I cannot say that summer is the best season to visit Japan. It’s very hot and very humid. But it’s vacation season anyway. School summer break kick off on July 20 in most of area. And mid August is called “Obon”. It is one of the busiest period in the year. If you travel in this period, train may be booked out quickly. Please see the details in the link below:
JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during summer season. In this post, I show you many seasonal trains that will run in major tourist spots until the end of September.
*Autumn seasonal train schedule (October to November) will come up in late August. But you will find all schedules until February, 2018 for trains in Kyushu.
JR Hokkaido (Hokkaido area)
Kushiro Shitsugen Norokko train
This train is operated by “Torokko” (open air type passenger’s car). This is a cruising train that goes through Kushiro marsh. Please refer the detail about this train at Kushiro Shitsugen Norokko train.
Sep 1-4, 8-30
Furano Lavender Express / Furano Koyo Express
Furano is very popular spot in Hokkaido during summer season. Only this train takes you to Furano from Sapporo directly. In this season, this train will be operated by specialized fleet, “Crystal Express” that has double deck and compartment. Please refer the detail about this train at Furano Lavender Express / Koyo Express.
Jun 10,11,17,18,19,24-30 (Train #3 and #4 only)
Aug 7-20,26,27 (Train #3 and #4 only)
Sep 2,3,9,10,16-18,23,24 (Train #3 and #4 only)
Train #1 Sapporo 7:52 – Furano 9:49
Train #2 Furano 15:20 – Sapporo 17:22
Train #3 Sapporo 9:07 – Furano 11:07
Train #4 Furano 16:51 – Sapporo 18:46
*Train stops at Iwamizawa, Takikawa and Ashibetsu.
Furano Biei Norokko train
This train is operated by “Torokko” (open air type passenger’s car). This is a cruising train that goes on Furano line. Please refer the detail about this train at Furano Biei Norokko train.
*Train makes stops at Biei, Bibaushi, Kami-Furano, Lavender-Batake and Naka-Furano.
JR East (Tohoku and Kanto area)
This newest Shinkansen train is called “The World Fastest Art Gallery”. There are many artwork displayed in the train. This train is operated as train name, “Toki”.
Toki 456 will operated by earlier schedule (16:42 – 17:36) after May 13
All trains stops at all stations between Echigo-yuzawa and Niigata.
You can find more information about this train at the post, The world fastest art gallery, Genbi Shinkansen.
This is the first ever Shinkansen train that has foot Onsen bath in the car.
|Station||Toreiyu Tsubasa #1||Station||Toreiyu Tsubasa #2|
You can find more information about this train at the post, Toreiyu Tsubasa. First ever Shinkansen train that has foot bath.
All dates on Saturday, Sunday and Holiday from July to Septemer
Odawara 11:40 – 14:08 Izukyu-Shimoda
Izukyu-Shimoda 15:20 – 17:12 Odawara
You can find more information about this train at the post, Cruising train Izu Creile offers you very comfortable train experience to Izu peninsula from Odawara.
Shu*Kura runs as promoting Niigata local product, especially Japanese Sake (pure rice wine). It is like Sake tasting train. You can enjoy many kinds of Sake on board.
This train runs on several routes in Niigata prefecture. There are three routes in this spring.
You can find more information about this train at the post, Enjoy premium Japanese Sake on board. Cruising train Koshino Shu*Kura.
This train runs between Nagano and Tokamachi on Iiyama line. It has old style Japanese housing interior.
You can transfer to the following train, Koshino Shu*Kura at Tokamachi.
HIGH RAIL 1375
This is new train which will be introduced in Oumi line. Oumi line goes on the highest elevation in all JR lines. You can enjoy mountain fresh air by riding this train.
Narita Express #8 and #41
Narita Express runs Narita airport and downtown Tokyo or Yokohama, Ofuna. One round trip of Narita Express extend to run to Kawaguchiko via Shinjuku. You can get Lake Kawaguchi area from/to Narita airport directly by this train. But if you use this train by Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass, the basic fare and limited express train seat fee between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko is not covered. Tokyo Wide Pass covers base fare fully but limited express train seat fee between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko is required. The seat fee is 400 yen for Ordinary class and 1,000 yen for Green class.
