Save money and time to go to Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka from Tokyo by train. Overnight rapid train Moonlight Nagara

Maibara, Ogaki
185 series still run as limited express train Odoriko. This fleet is used for rapid Moonlight Nagara too.
185 series still run as limited express train Odoriko. This fleet is used for rapid Moonlight Nagara too.
185 series still run as limited express train Odoriko. This fleet is used for rapid Moonlight Nagara too.

JR East and JR Central have announced Moonlight Nagara is no longer service on January 22nd, 2021. Since 185 series using for Moonlight Nagara will be retired in March, 2021, this train has been discontinued.

Moonlight Nagara (ムーンライトながら) is the overnight rapid service train that is operated between Tokyo and Ogaki (大垣). This train is operated as the seasonal train. It is usually operated in spring break (two weeks from late March to early April), summer break (late July to the end of August) and Christmas to New Year holidays. These periods are the seasons when “Seishun 18 ticket” is sold. This ticket covers any rapid and local train’s non reserved seat throughout Japan for 5 days at 11,850 yen. This train can be used by this ticket with additional charge for reserved seat fare. Therefore this train runs for busy period only and it is very hard to book.

This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. But online reservation is not available for overseas visitor and ticket is on sale one month prior to departure date. It is very hard to book and not realistic to put this train in your plan.

Anyway it may be considerable for overnight transfer between Tokyo and Nagoya/Kyoto/Osaka. Let’s see the details about this train.

Route and timetable

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!


Monterey Hotel Yokohama
Located downtown by the harbour
Tokyu Hotel Nagoya
Located in most popular area Sakae

This train connects Tokyo with Ogaki. Ogaki is 30 minutes away from Nagoya to the west. This train is a rapid service train. That means a kind of local train. But this train stops at only 8 stations. It is very similar to limited express train service.

This train is connected with other local trains to/from Osaka/Kyoto at Ogaki. But if you will use Japan Rail Pass, you can take Shinkansen from/to Nagoya. But if you go to Himeji or other cities to the west from Himeji, Sunrise Seto or Sunrise Izumo is better. This train is a scheduled train, more comfortable and faster. But if you are looking for overnight transfer to Nagoya, this train is better choice. If you want to go to Takayama as soon as possible by Japan Rail Pass, this train is connected with the first Wide View Hida to Takayama that depart from Nagoya at 07:43am.

If you are single ticket traveller, you can take the first Nozomi from Tokyo is connected with Wide View Hida. You don’t need to take overnight train. Japan Rail Pass user can take Hikari or Kodama. The first Hikari is not connected with the first Wide View Hida.

Tokyo (東京)X
Shinagawa (品川)X
Yokohama (横浜)X
Odawara (小田原)*
Numazu (沼津)X
Shizuoka (静岡)X
Hamamatsu (浜松)X
Toyohashi (豊橋)*
Nagoya (名古屋)X
Gifu (岐阜)X
Ogaki (大垣)X

*Only train to Ogaki stop at Odawara and train to Tokyo stop at Toyohashi.

This train is a seasonal train. It is operated in the peak season only. Please check the most updated schedule and timetable at Seasonal Trains Schedule.

Accommodation and train formations

This train is operated by 185 series. 185 series was used for many limited express train around Tokyo area. At this point, this fleet is used for only Odoriko as limited express train. But this fleet is still very good as the rapid train. All cars are reserved ordinary seat. It does not have any berth, compartment, and even green cars. And this train does not have any non reserved cars either. You need to get a reserved seat before you ride.

*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images of accommodations below.

Reserved ordinary seat
185 series - Limited Express Odoriko 185 series - Limited Express Odoriko 185 series - Limited Express Odoriko 185 series - Limited Express Odoriko 185 series - Limited Express Odoriko

Train formation


R=Reserved ordinary seat


  1. James says:

    I will be riding this train from Yokohama to Ogaki then transfer to Non-Express train to Hiroshima by Seishun 18 kippu in Mid-Dec,and I’ ll be in Japan around Mid-Nov but I still have some confused, so can you please confirm these questions
    1) If I depart of Yokohama, which is before midnight and I’ll be using Seishun 18 for second day only, so I have to pay the base fare from Yokohama to Odawara(1st station after midnight)
    2) Do I need to purchase reserved seat fare twice for the same seat (Yokohama-Odawara)&(Odawara-Ogaki)
    3) Does the first local train from Ogaki to Maibara after Moonlight Nagara will be crowded,I need to carry a large baggage.
    4) Does most Midori-No-Madoguchi at 10:00 in downtown Tokyo will be very crowded and I may miss the reservation.
    Please confirm and answer my question above,your help will be really appreciatedand helpful, and sorry for disturbing you.
    Best Regards,

    • Hi James,

      1. That’s right. Many Seishun 18 kippu user do this way.

      2. You don’t need a reserved seat fee twice. Because it is not covered by Seishun 18. So one time fee is okay.

      3. It is very crowded because most of passengers in Moonlight will transfer to the train to Maibara. You might need to stand up. Actually I don’t recommend you to take a big luggage on Seishun 18 kippu trip.

      4. Yes. Please do not go to the major stations, such as Tokyo, Shinjuku. Try to go to small station.


      Takeshi /

  2. Hans A. says:

    Hello, Takeshi-san!

