***This train usually runs in peak periods. But since summer peak season in 2014, this train has not run any more. It seems that this train service is discontinued.***
Moonlight Echigo (ムーンライトえちご) is the overnight rapid service train that is operated between Shinjuku (新宿) and Niigata (新潟). This train used to be a scheduled train. But it was changed to a seasonal train. It is usually operated in same season as Moonlight Nagara, such as spring break (two weeks from late March to early April), summer break (late July to the end of August) and Christmas holidays. These periods are the seasons when “Seisyun 18 ticket” is sold. Anyone can buy this ticket. You can ride any local train throughout Japan for 5 days at 11500 yen. This train can be used by this ticket. So it is always busy.
The Shinkansen is the high speed train and the speed of the Shinkansen save your trip time. There are many Shinkansen lines in Japan now. In this post, I will explain you the Tokaido Shinkansen which is the first Shinkansen line in Japan. And also I will explain you the Sanyo and the Kyushu Shinkansen too. Because these two Shinkansen lines are connected with the Tokaido Shinkansen.
Kyushu Shinkansen runs between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo. But many trains run from Shin-Osaka and carry many passengers from Kansai area to Kyushu. This is the best way to get Kyushu from Osaka and Hiroshima. But some trains are not covered by JR Pass. I would like to show you about this Shinkansen system in this post.
Tohoku Shinkansen and Joetsu Shinkansen share the track between Tokyo and Omiya. So some types of trains are used on both Tohoku and Joetsu. I show you several types of trains that are used on Tohoku or Joetsu Shinkansen. If you are looking for the general information about these Shinkansens, please read Tohoku Shinkansen or Joetsu Shinkansen.
*If you are looking for the images of Akita, Yamagata or Nagano, please refer the following posts:
Sanyo Shinkansen is operated between Shin-Osaka and Hakata. But Sanyo Shinkansen is connected with Tokaido Shinkansen (from Nagoya, Kyoto and Tokyo) at Shin-Osaka and Kyushu Shinkansen (from Kumamoto and Kagoshima) at Hakata.
Most of trains run from Tokyo (Nozomi and Hikari) are operated by Tokaido Shinkansen fleet, 700 series or N700 series. If you look for the images of these trains, please see Tokaido Shinkansen image gallery.
We cannot think about the travel in Japan without Shinkansen. Especially Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo-Shin Osaka) can be used for transfer to Kyoto and Osaka from Tokyo. Most of travellers take this Shinkansen once or more. Probably you want to see the interior of Shinkansen trains. There are several types of trains to be operated on Tokaido Shinkansen. I show you all types of trains of Tokaido Shinkansen trains. And also most of Tokaido Shinkansen trains go through on Sanyo Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Hakata. So if you take Sanyo Shinkansen, this post may be useful for you too.
The Shinkansen (新幹線) is a high speed train service that is operated by JR. It is one of the fastest trains in world and sometimes called “Bullet Train”. JR has this high speed train network throughout Japan. You can save lots of your trip time by taking this train system.
I would like to share a basic information about the Shinkansen train system in this post.
There are many steam locomotive trains in Japan. But this train, SL Banetsu Monogatari is only SL train that has Green seat. And it also has observation car, cafeteria and kids play space. I have received many nice photos of this train from one of my frequent reader, James. I would like to share the information of this train with you.
Rapid train Mie (みえ) is operated between Nagoya (名古屋) and Toba (鳥羽) via Ise-shi (伊勢市) on Sangu line (参宮線). If you go to Ise by Japan Rail Pass, simply take this train. This is the easiest and most economical way. However it is not fully covered by Japan Rail Pass, because there is non JR lines on the route of this train. And also this is not limited express train. So the interior of this train is under express trains’ standard.
Limited Express Hitachi (ひたち) and Tokiwa (ときわ) are operated mostly between Shinagawa, Tokyo, Ueno and Katsuta, Iwaki via Mito on Joban line. These trains were operated as Super Hitachi and Fresh Hitachi from Ueno station before March 13, 2015. After that, these trains depart from Shinagawa station via Tokyo station. It is much more convenient to get on this train from Tokyo now. These trains connect most of cities along the coast side in Ibaragi and southern part of Fukushima.
If you travel to Mito, Iwaki, Yumoto Hot Springs resort, this train gives you directly transfer from Tokyo, Shinagawa and Ueno.
