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

Kofu, Otsuki, Kawaguchiko, Gotemba, Shizuoka
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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.

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Route, schedule and travel time

Operation route map (Click to view large)

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

You may find the interior of this train in the movie below:

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


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 set 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


  1. […] the Yamanashi prefecture. Thankfully, it’s also not the most inconvenient (Best option is the Azusa Limited Express from Shinjuku to Kobuchizawa, and then there’s a free shuttle bus to the distillery. For an […]

  2. Nasir says:

    My plan for 3 adults & 1 child

    Day 1 – Tokyo -> Fujikawaguchiko
    Day 2 – Kawaguchiko
    Day 3 – Kawaguchiko -> Hakuba
    Day 4 – 9 – Hakuba
    Day 10 – Hakuba -> Tokyo

    Will it be cheaper to buy JR pass or normal rail tickets? Any other cheaper mide of transport?

  3. Sumitra says:

    Once again if I change the plan by use super Azuza from shinjuku to Matsumoto and end the trip of alpine rout by take ANA flight from Toyama to shinjuku on 20.10 at the same day
    1. Is the time is possible
    2 where can I buy the alpine ticket route
    3 do I have to start the alpine route from ogizawa
    4 how can I travel from Matsumoto to ogizawa

    Many thanks

  4. Sumitra says:

    I make a plan to visit the alpine route by take the ANA flight in the morning to Toyama and end of the day at ogizawa and plan to take super Azuza back to shinjuku in the same day but I can’t find the transportation from ogizawa to Matsumoto to take super Azusa or can I take super Azuza at ogizawa and also I can’t find the timetable of the super Azuza to go back to shinjuku
    Please advise

  5. dharmadinz
    Stanley Dharmadi says:

    Hi there,

    Herewith my travel plan for 13 nights in Japan
    Flying in to Osaka and will be spending 4 nights exploring Osaka
    then spend 1 night at Nara
    1 night in Kyoto
    1 night in Matsumoto
    travel to Takayama and spending 1 night in Takayama, intending to hire the car in Matsumoto to travel to Takayama and back to Matsumoto
    travel from Matsumoto to Kofu and spend 1 night in Kofu
    Hire a car to explore Mt Fuji, spending 1 night in Kawaguchi-ko
    return back to Kofu to catch the train to Tokyo for another 3 nights
    Thinking of getting a 7 days JR Pass and using it once we leave Osaka for Nara
    Would this be the best option for us ? Is it worth to get this 7 Days JR Pass or just buy individual ticket
    What would be the best pass for Osaka & Tokyo area.

    Thank you

  6. sam says:


    we are wanting to go from shinjuku to lake kawaguchiko using our jr rail pass. Could you please advise the best way yo get there?

    Thank you

  7. Jack says:

    When I take Super Azusa from Shinjuku to Matsumoto by using JR East Pass ticket, how much shouhld I pay?(Does the fare from Shinjuku to Kofu contains in the JR East Pass ticket?So all I need to pay more is the fare from Kofu to Matsumoto?)

  8. Ray says:

    Hi, I only want to travel from shinjuku direct to hakuba. Can you tell me the time and price?

    Thank you

  9. Thomas says:


    I am wanting to travel from hakuba to Matsumoto on the 2nd on January and then stay a night and then leave for Tokyo. Is this possible?


  10. g2-71af9ebd154c6ad80f5bb50068df8ab6
    Ling Peng Loi says:

    Hello, we will be arriving at Kansai International Airport on 24-Oct @ 7.30am. Then we will need to change the JR Pass (7-days) at the airport in-order to take the train. Our (6 of us) itinerary as below.

    Option 1:
    On 24-Oct, KIX -> Shin-Osaka -> Tokyo -> Hakone -> Kawaguchiko -> Matsumoto -> Kyoto @ 31-Oct (end of 7-days JR Pass)

    Option 2:
    On 24-Oct, KIX -> Shin-Osaka -> Matsumoto -> Kawaguchiko -> Hakone -> Tokyo -> Kyoto @ 31-Oct (end of 7-days JR Pass)

    Options 3:
    On 24-Oct, KIX -> Shin-Osaka -> Hakone -> Kawaguchiko -> Matsumoto -> Tokyo -> Kyoto @ 31-Oct (end of 7-days JR Pass)

    Option 4:
    On 24-Oct, KIX -> Shin-Osaka -> Hakone -> Kawaguchiko -> Tokyo (via Otsuki) -> Matsumoto -> Kyoto @ 31-Oct (end of 7-days JR Pass)

    Then we will tour around Kyoto area by bus and using Kansai Thru Pass to go to Osaka and other Kansai areas.

    May i know;
    1) Which option is the best to visit Hakone, Kawaguchiko & Matsumoto?
    2) Do you have a better suggestion to visit these places?
    3) Is that enough to stay only one night at each location?
    4) Any reservation required for the train from Shin-Osaka to matsumoto/Hakone/Tokyo?
    5) Any idea which train is convenience to us to these location?
    6) Will it be okay to rent-a-car and drive around at Hakone, Kawaguchiko & Matsumoto? Will it be more economical?

    Please help!

    Thank you very much.

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hi Ling Peng,

      1. I recommend you to take op 1. Because you can use FUji Hakone Free Pass for Hakone and Kawaguchiko. You cannot use JR Pass from Odawara to Otuski anyway.
      Even though you have to give up the portion for Kawaguchiko to Shinjuku and pay extra for Kawaguchiko to Otuski, this pass still very convenient. If you really want to save really your budget, you can go back to Shinjuku from Kawaguchiko and take train there. As a result, you don’t need to pay any extra for Kwaguchiko to Otuski.

      2. Option 1 is the best.

      3. It’s hard to say. If I were you, it will be fine. But it depends on what you want see.

      4. NOt required but recommended. Once you turn in JR Pass, try to book as many as you can at KIX.

      5. As I mentioned, you can take Odakyu that is included in Fuji Hakone pass from Shinjuku to Hakone. in regards, to other seciotn, please see the following link:

      6. I don’t know about rent-a-car very much. Probably it will be cheaper, but I cannot compare.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

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