Overnight transfer Niigata – Kyoto and Osaka, Overnight Express Train Kitaguni

Overnight express train Kitaguni (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Overnight express train Kitaguni (C) Sonic Rail Garden

This train was discontinued.

Kitaguni(きたぐに) is one of very few express trains in Japan Railway Group. This train is the overnight train that connects Osaka/Kyoto area with Niigata area. If you want to save the time and save your budget for the hotels in Osaka, Kyoto or Niigata, this train is perfect choice. This train has non reserved ordinary seat. So you can take this train without any extra charge by Japan Rail Pass. Kitaguni has some sleeper cars and Green class too. If you have Japan Rail Pass Green pass, you can take Green car with no extra cost. But you need to pay extra to use sleeper class by using any Japan Rail Pass. I will tell you the extra charge and show you some images.

*One of my viewers gave me very useful comment about Kitaguni on this page. Please refer it too!

Route and Schedule

Japan Railway has one round trip between Osaka and Niigata. Kitaguni does not only connects Osaka area and Niigata area but also is used for short distance transfer in Hokuriku area (Fukui Pref, Ishikawa Pref, Toyama Pref and Niigata Pref). Most of overnight trains in Japan do not stop at any station from midnight to early morning. But this train stop at many stations and also is used for commuting in Niigata area. You might be bothered by other passengers to sleep.

Stations/Directionto Niigatato Osaka
Osaka (大阪)23:2706:49
Shin-Osaka (新大阪)23:3206:44
Kyoto (京都)00:0306:18
Otsu (大津)00:1206:08
Hikone (彦根)00:4805:28
Maibara (米原)00:54/01:0805:22
Nagahama (長浜)01:1505:13
Tsuruga (敦賀)01:4104:44
Takefu (武生)02:0404:19
Fukui (福井)02:1904:01/04:06
Komatsu (小松)02:5103:30
Kanazawa (金沢)03:11/03:4703:04/03:10
Takaoka (高岡)04:1502:36
Toyama (富山)04:3002:17/02:22
Namerikawa (滑川)04:43
Uotsu (魚津)04:4901:59
Kurobe (黒部)04:55
Nyuzen (入善)05:04/td>

Tomari (泊)05:08
Itoigawa (糸魚川)05:2901:25
Naoetsu (直江津)05:56/06:1700:57
Kakizaki (柿崎)06:3000:42
Kashiwazaki (柏崎)06:4500:27
Raikoji (来迎寺)07:0500:06
Nagaoka (長岡)07:14/07:2823:56
Mitsuke (見附)07:3823:43
Higashi-Sanjo (東三条)07:4823:34
Kameda (亀田)08:22
Niigata (新潟)08:2922:58

*Kitaguni to Niigata is operated as Urban Rapid train from Niitsu to Niigata for the commuters. Many passengers are expected.

View Kitaguni in a larger map

Additional Fare and Accommodations

You don’t need to pay any extra to take non reserved seat by both Japan Rail Pass ordinary and green. Of course Green pass is eligible to take Green seat. Kitaguni does not have any reserved ordinary seats. If you want to secure your seat, you have to choose Green or Sleeper class. Kitaguni gives you two sleeper class that are Type A berth and Type B berth.

Kitaguni is operated by 583 series. This model is one of the oldest cars in Japan. Kitaguni is only scheduled train that is operated by 583 series so far. So please remind that this train does not give you any luxury experience.


NR=Non Reserved ordinary seat G=Green seat A=Type A berth B=Type B berth

Non Reserved Seat

No extra charge for Japan Rail Pass users

The seat configuration is 2+2. But one section accommodate four passengers. If you can use one section for 2 passengers, that is no problem. But if four passengers sit down in one section, it is tight. And the light is not turned off during the night. You may have very tough time to sleep.

Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni

Green Seat

No extra charge for Japan Rail Pass Green pass users
Japan Rail Pass ordinary users have to pay the extra to take this class.
Osaka/Kyoto-Niigata 6,410yen (Green seat charge 5,150yen + Express surcharge 1,260yen)
Osaka/Kyoto-Kanazawa/Toyama 5,260yen (Green seat charge 4,000yen + Express surcharge 1,260yen)
Niigata-Kanazawa/Toyama 5,260yen (Green seat charge 4,000yen + Express surcharge 1,260yen)

The seat configuration is 2+2. This seat is very common Green class seat. This class has some public space too. The light is reduced between Maibara (米原) and Nagaoka (長岡).

Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni

Type A Berth

Both Green and Ordinary users have to pay the extra to take this class.
Lower Berth 11,760yen (Lower berth charge 10,500yen + Express surcharge 1,260yen)
Upper Berth 10,800yen (Upper berth charge 9,540yen + Express surcharge 1,260yen)

Type A berth is two berths. Lower berth is 190 x 106 x 120. (cm, L/W/H) Upper berth is 190 x 90 x 100. Yukata (Japanese night wear) and Slippers are included for this class passengers.