Limited Express Inaji (伊那路) is operated between Toyohashi (豊橋) and Iida (飯田) via Iida line (飯田線). This train connects most of cities and towns along Tenryu river. If you need to access to Iida, Tenryukyo and other places in Southern Shinshu region, this train may suitable for your trip.
Iida line is not well known for the tourist. And there is no world famous sightseeing spots along this line. However the scenery is breathtaking. Especially you will see Tenryu river valley and Southern Alps mountains through the window when you take this train.
Before you read this article, I would like to let you know that this post is written by one of my frequent visitor, Takuji san. He offered me to share his experience about SL Hakodate Christmas Fantasy train. I would like to thank you, Takuji san for your work.
*This train was discontinued in December, 2014.
It’s December, Christmas is coming soon and I would like to introduce a train of the festive season. This steam train with Christmas decoration runs in Hakodate Hokkaido area during the Christmas season every year. “On the seasonal SL train “Hakodate Christmas Fantasy”, our train crews wear Santa Clouse costume to bring the mood for Christmas.” (JR Hokkaido) I have taken this train in 2010 and I would like to share the information. Continue reading SL Hakodate Christmas Fantasy. Enjoy winter scenery between Hakodate and Onuma.
Limited Express Ayame (あやめ) is operated between Tokyo (東京) and Choshi (銚子), Kashima-Jingu (鹿島神宮). Choshi is well know as home of soy sauce and fishing port. Kashima-Jingu is one of the most famous shrine in Japan.
Limited Express Shiosai (しおさい) is operated between Tokyo (東京) and Choshi (銚子), Naruto (成東), Sakura (佐倉). Choshi is located at the mouth of Tone river. This city is very well know as home of soy sauce. And also Choshi is one of the biggest fishing port. There are lots of fresh seafood, like sardines, bonito, and tuna.
Limited Express Wakashio (わかしお) is operated between Tokyo (東京) and Kazusa-Ichinomiya (上総一ノ宮), Katsuura (勝浦), Awa-Kamogawa (安房鴨川). This train runs along the east coast of Boso peninsula in Chiba prefecture. The east coast of Boso peninsula face to Pacific Ocean. This is very popular spots for local tourist in Tokyo.
Limited Express Super Oki (スーパーおき) is operated between Tottori (鳥取), Yonago (米子) and Shin-Yamaguchi (新山口). This train connects all major cities in Sanin area with Shinkansen station Shin-Yamaguchi. Especially you can access to west part of Sanin area, such as Masuda (益田), Hamada (浜田), Odashi (大田市) where is UNESCO World Heritage Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine gate station, this train is your choice. And you can use this train for transfer among Matsue (松江), Izumoshi (出雲市) and other cities in Sanin area. Other limited express Super Matsukaze is operated between Tottori and Masuda. You can use both trains for inter-city transfer in Sanin area. Moreover don’t forget than Tsuwano (津和野) is on the way. This small town is called “Sanin’s little Kyoto”.
Limited Express Super Matsukaze (スーパーまつかぜ) is operated between Tottori (鳥取), Yonago (米子) and Masuda (益田). This train connects all major cities in Sanin area. Matsue (松江) has castle and Samurai district. Izumoshi (出雲市) is very well known by Japan’s second most important shrine, Izumo Taisha. Odashi (大田市) is a gate station to UNESCO World Heritage Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine. You can travel all these cities by Super Matsukaze. It is no doubt that this train is essential to travel in Sanin area. This train is fully covered by JR pass and JR West Sanyo Sanin Area Pass.
Limited Express Super Inaba (スーパーいなば) connects Okayama (岡山) with Tottori (鳥取). It is connected with Shinkansen and Sunrise Izumo/Sunrise Seto. This is the fastest access to Tottori from Tokyo by Sunrise Seto and Sunrise Izumo. If you access to Tottori from Okayama and to the west from Okayama, such as Hiroshima, Hakara and all places in Kyushu and Shikoku. But this train goes through non JR line, Chizu Kyuko Railway. It is operated on same route as Super Hakuto between Kamigori and Tottori. That means you need to pay extra if you use this train by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t want to pay extra, get on Limited Express Yakumo from Okayama to Yonago and transfer to another Limited Express Super Matsukaze or Limited Express Super Oki to Tottori. However travel time of this combination is at least 1.5 hours longer than Super Inaba. Sometimes it may take more because of connection at Yonago.
Super Inaba is the best route to Tottori from Okayama and west part of Japan anyway. I will show you about route, schedule and accommodations.
