Overnight transfer Niigata – Kyoto and Osaka, Overnight Express Train Kitaguni

Overnight express train Kitaguni (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Overnight express train Kitaguni (C) Sonic Rail Garden

This train was discontinued.

Kitaguni(きたぐに) is one of very few express trains in Japan Railway Group. This train is the overnight train that connects Osaka/Kyoto area with Niigata area. If you want to save the time and save your budget for the hotels in Osaka, Kyoto or Niigata, this train is perfect choice. This train has non reserved ordinary seat. So you can take this train without any extra charge by Japan Rail Pass. Kitaguni has some sleeper cars and Green class too. If you have Japan Rail Pass Green pass, you can take Green car with no extra cost. But you need to pay extra to use sleeper class by using any Japan Rail Pass. I will tell you the extra charge and show you some images. Continue reading Overnight transfer Niigata – Kyoto and Osaka, Overnight Express Train Kitaguni

The limited express Nikko and Kinugawa. The train connects Shinjuku and Nikko, Kinugawa Onsen directly

Tobu Railway Limited Express "Spacia" (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Tobu Railway Limited Express “Spacia” (C) Sonic Rail Garden

These trains connect Shinjuku in Tokyo and Nikko, Kinugawa-Onsen. These trains run on JR line and Tobu Railway line. That means you have to pay extra if you use JR Pass. JR Pass cover JR line portion only. But if you use JR East Passes, such as JR East Pass Nagano Niigata, Tokyo Wide Pass, JR East Pass Tohoku, both JR line and Tobu Railway lines are covered. This may be complicated for you.

In this post, I will tell you about the limited express Nikko and Kinugawa. I also show you the extra fare on top of JR Pass.

Continue reading The limited express Nikko and Kinugawa. The train connects Shinjuku and Nikko, Kinugawa Onsen directly

Overnight transfer between Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka

Sunrise Izumo and Sunrise Seto are only scheduled overnight trains in Japan.

If you want to save the time and save your money to stay hotel, overnight transfer is considerable. Many travelers move among Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. We have a few ways to take overnight transfer among these cities by Japan Rail Pass too. I would like to tell about it in this post.

Continue reading Overnight transfer between Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka

How to access to Mt. Koya (Koyasan)

Koyasan (Mt. Koya) (C) JNTO
World Heritage site Koyasan (Mt. Koya) too. (C) JNTO

Mt. Koya (Koyasan) is one of very popular destinations in Kansai area. Most common way to Mt. Koya is Nankai Railway line. It takes you to Gokurakubashi station where is located at the base of Mt. Koya. You may transfer to the funicular to Mt. Koya.

If you use JR deals, such as JR Pass (nationwide pass), Kansai area pass, Kansai Hiroshima area pass and other JR West passes, you cannot use the pass because Nankai Railway is not JR. If you do not use these JR deals, you may use other deals, such as Kansai Thru Pass, Koyasan World Heritage Pass.

You may use these JR deals partially to get Mt. Koya if you want.

In this post, I would like to show you the way to get Mt. Koya and also tell you how you use the deal.

Continue reading How to access to Mt. Koya (Koyasan)

Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa can be booked online.

The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37
The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37

On Feb 5, 2011, the first Hayabusa was on sale. But the first Hayabusa train to Shin-Aomori from Tokyo was sold out in ONLY 40 seconds!!! The fisrt Hayabusa from Shin-Aomori to Tokyo was sold out in one hour and 30 minutes. I don’t talk about only Gran Class, but any class on Hayabusa. I expected it would be popular. But this is more than what I expected.

I tried to access online site, and check the possibility for the booking of Hayabusa. I made it. Yes, we can.

If you want to book online, access to JR East Shinkanse reservation. You have to be a member. You need to have a credit card to guarantee the booking (not for payment).

Oops!

I read most of the major Japanese news paper. They said Hayabusa was sold out on Mar 5, 2011. But I could book it. I could make a reservation for even Gran Class. I did not click “Submit” on the last page. So I don’t know that the reservation would be completed or not.

Anyway you can make a reservation before you depart from your country. If you want to take Hayabusa, I strongly recommend to book in advance.

Japan Rail Pass can be used for Kyushu Shinkansen. But not for Mizuho

N700-7000 series is new fleet to use for Sakura and Mizuho.
N700-7000 series is new fleet to use for Sakura and Mizuho. (C) Mitsuki-2368

I have received the email from JR West. They confirmed Japan Rail Pass can be used for Kyushu Shinkansen. But Japan Rail Pass can be used for only Sakura that is the second fastest train between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo. We cannot take Mizuho that is the fastest train between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo by Japan Rail Pass. JR West and Kyushu applied same fare table as Nozomi. So Japan Rail Pass does not cover even the basic fare. If you take Mizuho, you have to pay the full fare.

