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.

Save time and money to go to Niigata from Tokyo by train. Overnight rapid train Moonlight Echigo

***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 is operated by old type express train 183 series.
Moonlight Echigo is operated by old type express train 183 series.

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.

This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. It may be hard to get a seat on this train because of only peak season operation. But it may be considerable for overnight transfer between Tokyo and Niigata, and any area in Tohoku and Hokuriku via Niigata. Let’s see the details about this train. Continue reading Save time and money to go to Niigata from Tokyo by train. Overnight rapid train Moonlight Echigo

The Tokaido, the Sanyo and the Kyushu Shinkansen (Bullet Train) train ride guide. Most popular train between Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Hakata and Kagoshima.

Shinkansen is the high speed train service in Japan. It is known as Bullet Train too.
The Shinkansen is the high speed train service in Japan. It is known as Bullet Train too.

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.

Continue reading The Tokaido, the Sanyo and the Kyushu Shinkansen (Bullet Train) train ride guide. Most popular train between Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Hakata and Kagoshima.

Tokaido Shinkansen image gallery. Check the interior and accommodations.

Original Shinkansen 0 series. It has been already disused.
Original Shinkansen 0 series. It has been already disused.

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.

*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images below.
Continue reading Tokaido Shinkansen image gallery. Check the interior and accommodations.

Access to Mito, Katsuta and Iwaki from Ueno. Limited Express Hitachi and Tokiwa

E657 series is one of the newest fleets and is used for Limited Express Hitachi and Tokiwa.
E657 series is one of the newest fleets and is used for Limited Express Hitachi and Tokiwa.

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.

This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. I will tell you the details about this train. Continue reading Access to Mito, Katsuta and Iwaki from Ueno. Limited Express Hitachi and Tokiwa

Limited Express Ayame. Access to Kashima-Jingu and Choshi

Limited Express Ayame by E257-500 series (C) 800px-JRE_seriesE257_type500_LimitedExpressAyame - E3uematsu
Limited Express Ayame by E257-500 series (C) 800px-JRE_seriesE257_type500_LimitedExpressAyame – E3uematsu

This train has been discontinued in March 2015.

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.

Let’s see this trains’ route, schedule and accommodations. Continue reading Limited Express Ayame. Access to Kashima-Jingu and Choshi

Limited Express Shiosai. Access to Choshi from Tokyo.

Limited Express Shiosai by newer E257 series
Limited Express Shiosai by newer E257 series

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.

Let’s see this trains’ route, schedule and accommodations. Continue reading Limited Express Shiosai. Access to Choshi from Tokyo.

Limited Express Wakashio. Access to Katsuura and Awa-Kamogawa in Boso peninsula from Tokyo

Limited Express Wakashio by newer E257 series (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Limited Express Wakashio by newer E257 series (C) Sonic Rail Garden

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.

Of course this train is 100% covered by Japan Rail Pass, Kanto Area Pass and JR East Pass. Let’s see this trains’ route, schedule and accommodations. Continue reading Limited Express Wakashio. Access to Katsuura and Awa-Kamogawa in Boso peninsula from Tokyo

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

The limited express Kusatsu train guide. The direct access to Kusatsu-Onsen from Ueno, Tokyo


Kusatsu Onsen Yubatake, (C) Kusatsu Onsen Tourism Association/JNTO

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.

Continue reading The limited express Kusatsu train guide. The direct access to Kusatsu-Onsen from Ueno, Tokyo

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

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 going to Kanazawa, Overnight Express train Noto

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

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

Tips for taking Gran Class of Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa

The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37
The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37

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.

I read the report on Nikkei Trendy. It is one of major magazine by Nihon Keizai Shinbun (Japan Economy Newspaper). There are a lot of images about accommodation, meal, drink and so on. I would like to share this report with you all here. Continue reading Tips for taking Gran Class of Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa

Compare interior of Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa with Hayate

All trains on Tohoku and Joetsu shinkansen. From left to right, E5 (Hayabusa), E3 (Komachi), E2 (Hayate), 200 (Toki/Tanigawa), E4 Max, E1 Max
All trains on Tohoku and Joetsu shinkansen. From left to right, E5 (Hayabusa), E3 (Komachi), E2 (Hayate), 200 (Toki/Tanigawa), E4 Max, E1 Max

All line of Tohoku Shinkansen will be restored soon. Of course the fastest train “Hayabusa” will be operated too. Now I show you the article about comparison Hayabusa and Hayate on Tohoku Shinkansen.