Isle Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni

Lower berth Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni

Upper berth Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni

Public space Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni
This space is allowed to smoke.

Type B Berth

Both Green and Ordinary users have to pay the extra to take this class.
Lower Berth 7,560yen (Lower berth charge 6,300yen + Express surcharge 1,260yen)
Middle and Upper Berth 6,510yen (Upper berth charge 5,250yen + Express surcharge 1,260yen)

Type B berth is three berths. Lower berth is 190 x 106 x 76. (cm, L/W/H) Upper and Middle berths are 190 x 70 x 68. Yukata (Japanese night wear) is included for this class passengers. As you see the size, upper and middle have very limited head space. It is quite hard to even sit down. But the seat number 1,2,11,12,13,14 in car number 8 do not have upper berth. These sections are called “under pantograph”. The pantographs that contacts power wire are on the roof of the car. So the ceiling is a bit low to have three berths in this section. So that mean even middle berths have more head room there. These berths have more than 100cm head clearance. But JR West change train formation without notice. Please try to get these berths at your own risk.

Isle Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni

Lower berth Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni

Middle berth Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni

Upper berth Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni

Under Pantograph Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni

Amenity Exp Kitaguni
Type A berth has slippers too.


This train has only Japanese style washroom.

Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni Exp Kitaguni


Unfortunately Japan Railway does not give you any online reservation system for Japan Rail Pass users. You need to go to Midori-no-Madoguchi (みどりの窓口=reservation ticket window) at the most of major stations.


Toki 353 that is the last Joetsu Shinkansen train to Niigata (depart from Tokyo at 21:28) connets to Kitaguni to Osaka at Nagaoka station. If you want stay in Tokyo as much as you can, but you need to transfer to Toyama or Kanazawa, this train might be one of your choices.

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!

Chisun Hotel Niigata Good location and good price
Dormy Inn Kanazawa Reasonable price includes sauna and spa


  1. Biswaranjan says:

    Hello, I am from india. our team will go to Niigata for gateball world cup tournament. we will reach Osaka on 25th November afternoon. what is the train service to Niigata from Osaka and what is the price. And also please provide the train timing.


  2. Mizan says:

    Hi there,

    Can I board the “non-reserved seat” of Kitaguni using Seishun-juhachi-kippu?
    Many thanks for your response!

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Mizan,
      No. Kitaguni is not a local train. And also since Kitaguni became a seasonal train, it does not have any non reserved seat any more.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  3. Michael C says:

    Very sorry to hear this train and Nihonkai will be discontinued. Every year there are fewer and fewer night trains, which is very unfortunate for people who like them so much. It is too bad they cancel them completely…I would think perhaps 3 x week service might be a better idea?

    In any case, I will be in Japan in February with a JR pass, so I want to try both of these trains since it will be my last chance, other than a seasonal train which is usually not that helfpul for the average tourist.

    PS-congratulations on your website. It is a fantastic site and very helpful for anyone who wants to visit Japan and is interested in travelling by rail. Even though I have visited Japan a number of times, I always find new and helpful information on your website. It is very much appreciated.

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Michael,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I agree with you. The post about overnight trains are very popular in my site. But Japan Railway do not think so. Most of rail buff in Japan do not understand why JR discontinue Kitaguni. Nihonkai is a long distance train. The demand is very low now. But Kitaguni have still lots of demand. One of the reason why 583 series that is used for Kitaguni is very old. The other reason why JR West and East want to discontinue all express and limited express trains between Naoetsu and Kanazawa until 2014. Because Hokuriku Shinkansen will be extended.
      Now rail fan in Japan start to worry about Akebono and Hamanasu. Unfortunately if you won’t be able to get Nihokai and Kitaguni, recommend you to try to take one of these trains. These trains might be NEXT.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. Ken says:

    Hello Takeshi san,
    Sad news that every year more and more overnight trains are discontinued, -last year was the Dream Nichirin-.
    Is it the night of March 16 the last one the Kitaguni runs in every direction?


    • JPRail says:

      Hi Ken san,
      I think March 16 will be last operation. But according to JR East and West media release, both Nihonkai and Kitaguni will be continued as the seasonal trains. They will release the info about spring seasonal train around mid January. We will find a detail about it.
      One of major trade journal said that all six JR passenger service companies have been discussing about all overnight trains discontinued. They try to discontinue all overnight trains by 2014. Now rail buff in Japan worry about Akebono and Hamanasu.
      Anyway I will let you all know about the details right after I get an info.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Parina says:

    Hi there,

    Just wondering would I need to buy separate tickets at NAOETSU for a transfer to Togarinowazaonsen? Or can I buy a ticket from Osaka to Togarinowazaonsen?

    Thank you 🙂

  6. j says:

    Does anyone if this train is still running?

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