The Limited Express Kamui and Lilac: Inter-city express between Sapporo and Asahikawa

Limited express train Kamui
The 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 offers a better seat with some extra equipments. But it is a sort of a reserved ordinary seat, so JR Pass Ordinary covers this seat.

In this post, I will explain about these Lilac and Kamui.

Continue reading The Limited Express Kamui and Lilac: Inter-city express between Sapporo and Asahikawa

The limited express Shinano: Inter-city express connecting Nagoya and Nagano

Limited Express "Shinano"
The limited express Shinano operated by 383 series.

The limited express train Shinano runs between Nagano (長野) and Nagoya (名古屋). When you go to Japan Northern Alps, take this train to Matsumoto (松本), and transfer to a local train on Oito line bound for Shinano-Omachi (信濃大町), Hakuba (白馬) and Minami-Otari (南小谷). And also this train goes through the Kiso vallery which has some small histrical post towns, such as Tsumago, Magome

I will explain about this train in this article.

Continue reading The limited express Shinano: Inter-city express connecting Nagoya and Nagano

The Limited Express Shirayuki: Intercity express between Joetsu-Myoko and Niigata

This fleet E653 series will be used for Limited Experss Shirayuki. (C) James Chuang

The limited express Shirayuki operates between Niigata and Joetsu-Myoko of the Hokuriku Shinkansen. If you move between Kanazawa or Toyama and Niigata, you take the Hokuriku Shinkansen between Kanazawa or Toyama and Joetsu-Myoko. And take the limited express Shirayuki to get to Niigata.

In this post, I will explain about this limited express train.

Continue reading The Limited Express Shirayuki: Intercity express between Joetsu-Myoko and Niigata

Sunrise Izumo train guide and timetable: Overnight sleeper train runs between Tokyo and Osaka, Izumoshi, fully covered by the JR Pass

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Sunrise Izumo is an overnight train which runs between Tokyo and Yonago, Matsue and Izumo-shi in Sanin area. This train is combined with Sunrise Seto between Tokyo and Okayama.

This train has many kinds of accommodations. One of these is called “Nobi Nobi Seat” which is not a seat but like a carpet section. This Nobi Nobi Seat is fully covered by the JR pass. This is not a regular berth and the floor is a bit hard. But you can lie on the space and it is much more comfortable than sleeping on a seat. And you have minimum privacy with a small partition between the sections.

But some of Japan Rail Pass users want to take a bedroom or another choice even though additional will be charged.

In this post, I will explain you about Sunrise Izumo with lots of photos.

Continue reading Sunrise Izumo train guide and timetable: Overnight sleeper train runs between Tokyo and Osaka, Izumoshi, fully covered by the JR Pass

Sunrise Seto train guide and timetable: Overnight sleeper train runs between Tokyo and Osaka, Takamatsu, fully covered by the JR Pass

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Sunrise Seto is an overnight train that runs between Tokyo and Takamatsu in Shikoku. This train is coupled with Sunrise Izumo between Tokyo and Okayama. This train depart late night and arrive early morning. It helps you to save your travel time and an accommodation cost.

This train has many kinds of accommodations. One of these is called “Nobi Nobi Seat” which is not a seat but like carpet section. This Nobi Nobi Seat is fully covered by JR pass. This is not a regular berth and the floor is a bit hard. But you can lie on the space and it is much more comfortable than sleeping on a seat. And you have minimum privacy because there is a small partition between the sections.

But some of Japan Rail Pass users want to take a bedroom or another choice even though additional will be charged.

In this post, I will explain you about Sunrise Seto with lots of photos.

Continue reading Sunrise Seto train guide and timetable: Overnight sleeper train runs between Tokyo and Osaka, Takamatsu, fully covered by the JR Pass

The limited express Hokuto train guide and the timetable: Inter-city express train for Sapporo to Hakodate

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 connects 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: Inter-city express train for Sapporo to Hakodate

How to get to Asakusa. Does the JR Pass cover Asakusa?

