Category Archives: Sort by departure / arrival stations

Limited Express Sazanami. Access to Kimizu and Tateyama in Boso peninsula from Tokyo

Limited Express Sazanami by newer E257 series
Limited Express Sazanami by newer E257 series

Limited Express Sazanai (さざなみ) is operated between Tokyo (東京) and Kimizu (君津). This train runs along the west coast of Boso peninsula in Chiba prefecture. Continue reading

Access to Tsuwano, Izumo, Matsue from Yamaguchi. Limited Express Super Oki

Super Oki is operated by high speed diesel unit with tilting system KIHA 187 series. (C) kazusan – JR West KiHa 187 series DMU on a Super Oki service on the Yamaguchi Line in Japan

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”.

But if you go to Yonago, Matsue and Izumoshi from Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto or other cities in east part of Japan, Limited Express Yakumo (やくも) that departs from Okayama (岡山) is much faster. On the other hand, if you access to Matsue or Izumoshi from Kyushu, Super Oki is faster. Please make sure the timetable at Hyperdia when you make your plan. Continue reading

Inter-city train in Tottori and Shimane. Limited Express Super Matsukaze

Super Matsukaze is operated by KIHA 187 series that is high speed with tilting system.

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.

By the way, you can transfer to Limited Express Yakumo (やくも) to Okayama (岡山) at Yonago. The primary trains from Tottori to Okayama is Limited Express Super Inaba (スーパーいなば). But this train goes through non JR railway, Chizu Kyuko Railway. You have to pay extra if you use this train from Tottori. If you take Super Matsukaze and Yakumo, you can avoid to pay extra to Okayama from Tottori on Japan Rail Pass. But travel time is 1.5 hours longer than Super Inaba. Please check the details about Tottori – Okayama transfer at the post, The fastest train access to Tottori from Okayama. Limited Express Super Inaba. Continue reading

The fastest train access to Tottori from Okayama. Limited Express Super Inaba

Super Inaba is operated by KIHA 187 series. It is usually only two cars in the formation. (C) Mitsuki-2368 – West Japan Railway DC kiha 187 series Super inaba

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. Continue reading

Access to Tottori from Osaka, Kobe and Himeji with no extra charge by JR Pass. Limited Express Hamakaze

Limited Express Hamakaze crossing one of famous bridge, Amarube Bridge. (C) RSA – JR West KiHa 189 series DMU on a Hamakaze limited express service crossing the Amarube Viaduct on the Sanin Main Line

Limited Express Hamakaze (はまかぜ) connects Osaka (大阪) with 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 with Tottori directly by Japan Rail Pass or other JR rail passes without any extra charge. Actually the primary train goes to Tottori from Osaka is 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 want to take this train by Japan Rail Pass or other JR passes. Please check the post, The fastest access to Tottori from Osaka, Shin-Osaka and Kyoto, Limited Express Super Hakuto to get the details.

As I mentioned above, this train, Limited Express Hamakaze can be used by Japan Rail Pass with no restriction. Let’s see about route, schedule and accommodations. Continue reading

The fastest train access to Tottori from Osaka and Kyoto. Limited Express Super Hakuto

Limited Express Super Hakuto is operated by high speed diesel fleet HOT 7000 series. (C) Mitsuki-2368 – Chizu Express Company HOT7000 Super hakuto

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. Continue reading

Limited Express Kusatsu, most convenient access to Kusatsu-Onsen from Ueno, Tokyo

651 series was introduced instead of older 185 series. (C) 651 series K106 Kusatsu Miyahara  - ja:User:細谷侑希 (Yuki Hosoya) - ja:File:651series Kusatsu.jpg
651 series was introduced instead of older 185 series. (C) 651 series K106 Kusatsu Miyahara – ja:User:細谷侑希 (Yuki Hosoya) – ja:File:651series Kusatsu.jpg

Kusatsu (草津) is operated between Ueno (上野) and Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi (長野原草津口) and Manza-Kazawaguchi (万座・鹿沢口). Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi station is the nearest station to one of most famous hot springs resort, Kusatsu. JR Bus Kanto operates the shuttle bus between this station and Kusatsu Onsen.