Of course we take Tsubame that is operated between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo. If you cannot take Sakura, you can take Hikari or Kodama to Hakata, then transfer to Tsubame.

If you want to see the images of trains’ interior, please see the post, N700 series for Kyushu Shinkansen Mizuho and Sakura

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!

ANA Hotel Kumamoto New Sky Located by Shirakawa river
Tokyu Hotel Kagoshima Spectacular views of Mt. Sakurajima

Japan Rail Pass can be used for Hayabusa (Revised on Feb 2, 10)

The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37
The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37

Since I have received a response about the extra charge on Green Pass from my reader, I noticed I gave the wrong information. I apologize and revise the informations.

I just received the notice from JR East. I am very happy to confirm that Japan Rail Pass will be able to used for Hayabusa.

Details and conditions

Ordinary Class
Both Japan Rail Pass Ordinary and Green can be used. No extra charge.

Green Class
Japan Rail Pass Green can be used with no extra charge.

Gran Class
Japan Rail Pass cover only the basic fare. If you want to take this class, you have to pay both Limited Express surcharge and Gran Class charge. As of Feb, 2011, the extra charges on Japan Rail Pass are the following:

Tokyo to Sendai : Ltd Exp charge 4,810 yen / Gran Class surcharge 9,000 yen (If you upgrade from Green, surcharge is 4,000 yen Even Green Pass cover only the basic fare.)
Tokyo to Morioka : Ltd Exp charge 5,650 yen / Gran Class surcharge 9,000 yen (If you upgrade from Green, surcharge is 4,000 yen Even Green Pass cover only the basic fare.)
Tokyo to Shin-Aomori : Ltd Exp charge 6.500 yen / Gran Class surcharge 10,000 yen (If you upgrade from Green, surcharge is 5,000 yen Even Green Pass cover only the basic fare.)

If you are looking for the details about Hayabusa, please refer this page. If you are looking for the timetable of Hayabusa, please refer this page.

How to get to the Shiretoko peninsula: The access route from Abashiri and Kushiro to Utoro and Rausu

Shiretoko Pass is the highlight of Shiretoko peninsula. (C) JNTO
The Shiretoko Pass is the highlight point of Shiretoko peninsula. (C) JNTO

The Shiretoko Peninsula is one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan. It is one of the best places to enjoy the nature of Hokkaido. I will share you the information about the access route to Shiretoko.

Continue reading How to get to the Shiretoko peninsula: The access route from Abashiri and Kushiro to Utoro and Rausu

Two most popular spots in 7 days! Sample itinerary Kyoto and Hokkaido 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days pass

Kinkakuji temple in Kyoto ©Akira Okada/©JNTO
Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

I have received some inquiries about trip to Kyoto and Hokkaido in only 7 days. It is packed but it is not impossible. I would like to share the sample itinerary which covers Kyoto and Hokkaido. Continue reading Two most popular spots in 7 days! Sample itinerary Kyoto and Hokkaido 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days pass

Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa timetable released

The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37
The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37

JR East will start to operate the newest and fastest express train “Hayabusa” on Tohoku Shinkansen on March 5, 2011. They released the timetable for Hayabusa. I will show you that. But Japan Railway still did not announce that Japan Rail Pass can be used for Hayabusa or not. So please wait for that.

On Feb 1, 2011, I confirmed that Japan Rail Pass can be used for Hayabusa. But if you take Gran Class, you need to pay the extra. Please refer this post to see the details.

Timetable (from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori)

Station / TrainHayabusa 1Hayabusa 3Hayabusa 5
to Sendai
Tokyo (東京)8:129:3621:36
Omiya (大宮)8:3710:0122:01
Sendai (仙台)9:4811:1223:12
Morioka (盛岡)10:3211:56
Shin-Aomori (新青森)11:2212:46

Timetable (from Shin-Aomori to Tokyo)

Station / TrainHayabusa 2
from Sendai
Hayabusa 4Hayabusa 6
Shin-Aomori (新青森)6:1018:14
Hachinohe (八戸)6:34
Morioka (盛岡)7:0419:04
Sendai (仙台)6:257:4919:49
Omiya (大宮)7:358:5920:59
Tokyo (東京)8:009:2421:24

JR East has Hayabusa special website now. http://www.jreast.co.jp/e5/top-html.html
It’s in Japanese only. But it has tons of images and some English words. You may understand it.