The Limited Express Hamakaze (はまかぜ) connects Osaka (大阪) and Tottori (鳥取) Kasumi (香住) and Hamasaka (浜坂). Even though there is only one round trip, Hakamaze is only train that connects Osaka and Tottori directly by JR Pass without any extra charge. Actually the primary train goes to Tottori from Osaka is the limited express Super Hakuto. This train is much more frequent and much faster than Hamakaze. But this train goes through Non JR line, Chizu Kyuko Railway. Therefore you have to pay extra charge if you take this train by JR Pass.
In this post, I will show you the route, schedule and accommodations.
Limited Express Super Hakuto (スーパーはくと) connects Kyoto (京都), Shin-Osaka (新大阪), Osaka (大阪), Sannomiya (三ノ宮) and Himeji (姫路) with Tottori (鳥取) and Kurayoshi (倉吉). This it the fastest and most frequent direct train service to Tottori from Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. But this train goes through non JR line, Chizu Kyuko Railway. That means you need to pay extra if you use this train by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t want to pay extra, Limited Express Hamakaze is available between Osaka and Tottori. However there is only one round trip and travel time is 1.5 hours longer than Super Hakuto.
I think Super Hakuto may be your choice even if you have to pay extra on top of Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see about route, schedule and accommodations.
Route, schedule and travel time
There are seven round trips. Some of these seven round trips go to Tottori only, not Kurayoshi. Kyoto/Osaka – Tottori : 5 trips Kyoto/Osaka – Tottori/Kurayoshi : 2 trips Tottori – Osaka/Kyoto : 6 trips Kurayoshi/Tottori – Osaka/Kyoto : 1 trip
Trains are operated every 2 hours. Travel time is 2 hours 30 minutes from Osaka to Tottori and 3 hours from Kyoto to Tottori. You can take Limited Express Hamakaze without any extra charge on top of Japan Rail Pass. But it takes more than 4 hours to get Tottori from Osaka. I think it is worth getting on this train with extra charge. I will tell you about extra charge later.
If you see the map below, you might think this train’s route seems to be a big detour. However this is the fastest route because Chizu Kyuko line is a high standard track for high speed train operation. And if you travel from Nagoya or Tokyo, you can transfer at Himeji.
Limited Express Super Hakuto makes a stop at these stations: Kyoto (京都) – Shin-Osaka (新大阪) – Osaka (大阪) – Sannomiya (三ノ宮) – Akashi (明石) – Himeji (姫路) – Kamigori (上郡) – Sayo (佐用) – Ohara (大原) – Chizu (智頭) – Koge (郡家) – Tottori (鳥取) – Kurayoshi (倉吉)
As I mentioned, you have to pay extra if you use this train by JR Pass. You have to pay 1,320 yen for the base fare. And also you have to pay one of these following fares:
Non Reserved Oridnary seat
Reserved Oridnary seat
You can try to get on limited express Hamakaze without any extra charge. Please see the details at the post below:
Accommodation and train formations
Super Hakuto is operated by the Chizu Kyuko Railway’s HOT 7000 series. In ordinary class, the seat configuration is 2+2 and the leg space is 970 mm. Green class seat is one of the best seat in Kansai area. The seat configuration is 2+1 and the leg space is 1,160 mm. There are only 18 seats available on one train set. It is very popular and sold out very often.
*G=Green seat R=Reserved ordinary seat NR=Non reserved ordinary seat Smoking is not allowed on this train.
Nara is the former capital city in Japan and it is older than Kyoto. Many shrines, temples and districts are listed on UNESCO World Heritage, National Heritage and/or National Treasure. When you travel in Kansai region, you may think about visiting or staying in Nara. If you go to Osaka or Kyoto from other cities, such as Tokyo, you can get there by Shinkansen. But when you go to Nara, there are several routes and options. The trip route to Nara is varied by your trip plan and/or the deal which you intend to use.
In this post, I would like to share the information about access to Nara by train and bus.
The limited express Kusatsu runs between Ueno in Tokyo and Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi. Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi station is the nearest station to one of most famous hot springs resort, Kusatsu. JR Bus Kanto operates the local bus to Kusatsu Onsen.
I will explain about this train and access to Kusatsu Onsen by the bus from Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi station.
I have received many inquiries regarding the late arrival and the early departure at Haneda. I will show you the detailed timetable between Haneda Airport and downtown Tokyo by Tokyo Monorail and Keikyu Railway (Keihin Kyuko Railway) in this post.