Schedule of 2013-14 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Ryuhyo Norokko train is at Kitahama station. This is very small station, but there is small cafe in the station.

In Japan, New Years holidays are crazy busy. In this year, I expect everybody will go back to hometown on Dec 28 and 29. And return trip will be January 4 and 5. I recommend you to avoid getting a train on those days. The vehicle occupancy rate may be more than 200%. As long as trains have non reserved seat, you can get on anyway without any reservation. But you will be forced to stay on the isle or passenger’s deck without seat. There are many passengers without seats in the train during those busiest days.

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

As probably you know, Hokkaido and northern Honshu island (Tohoku region) have very cold and snowy winter. If you travel in these cold weather regions, please expect the delay due to snow or high wind. When you build your itinerary, don’t make a tight schedule.

Anyway JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during all winter season. But it is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the popular trains and are operated in the popular spot.

JR Hokkaido (Hokkaido area)

SL Hakodate Christmas Fantasy train

This train is operated by steam locomotive between Hakodate and Onuma Koen (Onuma park) to enjoy Christmas atmosphere. There are reserved seat only. You need to book it before boarding.

Operation dates

December 1,7,8,14,15,21,22,23,24,25, 2013

Timetable

#1 Hakodate 08:35 Onuma Koen 09:15
#2 Onuma Koen 10:24 Hakodate 11:02
#3 Hakodate 14:20 Onuma Koen 14:59
#4 Onuma Koen 15:56 Hakodate 16:34

If you want more info about this train, please see the post, SL Hakodate Christmas Fantasy. Enjoy winter scenery between Hakodate and Onuma.

Ryuhyo Limited Express Okhotsk no Kaze

This limited express train is additional train of Limited Express Okhotsk between Sapporo and Abashiri. It is operated for Drift Ice season by KIHA 183 North Rainbow Express. This series is much better than standard 183 series for Okhotsk. If you go to Abashiri in this season. try to take this train.

Operation dates
February 1 – March 9, 2014

Timetable

Sapporo 07:55 Abashiri 13:47
Abashiri 14:17 Sapporo 19:59

*This train stop at Iwamizawa, Bibai, Sunagawa, Takikawa, Fukagawa, Asahikawa, Kamikawa, Maruseppu, Engaru, Ikutahara, Rubeshibe, Kitami, Bihoro and Memanbetsu.

If you are looking for more information about the interior of KIHA 183 series North Rainbow Express, please refer the post, Furano Lavender Express / Koyo Express. This summer/fall express train is operated by same type of car.

Ryuhyo Norokko train

Shiretoko is very popular destination in winter time for Ryuhyo (流氷=Drift Ice) viewing. This train is operated in Drift Ice season for viewing by “Torokko” (open air type passenger’s car).

Operation dates
February 1 – March 9, 2014

Timetable

#2 Shiretoko-Shari 08:55 Abashiri 10:00
#1 Abashiri 10:25 Shiretoko-Shari 11:22
#4 Shiretoko-Shari 11:57 Abashiri 12:57
#3 Abashiri 13:57 Shiretoko-Shari 14:55

*This train stop at Kitahama, Hamkoshimizu and Yamubetsu. Only train #1 stops at Katsuradai, Masuura, Mokoro and those three stations.

If you need more information about this train, please see this post, Ryuhyo Norokko train.

SL Fuyu no Shitsugen train (Winter train to Kushiro marsh by Steam Locomotive)

This train is operated by steam locomotive. This is a cruising train that goes through Kushiro marsh. It is similar type train to Kushiro Shitsugen Norokko train. But this train is not operated by Norokko train. There are reserved seat only. You need to book it before boarding.

Operation dates

January 18,19,25,26, 2014 operation between Kushiro and Kawayu Onsen
February 1 – March 9, 2014 operation between Kushiro and Shibecha.

Timetable

Kushiro 11:20 Kawayu Onsen 14:14 (1/18,19,25,26)
Shibecha 12:35 (2/1-28)
Kawayu Onsen 14:56 (1/18,19,25,26)
Shibecha 14:02 (2/1-28)
Kushiro 17:17(1/18,19,25,26)
Kushiro 15:19(2/1-28)

This train stops at Higashi-Kushiro, Kushiro Shitsugen, Toro, Kayanuma, Shibecha and Mashu.