All Saturday, Sunday and Holidays
*Narita Express makes a stop at Shibuya, Tachikawa, Hachioji, Otsuki, Tsuru-Bunkadaigakumae, Fujisan and Fujikyu-Highland.
Rapid Holiday Fujisan, Rapid Fujisan, Rapid Yamanashi Fujisan
These trains connect Shinjuku and Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi) directly. Transfer at Otsuki station is not required. But if you use this train by Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass, the basic fare between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko is not covered.
Rapid Holiday Fujisan
All Saturday, Sunday and Holidays
Rapid Yamanashi Fujisan
Rapid Holiday Fujisan
Rapid Yamanashi Fujisan
*These trains make stops at Mitaka, Tachikawa, Hachioji, Takao, Sagamiko, Uenohara, Shiotsu, Otsuki, Tsurushi, Tsuru-Bunkadaigakumae, Mitsutoge, Fujisan and Fujikyu-Highland.
Rapid Fujisan and Rapid Yamanashi Fujisan have only reserved seat. Advanced reservation is required to take these trains. Rapid Holiday Fujisan have non reserved seat. You can take this train without reservation but you may not get a seat and need to be a standing passengers
Rapid Resort Shirakami
This train connects Akita with Aomori through Gono line that has one of the greatest scenery. This train is operated by the specialized train or the newest Hybrid train. This train has only reserved seat.
Operation dates and timetable
This train makes a stop at Oiwaki, Hachirogata, Moritake, Higashi-Noshiro, Noshiro, Akita-Shirakami, Iwadate, Juniko, WeSpa-Tsubakiyama, Fukaura, Senjojiki, Ajigasawa, Mutsu-Morita, Kizukuri, Goshogawara, Mutsu-Tsuruta, Itayanagi, Kawabe, Hirosaki and Shin-Aomori. If you need more information about this train, please refer Rapid Resort Shirakami.
Rapid Resort Minori
This train connects Sendai with Shinjo via Naruko Onsen. It is operated by specialized train. You can see some images at JR East Sendai branch site.
Sendai 09:13 – 11:00 Naruko Onsen 11:23 – Shinjo 12:26
Shinjo 15:01 – 15:58 Naruko Onsen 16:00 – Sendai 17:39
This train makes a stop at Matsuhima, Kogota, Furukawa, Iwadeyama, Yubikan, Kawatabi-Onsen, Naruko-Gotenyu, Naruko-Onsen, Nakayamadaira-Onsen, Akakura-Onsen, Mogami and Semi-Onsen.
Rapid Resort View Furusato
This train connects Nagano with Minami-Otari via Matsumoto, Shinano-Omachi and Hakuba. It is operated by Hybrid train. You can see some images at JR East Nagano branch site.
Nagano 09:04 – 10:29 Matsumoto 10:41 – 10:59 Hodaka 11:26 – 11:47 Shinano Omachi 11:51 – 12:23 Hakuba 12:29 – 12:47 Minami Otari
Minami Otari 15:16 – 15:31 Hakuba 15:37 – 16:13 Shinano Omachi 16:18 – 16:40 Hodaka 16:51 – 17:15 Matsumoto 17:23 – 18:28 Nagano
Rapid Kirakira Uetsu
This train connects Niigata and Sakata or Ugo-Honjo on Uetsu line. You can enjoy local foods and beautiful coast scenery of Sea of Japan. It is operated by specialized train “Kirakira Uetsu”. You can see some images at JR East Niigata branch site.
Niigata 10:13 – Sakata 12:51
Sakata 16:11 – Niigata 18:32
The following schedule is applied to the train that runs on the *mark dates. This train runs as Kirakira Uetsu Shirakami Relay between Niigata and Akita.
Niigata 09:33 – Akita 13:46
Akita 14:06 – Niigata 18:32
On Jul 28-31, Aug 2-7, 9 and 10, this train runs by the following timetable.
Niigata 10:13 – Sakata 13:14
The trains runs from Niigata to Sakata only from Jul 28 to 31.
Rapid SL Banestsu Monogatari
It is operated by steam locomotive and old style passenger’s cars between Niigata and Aizu-Wakamatsu.