Nakamise street has lots of shops on the road to Senso-ji temple in Asakusa. ©Taito City/©JNTO
Nakamise street has lots of shops on the road to Senso-ji temple in Asakusa. ©Taito City/©JNTO

Asakusa (浅草) is one of most popular tourist places in Tokyo. There is Senso-ji, Buddhist temple. We also have some more temples and many Japanese souvenir shops.

Asakusa is known as the terminal station of Tobu Railway. Tobu Railway connects Asakusa, Tokyo Skytree, Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen. You may come to Asakusa to take Tobu Railway.

Asakusa is nice place to stay too. But if you access from downtown Tokyo, such as Tokyo, Shinjuku station, the JR pass does not cover the access to Asakusa because JR does not have a station in Asakusa. You have to take Tokyo Metro to get to Asakusa. The Metro and other subway lines are not covered by the JR Pass.

In this post, I will show you how to access to Asakusa from major stations in Tokyo by the JR Pass. If you use JR East Pass, Tokyo Wide Pass, Hokuriku Arch Pass, JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass, you can use same way.

Continue reading How to get to Asakusa. Does the JR Pass cover Asakusa?

The Tohoku-Hokkaido, the Akita and the Yamagata Shinkansen train guide. The Shinkansen goes to Hakodate, Aomori, Sendai, Akita and Yamagata

E5 series is a flagship fleet on Tohoku Shikansen. this fleet is mostly used for Hayabusa and Hayate.
E5 series is a primary vehicle on the Tohoku Shinkansen.

The Tohoku Shinkansen connects Tokyo and Tohoku region, such as Shin-Aomori, Fukushima, Sendai, Morioka and Hachinohe. In March, 2016, this Shinkansen line extended to Hokkaido. This new segment is called the Hokkaido Shinkansen. Although these Shinkansen have different names, many trains operate as one line. And also the Yamagata Shinkansen and the Akita Shinkansen also have different names, but theae lines operate from Tokyo as an integral part of the Tohoku Shinkansen.

In this post, I will explain about the Tohoku, the Hokkaido, the Akita and the Yamagata Shinkansen lines.

Continue reading The Tohoku-Hokkaido, the Akita and the Yamagata Shinkansen train guide. The Shinkansen goes to Hakodate, Aomori, Sendai, Akita and Yamagata

How to get to Miyajima by a train and a ferry. The JR Pass and the JR West Passes cover the trip fully.

Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima
Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima

Miyajima is one of the World Heritage sites in Japan, and also this is called one of “Three Views in Japan” with Matsushima and Amanohashidate.

You can access to Miyajima by Japan Rail Pass with no extra charge. But you have to take a local train and Ferry. I will explain the access to Miyajima with some images in this article.

Continue reading How to get to Miyajima by a train and a ferry. The JR Pass and the JR West Passes cover the trip fully.

The Limited Express Thunderbird timetable and the train information. The train bound for Kanazawa from Osaka and Kyoto.

683 series is the primary fleet for limited express train in Hokuriku region, such as Thunderbird and Shirasagi.
683 series is the primary fleet for limited express train in Hokuriku region, such as Thunderbird and Shirasagi.

The limited express Thunderbird connects Osaka, Shin-Osaka, Kyoto, Fukui, and Kanazawa. One round trip of this train operates to Wakura-Onsen. This train is the fastest way to get to Kanazawa from Osaka/Kyoto. If you go to Kanazawa from Osaka, simply take this limited express train.

This train is fully covered by JR Pass, Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass, Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass, and Hokuriku Arch Pass.

In this post, I will explain you about the train information of limited express Thunderbird.

Continue reading The Limited Express Thunderbird timetable and the train information. The train bound for Kanazawa from Osaka and Kyoto.

The limited express Kawasemi Yamasemi train guide

The limited express Kawasemi Yamasemi (left) and the limited express Isaburo / Shinpei (right) at Hitoyoshi station (C) そらみみ [CC BY-SA 4.0 from Wikimedia commons]

The limited express Kawasemi Yamasemi runs between Kumamoto and Hitoyoshi. This train is also known as one of JR Kyushu’s sightseeing trains. It runs along Kumagawa river and it is very scenic. Kawasemi Yamasemi are the name of birds. Kawasemi is a common kingfisher and Yamasemi is a crested kingfishter.