Kyushu Shinkansen tentative schedule after Mar 12 released

kyushu-shinkansen-timetable
Click this image. You will be able to understand how to read Kyushu Shinkansen tentative timetable in Japanese.

As probably you know, Kyushu Shinkansen will be opened all section between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo on Mar 12, 2011. JR Kyushu released the tentative schedule. You can see the timetable here(PDF).

But this timetable is only in Japanese. So I made some sample timetable with Japanese-English translation. Before you take a look at the timetable, please click this image.

This timetable consists of 4 page as PDF file. Each page has two directions. The top half of the page is the timetable for Shin-Osaka to Kagoshima-Chuo via Hiroshima, Hakata and Kumamoto. The bottom half is the timetable for Kagoshima-Chuo to Shin-Osaka via Kumamoto, Hakata and Hiroshima.

N700 series will be used as Mizuho and Sakura.
N700 series will be used as Mizuho and Sakura.

We will have four round trips for the fastest train, “Mizuho”. We will have Mizuho or Sakura mostly once an hour between Shin-Osaka and Kaghoshima-Chuo. It takes 3 hours and 46 minutes by Mizuho from Shin-Osaka to Kagoshima-Chuo. It takes about 4 hours to 4 hours 30 minutes by Sakura between Shin-Osaka and Hakata.

We will have four departures an hour between Hakata and Kumamoto, and two departures between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo.

Unfortunately JR Group did not announce anything about Japan Rail Pass validity to take these new trains, Mizuho and Sakura. I will let you know right after I get an information.

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!

ANA Hotel Kumamoto New Sky Located by Shirakawa river
Tokyu Hotel Kagoshima Spectacular views of Mt. Sakurajima

The limited express Kuroshio train guide. The train takes you to Kii, Kumano, Shingu, Katsuura and Shirahama from Osaka and Kyoto

Panda Kuroshio
One of train sets has Panda face.

The limited express Kuroshio connects Kii peninsula, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka and Tennoji. This is the train which you take to get Shingu, Kii-Katsuura, Shirahama, Kii-Tanabe. These places are known as the gateway to UNESCO World Heritage site, “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”.

This train is covered by JR Pass, Kansai Wide Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass and Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass.

I will show you more information about this train in this post.

Continue reading The limited express Kuroshio train guide. The train takes you to Kii, Kumano, Shingu, Katsuura and Shirahama from Osaka and Kyoto

Sample itinerary Hokkaido 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

Night view form Mt.Hakodate ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO
Night view form Hakodate mountain (C) Hokkaido Tourism Organization / JNTO

This itinerary includes most of popular spots of Hokkaido in 7 days. Departure and arrival places are Tokyo. You can start using 7 days JR pass when you leave Tokyo. Continue reading Sample itinerary Hokkaido 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

Access to Haneda by Tokyo Monorail is covered now! Japan Rail Pass new rules

Tokyo Monorail

Tokyo Monorail is included in the pass.

As of October 21, 2010, you can use Tokyo monorail that is operated between Haneda airport and Hamamatsucho (浜松町) by Japan Rail Pass. But you cannot exchange the actual pass because there is no Japan Railway station at Haneda airport. That means you cannot take Tokyo Monorail with no extra charge by Japan Rail Pass right after arrival at Haneda airport.

If you want to have more informations about access to Haneda, please refer this page.

Condition changed for taking Aoimori Railway

As of December 4, 2010, JAPAN RAIL PASS can be used for Aoimori Railway Line in the limited cases. If you want to take Ominato line at Noheji station, you can use Aoimori Line from Aomori or Hachinohe. But you cannot get off the train in Aoimori Railway line. And also if you use the overnight train, you have to pay the regular fare and surcharge for Aoimori Railway.

The reason why Japan Railway change the condition is starting to operate Tohoku Shinkansen between Hachinohe and Shin-Aomori. Before Tohoku Shinkansen was started to operate between Hachinohe and Shin-Aomori, this line was owned by Japan Railway. But after that, this section was transfered to the private company, Aoimori Railway. Ominato line was no longer connected with any Japan Railway lines.

Kyushu Shinkasen will be started to operate between Shin-Yatsushiro and Hakata on March 12, 2011. This section will be owned by JR Kyushu after that. I think we will not have any big changes. But Japan Railway did not announce anything about using Japan Rail Pass for Kyushu Shinkansen’ fastest train “Mizuho” and Tohoku Shinkansen’ fastest train “Hayabusa“. I will keep checking and let you know as soon as possible.

*Hayabusa except Gran Class can be used by Japan Rail Pass. But Mizuho cannot be used by Japan Rail Pass.