Niigata 09:30 – Aizu-Wakamatsu 13:35
Aizu Wakamatsu 15:25 – Niigata 19:06
This train makes a stop at Niitsu, Gosen, Sakihana, Mikawa, Tsugawa, Hideya, Nozawa, Yamato, Kitakata and Shiokawa.
*Diesel locomotive train depart later and arrive earlier.
If you need more info about this train, please see the post, Popular Steam Locomotive train, SL Banetsu Monogatari.
It is the newest SL train. It connects Hanamaki and Kamaishi. The interior is amazing. It display the world of Kenji Miyazawa who is a poet and author of children’s literature.
Overnight Rapid Moonlight Shinshu 81
This is very popular and hard to get the seat. This train does not have any non reserved seat. This train is operated by old type Limited Express cars. But there is no berth or compartment.
Shinjuku 23:54 – Hakuba 05:40
*There is no train to Shinjuku from Hakuba
This train makes a stop at Tachikawa, Hachioji, Otsuki, Shioyama, Kofu, Kobuchizawa, Chino, Kamisuwa, Shimosuwa, Okaya, Tatsuno, Shiojiri, Matsumoto, Toyoshina, Hodaka, Shinano-Omachi and Kamishiro.
JR Central (Chubu, Tokai and Hokuriku)
Overnight Rapid Moonlight Nagara
This is very popular and hard to get the seat. This train does not have any non reserved seat. Reservation is required to take this train. It is operated by old type Limited Express cars. But there is no berth or compartment.
To Ogaki – Jul 21 to Aug 19
To Tokyo – Jul 22 to Aug 20
If you are looking for more information about Moonlight Nagara, please see the post, Rapid train Moonlight Nagara.
JR West (Kansai, Hokuriku and Chugoku)
This is new train that will start to run in this fall in Kanazawa. This train takes you to Wakura Onsen in Noto peninsula.
The train makes stops at Nanao and Hakui. All seats are reserved. You cannot take this train without booking.
Belles montagnes et mer
This is new train that will start to run in this fall in Takaoka. This train runs on both Himi line and Johana line.
Himi line (between Takaoka and Himi)
Johana line (between Takaoka and Johana)
Train #4 runs between Himi and Takaoka only. It does not go to Shin-Takaoka.
Train makes stops at Takaoka, Fushiki and Amaharashi.
Train makes stops at Shin-Takaoka, Tonami, Fukuno and Fukumitsu.
Sanyo Shinkansen 500 TYPE EVA
This is one of scheduled Kodama train that is operated by specialized “Neon Genesis Evangelion” wrapping fleet.
This train will not run from April to late May.
This train stops at all stations between Shin-Osaka and Hakata on Sanyo Shinkansen line.
Rapid Setouchi Marine View
This train runs between Hiroshima and Mihara via Kure line. This train is operated by specialized train. Please check the images at the following links (JR West official site): Exterior | Reserved seat | Non reserved seat
Weekend and holidays until Aug 27
*This train will not run after Aug 28 until further notice due to annual inspection.
Hiroshima 10:02 – 10:52 Kure 10:53 – Mihara 12:30
Mihara 14:26 – 16:11 Kure 16:12 – Hiroshima 17:04
This train makes a stop at Aki-Kawajiri, Yasuura, Akizu, Tadaumi, Hiro and Takehara too.
This train will run between Hiroshima and Fukuyama on all Saturday from Jul 29 to Aug 26.
Hiroshima 10:02 – 10:52 Kure 10:53 – 12:30 Mihara 12:41 – 12:56 Onomichi 13:16 – Fukuyama 13:38
Fukuyama 13:43 – 13:59 Onomichi 14:01 – 14:16 Mihara 14:26 – 16:11 Kure 16:12 – Hiroshima 17:04
This train is operated by C57 type steam locomotive between Shin-Yamaguchi and Tsuwano. This train has only reserved seat. (Japanese site link)
It will be operated after September. The schedule will come up later.
Shin-Yamaguchi 10:50 – Tsuwano 12:59
Tsuwano 15:45 – Shin-Yamaguchi 17:30
This train makes a stop at Yuda-Onsen, Yamaguchi, Niho, Shinome, Choumonkyo, Jifuku, Nabekura and Tokusa.
