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.
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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

 

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.

Stations 
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.

Images
Reserved ordinary seat

Train formation

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RRRRRRRRRR

R=Reserved ordinary seat

Comments

  1. Len says:

    Hello Takeshi,

    I’m travelling with friends this spring time for 10 days and given the task to set our itineraries but knowing the transpo system of Japan is quiet complicated, would appreciate to seek your advise.
    D1: Osaka airport -> Nara (day tour) -> Kyoto (check-in)
    D2-4: Kyoto (sightseeing tour)
    D5-8: Tokyo
    D9-10: Osaka

    *What rail pass to get for D1-4?
    *Would you advise to get us 7day JR pass?
    *Plan to take overnight train from Tokyo to Osaka, what train and is there a chance to avail for us that train upon arrival in Japan? Can use the 7D JR pass?
    Thank you for your help, appreciate for your advises.

    Len

  2. Michelle says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    Can i ask to you about the “Seishun 18 Kippu”ticket
    my travel date is : 29/3/16 (Nagoya to Tokyo)

    We are 4 of familes and plan to take night bus /train from
    Nagoya to Tokyo.

    Can i use the about Pass and where to see the time table.

    Thanks,
    Michelle

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Michelle san,

      At this point, we are not sure that Seishun 18 kippu will be on sale in this period and overnight train Moonlight Nagawa will run or not.
      You can find Seishun 18 kippu info at the link below:
      http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/seishun18.html

      This pass does not cover any overnight bus. And you need to book your seat if you want to take this overnight train. But there is no way to book in advance outside Japan. So you have to book a ticket after you arrive in Japan and the chance to book will be actually very slim.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Alexey says:

    Good day Takeshi-san,

    I am interested to try overnight train instead of Shinkansen on the Osaka-Tokyo route. 30Sept O->T , 07 Oct T->O.
    Any options you can advise?

    Also, would you be so kind as to advise on Japan Rail Pass or any other pass(es) with schedule like such:
    30.09 KIX – > Tokyo (Ikebukuro station)
    in Tokyo we travel around like to Kodomo-no-kuni, Ueno Park/Zoo, Yokohama, etc.
    06.10 Tokyo(Ikebukuro) -> Kinugawa
    from there we travel Edomura, Nikko,
    08.10 Kinugawa -> Kyoto
    from Kyoto we visit Osaka Aquarium, Omi-mako beach in lake Biwa
    13.10 Kyoto – KIX

    thank you in advance,
    Alexey

  4. cyb says:

    hello

    i am landing in narita airport on the 8th of august and what to use the moonlight nagara train to go to kyoto. at what time does it leave the station? which station is the closest to narita? should i change trains to get to kyoto or the same train “moonliht nagara” will get me there ?

    thank u for the clarification

  5. Eunice says:

    I will be going to Japan on 10th January 2016 and leaving on 19th January 2016 (narita airport)
    I am not sure what is the best pass should I hold to access from
    Tokyo to kiso valley and ogimachi village, to Kyoto and Osaka and lastly back to Tokyo narita
    Kinda blur on the transportation as too many choice whether on overnight bus, seishun 18 and JR pass.

    Appreciate that you can recommend.
    Thanks

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail says:

      Hi Eunice,

      I recommend you to use JR pass 7 days from Tokyo to Tokyo. I think you will stay in Tokyo before or after Kiso-Kyoto-Osaka trip. Try to squeeze other than Tokyo in 7 days and 7 days JR pass gives you a big saving. 14 days pass is too expensive and even single fare is cheaper choice than 14 days pass.

      Overnight bus can be used for Tokyo-Osaka/Kyoto trip. But you cannot visit other places by overnight bus. You need to take a train anyway.

      If you are very familiar with train system in Japan, Seishun 18 might be your choice. But it takes more than 10 hours from Osaka to Tokyo. If you use JR pass, you can take Shinkansen and it takes 2.5 hours. Seishun 18 is very technical to use and understand how to use.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  6. […] Trip: Moonlight Nagara Overnight Train to Gifu: 6.5 […]

  7. mohafizul – i dont know
    zul says:

    Hi there,
    I already purchase Seisyun 18 ticket, can i just go to tokyo station and ride this train at night, or i need to reserve seat first? If i need to reserve seat first, how can i do that & where?
    Thank you very much in advance..

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail says:

      HI Zul,

      You can’t take this train without reservation. The seats of this train are reserved seats only.
      You can book at any Midori no Madoguchi (reservation window) in most of stations. In Tokyo area, all station have Midori no Madoguchi. However, this train is very popular. Especially Senshu 18 kippu holder love to take this train. You have to book it right away. All tickets may be sold out already.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  8. fath says:

    Hello there.
    If I want to see the rapid train route on Hyperdia, what route should I checked?
    I find there is no “rapid train” route type on Hyperdia, there are such “ordinary train”, “limited express”, “bullet train”, etc.

  9. hellen says:

    Takeshi!!

    thank you so much for your prompt reply!!! have a nice day/night 😉

  10. hellen says:

    Hello!

    I was wondering how to get the moonlight nagara from odawara station on august 1st 12.00 and on,, I would like to use the Seishun 18 ticket and will be going from odawara to kyoto. This would be the first time to use the ticket so i would get the very first stamp at kyoto, rigght?? Also, do they upload the moonlight nagara summer schedule at this time.? i tried checking it on hyperdia, but i only get results from morning trains, not moonlight nagara apparently..

    Thanks in advance for yourtime. Any help is truly appreciated.

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