Limited Express Asahiyama Zoo
Limited Express Asahiyama Dobutsuen

Limited Express Asahiyama Dobutsuen

This train connects Sapporo with Asahikawa and is operated by newly renovated Asahiyama Zoo featured train. Asahiyama zoo in the most popular zoo in Japan. This train has only reserved seat. (Japanese site link)

Operation dates
December 21-29, 2013
January 2-5,11-13,18,19,25,26, 2014
February 1-16,22,23, 2013

Timetable

Sapporo 08:30 Asahikawa 10:07
Asahikawa 16:04 Sapporo 17:46

Train makes a stop at Iwamizawa and Takikawa.

JR East (Tohoku and Kanto area)

Rapid Holiday Kaisoku Fujisan

This train connects Shinjuku with Lake Kawaguchi or Oyama/Omiya with Lake Kawaguchi directly. You don’t need to transfer the trains at Otsuki. But if you use this train by Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass, basic fare between Otsuki and Lake Kawaguchi is not included.

Operation dates
December 1,7,8,14,15,21-23,28-31 2013
January 1-5,11-13,18,19,25,26 2014
February 1,2,8,9,11,15,16,22,23 2014
*Train that runs between Oyama and Lake Kawaguchi is not operated on Dec 28-31, Jan 1-15 and all dates after Jan 18.

Timetable

Shinjuku Oyama Omiya Hachioji Kawaguchiko
Holiday #1 08:14 08:53 10:36
Holiday #3 07:24 8:14 9:12 10:58
Kawaguchiko Hachioji Omiya Oyama Shinjuku
Holiday #2 16:00 17:26 17:59
Holiday #4 17:24 19:13 20:06 20:58

*Rapid Holiday Kaisoku Fujisan from/to Shinjuku makes a stop at Mitaka, Tachikawa, Hachioji, Takao, Sagamiko, Uenohara, Shiotsu, Otsuki, Tsurushi, Tsuru-Bunkadaigakumae, Mitsutoge, Fujisan and Fujikyu-Highland.

*Rapid Holiday Kaisoku Fujisan from/to Oyama makes a stop at Furukawa, Kuki, Hasuda, Omiya, Kita-Asaka, Niiza, Higashi-Tokorozawa, Shin-Akitsu, Shin-Kodaira, Tachikawa, Hachioji, Takao, Sagamiko, Uenohara, Shiotsu, Otsuki, and all stations on Fuji Kyuko line except Kami-Otsuki.

POKÉMON Train Kesennuma

This train runs to support for Sanriku coast area where is damaged by Tsunami. Specialised “POKÉMON with
YOU” train runs as this train. Please see JR East official site to get more detail about this train.

Operation dates
December 1,7,8,14,15,21-23,28-30 2013
January 2-5,11-13 2014

Timetable
Ichinoseki 11:35 – Kesennuma 13:15
Kesennuma 15:02 – Ichinoseki 16:36

*This train makes a stop at Rikuchu-Matsukawa, Geibikei, Surisawa, Senmaya and Orikabe.

Zipangu Hiraizumi train

You can use this train to UNESCO World Heritage Hiraizumi from Sendai directly. This train is operated by specialized Zipangu train. Please see JR East official page. You can see some images of this train.

December 21-23,28-30 2013
January 1-15,11-13 2014

Timetable
Ichinoseki 11:20 – Morioka 12:35
Morioka 9:46 – Ichinoseki 10:58

Some of Resort Shirakami are operated by the newest Hybrid train.
Some of Resort Shirakami are operated by the newest Hybrid train.

Rapid Resort Shirakami

This train connects Akita with Aomori through Gono line that has one of the greatest scenery. This train is operated by the specialized train or the newest Hybrid train. This train has only reserved seat.

Operation dates and timetable

Station/train# Akita Aomori(Hirosaki) Operation date
#1 08:25 13:34 Dec 1-31 2013
Jan 1-5,11-13,17-31 2014
Feb 1,2,7-11,14-16,21-23,28 2014
#3 (Akita to Hirosaki) 11:01 15:52 Dec 1-8 2013
#5 14:10 19:20 Dec 1-31 2013
Jan 1-5,11-13,17-31 2014
Feb 1,2,7-11,14-16,21-23,28 2014
Station/train# Aomori Akita Operation date
#2 08:23 13:16 Dec 1-31 2013
Jan 1-5,11-13,18-31 2014
Feb 1,2,7-11,15,16,22,23 2014
#4 13:51 18:52 Dec 1-31 2013
Jan 1-5,11-13,17-31 2014
Feb 1,2,7-11,14-16,21-23,28 2014
#6 (Hirosaki to Akita) 16:09 20:38 Dec 1-8 2013

Please refer the post, Rapid Resort Shirakami to get more details about this train.

