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.

Route, schedule and travel time

Operation route map (Click to view large)
Find your hotels in 500 cities throughout Japan!!!

Hotels in Matsumoto
Hotels in Hakuba
Hotels in Kofu

The Limited Express Azusa is operated between Shinjuku and Matsumoto. A few operation of this train depart from Tokyo and Chiba. And one round trip of Azusa is operated between Shinjuku and Minami-Otari. You can get Hakuba and Shinano-Omachi directly from Shinjuku. In daytime, Azusa leaves Shinjuku station hourly, at 00 and 30 minutes past the hour.

The Limited Express Kaiji runs on same route as Azusa but this train is operated between Shinjuku and Kofu mostly. Some trips departs from Tokyo and Ryuo. This train is operated once every hour.

The Limited Express Fuji Kaiyu is operated between Shinjuku and Kawaguchiko. But this train is operated between Shinjuku and Otsuki being connected with the Limited Express Kaiji. Two round trips of this train are operated daily.

The Limited Express Fuji Excursion is operated by JR. But the segment between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko is Fujikyu Railway which is not JR. Some rail passes do not cover this segment and you have to pay the extra fare on top of the pass. I will tell you later in this post.

Trip time

The fastest Azusa connects Shinjuku and Matsumoto in 2.5 hours. The average trip time is around 3 hours between Shinjuku and Matsumoto.

The Limited Express Kaiji stops many more stations than Azusa. But the travel time between Kofu and Shinjuku is not so different from the Limited Express Azusa. It takes 1 hour 40 minutes to 2 hours.

The Limited Express Fuji Excursion is coupled with Kaiji between Shinjuku and Otsuki as I mentioned above. The trip time is 1 hour 40 minutes from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko.

Extra fare for taking the Limited Express Fuji Excursion

This train is JR train but it runs on Fujikyu railway line which is not JR. On this segment, this train is operated as one of Fujikyu railway train. That means that this train is not covered by some rail passes.

The only railway pass which covers this train fully is Tokyo Wide Pass.

JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass), JR East Pass Nagano Niigata and any other JR deals other than Tokyo Wide Pass does not cover the Limited Express Fuji Excursion fully. You have to pay the extra fare for the segment between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko.

The extra fare is 1,740 yen. (base fare 1,140 yen + limited express fee 600 yen)

But if you take this train between Kawaguchiko and Mt. Fuji only, limited express fee is not required.

Accommodation and train formations

The Limited Express Azusa, Kaiji and Fuji Excursion are operated by E353 series. E257 series is used for the seasonal operation only.

E353 series

The seat configurations are 2+2. It is same configuration on both Green seat and ordinary seat. Accommodation is no difference between reserved ordinary and non reserved ordinary. This series equips the all seats with the power outlet.

Green class interior (C) Toshinori baba (own work) / Wikimedia Commons
Ordinary class interior (C) Toshinori baba (own work) / Wikimedia Commons
Power outlet under the seats (C) Toshinori baba (own work) / Wikimedia Commons

Train formation

123456789101112
RRRRRRRRGRRR

R=Reserved ordinary seat G=Green seat

Azusa is operated by this 12 cars train set. Kaiji is mostly 9 cars train set (car #4 to #12). And Fuji Excursion is operated by 3 cars train set which is car #1 to #3.

All train do not proved non reserved seat. If you take this train without reservation, you still can take this train but your seat is not secured. You can take one of unoccupied seat. But other passenger will take your seat later. You have to move and find the other seat.

JR Pass, Tokyo Wide Pass and JR East Pass cover the reserved seat fee. Please do not forget book your seat before boarding. You cannot book a seat in the train.

E257 series

This train seat is used for the seasonal operation only.

The seat configurations are 2+2. It is same configuration on both Green seat and ordinary seat. It is no difference between reserved ordinary and non reserved.

Green class seat (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Green class seat (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Ordinary seat (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Ordinary seat (C) Sonic Rail Garden

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

  1. Hi, I am not sure which pass to get.
    I am planning to take the Azusa 3 from Shinjiku to Hakuba on the 25th Dec
    I am landing in Tokyo on the 24th and am staying at Harajuku for the night
    I plan to travel around Harajuku-Shibuya-Shinjiku on the 24th using the JR Yamanote line.