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!

Weekly Mansion Shinagawa Tokyo Weekly apartment for your long stay
Mystays Inn Kamata Tokyo Only 5 minutes from JR Kamata

Haneda airport access guide. Haneda Airport to Tokyo discount ticket and deal guide.

haneda (C)  Yasufumi Nishi/ JNTO
Haneda airport (C) Yasufumi Nishi/ JNTO

Narita airport is well known as the international airport in Tokyo. But since the government allows Haneda to increase the slot of the international flights, the number of the international flights departs from and arrive at Haneda airport has been increasing in these days.

In this post, I would like to show you the access between Haneda airport and downtown Tokyo. I will explain you about the deals too.

Continue reading Haneda airport access guide. Haneda Airport to Tokyo discount ticket and deal guide.

Compare many rail services and shuttle bus. How to get downtown Tokyo from Narita airport.

Narita Airport departure floor © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO
Narita Airport departure floor © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO

Narita airport is mostly your gateway to explore in Japan. But Narita airport is not close to downtown Tokyo. You have to think about a transportation to downtown Tokyo. Let’s see which way is the best for you. Continue reading Compare many rail services and shuttle bus. How to get downtown Tokyo from Narita airport.

How to access to Lake Towada (Towadako). Fully covered by JR Pass

Lake Towada (autumn season)
Lake Towada (autumn season)

This lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Japan and very popular destination in Tohoku region. Especially in autumn season, many tourists visit this lake and Oirase rapid on the way to Lake Towada to see such an amazing fall foliage. JR Tohoku Bus operates the schedule bus to Lake Towada from either Hachinohe and Aomori. This bus service is covered by JR Pass and JR East Pass Tohoku. You can visit there without any extra charge by these passes.

Continue reading How to access to Lake Towada (Towadako). Fully covered by JR Pass

Kyushu Shinkansen “Mizuho” and “Sakura” which run between Shin-Osaka, Hiroshima, Hakata, Kumamoto and Kagoshima

Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura and Mizuho give you direct trainsfer to Shin-Osaka from Kyusyu.
Both Mizuho and Nozomi on Sanyo Shinkansen are covered by this deal.

Kyushu Shikansen will be scheduled to operate all part of line on March 12, 2011. It will be connected with Sanyo Shinkansen at Hakata station. JR Kyushu and JR West will start to operate new express train service between Shin-Osaka (新大阪) and Kagoshima-Chuo (鹿児島中央).

Mizuho will be the fastest train service. It will stop at Shin-Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kokura, Hakata and Kumamoto. It will take 3 hours and 45 minutes. 4 round trips will be scheduled to operate. Sakura will stop at some more stations, Himeji (姫路), Fukuyama (福山), Shin-Yamaguchi (新山口), Shin-Tosu (新鳥栖), Kurume (久留米) and Shin-Yatsushiro (新八代). It will be operated once an hour. After Sakura will be operated, the similar train service, Hikari Rail Star, will be stopped to operate.

JR Kyushu and JR West showed new fleet, N700-7000 series that will be used for Mizuho and Sakura to media. Please see the post, N700 series for Kyushu Shinkansen Mizuho and Sakura.

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!

ANA Hotel Kumamoto New Sky Located by Shirakawa river
Tokyu Hotel Kagoshima Spectacular views of Mt. Sakurajima

The newest and fastest train! Tohoku Shinkansen “Hayabusa”

The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37
The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37

Tohoku Shinkansen will be extended to Shin-Aomori on this coming December 4. The fastest train that is called “Hayabusa” will be operated on March 2011. We will have 2 round trips between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori, and 1 round trip between Tokyo and Sendai. (Please refer another post to check the timetable.)

This train will have Ordinary class, Green class and the brand new class which is called “Gran class”. The same type of service as the first class on the flight will be provided on Gran class.

Images gallery of Gran class
Seat 1
Seat 2
Meal on board (Western style)
Meal on board (Japanese style)
Amenities

If you are looking for the images of Hayabusa and E5 series, please refer this post, Gran class and all class seat of Tohoku Shinkansen E5 series and Gran class for Hayabusa, Hayate and Yamabiko image gallery.

Japan Railway did not announce that Japan Rail Pass user can take this class without the extra fare. The surcharge of this class 5,000 yen more than Green class. So the extra surcharge for Japan Rail Pass user will be expected.

On Feb 1, 2011, I confirmed that Japan Rail Pass can be used for Hayabusa. But if you take Gran Class, you need to pay the extra. Please refer this post to see the details.