Rapid SL Banestsu Monogatari

It is operated by steam locomotive and old style passenger’s cars between Niigata and Aizu-Wakamatsu.

Operation dates
December 14, 15 2013

Timetable
Niigata 09:43 – Aizu-Wakamatsu 13:31
Aizu Wakamatsu 15:25 – Niigata 19:00
This train makes a stop at Niitsu, Gosen, Sakihana, Mikawa, Tsugawa, Hideya, Nozawa, Yamato, Kitakata and Shiokawa.

Rapid Resort Minori

This train connects Sendai with Shinjo via Naruko Onsen. It is operated by specialized train. You can see some images at JR East Sendai branch site.

Operation dates
December 1,6-8,13-15,20-23,27-31 2013
January 3-5,10-13,17-19,24,31 2014
February 1,2,7-9,11,14-16,21-23,28 2014

Timetable
Sendai 09:25 – 11:00 Naruko Onsen 11:25 – Shinjo 12:28
Shinjo 15:00 – 15:58 Naruko Onsen 16:00 – Sendai 17:37

This train makes a stop at Matsuhima, Kogota, Furukawa, Iwadeyama, Yubikan, Kawatabi-Onsen, Naruko-Gotenyu, Naruko-Onsen, Nakayamadaira-Onsen, Akakura-Onsen, Mogami and Semi-Onsen.

Limited Express Resort Kusatsu

This train connects Takasaki with gateway station to Kusatsu, Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi. This train is operated by specialized 485 series “Yamadori” fleet. Please see the details about this train at JR East official site.

Operation dates
January 25,26 2014

Timetable
Takasaki 12:15 – Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi 13:35 – Manza-Kazawaguchi 14:01
Manza-Kazawaguchi 14:40 – Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi 14:56 – Takasaki 16:10

This train makes a stop at Shin-Maebashi, Shibukawa, Nakanjo and Kawarayu-Onsen.

Rapid Resort View Furusato

This train connects Nagano with Minami-Otari via Matsumoto, Shinano-Omachi and Hakuba. It is operated by Hybrid train. You can see some images at JR East Nagano branch site.

Operation dates
December 1,6-8,20-24,27-31 2013
January 1-6,10-13,24-26 2014
February 1,2,7-11,21-23,28 2014

Timetable
Nagano 09:04 – 10:24 Matsumoto 10:41 – 10:59 Hodaka 11:26 – 11:46 Shinano Omachi 11:51 – 12:25 Hakuba 12:30 – 12:44 Minami Otari
Minami Otari 15:16 – 15:28 Hakuba 15:32 – 16:08 Shinano Omachi 16:13 – 16:38 Hodaka 16:47 – 17:15 Matsumoto 17:23 – 18:28 Nagano

Rapid Kirakira Uetsu

This train connects Niigata and Sakata or Ugo-Honjo on Uetsu line. You can enjoy local foods and beautiful coast scenery of Sea of Japan. It is operated by specialized train “Kirakira Uetsu”. You can see some images at JR East Niigata branch site.

Operation dates
December 1,6-8,13-15,20-23,27-31 2013
January 1-5,10-13 2014
*Train runs between Niigata and Ugo-Honjo on Dec 7,14,21 and 28.

Timetable
Niigata 10:14 – 12:51 Sakata 12:53 – 13:59 Ugo-Honjo
Ugo-Honjo 14:50 – 16:08 Sakata 16:11 – Niigata 18:32

Overnight Rapid Moonlight Echigo

This is very popular and hard to get the seat. This train does not have any non reserved seat. This train is operated by old type Limited Express cars. But there is no berth or compartment.

Operation dates
December 20-23, 27-31 2013
January 1-5 2014

Timetable
Shinjuku 23:10 – Omiya 23:42 – Takasaki 1:14 – Nagaoka 3:55 – Niigata 4:41
Niigata 23:38 – Nagaoka 1:10 – Takasaki 3:33 – Omiya 4:29 – Shinjuku 5:10

JR Central (Chubu, Tokai and Hokuriku)

Express Ise

This train goes to Ise directly from Nagoya by limited express fleet.

Operation dates
December 1,7,8,14,15,21-23 2013
January 1-3, 6-31, 2014
February 1,2,8,9,11,15,16,22,23 2014

Timetable

Nagoya 08:51 Iseshi 10:46
Iseshi 15:38 Nagoya 17:44

*All seats are reserved seats

Overnight Rapid Moonlight Nagara

This is very popular and hard to get the seat. This train does not have any non reserved seat. This train is operated by old type Limited Express cars. But there is no berth or compartment.

