Summary of 2018 summer seasonal trains of JR trains

Specialized fleet of HIGH RAIL 1375(C) D-s-yama [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Summer is very hot and humid in Japan. It is not the best season to travel. However summer is very busy travel season. In Japan, most public schools have summer break from July 20 to August 31. This period is busier than usual. Especially mid August is called “Obon”. This is one of the busiest season. Many of Japanese go back to hometown and spend the time with families. It is Japanese tradition. Many of trains are booked out very quickly. Please see the link below to learn more:

2018 busiest period to travel by train. Tips to book your seat in even busy period

All JR companies add lots of seasonal trains during all summer season. In this post, I show you many seasonal trains that will run in major tourist spots until the end of September.

*Fall seasonal train schedule (October and November) will come up in late August. But you can find many of JR East train schedules until September, 2018. You also can find JR Kyushu train schedules until February, 2019. Continue reading Summary of 2018 summer seasonal trains of JR trains

Schedule of 2018 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways

EVA Type 500 train runs as regular scheduled Kodama on Sanyo Shinkansen.
EVA Type 500 train has been running as regular scheduled Kodama on Sanyo Shinkansen for a few years. But it will be done on in this coming May.

Spring is the best season to visit Japan because of the cherry blossom. Spring break of public school in Japan usually starts from the last week of March to the first week of April. This two weeks period is much busier than usual. And also between late April and the beginning of May is one of the busiest period in the year. It is known as “Golden Week” in Japan. April 29, May 3, 4, and 5 are National holidays. If you travel in this period, train may be booked out quickly. Please see the details in the link below:

2018 busiest period to travel by train. Tips to book your seat in even busy period

All JR companies add lots of seasonal trains during all spring season. In this post, I show you many seasonal trains that will run in major tourist spots until the end of June.

*Summer seasonal train schedule (July to September) will come up in late May. But you can find JR East train schedules until September, 2018. You also can find JR Kyushu train schedules until February, 2019. Continue reading Schedule of 2018 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Schedule of 2017 summer seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Rapid train, Kira Kira Uetsu runs between Niigata and Sakata on Uetsu line along the coast.

I cannot say that summer is the best season to visit Japan. It’s very hot and very humid. But it’s vacation season anyway. School summer break kick off on July 20 in most of area. And mid August is called “Obon”. It is one of the busiest period in the year. If you travel in this period, train may be booked out quickly. Please see the details in the link below:

2017 busiest period to travel by train. Tips to book your seat in even busy period

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

*Autumn seasonal train schedule (October to November) will come up in late August. But you will find all schedules until February, 2018 for trains in Kyushu. Continue reading Schedule of 2017 summer seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Trip to Hokkaido in 2017 winter – Part 1, from Narita Airport to Sendai

First night in Akihabara, Tokyo. It was rain and wet snow mixed.

I usually have quick trip to Japan in mid February. In this year, I had another quick trip, 3 nights 4 days and visited Hokkaido. In this trip, I visited Sapporo snow festival, Biei, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya and Hakodate. This was super busy trip and this is not recommended for all travelers. However you may get some idea from my trip report. I hope my trip experience help you to build your plan. Continue reading Trip to Hokkaido in 2017 winter – Part 1, from Narita Airport to Sendai

Schedule of 2017 spring 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.

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 in the year. It is called “Golden Week” in Japan. April 29, May 3, 4, and 5 are National holidays. If you travel in this period, train may be booked out quickly. Please see the details in the link below:

2017 busiest period to travel by train. Tips to book your seat in even busy period

JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during all spring season. Especially JR Group add lots of the extra trains in Golden Week. In this post, I show you many seasonal trains that will run in major tourist spots until the end of June.

*Summer seasonal train schedule (July to September) will come up in late May. But you will find all schedules until February, 2018 for trains in Kyushu. Continue reading Schedule of 2017 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Schedule of 2016 summer seasonal trains of Japan Railways

The newest Shinkansen train, Genbi Shinkansen runs between Echigo-Yuzawa and Niigata.
The newest Shinkansen train, Genbi Shinkansen runs between Echigo-Yuzawa and Niigata.