The limited express Odoriko and Saphir Odoriko train ride guide. The express trains which run between Tokyo, Yokohama, Izu and Atami

257 series runs for Odoriko (C) Rsa / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

Odoriko and Saphir Odoriko are limited express trains to Izukyu-Shimoda or Shuzenji in Izu peninsula from Tokyo and Shinjuku. As probably you know, Izu peninsula is one of most famous hot springs resort area in Japan. These express trains take you to many places, such as Atami, Ito, Kwazu and Izu-Kogen, in Izu hot springs resort from Greater Tokyo area.

Saphir Odoriko was introduced on March 14th, 2020. This train offers high-end train service. This train does not have any ordinary class seat. All seats are Green seat (business class) or Premium Green seat (first class).

In this post, I will show you the interior, timetable, trip times and other trips of Odoriko and Saphir Odoriko.

Continue reading The limited express Odoriko and Saphir Odoriko train ride guide. The express trains which run between Tokyo, Yokohama, Izu and Atami

Express train to Nagasaki from Fukuoka (Hakata). Limited Express Kamome

Limited express Kamome is operated by one of the most updated train, JR Kyushu 885 series.
Limited express Kamome is operated by one of the most updated train, JR Kyushu 885 series.

This limited express train connects the gateway city in Kyushu, Hakata with very historical port city Nagasaki. Some of trains are operated between Hakata and Saga, Hizen-Kashima. When you go to Nagasaki, take Shinkansen to Hakata and change this train to Nagasaki. Unzen Amakusa National Park from Isahaya.

This express train can be used by Japan Rail Pass without any restrictions. So let’s see the details. Continue reading Express train to Nagasaki from Fukuoka (Hakata). Limited Express Kamome

Express train to Oita and Beppu from Fukuoka (Hakata). Limited Express Sonic

Limited Express Sonic (883 series)
Limited Express Sonic (883 series)

This limited express train is one of most popular limited express train that is serviced by JR Kyushu. This connects Hakata and Kokura with Oita and Saeki. If you go to the popular hot springs resort, Beppu, this train is that you need to take after you get off Shinkansen at Kokura or Hakata. Of course this train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass.

This train is operated by 885 and 883 series. I would like to share the information about this train in this post. Continue reading Express train to Oita and Beppu from Fukuoka (Hakata). Limited Express Sonic

The Limited Express Super Ozora / Super Tokachi train guide and the timetable. The trains to Tomamu, Obihiro and Kushiro

The limited express Super Ozora by 283 series

When you go to southeastern Hokkaido, The limited express Super Ozora and the limited express Super Tokachi take you there. Super Ozora connects Sapporo and Kushiro. Super Tokachi connects Sapporo and Obihiro. These trains are very popular and the reserved seats are sold out often.

Both trains are fully covered by JR Pass and Hokkaido Rail Pass. If you have a plan to take these trains, I strongly recommend you to reserve your seat.

I would like to share the information about these trains information and the timetable.

Continue reading The Limited Express Super Ozora / Super Tokachi train guide and the timetable. The trains to Tomamu, Obihiro and Kushiro

The limited express Okhotsk / Taisetsu train guide and the timetable. The trains to Abashiri from Sapporo and Asahikawa

The limited express Okhotsk
The limited express Okhotsk is passing over Jomon Pass.

The limited express Okhotsk and Taisetsu take you to Abashiri from Sapporo and Asahikawa. Abashiri is well known as the place to see a drift ice viewing tour in the winter time. And also when you go to the world heritage site, Shiretoko, you may use this train for Abashiri and transfer to a local train to Shiretoko-Shari. If you need the information about the access to Shiretoko, please see one of my posts, “How to get to Shiretoko“.

You can ride on this train by Japan Rail Pass with no restriction. I would like to show you the information about the limited express Okhotsk and Taisetsu.

Continue reading The limited express Okhotsk / Taisetsu train guide and the timetable. The trains to Abashiri from Sapporo and Asahikawa

Overnight train to/from Sapporo and Aomori. Express Hamanasu

Overnight train Hamanasu at Aomori station
Overnight train Hamanasu at Aomori station

Hamanasu was discontinued in mid March, 2016. There is no overnight train service options available to Hokkaido.

This overnight express train is operated between Aomori and Sapporo. If you want to save your time and you don’t want to spend your money for Hotel in Sapporo, this overnight train is the best choice. Especially when you want to transfer to Tokyo from Sapporo as early as possible, this train is connected with the earliest Tohoku Shinkansen at Shin-Aomori. Continue reading Overnight train to/from Sapporo and Aomori. Express Hamanasu