Very popular cruising train to Kirishima and Yoshimatsu from Kagoshima. The Limited Express Hayato no Kaze

Hayato no Kaze is operated by restored KIHA 147 series. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Hayato no Kaze is operated by restored KIHA 147 series. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Hayato no Kaze is the limited express train that runs between Kagoshima-Chuo with Yoshimatsu. You can take this train by Japan Rail Pass with no extra charge. This train is the limited express train but this train is slow on Hisatsu line. Hisatsu line is very scenic route. This train is operated by specialized KIHA 147 series. The fleet of this train was fully renovated and it has very cozy Japanese atmosphere. The attendants are on board. They guide you about the scenery of Hisatsu line. This train stop at Kirishima-Onsen station. So you can take this train when you go to Kirishima mountains.

I will show you many images of this train and explain the details.

Continue reading Very popular cruising train to Kirishima and Yoshimatsu from Kagoshima. The Limited Express Hayato no Kaze

Intercity train between Kagoshima and Miyazaki. Limited Express Kirishima

Some of Nichirin and Hyuga are operated by 783 series.
783 series is used for some of Kirishima train set.

Kirishima (きりしま) connects Miyazaki (宮崎) with Kagoshima-Chuo (鹿児島中央). This train is an intercity train and stop at lots of regional cities in Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures. If you travel along the southeast coast of Kyushu, you may need to take this train. Especially when you go to Kirishima mountains, you can take this train to Kirishima-Jingu (霧島神宮). And then transfer to the local bus.

Let’s see about route, schedule and accommodations of these trains. Continue reading Intercity train between Kagoshima and Miyazaki. Limited Express Kirishima

Intercity train between Oita/Beppu and Miyazaki. Limited Express Nichirin / Hyuga

JR Kyushu's best train 787 series was started to use for Nichirin on Mar 12, 2011.
JR Kyushu’s best train 787 series was started to use for Nichirin on Mar 12, 2011.

Nichirin (にちりん) connects Beppu (別府) and Oita (大分) with Miyazaki (宮崎) and Miyazaki airport (宮崎空港). A few of Nichirin are extended to operate to Nakatsu (中津) and even Hakata (博多). Hyuga (ひゅうが) is an intercity train in Miyazaki prefecture. This train is operated on same route as Nichirin. But it is operated between Nobeoka (延岡) and Miyazaki airport. If you travel along the east coast of Kyushu, you may need to take these trains.

Both Nichirin and Hyuga can be used by Japan Rail Pass with no restriction. Let’s see about route, schedule and accommodations of these trains. Continue reading Intercity train between Oita/Beppu and Miyazaki. Limited Express Nichirin / Hyuga

Trans-Kyushu Limited Express (Kyushu Odan Tokkyu), train connects Kumamoto to Beppu via Aso.

Limited Express Trans Kyushu Limited Express and Kumagawa are operated by KIHA 185 series.
Limited Express Trans Kyushu Limited Express and Kumagawa are operated by KIHA 185 series.

Trans-Kyushu Limited Express (Kyushu Odan Tokkyu=九州横断特急) connects both west and east coast of Kyushu. It connects Beppu, Oita and Kumamoto. The biggest volcano, Mt. Aso is located in the middle of this trains’ route.

Due to a huge damage by earthquake, a part of Houhi line between Aso and Kumamoto is closed. This train runs only between Beppu, Oita and Aso until further notice.

Trans-Kyushu Limited Express is covered by Japan Rail Pass fully. I will explain about the train’s route, schedule and accommodations of these trains. Continue reading Trans-Kyushu Limited Express (Kyushu Odan Tokkyu), train connects Kumamoto to Beppu via Aso.

Very popular train to Yufuin from Hakata and Oita. Limited Express Yufuin no Mori / Yufu

The newer fleet KIHA 72 series is used for two round trips of Yufuin no Mori. As of July, 2015, one more car was added to this train set. Not it is five cars formation.
The newer fleet KIHA 72 series is used for two round trips of Yufuin no Mori. As of July, 2015, one more car was added to this train set. Not it is five cars formation.

These trains connect Hakata (博多) with Yufuin (由布院) and Oita (大分) or Beppu (別府). Yufuin is one of the most popular hot springs resort in Kyushu. This is the train that you need to take when you go to Yufuin. Of course these train’s name are named from Yufuin. “Yufuin no Mori” means Yufuin’s forest. These two trains are operated on same route and fully covered by JR Pass. But Yufuin no Mori is operated by the specialized car, KIHA-71 or 72 series. This express train is one of the best in JR Kyushu train and very very popular. So I strongly recommend to take Yufuin no Mori, not Yufu.

I will explain about the route, schedule and accommodations of these trains in this post. Continue reading Very popular train to Yufuin from Hakata and Oita. Limited Express Yufuin no Mori / Yufu

Kansai airport terminal, station, and access guide. Find the best way and best deal for Kansai airport to Osaka.

JR Limited Express Haruka is one of the popular way from KIX to get Osaka.
Limited Express Haruka is one of the popular way from Kansai airport to Osaka and Kyoto.

Kansai airport is the international airport in Osaka. It is the gateway to Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and Wakayama too. There are many ways to get downtown Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. In this post, I will explain about the terminal of Kansai airport, the access route to major places in Kansai region, and how to choose the deal which suits your trip plan.

Continue reading Kansai airport terminal, station, and access guide. Find the best way and best deal for Kansai airport to Osaka.