In Japan, the peak period during summer time is mid August that is called “Obon”. Most of Japanese go back to hometown and spend the time with family. All transportation will be busy from major cities at the beginning and back to major cities at the end. I wrote the busy dates and some tips to avoid this situation at the link below:

2016 busiest period to travel by train. Tips to book your seat in even busy period.

And also, the public school is closed from July 20 to August 31 for summer break. This period is busier than usual too.

JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during summer season. Especially JR Group add lots of extra trains. 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 2016 summer seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 3, Kakunodate to Nagoya via Sendai and Yamadera

Most famous view of Yamadera
Most famous view of Yamadera

This post is continued from Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 2, Akita airport to Kakunodate.

On 3rd day of my trip, I left Kakunodate, visited Yamadera and then go to Nagoya. It was such a long day. But after I visited Yamadera, my mother took a flight from Sendai. I was a solo traveler. My trip was getting busier and busier. I squeezed the places as many as I could after Sendai. Continue reading Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 3, Kakunodate to Nagoya via Sendai and Yamadera

JR East Pass Tohoku. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Tokyo, surrounding area of Tokyo and Tohoku region.

Cherry blossom in Kakunodate Samurai Residence district. It is one of the highlights in Tohoku region. (C) Akita Prefecture / JNTO
Cherry blossom in Kakunodate Samurai Residence district. It is one of the highlights in Tohoku region. (C) Akita Prefecture / JNTO

JR East has decided to divide JR East into two regional passes, JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano, and JR East Pass Tohoku. Current JR East pass will be discontinued in the end of March and these two JR East passes will be on sale. In this post, I would like to explain one of these passes, JR East Pass Tohoku in this post. Continue reading JR East Pass Tohoku. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Tokyo, surrounding area of Tokyo and Tohoku region.

Schedule of 2016 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways

EVA Type 500 train runs as regular scheduled Kodama on Sanyo Shinkansen.
EVA Type 500 train runs as regular scheduled Kodama on Sanyo Shinkansen.

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.

2016 Golden Week Calendar
Apr 29 (Fri) Holiday
Apr 30 (Sat)
May 1 (Sun)
May 2 (Mon)
May 3 (Tue) Holiday
May 4 (Wed) Holiday
May 5 (Thu) Holiday
May 6 (Fri)
May 7 (Sat)
May 8 (Sun)

May 2 and May 6 are regular weekday. But many residents in Japan will take extra day off and make longer holidays. Therefore it will be very busy from April 29 to May 8. I recommend you to avoid travelling during this period. I’m not surprised if trains are booked out.

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 2016 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Schedule of 2015 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 recommend 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 2015 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Schedule of 2014 fall seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Furano Biei Norokko train goes on Furano line. (C) 800px-Norokkogou-furano-biei / Birdman
Furano Biei Norokko train takes you one of most popular spot, Furano and Biei. (C) 800px-Norokkogou-furano-biei / Birdman

Fall season is very popular to travel in Japan. Fall foliage is amazing. Weather is very nice. It’s highly recommended to train in this season.

Many seasonal trains will run during this season. I show you seasonal trains information mostly for September, October and November, 2014 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 2014 fall seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen image gallery. Check the interior and accommodations.

E2 series (left) and 200 series (right)
E2 series (left) and original fleet 200 series (right). All 200 series were retired already.

Tohoku Shinkansen and Joetsu Shinkansen share the track between Tokyo and Omiya. So some types of trains are used on both Tohoku and Joetsu. I show you several types of trains that are used on Tohoku or Joetsu Shinkansen. If you are looking for the general information about these Shinkansens, please read Tohoku Shinkansen or Joetsu Shinkansen.

*If you are looking for the images of Akita, Yamagata or Nagano, please refer the following posts:

Akita Shinkansen
Yamagata Shinkansen
Nagano Shinkansen

*If you are looking for the images of the newest E5 series for Hayabusa (Gran class seat), please refer the following posts:

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

Continue reading Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen image gallery. Check the interior and accommodations.

