Enjoy premium Japanese Sake on board. Cruising train Koshino Shu*Kura

Cruising train
You can enjoy Jazz performance and great view of Sea of Japan on board. (C) James Chuang
You can enjoy Jazz performance and great view of Sea of Japan on board. (C) James Chuang

This train, “Koshino Shu*Kura runs in Niigata prefecture. Niigata is known as one of the biggest production of rice in Japan. And also many kinds of premium Japanese Sake (rice wine) are produced by this rice in this area. This train has the theme of Japanese Sake and you can taste many kinds of Sake on board. This train’s name, “Koshino Shu*Kura” is the combination of a few words which are Echigo district (=Koshino) where the area train runs, Japanese Sake (=Shu), snow flake(=*) and brewery (=Kura). And also this train runs along the coast of Sea of Japan. You also can enjoy the beautiful scenery.

My reader, James Chuang posted many photos of this train. He allowed me to use these photos and I was very impressed! I would like to share the photos and information with you.

Thank you, James for sharing the beautiful photos.
*James Chuang has copyright for all images in this post.

Seat fee

If you use Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass, this train is fully covered. This is a sort of rapid train. Express surcharge is not required but this train has reserved seat only. So if you use single ticket to take this train, you have to purchase base fare ticket and reserved seat fee 520 yen.

Route, schedule and trip time

Koshino Shu*Kura runs in Niigata prefecture between Takada and Muikamachi. Travel time is approximately 3 hours. This train is sometimes operated between Takada and Echigo-Yuzawa as “Yuzawa Shu*Kura” and between Takada and Niigata as “Ryuto Shu*Kura”. In case of these train operation, travel time is 15 to 30 minutes longer than Koshino Shu*Kura.

This train is operated as seasonal train. It usually runs on weekend and holidays. You can find the updated schedule and operation calender at Category:Season trains schedule.

Accommodation and train formation

The exterior does not llok very special. But the interior is impressive.

Koshino Shu*Kura is operated by renovated KIHA 40/48 series. This fleet was used as local trains throughout Japan. Many of this fleets were renovated completely and have different interior. The fleet for this train, Koshino Shu*Kura has cozy and very nice accommodation. You can find the images below.

This train is three car formation.


*R=Reserved seat P/S=public space and snack booth
Smoking is not allowed on this train.

It has two passenger’s cars at both end and in the middle, there is the public space and snack booth. The seat of car #1 is designed for group and couple travellers. There are boxed booth seats and small bench seats.

Box seat at car#1
Bench seat at car#1

At car #2, you can enjoy Jazz performance and enjoy some snacks and Japanese Sake. You saw the image of Jazz performance at the top of this post.

Public space
Snack booth

Complementary Sake is available. But if you want more, you can purchase it at this snack booth. 500 yen and 1000 yen vouchers are sold. You have to use this voucher to shop any items in this train. Car #3 is common reserved seats. If you are individual traveller, this seat is most suitable.

Complementary Japanese Sake is offered on board.
The seat has same quality as common limited express trains.

You can enjoy this train at whole part of trip. Of course you can take this train partially. But please do not miss the scenery of coast side. The view of Sea of Japan is amazing!


  1. z
    zarya says:

    Dear Takeshi,
    I made a reservation for Ryoto Shu*Kura on April 3rd. The JR East website has this train start from Joetsumyoko station, but when I made the reservation as a JR Pass user, I was not able to select a starting station further than Naoetsu. If I looked at the reservation through another pass, Joetsumyoko was the departure station. I still booked my reservation from Naoetsu but I’m puzzled by this. Do you know why it doesn’t let me book starting at Joetsumyoko?
    Would I be able to change the reservation once I’m in Japan? I’m starting my trip in Kansai, only arriving in Kanazawa April 2nd to pick up my ticket for the 3rd.
    Thank you!

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi (JPRail.com administrator) says:

      Hi Zarya,

      Because JR Pass does not cover Joetsumyoko to Naoetsu but JR East pass does. That is why you couldn’t make it.

      I think you can change your reservation from Naoetsu when you correct it at Kanazawa. Because nobody want to ride this train from Joetsumyoko to Naoetsu only. You can change it easily in my review.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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