I would like to explain about this train in this post.

Continue reading The limited express Kawasemi Yamasemi train guide

Rapid Airport train for New Chitose Airport to/from Sapporo and Otaru

Rapid Airport at Sapporo station

Rapid Airport runs between New Chitose airport and Sapporo, Otaru. This is most common and very reliable access for New Chitose airport. I would like to show you about this train in this post.

Continue reading Rapid Airport train for New Chitose Airport to/from Sapporo and Otaru

HIGH RAIL 1375, the train runs JR’s highest point

Specialized fleet of HIGH RAIL 1375 (C) D-s-yama [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

This is one of JR East’s “Joyful Trains”. Joyful Train is operated by the specialized fleet with many attractions.

HIGH RAIL 1375 runs on Koumi line between Kobuchizawa and Komoro. Koumi line goes on the highest point in all JR lines. Koumi line is also known the line with beautiful mountain scenery.

I would like to tell you the detailed information about this train in this post.

Continue reading HIGH RAIL 1375, the train runs JR’s highest point

Schedule of 2017 summer seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Rapid train, Kira Kira Uetsu runs between Niigata and Sakata on Uetsu line along the coast.

I cannot say that summer is the best season to visit Japan. It’s very hot and very humid. But it’s vacation season anyway. School summer break kick off on July 20 in most of area. And mid August is called “Obon”. It is one of the busiest period in the year. If you travel in this period, train may be booked out quickly. Please see the details in the link below:

2017 busiest period to travel by train. Tips to book your seat in even busy period

JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during summer season. In this post, I show you many seasonal trains that will run in major tourist spots until the end of September.

*Autumn seasonal train schedule (October to November) will come up in late August. But you will find all schedules until February, 2018 for trains in Kyushu. Continue reading Schedule of 2017 summer seasonal trains of Japan Railways

The world fastest art gallery, Genbi Shinkansen

Genbi Shinkansen is operated by remodeled E3 series that was used for Akita Shinkansen before.

Genbi Shinkansen (現美新幹線) is one of Shinkansen trains but it is very unique train. Many artworks are displayed in the carriages. It is like running art gallery. Exterior is also very cool. Fireworks displays are drawn on the trains.

Genbi is a short word of Gendai Bijutsu. That means Modern Art. This train offers many modern artwork on board of high speed train, Shinkansen. That is why this train is called “The World Fastest Art Gallery”.

One of my reader, Tak has taken this train and he offered me to use his brilliant photos. I would like to tell you the details of this train with his photos. Thank you very much for your support, Tak san!

Genbi Shinkansen will stop operation by the end of 2020.

Continue reading The world fastest art gallery, Genbi Shinkansen

Cruising train Izu Creile offers you very comfortable train experience to Izu peninsula from Odawara.

Izu Creile runs along very scenic shoreline in Izu peninsula.

This train is no longer available. The service was ended in March, 2020.

Izu Creile was introduced in summer 2016. It runs between Odawara and Izukyu-Shimoda via Atami, Ito, other major spots in Izu peninsula as seasonal cruising train. It has very nice interior and you can enjoy very scenic view of shoreline from the large panoramic window.

I have received many photos of this train from my reader, James. Now I can write about this train with many beautiful pictures from James. Thank you very much for your support, James!

Continue reading Cruising train Izu Creile offers you very comfortable train experience to Izu peninsula from Odawara.

Yokohama and Kamakura access guide. Find the right deal and route from your place to stay.

Red Brick Warehouse is very popular shopping site in Yokohama Waterfront Area. (C) Y.Shimizu / JNTO
Red Brick Warehouse is very popular shopping site in Yokohama Waterfront Area. (C) Y.Shimizu / JNTO

Yokohama and Kamakura are very popular places to visit from Tokyo as day trip. Of course you can visit these places from other places, like Osaka and Kyoto. But there are several routes to get Yokohama and Kamakura from Tokyo. If you visit these places from Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya, you will consider to drop by these places on the way to Tokyo. But do you think that it is a right way? Should we go to Tokyo first and then go back to Yokohama?

In this post, I show you the major access to Yokohaama and Kamakura from Tokyo. And I show you how to get Yokohama and Kamakura on the way to Tokyo from Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya.