JR East Pass. Flex 5 days unlimited travel within 14 days in Eastern Japan.

jr-east-pass

*JR East Pass will be divided into two passes on April 1, 2016. Those are JR East Pass (Tohoku area) and JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area). Current JR East Pass will be discontinued on March 31, 2016. Please find more information about these two new deals at the links below:
JR East Pass Tohoku. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Tokyo, surrounding area of Tokyo and Tohoku region.
https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/jr-east-pass-niigata-and-nagano-flex-5-days-pass-in-14-days-period-to-cover-kanto-region-nagano-and-niigata.html

This pass covers eastern part of Honshu island (main island) in Japan, such as Tohoku region, surrounding Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Izu peninsula and most part of Nagano. You can take any trains in the coverage area with a few exception. If you will be a temporary visitor, you are eligible to purchase this deal.

The biggest difference from any other JR Passes is valid periods. You don’t need to use this pass in consecutive days. You can pick any 5 days within 14 days.

Let’s see the details about this pass. I also compare with other passes, such as JR Pass and Kanto Area Pass.

Continue reading JR East Pass. Flex 5 days unlimited travel within 14 days in Eastern Japan.

Schedule of 2013 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways

One of the famous hot springs, Kinosaki Onsen is also a nice place to see cherry blossom. ©Toyooka City/©JNTO
One of the famous hot springs, Kinosaki Onsen is also a nice place to see cherry blossom. ©Toyooka City/©JNTO

Spring is the best season to travel. The cherry blossom can be seen throughout Japan from late March to late April. 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. If you can, lease try to avoid travelling on those days. Many trains are almost 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 2013 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways

My trip from Osaka to Aomori via Tokyo, Matsushima and Kakunodate on March 19, 2012 by Tokaido, Tohoku and Akita Shinkansen

I had never taken Akita Shikansen "Komachi". That was one of my object in this trip. (C) JP Rail
I had never taken Akita Shikansen “Komachi”. That was one of my object in this trip. (C) JP Rail

I think this post is nothing special for the frequent travellers. Because I got on Tokaido Shinkansen, Tohoku Shinkansen, Akita Shinkansen and local train to Matsushima (松島). Since I think the access to Matsushima is the most technical part in this trip, I have already posted about this at Easy trip from Sendai. How to access to Matsushima by Japan Rail Pass. But even other part of this trip might help the first time visitors. So I would like to write about this trip. Continue reading My trip from Osaka to Aomori via Tokyo, Matsushima and Kakunodate on March 19, 2012 by Tokaido, Tohoku and Akita Shinkansen

Easy trip from Sendai. How to access to Matsushima by Japan Rail Pass

Godaido is one of the best EASY-ACCESS view point. (C) JP Rail
Godaido is one of the best EASY-ACCESS view point. (C) JP Rail

Matsushima (松島) is one of “Three Views of Japan” (Matsushima, Amanohashidate and Miyajima). There are more than 200 hundred broken islands in Matsushima bay. You can enjoy the scenery from the land or on the cruise boat. As probably you know, this region was damaged by the great earthquake in March, 2011. However Matsushima was not damaged very seriously because of many islands.

I strongly recommend you to visit Matsushima since it can be accessed from Sendai very easily. It is only 40 minutes trip by Senseki line local train. Of course it is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass.

I visited Matsushima on this past March. I show you how to get there. Continue reading Easy trip from Sendai. How to access to Matsushima by Japan Rail Pass

Schedule of 2012 summer seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Some of Furano Lavender Express are operated by Kiha183 Crystal Express train.
Some of Furano Lavender Express are operated by Kiha183 Crystal Express train.

In summer season, the busiest period is mid August. This period is called “Obon (お盆)”. Everybody try to go back to hometown in this period. In this year 2012, August 10 to 19 will be Obon period. Especially the direction to go out from major cities on Aug 10-12 and the direction to go into major cities on Aug 17-19 will be much busier. These dates are weekend days. Everybody will try to move on these dates. If you travel in this period, try to go opposite direction. It makes you to travel much easier.

JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during all summer season and increase the number of trains in Obon period. 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 2012 summer seasonal trains of Japan Railways

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

Schedule of 2011-12 winter seasonal trains

KIHA183 Crystal Express is one of the trains to use for Tomamu-Sahoro Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
KIHA183 Crystal Express is one of the trains to use for Tomamu-Sahoro Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Some part of winter season is the busiest period. Especially in Japan, New Years holidays are crazy busy. In this year, December 30, 11 (Fri) and January 4, 12 (Sun) will be busiest days. Please try to avoid taking a train on those days. the vehicle occupancy rate may be more than 200%. Sometimes it is almost impossible to get in or out from the train.

Even though Japan is very small country, Japan have several climate zone. It is icy freeeeeezing weather in Hokkaido. South part of Kyushu have very mild weather. It is very interesting season to travel. But if you travel in Hokkaido, Tohoku or Hokuriku region, please expect the delay due to snow. I do not recommend you to make a tight schedule.

Anyway JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during all winter season. But 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 2011-12 winter seasonal trains

Two days unlimited ride on Japan Railways in Tohoku area, Tohoku Ouen Pass

Matsushima is one of three greatest scenery in Japan. ©JNTO
Matsushima is one of three greatest scenery in Japan. ©JNTO

JR East announced that they will sell Tohoku Ouen Pass (東北応援パス). “Ouen (応援)” means Supporting in Japanense. This pass will be sold for supporting Tohoku region where is seriously damaged by the great earthquake in this past March. This pass motivate tourists go to Tohoku region and spend money there to revitalize economy there. Anybody can buy this pass. If you travel outside from Japan, you can buy Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass. But if you live in Japan as a student or work permit, you cannot buy these pass for visitors. This pass may be considerable for you.

Anyway I would like to share the information about this pass with you. Continue reading Two days unlimited ride on Japan Railways in Tohoku area, Tohoku Ouen Pass

Sample itinerary Tohoku 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

Yamadera is located between Yamagata and Sendai. ©JNTO
Yamadera is located between Yamagata and Sendai. ©JNTO

This itinerary includes all part of Tohoku and covers many popular spots, such as Nikko, Zao, Matsushima, Hiraizumi, Oirase, Lake Towada, Shirakami Sanchi and Kakunodate, in 7 days. So you can simply use Japan Rail Pass 7 days. I also try to minimize an extra cost.

You may start this itinerary either from Tokyo or from Osaka. But if you can start this from Osaka, you need to take the overnight train Sunrise Seto/Izumo from Osaka to Tokyo. As long as you catch “Nobi Nobi seat” on Sunrise Seto or Izumo before the date change, you can travel without any extra charge. Continue reading Sample itinerary Tohoku 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train), the fastest train to Tohoku area from Tokyo.

E5 series is a flagship fleet on Tohoku Shikansen. this fleet is mostly used for Hayabusa and Hayate.
E5 series is the primary fleet on Tohoku Shinkansen.

Tohoku Shinkansen is the second oldest Shinkansen (a.k.a. Bullet Train) line in Japan and it connects Tokyo and Tohoku region, such as Shin-Aomori,Fukushima, Sendai, Morioka and Hachinohe. In March, 2016, Hokkaido Shinkansen was opened between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. Hokkaido and mainland of Japan are connected by Shinkansen line via Seikan Tunnel which is the undersea tunnel. This new segment is called Hokkaido Shinkansen and it is technically different Shinkansen line. But many of trains run on both Tohoku and Hokkaido Shinkansen lines. Many trains connect Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto (near Hakodate) directly now. Please see the link below to get the detail of Hokkaido Shinkansen. Continue reading Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train), the fastest train to Tohoku area from Tokyo.

Compare Japan Rail Pass and regular fare. Which one has a greater value or cheap?

Tokaido Shinkansen
Most common fleet of Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen N700 sereis, a.k.a. Bullet train.

When you think about buying Japan Rail Pass, you may compare the price of Japan Rail Pass and a single fare. But it is very hard to get an exact fare because the fare rule of Japan Railway is so complicated. So I will give you some examples and consider which way has greater value. Continue reading Compare Japan Rail Pass and regular fare. Which one has a greater value or cheap?