    My family and I (5 people) are planning to ride this train on April 5 using the Seishun 18 kippu from Ogaki to Tokyo.

    I believe that seats are reserved a month before? Does that mean we need to book on the 5th of March at any midori no madoguchi in any major JR station? If so, since we wont be arriving in Japan until April 1st, can a friend who’s in Japan reserve the seats for us?

    Thank you so much in advance for the help 🙂

    • Hi Hans A. san,

      You can ask your friend to reserve seats. Otherwise it’s almost impossible to reserve a seat on April 1st. Most seats will be gone right after ticket on sale at 10:00 am on March 1st. As you think, you can ask your friend to buy it at any Midori no Madoguchi. And also tell your friend to buy only a reserved seat ticket. He/She may be asked by the staff at the window to purchase a base fare ticket too. But you will buy Seishun 18 kippu. The base fare ticket is not required.

      At this point, JR has not announced when they start to sell Seishun 18 kippu  officially. But usually it is sold from February 20 to March 31. And this ticket can be used from March 1 to April 10. So you may have to ask your friend to buy Seishun 18 kippu too. When you get Japan, this ticket cannot be purchased.


      Takeshi /

  3. Nick says:

    I will board this train by Seishun 18 Rail Pass in Late March 2019,but this pass covers only non-reserved seat only.
    1) How much do I need to pay to get reserved seat(From Shinagawa Station to Ogaki)?
    2) Does reserving seat 4 days in advance could get seats?
    Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • Hi Nick san,

      1. You have to pay 510 yen.
      2. It is very very hard. Especially a ticket for weekend, it’s sold out within one minute after the ticket on sale. Even if you travel on weekday, it’s still very hard to book. Late March is a public school spring break. Lots of young travelers will take this train. In my opinion, booking 4 days in advance is almost no chance.


      Takeshi /

  4. Paw Min Thein Oo says:

    Hi Takeshi San,
    Yesterday my friend lost shinkensen ticket from Kyoto to Shinagawa. Actually he lost his ticket after passing through the gate in Kyoto. He also bought ticket for his wife and both are reserved tickets. Although he can show his wife ticket as a proof of purchasing those tickets, he had to buy a new ticket again when he left Shinagawa. I think it is a little unfair for him. Don’t you think so? So whatelse can we do to get refund? Actually he had searched ticket at every possible places and also asked in Kyoto station lost and found service. But we cannot find yet. So please kindly give us an appropriate advice for this case. Thank you very much.

    • Hi Paw san,

      Sorry to hear that. But unfortunately it is a basic rule. When ticket is lost or even stolen, new ticket is required and have to pay. When your friend found a ticket in next one year, he can bring it to the nearest JR station and get refund. Actually his wife’s ticket cannot be proof. JR ticket does not show any names on it. So it doesn’t prove anything.

      I understand what you said. But unless he find a lost ticket, there is nothing to do.


      Takeshi /

      • Paw Min Thein Oo says:

        Hi Takeshi San,
        Thank you very much for your reply. I think that was his fate. No one can help. But in my opinion, that basic rule is somewhat inappropriate and should be modified in order to be a more meaningful and fair rule. I have some suggestions.
        For example;
        1. Let him or her to buy a new ticket with half price since he or she has already passed one of the two gates (i.e., entering gate and exit gate). I think it is more meaningful, isn’t it?
        2. If he or she will be still at Tokyo for 2 more days, let him or her to purchase JR Tokyo wide pass and let him or her pass the gate if the station is within the valid area of the pass.
        3. Let him or her to choose another option to wait until the last train of that day (if he or she can wait) and check no one has used that ticket for that day.
        These are just my opinion. If they are not appropriate, please just ignore them. Thank you very much for your patience.

        • Hi Paw san,

          Thank you for your opinion. I’m a just blogger and I don’t have any connections with JR. So I cannot change anything. But at the current JR ticket system, your suggestions are not realistic in my opinion.

          1. He or she purchased a ticket but he or she did not show any ID. This means that it’s same as purchasing something in a supermarket. Once he or she lost it, he or she cannot prove anything. Actually he or she can enter Shinkansen gate by a station entrance ticket which is around 200 yen.

          2. It is same situation as purchasing Tokyo Wide Pass in the gate. Technically he or she can enter Kyoto or other station by much cheaper ticket. And he or she claim to lose a ticket at Tokyo or other station.

          3. Even if she or he purchased a reserved seat ticket, it does not show any names on it. How does he or she prove that that ticket is his or her ticket?

          So as long as JR sells a ticket without any ID, your suggestions are not realistic. If JR sells a ticket like an air ticket, your suggestions may be acceptable. But JR ticket window is too busy to check one by one. I don’t think JR can change a current ticket system. And even if JR can change a ticket system, now they have to check a ticket and ID at the ticket gate. This is more challenging.


          Takeshi /

          • Paw Min Thein Oo says:

            Oh! I see. Thank you very much for your reply, Takeshi San. At first, I think that we can pass through Shinkansen gate (not the gate for local train) only with both fare ticket and seat ticket (reserved or non-reserved). So I think with cheap ticket (like you say 200 yen ticket), he or she can pass through only gates for local train (station gates) but not Shinkansen gate. I think I misunderstand. Thank you very much for your kind explanation.
            With best regards,
            Paw Min Thein Oo.

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