Schedule of 2014 summer seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Moonlight Nagara is operated by 183 series.
Moonlight Nagara is very popular overnight train because it can be taken without limited express surcharge. (but reserved seat fee applicable)

Summer is not the best season to visit Japan except Hokkaido because of climate. It is very hot and humid. But local demand is quite high. Especially Obon season is one of three busiest period in Japan. Obon period is usually from August 13 to 16. In this year 2014, August 17 is Sunday. So the last day of Obon period is 17 of August. The trains to major cities will be very crowded. On the other hand, trains from major cities will be very crowded on August 13. Some of Japanese will start Obon vacation on August 10, Saturday. Anyway please keep that mid August will be very busy in your mind. You must reserve a seat if you travel in this period. Otherwise you have to stand up on the isle or passengers deck in very crowded train.

JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during all spring season. Especially JR Group add lots of the extra trains on those above holidays. It is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the popular trains and are operated in the popular spot. Continue reading Schedule of 2014 summer seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Schedule of 2014 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways

"Ohanami" is very popular outside party with viewing cherry blossom.  © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO
“Ohanami” is very popular outside party with viewing cherry blossom. © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO

Spring is the best season to visit Japan because of the cherry blossom. And also between late April and the beginning of May is one of the busiest period. It is called “Golden Week” in Japan. April 29, May 3, 4, and 5 are National holidays. I recommen you to avoid travelling on those days. It’s not surprised if trains are full.

JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during all spring season. Especially JR Group add lots of the extra trains on those above holidays. It is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the popular trains and are operated in the popular spot. Continue reading Schedule of 2014 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Shin Osaka station guide. How to change Shinkansen, Haruka, Thunderbird and local train access to Osaka, Umeda and Namba

Conventional lines platform (front), Shinkansen terminal (back) (C) Outside view of the Shin Osaka station/Ariake

Shin-Osaka station is the place where you change to/from Shinkansen. If you travel in Osaka, you may use this station at least once. All Shikansen trains stop at this station and many limited express trains on conventional lines stop or depart from this station, Shin-Osaka.

In this post, I would like to show you some images and explain about this station. You will get the information about transfer among trains. Continue reading Shin Osaka station guide. How to change Shinkansen, Haruka, Thunderbird and local train access to Osaka, Umeda and Namba

How to choose Rail Pass for trip in Kyushu. Many choices for both visitors and residents in Japan.

Nagasaki is one of the highlight in Kyushu.
Nagasaki is one of the highlight in Kyushu.

Kyushu is located in south part of Japan. That’s why the climate is very mild and it is very popular destination in all season. Some of the travellers may arrive/depart at Fukuoka airport or other airports and travel only in Kyushu.

In this post, I would like to show you several kinds of Kyushu rail passes for both visitors and resident in Japan. It is impossible to get same deals as visitors for residents. But there are some deals for the residents too. I will tell you about the pass that anyone can purchase. Continue reading How to choose Rail Pass for trip in Kyushu. Many choices for both visitors and residents in Japan.

Kyushu Shinkansen 2 days unlimited ride ticket for summer vacation. Kid price is only 1000 yen for 2 days!

Kyushu Shinkansen Tsubasa
Kyushu Shinkansen Tsubasa

JR Kyushu is trying to get more tourist in the last stretch of summer vacation. They will start to sell Kyushu Shinkansen 2 days unlimited ride ticket on August 20, 2012. You can ride non reserved ordinary seat of Kyushu Shinkansen and any trains on conventional lines run parallel with Kyushu Shinkansen. This is very similar to unlimited ride ticket that was sold in this past March. But it was only one day ticket and kid price is 2000 yen. This ticket gives you much better deal. Continue reading Kyushu Shinkansen 2 days unlimited ride ticket for summer vacation. Kid price is only 1000 yen for 2 days!

Kyushu Train Operation status. Closed sections due to heavy rain in mid July, 2012

Ltd exp Yufuin no Mori was suspended, but it is back to normal now. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Ltd exp Yufuin no Mori was suspended, but it is back to normal now. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Revised, August 4,2013 (Japan time) — All closed section has been opened on this day.