This train, Limited Express Kusatsu and shuttle bus to Kusatsu by JR Bus Kanto are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see the details. Continue reading

Access to Amakusa from Kumamoto. Limited Express A Ressha de Iko (Take the ‘A’ train)

Ltd Exp A Train runs between Kumamoto and Misumi is not covered by Northern area pass.  (C) Jonathan Ayre
Ltd Exp A Train runs between Kumamoto and Misumi is not covered by Northern area pass. (C) Jonathan Ayre

Limited Express “A Ressha de Iko (Take the ‘A’ train)” was introduced in October 2011. This is the first express train to Misumi in more than 20 years. JR Kyushu tried to expand the market to Amakusa and tie up with Seacruise ferry service to Amakusa. It is easily connected with them at Misumi station and port of Misumi. Port of Misumi is located just in front of the station You cannot miss it.

This train is named from jazz standard “Take the ‘A’train”. So this music will be played at the bar. Misumi station is the gateway of Amakusa. So “Take the ‘A’ train” means this train take you to ‘A’makusa.

Let’s see the details about Takes the ‘A’ train. Continue reading

My trip from Aomori to Sapporo on March 19, 2012 by Hamanasu Carpet car.

Hamanasu just arrived at Aomori station (C) JP Rail.com
Hamanasu just arrived at Aomori station (C) JP Rail.com

In my site, JPRail.com, the post that is written about Overnight Express Hamanasu is very popular. I got on Carpet car of Hamanasu on March 19, 2012 from Aomori to Sapporo. I would like to share this experience with you. And I tell you what I did before I got on the train. Continue reading

Most popular train in Kyushu now! Access to Ibusuki from Kagoshima, Limited Express Ibusuki no Tamatebako

Ibusuki no Tamatebako is operated by specialized KIHA 47 series. Black and White paint is very creative. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Ibusuki no Tamatebako is operated by specialized KIHA 47 series. Black and White paint is very creative. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Ibusuki no Tamatebako (指宿のたまて箱) is limited express train that is operated between Kagoshima-Chuo (鹿児島中央) and Ibusuki (指宿). Japan Rail Pass completely cover this train with no extra charge. But there is no non reserved seat. Reservation must be required.

This is the first limited express train on this section, Ibusuki-Makurazaki line. This train runs very slow and is operated for sightseeing along the shoreline of Kagoshima inlet. This train is operated by specialized KIHA 47 series. This train has the true Japanese atmosphere. The crew attendants are on board. Since this train has been started to operate, this is one of most popular train. It is very hard to book a seat.

*I tried to book only two days after starting to sell. Five of six trips were completely sold out. One trips was too early for my schedule. So I was forced to give up!

I will show you many images of this train and would like to share the details with you. Continue reading

Access to Wakkanai from Sapporo. Limited Express Soya / Sarobetsu

When you go to Wakkanai at North end of Hokkaido, these trains take you there. Soya (宗谷) and Sarobetsu (サロベツ) take you to Wakkanai. Soya is operated between Sapporo and Wakkanai. But Sarobetsu runs between Asahikawa and Wakkanai.

Both trains are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see the details about these trains. Continue reading

Access to Mt. Aso from Kumamoto. Kids friendly train, Limited Express Aso Boy!

Limited Express Aso Boy run as seasonal operation due to closure on regular route. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Limited Express Aso Boy run as seasonal operation due to closure on regular route. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

This train, Aso Boy! connects Kumamoto with Aso and Miyaji. If you go to Mt. Aso by rail, take Shinkansen to Kumamoto and transfer to this train. This is the easiest way to get there. This is not only access train to Aso, but also give you a big fun! This train is operated by specialized Kiha-183 series. This was completely redesigned by JR Kyushu chief designer, Eiji Mitooka. Both Kids and Adult can enjoy the trip in the train to Aso. Now I show you the details about this train. And also I really want you to see very interesting interior of this train. Continue reading