Continue reading Yokohama and Kamakura access guide. Find the right deal and route from your place to stay.

Limited time operation. Specialized Shinkansen train 500 TYPE EVA

2016 winter Japan trip 1168

This project had been done already. 500 Type EVA is no longer available. This train was already repainted and refurbished again. And this train is now operated as “Hello Kitty Shinkansen”.

This is the collaboration of the Shinkansen and very popular Japanese Anime “New Generation Evangelion (link to Wikipedia)” as the Sanyo Shinkansen 40 years anniversary special project. This unique Shinkansen fleet has very different exterior that is painted by Evangelion color. And also it has Evangerion exhibition in car #1. There are many more Evangerion characters and designs in the trains. If you are a fan of this anime, you must be excited. Even if you are not familiar with this anime, you will be impressed by these decorations.

I just have got on this train in this early February, 2016. I would like to share the information and many photos of this train with you.

Continue reading Limited time operation. Specialized Shinkansen train 500 TYPE EVA

Direct access to Hokkaido from Tokyo, Hokkaido Shinkansen (bullet train)

H5 series will run on Hokkaido Shinkansen as Hayabusa and Hayate. This fleet is same series as Tohoku Shinkansen E5 series. (C) By Sukhoi37 (Own work),  JR Hokkaido H5 series shinkansen set H1 approaching Sendai Station on a test run,CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
H5 series will run on Hokkaido Shinkansen as Hayabusa and Hayate. This fleet is same series as Tohoku Shinkansen E5 series. (C) By Sukhoi37 (Own work), JR Hokkaido H5 series shinkansen set H1 approaching Sendai Station on a test run,CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Hokkaido Shinkansen will be opened on March 26, 2016 between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. This will be the newest Shinkansen (Bullet Train) line technically. However this line is connected with Tohoku Shinkansen at Shin-Aomori. Many of trains run through Tohoku Shinkansen to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto from Tokyo. You will be able to get Hokkaido from Tokyo directly by this Shinkansen train.

However Hokkaido Shinkansen will be partial open. You can get southern Hokkaido only. You still need to transfer to get most of Hokkaido. such as Sapporo. And also Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station is not located in downtown of Hakodate. You need to transfer to get Hakodate.

I mentioned many negative things at the beginning. But it will be much more convenient and faster than current trains. There are a few things that you need to know before taking Hokkaido Shinkansen. I would like to show you the detail of Hokkaido Shinkansen and will also give you some tips to use this Shinkansen line in this post.

*Additional info
JR Group has announced that Hokkaido Shinkansen is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass, a.k.a. JR pass.

Continue reading Direct access to Hokkaido from Tokyo, Hokkaido Shinkansen (bullet train)

Osaka Kaiyu Ticket gives you a big saving for the trip to Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium and sightseeing in Osaka.

Whale shark tank is the biggest reason to visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.
Whale shark tank is the biggest reason to visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.

I have been to Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium many times. Whenever I visit there, I use this deal, Osaka Kaiyu Ticket. I would like to share the information of this discount deal in this post.

Continue reading Osaka Kaiyu Ticket gives you a big saving for the trip to Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium and sightseeing in Osaka.

The Hokuriku Shinkansen, direct access to Kanazawa, Nagano and Toyama from Tokyo.

E7 series is one of the newest Shinkansen fleets for Hokuriku Shinkansen (C) Rsa (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
E7 series is one of the newest Shinkansen fleets for Hokuriku Shinkansen (C) Rsa (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

This Shinkansen lines was called “The Nagano Shinkansen”. On March 14. 2015, this Shinkansen lines was extended to Kanazawa and it is called “The Hokuriku Shinkansen”. This Shinkansen line connects Tokyo, Omiya, Takasaki, Nagano, Toyama and Kanazawa. This Shinkansen line is covered by JR Pass and Hokuriku Arch Pass fully. JR East Pass Nagano Niigata covers between Tokyo and Joetsu-Myoko station.

I would like to show you the information about this Shinkansen service with you in this post.

Continue reading The Hokuriku Shinkansen, direct access to Kanazawa, Nagano and Toyama from Tokyo.