JR Shikoku (Shiokoku)
Seto-Ohashi Anpanman Torokko train
This train is operated on Seto-Ohashi bridge by open air car. This open air car is wrapped by Japanese popular character, “Anpanman”. Small children will love it.
Okayama 11:18 – Kotohira 13:09
Okayama 15:21 – Takamatsu 17:19
Takamastu 09:10 – Okayama 10:44
Kotohira 13:16 – Okayama 14:53
*All seats are Green reserved seats. Reservation is required to take this train.
Shiman Torokko train
This train is operated along Shimanto river by open air car. This open air car has just renovated by most popular train designer, Eiji Mitooka.
Uwajima 10:29 – Kubokawa 13:16
Kubokawa 14:14 – Uwajima 16:46
*All seats are reserved seats. Reservation required to take this train. Non JR pass travelers must pay 510 yen for reserved seat.
JR Kyushu (Kyushu)
Limited Express Yufuin-no-Mori
It is very popular train that connect Hakata and Yufuin. One round trip of this train goes to Beppu. Please see the post, Very popular train to Yufuin from Hakata and Oita. Limited Express Yufuin no Mori / Yufu to get the details.
Heavy rain storm hit Kyushu in early July. Kyudai line near Yufuin was damaged very seriously and this segment is closed now. Yufuin no Mori will run but it will be different route and different timetable.
Timetable from July 15 to 31
Timetable is not available for after August at this point.
Operation dates and timetable
This train runs everyday. But it is operated by ordinary express train fleets as “Limited Express Yufu” on the specific dates due to annual maintenance. In this case, train’s interior is quite different. It is okay but it’s very common fleet and you may be disappointed. If you do not want to have common fleets, please avoid to take this train on the day in “Remarks” below.
|#1||09:24||11:35||–||–||Operation as “Yufu” by ordinary fleets on Jul 11-13, Sep 25-29, Dec 19-21|
|#3||10:25||12:34||13:21||13:35||Operation as “Yufu” by ordinary fleets on May 8-Jul 7, Sep 12-14, Nov 27-Dec 1, In 2018, Feb 7-9|
|#5||14:35||16:44||–||–||Operation as “Yufu” by ordinary fleets on Jul 11-13, Sep 25-29, Dec 19-21|
|#2||–||–||12:09||14:16||Operation as “Yufu” by ordinary fleets on Jul 11-13, Sep 25-29, Dec 19-21|
|#4||14:39||14:55||15:50||18:07||Operation as “Yufu” by ordinary fleets on May 8-Jul 7, Sep 12-14, Nov 27-Dec 1, In 2018, Feb 7-9|
|#6||–||–||17:06||19:17||Operation as “Yufu” by ordinary fleets on Jul 11-13, Sep 25-29, Dec 19-21|
This train makes a stop at Shin-Suizenji, Suizenji, Higo-Otsu and Akamizu too.
Limited Express Aso Boy!
This train suppose to run between Mt. Aso and Kumamoto by the train that have the panoramic windows at the both end. But due to massive earthquake in last year, this segment is still closed. This train will run between Hakata and Mojiko. And it will run between Beppu/Oita and Aso from July to December.
This train has only reserved seat. Please see the post, Access to Mt. Aso from Kumamoto. Kids friendly train, Limited Express Aso Boy! to get the details about this train.
Between Hakata and Mokjiko
Between Beppu/Oita and Aso
This train makes a stop at Kashii, Orio, Kurosaki and Moji too.
From Jul to Dec
This train makes a stop at Nakahanda, Miemachi, Ogata, Bungo-Takeda, Bugoogi and Miyaji too.
Limited Express Umisachi-Yamasachi
This train goes through Nichinan coastline. Please see the details at my post.
|Stations||to Nango||to Miyazaki|
|Nichinan (日南)||11:23||15:54||Aburatsu (油津)||11:26||15:50|
Rapid SL Hitoyoshi
This train is connects Kumamoto with Hitoyoshi by steam locomotive and specialized passenger’s cars.
A Ressha de Iko (A列車で行こう=Take the ‘A’ train)
This train connects Kumamoto with Misumi. Misumi is the gateway station for Amakusa. JR Kyushu add one more trip after March 16.
Only two round trips, #1,#2,#5 and #6 will run on the dates with *mark.