Kyushu Shinkansen N700 series for Mizuho, Sakura and Tsubame image gallery

N700 series was introduced for Mizuho and Sakura when Kyushu Shinkansen was completed. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
N700 series was introduced for Mizuho and Sakura when Kyushu Shinkansen was completed. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

N700 series was introduced for Kyushu Shinkansen in this past March. The fleet is the newest and the fastest on Kyushu and Sanyo Shinkansen. If you will use Japan Rail Pass, you may take this train as Sakura from Shin-Osaka to Hakata, Kumamoto or Kagoshima-Chuo.
This series is basically on same types of N700 series on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen. But this series is strictly called N700-7000/8000. The exterior is not much different between N700 and N700-7000/8000. But the interior is quite different. This N700-7000/8000 is much better than original N700. Of course this has the best facility on Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen. Some of my frequent visitors rate Green class of this series higher than even the highest seat in Japan, Glan class of E5 series on Tohoku Shinkansen. Let’s see the interior images of this beautiful train. Continue reading

Gran class and all class seat of Tohoku Shinkansen E5 series and Gran class for Hayabusa, Hayate and Yamabiko image gallery

More E5 series will be introduced for Hayabusa, Hayate and Yamabiko. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
More E5 series will be introduced for Hayabusa, Hayate and Yamabiko. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

E5 series was introduced for Tohoku Shinkansen in this past March. This is the first fleet that has Glan Class seat and it became very popular topic. This class is higher class than Green class. And it is still very hard to get the ticket. Finally I can you the images of all class and facility in this fleet.

If you are looking for the general informations about these Shinkansens, please read Tohoku Shinkansen or Joetsu Shinkansen. If you are looking for the images of other trains on Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen, please see the post, Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen image gallery. If you are looking for the images of Akita, Yamagata and Nagano Shinkansen, please refer the following posts:

Akita Shinkansen
Yamagata Shinkansen
Nagano Shinkansen

Continue reading

Direct transfer to Abashiri for Drift ice in Shiretoko by Ryuhyo Limited Express Okhotsk no Kaze

KIHA183 North Rainbow Express is one of the trains to be used for Furano Express trains. But this fleet is sometimes used for other seasonal trains.(C) Sonic Rail Garden
KIHA183 North Rainbow Express is one of the trains to be used for Furano Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

This is a seasonal operation of Limited Express Okhotsk that connect Sapporo (札幌) and Abashiri (網走) in Hokkaido. This train is operated from late January to early March for Ryuhyo (流氷=Drift ice) viewing. The operation, like time required and route, is completely same as Limited Express Okhotsk. But this seasonal train is operated by specialized car. The accommodation is much better than regular train of Limited Express Okhotsk.

You can take this train by Japan Rail Pass with no restriction. Let’s see the details. Continue reading

Drift ice watching in Shiretoko by Ryuhyo Norokko train

Ryuhyo Norokko train is operated during very popular Drift Ice season in Hokkaido.
Ryuhyo Norokko train is operated during very popular Drift Ice season in Hokkaido.

Ryuhyo Norokko train has been stopped operation because of carriage was too old. Other train replaced Ryuhyo Norokko train but it is operated by common fleet.

Ryuhyo (Drift Ice=流氷) viewing is most popular things to do in Hokkaido during the winter time. This sea ice reach around Abashiri from late January to late March. The best season to view this ice is mid February. This train, Ryuhyo Norokko train is operated in this Ryuhyo season between Abashiri (網走) and Shiretoko-Shari (知床斜里) where is the gate town to Shiretoko peninsula. This train goes on Senmo line (釧網本線) along the coast of Sea of Okhotsk. You have lots of change to see the sea ice from the train. And also Abashiri can be reached by Limited Express Okhotsk or seasonal tran, Ryuhyo Limited Express Okhotsk no Kaze from Sapporo. Both express train from Sapporo and Ryuhyo Norokko train are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass.

Let’s see the detail about this train. Continue reading

The fastest way to get Kanazawa from Tokyo, Limited Express Hakutaka

Limited Express Hakutaka is operated by 681 or 683 series.
Limited Express Hakutaka is operated by 681 or 683 series.