Operation dates
To Ogaki – December 20, 2013 to January 4, 2014
To Tokyo – December 21, 2013 to January 5, 2014

Timetable

stations time stations time
Tokyo 23:10 Ogaki 22:49
Shinagawa 23:18 Gifu 22:59
Yokohama 23:36 Nagoya 23:20
Odawara 00:31 Toyohashi 00:17
Numazu 01:08 Hamamatsu 00:55
Shizuoka 01:50 Shizuoka 01:55
Hamamatsu 03:11 Numazu 03:19
Nagoya 05:24 Yokohama 04:41
Gifu 05:42 Shinagawa 04:58
Ogaki 05:51 Tokyo 05:05

If you are looking for more information about Moonlight Nagara, please see the post, Rapid train Moonlight Nagara.

JR West (Kansai, Hokuriku and Chugoku)

Twilight Express

This is most popular overnight train in Japan. It is almost impossible to book Suite and Royal room

Operation dates
Regular departure is Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday to Sapporo, and Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday to Osaka. And these following dates will be added.
to Sapporo — Everyday from December 20, 2013 to January 6, 2014, and from February 5, 2014 to February 12, 2014
to Osaka — Everyday from December 21, 2013 to January 7, 2014, and from February 6, 201$ to February 13, 2014

Timetable
Osaka 11:50 – Sapporo 09:52
Sapporo 14:05 – Osaka 12:53
If you need more information about Twilight Express, please refer the post, Overnight Express Train Twilight Express.

SL Yamaguchi

This train is usually operated by C57 type steam locomotive between Shin-Yamaguchi and Tsuwano. However Yamaguchi line was damaged by heavy rain in this past summer. Since then some part of this line was closed and SL Yamaguchi was suspended. In this winter, this train will be operated on some part of original schedule. This train has only reserved seat. (Japanese site link)

Operation dates
November 2, 3 2013 (Operated as “SL Ganbaro Yamaguchi Tsuwano train”)
December 21 2013 (Operated as “SL Christmas train”)
January 1-3 2014 (Operated as “SL Tsuwano Inari”)

Timetable
Shin-Yamaguchi 10:48 – Yuda-Onsen 11:04 – Yamaguchi 11:10 – Jifuku 12:14
This train also makes a stop at Niho, Shinome and Choumonkyo.

Rapid Setouchi Marine View

This train was operated between Hiroshima and Mihara via Kure line. This train is operated by specialized train. Please check the images at the following links (JR West official site): Exterior | Reserved seat | Non reserved seat

Operation dates
All weekend and holidays from December 1, 2013 to February 23, 2014.
Everyday from December 28, 2013 to January 5, 2014

Timetable
Hiroshima 10:06 – Kure 10:52 – Mihara 12:27
Mihara 13:25 – 14:59 Kure 15:19 – Hiroshima 16:07
This train also makes a stop at Hiro, Awa-Kawajiri, Yasuura, Akitsu, Takehara and Tadanoumi.

JR Shikoku (Shiokoku)

Shiman Torokko train

This train is operated along Shimanto river by open air car. This open air car has just renovated by most popular train designer, Eiji Mitooka.

Operation dates
February 15,16,22,23 2014

Timetable

Uwajima
11:32
Ekawazaki
12:54
Tosa-Taisho
13:20
Kubokawa
13:51
Kubokawa
15:01
Tosa-Taisho
15:32
Ekawazaki
16:25
Uwajima
17:44

*All seats are reserved seats. Reservation required to take this train. Non JR pass travellers must pay 510 yen for reserved seat.
*This train is a sort of local train. Train makes a stop at all stations on the way.

Oboke Torokko train

This train is operated along Oboke gorge by open air car.

Operation dates
December 1,7,8 2013

Timetable

Awa-Ikeda 10:44 Oboe 11:35
Awa-Ikeda 13:54 Oboe 14:34
Oboe 12:18 Awa-Ikeda 13:03
Oboe 15:09 Awa-Ikeda 15:54

*All seats are reserved seats. Reservation required to take this train. Non JR pass travellers must pay 510 yen for reserved seat.
*This train is a sort of local train. Train makes a stop at all stations on the way.

JR Kyushu (Kyushu)

Limited Express Aso Boy!

This train is operated to Mt. Aso from Kumamoto by the train that have the panoramic windows at the both end. This train has only reserved seat. Please see the post, Access to Mt. Aso from Kumamoto. Kids friendly train, Limited Express Aso Boy! to get the details about this train.

