Summary of 2018-19 winter seasonal trains of JR trains

Renovated E3 series for Toreiyu Tsubasa

Winter used to be a shoulder season to travel. However in these days, many foreign travelers visit Japan all year long. Especially northern Japan, such as Hokkaido is very popular for Asian tourist to see the snow. And New Year’s holidays from late December to Early January is the busiest season in Japan. This is very challenging to book a seat in New Year’s holidays period. Do not forget that early February is also busy season in Hokkaido because of Sapporo winter festival.

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

*Spring seasonal train schedule (March to May) will come up in late January. Continue reading Summary of 2018-19 winter seasonal trains of JR trains

Schedule of 2017-18 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Genbi Shinkansen that runs between Echigo-Yuzawa and Niigata is called the world fastest art gallery.
Genbi Shinkansen that runs between Echigo-Yuzawa and Niigata is called the world fastest art gallery.

Most of winter is shoulder season to travel. But New Year’s holidays from late December to Early January is the busiest season in Japan. And also early February is busy season in Hokkaido too because of Sapporo winter festival.

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

*Spring seasonal train schedule (March to May) will come up in late January. Continue reading Schedule of 2017-18 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Schedule of 2016-17 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Seasonal overnight train Moonlight Nagara is operated by this 185 series.
Seasonal overnight train Moonlight Nagara is operated by this 185 series.

Most of winter is shoulder season to travel. But New Year’s holidays from late December to Early January is the busiest season in Japan. And also early February is busy season in Hokkaido too because of Sapporo winter festival.

JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during winter season. In this post, I show you many seasonal trains that will run in major tourist spots until the end of February. Continue reading Schedule of 2016-17 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

JR East Pass Nagano Niigata user guide. Flex 5-day pass in 14 days period to cover Nagano, Niigata, Tokyo and surrounding area.

Zenko-ji temple in Nagano (left) and Yuzawa Onsen in Niigata (right)  (C) Nagano Prefecture / JNTO
Zenko-ji temple in Nagano (left) and Yuzawa Onsen in Niigata (right) (C) Nagano Prefecture / JNTO

There are two kinds of JR East Pass, Nagano Niigata and Tohoku. In this post, I would like to explain about JR East Pass Nagano Niigata in this post.

Continue reading JR East Pass Nagano Niigata user guide. Flex 5-day pass in 14 days period to cover Nagano, Niigata, Tokyo and surrounding area.

Schedule of 2015-16 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Asahiyama Doubutsuen train runs betwen Sapporo and Asahikawa. It has Azahiyama Zoo specialized seats.
Asahiyama Doubutsuen train runs betwen Sapporo and Asahikawa. It has Azahiyama Zoo specialized seats.

In Japan, New Year holidays are the busiest period in entire year. Most of Japanese go back to hometown to stay with family in this season. This is Japanese traditional and classic.

Therefore the trains depart from major cities, like Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya will be very busy in the beginning and opposite direction is busy in the end of holidays. Most of companies will be closed from Dec 30 to Jan 3. In this coming season, I expect Dec 29 and 30 will be busy. And everybody come back on January 2 and 3. So you should avoid to take a train on those days. In some of the trains, the occupancy rate may be more than 200%. As long as trains have non reserved seat, you can get on anyway without any reservation. But you will be forced to stay on the isle or passenger’s deck without seat. We see many passengers without seats in the train during those busiest days.

The movie below shows you the station and train in new year in 2013. You can find how it goes in New Year holidays.

Continue reading Schedule of 2015-16 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Schedule of 2014-15 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Limited Express Asahiyama Zoo
Limited Express Asahiyama Dobutsuen

In Japan, New Year holidays are the busiest period in entire year. Most of Japanese go back to hometown in this season. So the trains depart from major cities, like Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya will be very busy. Most of companies will be closed from Dec 30 to Jan 3. In this coming season, I expect Dec 27, 28, 29 and 30 will be busy. And everybody come back on January 3 and 4. So you should avoid to take a train on those days. In some of the trains, the occupancy rate may be more than 200%. As long as trains have non reserved seat, you can get on anyway without any reservation. But you will be forced to stay on the isle or passenger’s deck without seat. There are many passengers without seats in the train during those busiest days.

The movie below shows you the station and train in new year in 2013. You can find how it goes in New Year holidays.

Continue reading Schedule of 2014-15 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Takasaki station guide. It’s junction to Nagano, Niigata, Kusatsu and Tomioka Silk Mill.

The west side of Takasaki station. The shopping complex building is connected to the station.
The west side of Takasaki station. The shopping complex building is connected to the station.

Takasaki station is the biggest station in Gumma pref where is located in northern Kanto region. But it is very easy to find the way in this station because it is not like major station in Tokyo. This station is the junction point to Kusatsu, Minakami, Nagano and Niigata. You may need to transfer at this station when you go to Kusatsu Onsen or Minakami Onsen.

And also local private railway line, Joshin Railway shares Takasaki station with JR trains. If you go to the newest World Heritage site, Tomioka Silk Mill, you will transfer to Joshin Railway. Continue reading Takasaki station guide. It’s junction to Nagano, Niigata, Kusatsu and Tomioka Silk Mill.

Schedule of 2013-14 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Ryuhyo Norokko train is at Kitahama station. This is very small station, but there is small cafe in the station.

In Japan, New Years holidays are crazy busy. In this year, I expect everybody will go back to hometown on Dec 28 and 29. And return trip will be January 4 and 5. I recommend you to avoid getting a train on those days. The vehicle occupancy rate may be more than 200%. As long as trains have non reserved seat, you can get on anyway without any reservation. But you will be forced to stay on the isle or passenger’s deck without seat. There are many passengers without seats in the train during those busiest days. Continue reading Schedule of 2013-14 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Schedule of 2013 fall seasonal trains of Japan Railway

Some of Resort Shirakami are operated by the newest Hybrid train.
Resort Shirakami is one of the most popular cruising train in Japan.

I believe autumn is the best season to travel in Japan. Fall color leaves are magnificent. It will be unforgettable moment. JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during this season and increase the number of trains. I show you seasonal trains information mostly for September, October and November, 2013 in this post.

It is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the trains that run in the popular spots only. Continue reading Schedule of 2013 fall seasonal trains of Japan Railway

Kusatsu Onsen access guide

Yubatake (湯畑=hot springs field) is the landmark of Kusatsu. ©Visual Gunma/©JNTO

There are so many hot springs in Japan. Kusatsu Onsen is located in northern part of Gunma. It is known as one of the most three famous hot springs in Japan with Arima Hot Springs in Hyogo and Gero Hot Springs in Gifu.

In this post, I would like to share the information about the access to Kusatsu Onsen by the train and/or the bus with you.

Continue reading Kusatsu Onsen access guide

Limited Express Kusatsu, 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 Limited Express Kusatsu, direct access to Kusatsu-Onsen from Ueno, Tokyo