This train will be discontinued on March 13, 2015. Hokuriku Shikansen will start to run on March 14, 2015. You can get Kanazawa and Toyama by Shinkansen from Tokyo without any transfer and much faster. The name of “Hakutaka” will be one of Hokuriku Shinkansen’s name. If you need an access to Kanazawa from Tokyo, please find more info at the post, Hokuriku Shinkansen, direct access to Kanazawa, Nagano and Toyama from Tokyo.

Hakutaka is operated between Echigo-Yuzawa and Kanazawa. Some trains are extended to operate to Fukui and Wakura-Onsen. If you go to Toyama or Kanazawa, take Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo-Yuzawa and transfer to this train. This route is the fastest. But this train, Hakutaka is operated on Hokuetsu Kyuko Railway between Muikamachi and Naoetsu. So Japan Rail Pass does not cover this section. That means you need to pay the extra. If you do not want to pay extra and have a time, take other express train, Hokuetsu from Nagaoka. Hokuetsu is slower and operated by older fleet. But this train is operated on JR line only. So there is no restriction with using Japan Rail Pass. If you need more information about Hokuetsu, please refer this page, Limited Express Hokuetsu. Continue reading

Direct transfer to Kanazawa from Nagoya, Limited Express Shirasagi

683 series is the primary fleet for limited express train in Hokuriku region.
683 series is the primary fleet for limited express train in Hokuriku region.

Shirasagi (しらさぎ) runs between Nagoya (名古屋) and Kanazawa (金沢). This train is the fastest transfer from Nagoya/Maibara (米原) to Hokuriku region, such as Kanazawa and Fukui (福井). This train is very popular for both business and leisure travellers. Because there are several popular locations along this trains’s route, like Awara-Onsen (芦原温泉) hot springs, Kaga-Onsen (加賀温泉) hot spring, and Kanazawa.

This train, Shirasagi is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see the details. Continue reading

Direct transfer to Amanohashidate from Kyoto, Limited Express Hashidate

Most of Kinosaki and all Maizuru are operated by the newest fleet of JR West. (C) Jonathan Ayre
Most of Kinosaki and all Maizuru are operated by the newest fleet of JR West. (C) Jonathan Ayre

Hashidate (はしだて) connects Kyoto (京都) with Miyazu (宮津), Amanohashidate (天橋立) and Toyooka (豊岡). This is only train to go directly one of “Three Views of Japan”, Amanohashidate.

This train, Hahidate go through KTR (Kitakinki Tango Railway) between Fukuchiyama and Toyooka. So if you use this train and go to stations further than Fukuchiyama by Japan Rail Pass, you need to pay extra. I would like to share with you about route, schedule, accommodations of these trains, and extra charge for Japan Rail Pass users. Continue reading

Direct transfer to Kinosaki and Maizuru from Kyoto, Limited Express Kinosaki / Maizuru

Most of Kinosaki and all Maizuru are operated by the newest fleet of JR West. (C) Jonathan Ayre
Most of Kinosaki and all Maizuru are operated by the newest fleet of JR West. (C) Jonathan Ayre

Kinosaki (きのさき) connects Kyoto (京都) with Kinosaki-Onsen (城崎温泉), Toyooka (豊岡) and Fukuchiyama (福知山). When you go to the popular hot springs town, Kinosaki or one of “Three Views of Japan”, Amanohashidate (天橋立) from Kyoto you may take this train.

Maizuru (まいづる) connects Kyoto with Maizuru (舞鶴). This limited express train is always combined operation with Kinosaki between Kyoto and Ayabe (綾部).