Operation dates
November 2-4,9,10,16,17,23,24,30 2013
December 1,7,8,14,15,21-31 2013
January 1-5,11-13 2014

Timetable

Station/train# Kumamoto Tateno Aso Miyaji
#101 10:28 11:15 11:49 12:00
#103 13:55 14:33 15:14 15:23
Station/train# Miyaji Aso Tateno Kumamoto
#102 12:22 12:27 13:01 13:40
#104 15:40 15:44 16:26 17:13

This train makes a stop at Shin-Suizenji, Suizenji, Higo-Otsu and Akamizu too.

Limited Express Umisachi-Yamasachi

This train goes through Nichinan coastline. Please see the details at my post.

Operation dates
November 2-4,9,10,16,17,23,24,30 2013
December 1,7,8,14,15,21-24,26-31 2013
January 1-5,11-13,18,19,25,26 2014
February 1,2,8-11,15,16,22,23 2014

Timetable

Stations to Nango to Miyazaki
Miyazaki (宮崎) 10:06 17:14
Minami-Miyazaki (南宮崎) 10:11 17:09
Tayoshi (田吉) 10:15 17:06
Kodomonokuni (子供の国) 10:25 16:51
Aoshima (青島) 10:28 16:48
Kitago (北郷) 10:56 16:23
Obi (飫肥) 11:06-11:16 16:00-16:13
Nichinan (日南) 11:23 15:54
Aburatsu (油津) 11:26 15:50
Nango (南郷) 11:42 15:35

Rapid SL Hitoyoshi

This train is connects Kumamoto with Hitoyoshi by steam locomotive and specialized passenger’s cars.

Operation dates
November 1-5,8-11,15-18,22-24 2013

Timetable

Station/train# From Kumamoto
to Hitoyoshi
From Hitoyoshi
to Kumamoto
Kumamoto (熊本) 09:44 17:13
Shin-Yatsushiro (新八代) 10:25 16:30
Yatsushiro (八代) 10:31/10:38 16:25
Shiraishi (白石) 11:21/11:26 15:23/15:28
Isshochi (一勝地) 11:41/11:51 14:58/15:08
Hitoyoshi (人吉) 12:13 14:38

A Ressha de Iko (A列車で行こう=Take the ‘A’ train)

This train connects Kumamoto with Misumi. Misumi is the gateway station for Amakusa.

Operation dates
November 1-4,8-11,15-18,22-25,29,30 2013
December 1,7,8,14,15,21-31 2013
January 1-5,11-13,18,19,25,26 2014
February 1,2,8-11,15,16,22,23 2014

Timetable

Station/train# Kumamoto Uto Misumi
#1 10:36 10:46 11:14
#3 12:20 12:30 13:02
#5 14:41 14:51 15:18
Station/train# Misumi Uto Kumamoto
#2 11:21 11:48 11:59
#4 13:55 14:23 14:33
#6 16:19 16:50 17:00

5 thoughts on “Schedule of 2013-14 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways”

  1. Hi Takeshi,

    Just a quick couple of questions!

    (1) Is Okhotsk no Kaze running this year (and if so, is the same timetable) during drift ice season?

    (2) Is the additional Kani-Kani Hamakaze service running between Hamasaka and Osaka during winter? If so, what dates is it operated what’s the timetable?

    Thanks,

    Jonathan 🙂

    1. Hi Jonathan,

      1. As long as I know, it won’t. I guess JR Hokkaido is still investigating the engine of KIHA 183. All KIHA 183 specialized fleets, such as Crystal Express, will be used for regular scheduled trains. They don’t have enough fleets for extra seasonal trains.

      2. JR West will operate extra Hamakaze services in New Years holidays only. I could not find any services for Kani Kani express.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

Before you leave your comment, please see the conditions below.
  • Your comment will not be shown until I approve. When you submit your comment, the page will be reloaded and nothing happens. But your comment will be shown when I approve. Please click submit only once and wait for my approval.
  • Please do not ask me to make your itinerary. Because I am not your personal travel agent. I am very happy to check your itinerary. But please try to make the plan by yourself. In this website, there are lots of resources to make your plan.
  • Please do not ask me about the access to your hotel. You can google your hotel and find it at hotel website or google map easily.
  • If you want to ask me which pass suits your plan, please tell me your detailed itinerary and location to stay. I cannot choose any deals without the detailed itinerary because I have to compare the total single fare and deals.
  • Please do not ask me to reply to your inquiry by email. In this website, I would like to share all information with any readers. I do not communicate with you directly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*