Hayabusa has Gran class that is upper class than Green class. When I wrote this post, I had not received enough images of Gran class and other class’ seat of E5 series that has Gran class. Continue reading Compare interior of Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa with Hayate

Train to Shonan, Odawara and Atami with no surcharge from Tokyo. Rapid train on Ueno-Tokyo line

Rapid trains on Shonan-Shinjuku line have green and orange colors.
Rapid trains on Tokaido line have Shonan (green and orange) colors.

***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

Rapid Train on Yokosuka-Sobu line running between Tokyo, Yokohama, Narita Airport, Chiba and Kamakura

Ivory and blue are Yokosuka-Sobu train's color.
Ivory and blue are Yokosuka-Sobu train’s color.

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 Rapid Train on Yokosuka-Sobu line running between Tokyo, Yokohama, Narita Airport, Chiba and Kamakura

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

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

Newer E6 series (red color fleet) at Tokyo station (C) James Chuang
Newer E6 series (red color fleet) at Tokyo station (C) James Chuang

Technically Akita Shinkansen means the line between Morioka and Akita. But most of trains are operated between Tokyo and Akita via Morioka as the train name, “Komachi” (こまち).

All Komachi trains are coupled with the fastest Tohoku Shinkansen train, “Hayabusa” between Tokyo and Morioka. Those trains are uncoupled at Morioka. Of course both Akita and Tohoku Shinkansen are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass and JR East Pass. Continue reading Direct access to Akita from Tokyo, Akita Shinkansen (bullet train)

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

Overnight express train Cassiopeia, very popular overnight train between Tokyo and Sapporo

Cassiopeia is most popular overnight train in Japan.
Cassiopeia is most popular overnight train in Japan.

*This train was discontinued in March 2016.

Cassiopeia is operated between Ueno and Sapporo. This train is like Japanese version Oriental Express and is the most luxurious in three luxurious overnight trains (other two are Twilight Express and Hokutosei) in Japan. Continue reading Overnight express train Cassiopeia, very popular overnight train between Tokyo and Sapporo

Overnight Express Train Hokutosei, most popular overnight train between Tokyo and Sapporo

Overnight Express train Hokutosei
Overnight Express train Hokutosei

This train was discontinued on March 13, 2015.

Hokutosei is operated between Ueno and Sapporo. This train is like Japanese version Oriental Express and is operated on the same route as the most luxurious overnight train, Cassiopeia. Continue reading Overnight Express Train Hokutosei, most popular overnight train between Tokyo and Sapporo

Overnight transfer to Aomori/Akita from Tokyo, No extra charge on Japan Rail Pass! Overnight limited express Akebomo


***This train scheduled service was discontinued in March, 2014 due to small demand.***

Overnight train "Akebono"
Overnight train Akebono

This overnight train is operated between Ueno and Aomori. Japan Railway operate 3 overnight trains between Tokyo and Tohoku or Hokkaido. But only “Akebono” has the reserved seat. The other two trains, “Hokutosei” and “Cassiopeia”, have only the sleeper. If you take sleeper class by Japan Rail Pass, Japan Rail Pass is valid for the basic fare only. You have to pay not only sleeper class surcharge but also limited express surcharge. That means you do not need to pay the extra to get “Akebono” because this train has the reserved seat. Continue reading Overnight transfer to Aomori/Akita from Tokyo, No extra charge on Japan Rail Pass! Overnight limited express Akebomo

The Limited Express Azusa, Super Azusa, Kaiji, and Fuji Excursion (Fuji-Kaiyu) for Matsumoto, Kofu, Kawaguchiko, Shinano-Omachi and Hakuba from Shinjuku

New fleet E353 series has been introduced in December, 2017. (C) DAJF / Wikimedia Commons

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.

Continue reading The Limited Express Azusa, Super Azusa, Kaiji, and Fuji Excursion (Fuji-Kaiyu) for Matsumoto, Kofu, Kawaguchiko, Shinano-Omachi and Hakuba from Shinjuku