Revised, September 24,2012 (Japan time) — I update these following info when the status has been changed. It seems to take a long time to repair the closed sections on Houhi line and Kyudai line.
*All sections are repaired except the section between Miyaji and Bungo-Takeda on Houhi line. Continue reading Kyushu Train Operation status. Closed sections due to heavy rain in mid July, 2012

The newest JR West rail pass for Sanyo, Kyushu and Shikoku, JR Sanyo Shikoku Kyushu Rail Pass

Sanyo / Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura and Mizuho are operated by N700 series. (C) JP Rail

*This deal will be sold until February 28, 2015 and can be exchanged until June 30, 2015. On March 1, 2015, this deal will be discontinued.

JR Sanyo Shikoku Kyushu Rail Pass was released on the same day as Kansai WIDE Area Pass on April 10, 2012. This pass is the combination of existing JR West Sanyo Area Pass, JR Kyushu Rail Pass and unlimited ride in Shikoku. This is the first rail pass that cover most of west part of Japan. Especially this is the first pass that include Shinkoku other than Japan Rail Pass.

Let’s see the details of this pass and compare between this pass and JR West Sanyo, JR Kyushu pass. Continue reading The newest JR West rail pass for Sanyo, Kyushu and Shikoku, JR Sanyo Shikoku Kyushu Rail Pass

My trip to Kyushu, Tohoku and Hokkaido in 5 days.

Thank you for supporting Japan!
Thank you for supporting Japan!

Dear readers,
I will leave Japan today and head back to Vancouver, Canada. I stayed in Japan for 9 nights and spend 5 days for my trip. It was crazy busy trip. I tried to take a train as many as I could. Continue reading My trip to Kyushu, Tohoku and Hokkaido in 5 days.

Kyushu Shinkansen 1 year anniversary 1 day unlimited ride ticket.

Kyushu Shinkansen Tsubasa
Kyushu Shinkansen Tsubasa
This coming March 17 will be one year anniversary day of Kyushu Shikansen completion. JR Kyushu have just started to sell one day unlimited ride pass of Kyushu Shikansen between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo. Continue reading Kyushu Shinkansen 1 year anniversary 1 day unlimited ride ticket.

Luxury overnight cruising train trip in Kyushu

JR Kyushu have been planning to operate a deluxe overnight train. According to some major newspapers in Japan, JR Kyushu seem to complete the plan. They may start to take a reservation in this coming summer.
This is the first multi-day cruising train trip in Japan. Probably this is much more luxury than Twilight Express and Cassiopeia. I don’t think I can afford this train trip. But it is very interesting. So I would like to share all information that I know at this point. Continue reading Luxury overnight cruising train trip in Kyushu

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

Summary of Japan Railway’s timetable revision in March, 2012

Overnight limited Express train Nihonkai (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Overnight limited Express train Nihonkai will be discontinued as a schedule train. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Japan Railway usually revise the timetable every March. Hayabusa on Tohoku Shinkansen, Mizuho and Sakura on Kyushu Shinkansen were introduced in this past March. All JR six companies released the outline of next timetable revision in March 2012. I will show you the outline about this timetable revision.

Overnight train, Nihonkai and Kitaguni will be discontinued as a scheduled train.

I already mentioned this news on Twitter. Now it is officially confirmed. Continue reading Summary of Japan Railway’s timetable revision in March, 2012

Access to Oita and Beppu from Fukuoka (Hakata). Limited Express Sonic

Limited Express Sonic (883 series)
Limited Express Sonic (883 series)

This limited express train is one of most popular limited express train that is serviced by JR Kyushu. This connects Hakata and Kokura with Oita and Saeki. If you go to the popular hot springs resort, Beppu, this train is that you need to take after you get off Shinkansen at Kokura or Hakata. Of course this train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass.

This train is operated by 885 and 883 series. I would like to share the information about this train in this post. Continue reading Access to Oita and Beppu from Fukuoka (Hakata). Limited Express Sonic