West Japan (Kyoto, Hiroshima and Kyushu) 7 days sample itinerary by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

Kyoto Imperial Palace ©Akira Okada/©JNTO
Kyoto Imperial Palace ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

This itinerary includes Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Miyajima and North part of Kyushu (Hakata, Nagasaki, Aso and Beppu). This starts from Tokyo and your Japan Rail pass will be started to use from Tokyo station. You may start this itinerary from Shinagawa station, if you arrive at Haneda airport early morning. And of course, you can start this itinerary from Osaka or Kansai airport too. Osaka and Kansai airport are much closer to Kyoto than Tokyo. If you start this itinerary from Osaka, the itinerary is more smooth and easier. Continue reading West Japan (Kyoto, Hiroshima and Kyushu) 7 days sample itinerary by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

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 Most economical transfer, No express surcharge! Rapid Service Network in Kansai area

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

Narita Express, JR’s express train service between Narita airport and Tokyo, Shinjuku, Shinagawa, Yokohama

E259 series is the fleet for Narita Express.
E259 series is the fleet for Narita Express.

Narita Express may be your first train in Japan. It is operated between Narita airport and Greater Tokyo area, such as Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Shibuya. And also service is extended to Yokohama, Totsuka, Ofuna and Omiya. This train stops both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 in Narita airport.

Continue reading Narita Express, JR’s express train service between Narita airport and Tokyo, Shinjuku, Shinagawa, Yokohama

Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka route and timetable. Direct access to Shin Osaka, Tennoji and Kyoto from Kansai airport

Limited Express Haruka connects Kansai airport and Kyoto via Tennoji and Shin-Osaka.
Limited Express Haruka connects Kansai airport and Kyoto via Tennoji and Shin-Osaka.

Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka may be your first train if you arrive in Kansai airport. It is operated between Kansai (Osaka) airport, Tennoji, Shin-Osaka, Kyoto, Kusatsu and Maibara. But please be careful that Haruka does not stop at Osaka station. It stop at Tennoji and Shin-Osaka. If you want to go to Osaka station, you have to transfer to the local train at Shin-Osaka. This express train has 30 round trips a day and are operated mostly every 30 minutes.

Continue reading Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka route and timetable. Direct access to Shin Osaka, Tennoji and Kyoto from Kansai airport

Japan Railways is the best way to access Mt. Fuji? How much can we use Japan Rail Pass to go to Mt. Fuji?

Tokaido Shinkansen and Mt. Fuji ©Akira Okada/©JNTO
Tokaido Shinkansen and Mt. Fuji ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

As you know, Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan. Sometimes we can see it even from downtown Tokyo. And when you travel to west from Tokyo by Shinkansen, you will be able to see this beautiful shaped mountain through the window on your right side.

*If you want to see Mt. Fuji on Shinkansen, when you reserve the ticket for Tokaido Shinkansen, try to get D which is isle side, or E which is window side unless you travel as party of 3. The seat configuration on Shinkansen is 3 (A,B,C) + 2 (D,E). (If you take Green seat, C and D are the right place to see it.) Even if you travel to opposite direction (from Osaka to Tokyo), the seat configuration is same. D and E are always on the mountain side.

Of course Mt. Fuji is one of most popular destination for the tourists. We have several choices to enjoy Mt. Fuji. Let’s see how much you can use Japan Rail Pass to get Mt. Fuji. Continue reading Japan Railways is the best way to access Mt. Fuji? How much can we use Japan Rail Pass to go to Mt. Fuji?

How to use JR Pass in downtown Kyoto. Find how much you can use Japan Rail Pass in Kyoto.

Kyoto Imperial Palace ©Akira Okada/©JNTO
Kyoto Imperial Palace ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

Kyoto is most popular destination in Japan. You may visit Kyoto by JR Pass and other JR West Rail Passes. You may be wondering how much you can use your pass to explore Kyoto?

In this post, I explain you about the coverage of JR Pass and other rail passes in Kyoto.

Continue reading How to use JR Pass in downtown Kyoto. Find how much you can use Japan Rail Pass in Kyoto.

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

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)

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

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

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

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

The Limited Express Kamui and Lilac. The trains to Asahikawa from Sapporo

Limited express train Kamui
Limited express train Kamui

These limited express trains, Kamui and Lilac connect Sapporo and Asahikawa. Kamui and Lilac run on exactly same route. The only difference is accommodation. Lilac has Green seat and Kamui does not. But the reserved ordinary seat of Kamui is called “U seat”. It has better seat with some equipment. But it is a sort of Reserved Ordinary seat. So JR Pass Ordinary covers this seat.

In this post, I show you the details of these train and the timetable.

Continue reading The Limited Express Kamui and Lilac. The trains to Asahikawa from Sapporo

The limited express Hokuto train guide and the timetable: Sapporo – Hakodate intercity transfer train

Super Hokuto
281 series is the standard fleet for the limited express trains in Hokkaido.

The limited express Hokuto runs between Hakodate and Sapporo. This train is connected to the Hokkaido Shinkansen at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. So if you move from Tokyo to Sapporo, take the Tohoku-Hokkaido Shinkansen and transfer to this train for Sapporo at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station. Japan Rail Pass covers all these trains from Tokyo to Sapporo.

Continue reading The limited express Hokuto train guide and the timetable: Sapporo – Hakodate intercity transfer train