    I also plan to use the Yamanote line to travel from Harajuku- Shinjiku on the 25th morning

    Your help would be greatly appreciated as its my first time travelling 🙂

  2. We have purchased a JR rail pass and are thinking of leaving Tokyo at 10am, going to see Matsumoto Castle and then on to Narai for the night. Would this be possible in one day?

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,

        I have already bought the Japan Rail Pass and am intending to take a day trip to Kawaguchiko for the Shibazakura festival & to visit the surrounding areas around the lake.

        Would like to clarify, if i take the Fuji Excursion train, I would need to top up a fare of 1140yen or 1740 yen? I’ve seen different information in various websites. How early should I book my tickets and am I able to purchase at Shinjuki station?

        I am arriving Tokyo on May 20 and planning to visit Kawaguchiko on May 26. Thanks a lot for your help!

        1. Hi Jocasta san,

          The extra fare is 1,740 yen. 1,140 yen is just a base fare. You have to add the limited express seat fee 600 yen on top of base fare 1,140 yen. That is why 1,740 yen is the extra fare because JR pass does not cover Fuji Kyuko line at all.

          You can book anytime after you exchange the pass. I recommend you to exchange the pass right after you arrive in Tokyo. And go ahead to book after you get an actual JR pass. When you book a seat, tell the staff that you want to get Kawaguchiko by Fuji Excursion. You may be able to purchase the extra fare there. Otherwise you can pay on board to the conductor.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi san,

            Thank you for your response and the clarification on the fare! I will exchange upon May 20 arrival but my JR pass will only be activated from 26 May, am I able to purchase tickets before activation?

            Also would like to clarify on the Fuji Excursion, does this mean we would not to leave the train at all? Once the train reaches Otsuki, it will be the same train to Kawaguchiko?

            Thank you!

            1. Hi Jocasta san,

              Once you exchange the pass, you can go for booking. Even if you start using the pass on 26th, you can book it on 20th at the time of exchange.

              As long as you get a seat on Fuji Excursion, you can stay on your seat. You don’t need to move the cars.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Has anyone had experience with luggage storage on the Fuji Excursion trains?
    Because all travelers will be tourists going to and from the Fuji area, I am concerned that there is not enough space for everyone’s suitcases.

    Or is the 3 car Fuji Excursion trainset usually not fully booked?

    1. Hi Manu,

      There are two luggage spaces at car #1 and #3. Usually it is enough to store because the local tourist do not bring a full size suitcase. They use a small bag or carry-on size suitcase. These can be stored at the overhead luggage area.

      However the luggage spaces may be full if you travel in the busy season, such as mid August. Please see the link below to find the busy season of the train travel:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/travel-tips/2019-busiest-period-to-travel-by-train-tips-to-book-your-seat-in-even-during-the-busy-period.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi Takeshi-san,
    I’m thinking of doing a day trip to the Hakushu distillery from Tokyo and will be taking the Azusa train to Kobuchizawa. Do you know of any discount rail ticket or passes that will cover this trip? Thanks!

Before you leave your comment, please see the conditions below.
  • Your comment will not be shown until I approve. When you submit your comment, the page will be reloaded but nothing happens. Your comment will be shown when I approve. Please click submit only once and wait for my approval.
  • Please do not ask me to make your itinerary. Because I am not your personal travel agent. I am very happy to check your itinerary. But please try to make the plan by yourself. In this website, there are lots of resources to make your plan.
  • Please do not ask me about the access to your hotel. You can google your hotel and find it at hotel website or google map easily.
  • I cannot recommend any hotels other than which I have stayed. Basically I cannot talk about hotels in this site. The number of hotels are too many to talk about by my experience.
  • If you want to ask me which pass suits your plan, please tell me your detailed itinerary and location to stay. I cannot choose any deals without the detailed itinerary because I have to compare the total single fare and deals.
  • Please do not ask me to reply to your inquiry by email. In this website, I would like to share all information with any readers. I do not communicate with you directly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*