Of course, these trains, Kinosaki and Maizuru can be used by Japan Rail Pass with no restriction. Let’s see about route, schedule and accommodations of these trains. Continue reading

Direct transfer to Kinosaki from Osaka, Limited Express Kounotori

This 287 series is newer fleet for Limited Express Kounotori. (C) Jonathan Ayre
Limited Express Kounotori and Kinosaki are operated by the newest 287 seires. (C) Jonathan Ayre

Kounotori (こうのとり) connects Shin-Osaka (新大阪) and Osaka (大阪) with Kinosaki-Onsen (城崎温泉), Toyooka (豊岡) and Fukuchiyama (福知山). When you go to the popular hot springs town, Kinosaki or one of “Three Views of Japan”, Amanohashidate from Osaka, you may take this train.

Of course, this train, Kounotori can be used by Japan Rail Pass with no restriction. Let’s see about route, schedule and accommodations of these trains. Continue reading

Limited Express train Midori/Huis Ten Bosch. Direct transfer from Hakata to Sasebo and Huis Ten Bosch.

Most of Midori are serviced by 783 series.
Most of Midori are serviced by 783 series.

Limited express “Midori” connects the gateway city in Kyushu, Hakata with very historical port city Sasebo. Some of trains are operated with Limited Express “Huis Ten Bosch” that is most popular theme park in Kyushu. When you go to Sasebo or Huis Ten Bosch, take Shinkansen to Hakata and change these trains.

Of course, these express trains can be used by Japan Rail Pass without any restriction. So let’s see the details. Continue reading

Save money and time going to Kanazawa, Overnight Express train Noto

Overnight Express Noto is operated by 485 series. (C) Sui-setz / 800px-JR_East_485_Express_Noto
Overnight Express Noto is operated by 485 series. (C) Sui-setz / 800px-JR_East_485_Express_Noto

*Since March 2012, this train has not been operated. Even though JR East has not announced officially anything about this train, this train seemed to be discontinued.

Not (能登) is the overnight express train that is operated between Ueno (上野) and Kanazawa (金沢). This train used to be a scheduled train. But it was changed to a seasonal train in Mar, 2010. It is usually operated on every Friday and in peak season, such as spring holidays (late April to early May), Obon hoidays (mid August) and Christmas holidays. This train was operated on Saturday before Mar 2011. But JR cut down the operation days because they tried to make vehicle occupancy higher.

This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. It might be hard to get a seat on this train since this train is always busy. But it is considerable for overnight transfer between Tokyo and Kanazawa. Let’s see the details about this train. Continue reading

Save money and time to go to Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka from Tokyo by train. Overnight rapid train Moonlight Nagara

185 series still run as limited express train Odoriko. This fleet is used for rapid Moonlight Nagara too.
185 series still run as limited express train Odoriko. This fleet is used for rapid Moonlight Nagara too.

Moonlight Nagara (ムーンライトながら) is the overnight rapid service train that is operated between Tokyo and Ogaki (大垣). This train is operated as the seasonal train. It is usually operated in spring break (two weeks from late March to early April), summer break (late July to the end of August) and Christmas to New Year holidays. These periods are the seasons when “Seishun 18 ticket” is sold. This ticket covers any rapid and local train’s non reserved seat throughout Japan for 5 days at 11,850 yen. This train can be used by this ticket with additional charge for reserved seat fare. Therefore this train runs for busy period only and it is very hard to book.

This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. But online reservation is not available for overseas visitor and ticket is on sale one month prior to departure date. It is very hard to book and not realistic to put this train in your plan.

Anyway it may be considerable for overnight transfer between Tokyo and Nagoya/Kyoto/Osaka. Let’s see the details about this train. Continue reading

Alternatives of Overnight train Cassiopeia and Hokutosei, in case that you cannot make a reservation.

Overnight Limited Express train Cassiopeia (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Overnight Limited Express train Cassiopeia (C) Sonic Rail Garden
***Hokutosei was discontinued as scheduled train in 14 March, 2015. Now Hokutosei runs as seasonal train until end of summer. It will be discontinued after it. Please find operation date at the post, Schedule of 2015 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways.***

Both Cassiopeia and Hokutosei very popular. Many tourists have a plan to take one of these trains. However these overnight trains 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 be the 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 must have a back up plan when you try to make a reservation after arrival.

I tell you several options for the case that you cannot make Cassiopeia or Hokutosei. Continue reading