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
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)
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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. Michael Tan says:

    Hi Takeshi-San,
    My wife and i are going to Nagano on the 06 Dec 2019. We are staying in Shinjuku.
    I would prefer to take the limited express train from Shinjuku instead of going to Tokyo for the Shinkansen. ( due to early rush hours that we needs to go through )
    We have the JR Pass East Nagano Niigata.
    Should we just do it?
    Thank you.

  2. Chris says:

    Coming from Kagoshima, can I reserve seats for Azusa (Matsumoto-Shinjuku) while I’m in Kagoshima?

    • Hi Chris,

      Yes, you can. You can book it at any major JR stations throughout Japan.
      By the way, Azusa is suspended now. Because the track was damaged by typhoon a few days ago. As per the most updated info, it will be suspended until the end of this month.


      Takeshi /

  3. Yusi says:

    Dear Takeshi-san,
    I have JR pass. If I take Limited Express Kaiji from Otsuki to Tokyo, do I have to pay extra fare, or JR pass covers 100%?
    Thank you in advance.

  4. marugoto says:

    Hi and thank you for the details post.

    I’m going this Friday to Chino station from Shinjuku with the Azusa train and then heading straight back to Tokyo in the afternoon.

    Do I need to reserve a seat in advance (for one or both directions) or do you think that in this season the train won’t be so crowded? (we’re 2 travelers).

    • Hi marugoto,

      This train is always crowded. And as I mentioned, this train does not provide non reserved seat. You have to find the empty seat but other passenger may show up later and you may have to move from that seat. Reservations is highly recommended.


      Takeshi /

  5. Ian eckloff says:

    Hi, Please could you advise. I have two questions

    We are travelling from Matsumoto to Tokyo. We want to travel to Tokyo station. It looks in the timetable, that the Azusa train (some of them) go past Shinjuku and on to Tokyo station. If that is true am I correct that you do not need to change trains ? Just stay on the same train ?

    Second question – can you actually see Fuji on the train or is too far away to see it ?

    Thanks ! Appreciate the advice.

  6. Steven Tan says:

    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 🙂

  7. Wendy Young says:

    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?

    • Hi Wendy,

      Yes, you can. It takes 2.5 hours from Shinjuku to Matsumoto and takes one hour from Matsumoto to Narai.


      Takeshi /

      • Jocasta says:

        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!

        • 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.


          Takeshi /

          • Jocasta says:

            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!

  8. Manu says:

    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?

  9. Vanessa Chee says:

    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!

  10. Steve Sin says:

    Any baggage rack in the train like Narita Express

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