This Shinkansen lines is currently called “Nagano Shinkansen”. On March 14. 2015, this Shinkansen lines will be extended to Kanazawa and will be called official name “Hokuriku Shinkansen”. This Shinkansen will offer us much faster transport mode than current train services. So this Shinknansen line is covered by Japan Rail Pass fully and JR East Pass covers between Tokyo and Joetsu-Myoko station.
***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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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:
*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.
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.
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.
JR East started to operate 2 round trips of Hayabusa after suspension by earthquake. It takes more than 4 hours between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori. Extra 1 hour is spent to get Aomori by Hayabusa. Because there is maximum speed restriction between Omiya and Morioka due to the damage by earthquake. I hope it will be restored with 100% soon.
*JR East lifted a speed limit in some area. Now it takes about 3 hours 30 minutes from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori. It is still 20 minutes more than the regular timetable.
***This rapid line will be connected with Takasaki and Utsunomiya rapid lines in March 14, 2015. Now Tokyo is departure station and it makes us be easy to get a seat. But after March 14, 2015, all trains will come from Takasaki, Utsunomiya via Omiya and Ueno. Tokyo station is in the middle of this train network. That means it may be harder to get a seat. You may have to stand up on board.***
Tokaido line is the name of major line that connects Tokyo (=東京) with Kobe (=神戸) via Nagoya (=名古屋), Kyoto (=京都) and Osaka (=大阪). But this name is used as Rapid train route for operating between Tokyo and Atami (=熱海) via Yokohama (=横浜), Odawara (=小田原). This train is traditionally called Shonan Densha (=湘南電車=Shonan train). Because this train goes throuth Shonan area where Kamakura and Enoshima are located in. If you go to Yokohama from Tokyo station, this train is fastest and even faster than Shinkansen, because Shinkansen does not have any station in downtown Yokohama. This train is a sort of commute train. But all trains have two double decker Green cars in the formation. This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Especially you use Japan Rail Pass Green, you may take Green car of this train. Let’s see the details. Continue reading Train to Shonan, Odawara and Atami with no surcharge from Tokyo. Rapid train on Ueno-Tokyo line
Sobu-Yokosuka line (=横須賀総武線) means the operation route of one of the Rapid train network in Greater Tokyo. This train is operated on Sobu line, Tokaido line and Yokosuka line. Most of trains are operated between Chiba (=千葉) and Kurihama (=久里浜)/Yokosuka (=横須賀) via Tokyo (=東京) and Yokohama (=横浜). Some trains are extended to operate to Narita airport (=成田空港) and other stations in Chiba Pref. This train is a sort of commute train. But all trains have two double decker Green cars in the formation. Especially Rapid train to Narita airport may be replacement of Narita Express if you want to save the fare. These trains are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Of course if you use Japan Rail Pass Green, you can take Green cars with no extra cost. Continue reading Access to Narita airport and Kamakura from Tokyo. Rapid Train on Yokosuka-Sobu line (Airport Narita)
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 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.
When you go to southern part of Nagano from Nagano, the Limited Express Azusa is most convenient choice. You can get Matsumoto directly. And one trip of this train takes you to Hakuba and Shinano-Omachi directly.
The Limited Express Kaiji runs on the same route between Kofu and Shinjuku/Tokyo.
And the new train, “FUJI EXCURSION (Fuji-Kaiyu)” has been introduced in March 2019. This train connects Shinjuku and Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi at Mt. Fuji) directly.
I will explain you the route, schedule and accommodations of these trains.