dates? Is there a chance for us to book the tickets by then? Thanks!

    1. Hi Karen,

      This winter’s schedule has not been released yet. But in last year, it started to run on Dec 22. I think it will run on similar dates.
      I recommend you to think about different option.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi,
    Going to Tokyo on 5th of Jan 2017 with a family of 4, planning to take the Moonlight Nagara from Tokyo to Nagoya on the 8th of Jan. Any chaces of getting the Seishun 18 tickets and book the seats on our arrival on the 5th from Narita Airport? Many thanks! Crystal

    1. Hi Crystal,

      First of all, Moonlight may not run on 8th Jan. In this year, it ran until Jan 2nd. I don’t think the operation period will be extended.
      Even if it will run on 8th, the chance to book is very slim.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Oh! Thanks for the reply.
        Please advise what’s the cheap and best option other then bus in this case?
        Regards

        1. Hi Crystal,

          Actually there is no affordable train option. Seishun 18 user usually takes local commute trains. But you need to take many local commute trains with 5 to 6 times changing trains. It’s not realistic way for oversea travelers.

          Shinkansen (bullet train) is expensive but this is common way.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

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