Enjoy premium Japanese Sake on board. Cruising train Koshino Shu*Kura

You can enjoy Jazz performance and great view of Sea of Japan on board. (C) James Chuang
You can enjoy Jazz performance and great view of Sea of Japan on board. (C) James Chuang

This train, “Koshino Shu*Kura runs in Niigata prefecture. Niigata is known as one of the biggest production of rice in Japan. And also many kinds of premium Japanese Sake (rice wine) are produced by this rice in this area. This train has the theme of Japanese Sake and you can taste many kinds of Sake on board. This train’s name, “Koshino Shu*Kura” is the combination of a few words which are Echigo district (=Koshino) where the area train runs, Japanese Sake (=Shu), snow flake(=*) and brewery (=Kura). And also this train runs along the coast of Sea of Japan. You also can enjoy the beautiful scenery.

My reader, James Chuang posted many photos of this train. He allowed me to use these photos and I was very impressed! I would like to share the photos and information with you.

Thank you, James for sharing the beautiful photos.
*James Chuang has copyright for all images in this post.

Continue reading Enjoy premium Japanese Sake on board. Cruising train Koshino Shu*Kura

Toreiyu Tsubasa. First ever Shinkansen train that has foot bath.

The first ever Shinkansen cruise train, Toreiyu Tsubsa. (C) James Chuang
The first ever Shinkansen cruise train, Toreiyu Tsubsa. (C) James Chuang

The Shinkansen train run as fast intercity transfer. But this train, “Toreiyu Tsubsa” shows us completely different concept as the Shinkansen train. This Shinkansen train does not run very fast. It stops at all stations and it offers you warm atmosphere to spend the time in the train with your family or friend.

My reader, James and Tak gave us many photos of this train. I would like to share the photos and information with you. I would like to thank you, James and Tak for sharing the beautiful photos.

Continue reading Toreiyu Tsubasa. First ever Shinkansen train that has foot bath.

Alternatives of Overnight train Twilight Express, in case that you cannot make a reservation.

***Twilight Express was discontinued in 12 March, 2015. There is no overnight train option between Osaka and Hokkaido any more.***

Twilight Express is one of the most popular train in Japan. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Twilight Express is one of the most popular train in Japan. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Twilight Express is very popular. Many tourists might think about taking this luxury overnight train. But you have a problem. Twilight Express cannot be reserved online. The only way to reserve it from outside of Japan is calling Odekake net 078-341-7903 in Japanese and you have to pick up your ticket in JR West, Shikoku or Kyushu stations. You cannot pick up it in other areas, like Tokyo. Otherwise You need to go to a reservation window at the station in Japan. Ticket is started to sell one month prior to the departure date. That means it may be sold out when you arrive in Japan. So you need to think about alternatives if you have a plan to take this train. I tell you several options for the case that you cannot make Twilight Express.

Twilight Express departs from Osaka at 11:50am and arrive in Sapporo at 09:52am, and depart from Sappro at 12:52pm and arrive in Osaka at 14:05pm. I try to make an alternatives as same schedule as possible. Continue reading Alternatives of Overnight train Twilight Express, in case that you cannot make a reservation.

Overnight Express Train Twilight Express, most popular overnight train between Osaka and Sapporo

***Twilight Express was discontinued in 12 March, 2015. There is no overnight train option between Osaka and Hokkaido any more.***

Overnight Express train Twilight Express
Overnight Express train Twilight Express

Twilight Express is operated between Osaka and Sapporo. This is the longest service operation train in Japan. It takes more than 22 hours to reach Sapporo from Osaka. (If you take other way, it takes 22 hours 45 minutes.)

When you use a berth or a bedroom, Japan Rail Pass does not cover any accommodation charges and even Limited Express surcharge either. Even though you have to pay lots of the extra on Japan Rail Pass, the experience on board will be worthy. First class hospitality, the beautiful scenery and the sunset on the Sea of Japan, will be very memorable moment in your trip.

Anyway I tell you that the extra cost, timetable, checking the availability and the types of accommodations. Continue reading Overnight Express Train Twilight Express, most popular overnight train between Osaka and Sapporo