Summary of Japan Railway’s timetable revision in March, 2012

One of two express trains KitaguniNews
One of two express trains Kitaguni
Overnight limited Express train Nihonkai (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Overnight limited Express train Nihonkai will be discontinued as a schedule train. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Japan Railway usually revise the timetable every March. Hayabusa on Tohoku Shinkansen, Mizuho and Sakura on Kyushu Shinkansen were introduced in this past March. All JR six companies released the outline of next timetable revision in March 2012. I will show you the outline about this timetable revision.

Overnight train, Nihonkai and Kitaguni will be discontinued as a scheduled train.

I already mentioned this news on Twitter. Now it is officially confirmed. JR East and West said they will continue to operate these trains as a seasonal train. But they don’t explain about details at this moment. I don’t know how many days they operate and what kind of accommodation will be used for these trains. Especially 583 series for Kitaguni is more than 40 years old. It may not have any berth and will be operated by day time train accommodation. JR Group will release an information about spring seasonal trains around mid March. I will let you know about details of this issue after I receive that information.

More E5 series will be introduced for Hayabusa, Hayate and Yamabiko. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

More E5 series will be introduced on Tohoku Shinkansen.

The newest fleet E5 series was introduced in this past March. It was used for the fastest train Hayabusa only. They introduced more fleet and started to use for Hayate and Yamabiko too. Next March, JR East will introduce another 4 formations. (It will be total 10 formations.) 7 of 15 round trips of Hayate between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori will be operated by E5 series. Now it will be much easier to get the highest class, Glan class seat. JR East will use this E5 series for short distance train “Nasuno” that is operated between Tokyo and Nasu-Shiobara too. But you cannot get any drink and meal on Glan class of Nasuno.

*If you need more information about E5 series, please see the post, Tohoku Shinkansen E5 series for Hayabusa, Hayate and Yamabiko image gallery

300 series was a standard train on Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen for a long time.

300 series on Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen, 100 series on Sanyo Shinkansen will be disused.

300 series was a standard train on Tokaido and Sanyo Shikansen between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, Hiroshima, Hakata. Now JR Central and West will stop using this series. They will use only the newest N700 for all scheduled Nozomi. Hikari that is most popular train for Japan Rail Pass user will be operated by mostly 700 series and some by N700 series.

*If you need more information about the fleets on Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen, please see the post, Tokaido Shikansen image gallery and Sanyo Shikansen image gallery.

Some service of Narita Express will be cut.

JR East said they will keep all 27 round trips between Narita airport and Tokyo. But they will cut some part of extended route, like to Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Yokohama and Omiya. They did not mention about a detail. The final timetable will be released in February 25, 2012.

No more smoking in dining car of Hokutosei and Cassiopeia.

It is still allowed to smoke in some part of operation time now. But it will totally be non smoking environment in next March.

New fleet 287 series will be introduced for Kuroshio between Shin-Osaka/Kyoto and Shirahama.

287 series was already introduced for the train to Kinoski or Amanohashidate area, like Kounotori and Kinosaki. This fleet will be introduced for Kuroshio. JR West operates three different name’s train, Kuroshio, Super Kuroshio and Ocean Arrow. They will

Mizuho and Sakura are used by the newest N700 series.

More Mizuho and Sakura between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-chuo.

JR West and Kyushu will add one more Mizuho and seven more Sakura. We will have 5 round trips of Mizuho and 18 round trips of Sakura a day. It will be more accessible to Kyushu from Osaka. These three names will be unified as Kuroshio.


  1. Carmen says:


    I would like to know if I am required to pay extra for reserving seats on Kuroshio and Ocean Arrow if I do hold a JR West pass.

    Look forward to your advice.


    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hi Carmen,
      Both JR West Kansai pass and Sanyo pass do not cover Kuroshio/Ocean Arrow. If you use this train, you need to buy a single ticket even if you have JR West pass.
      If you have Japan Rail Pass, the pass fully cover this train.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. Tommy says:

    Had the JR500 series being totally stopped? I heard its a popular train among the train fans.

  3. James says:

    Hi Takeshi

    Kumamoto station is also worth spending a few minutes, they asked a well known industrial designer redesign the station, now Kumamoto-Eki looks so grand! Also because of this there are so many interesting shops, food store in the station.

    However the design made Kumamoto station really big! therefore transfer between trains at Kumamoto , make sure you allocate enough time!

    I’m in Shinagawa now, and got Nihonkai ticket for 31/12 B berth no-smoking, and Kitakuni ticket from Nagaoka to Niigata.Will try to get Asagiri ticket tomorrow…

  4. James says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I noticed Nihonkai on 31 /12 there are still empty berth, I will try to get it!

    The other Kyushu train, SL Hitoyoshi, and Umisachi-Yamasachi they are alittle bit old but they are also very popular.

    A-Train/A Reesha journey is quite short but scenic! and the food and drinks onboard is quite good!

    JR Hokkaido is changing interior of all its greencar from October, I will try to sample the new interior !


    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hi James,
      I hope you’ll get a berth on Nihonkai.
      I will spend only one day for Kyushu. It is obviously not enough. I may give up either A ressha or Aso-Boy!. Umisachi-Yamasachi is very attractive. But I don’t think I have enough time to get Miyazaki. So my itinerary will be…
      Shin Osaka-(Sakura)-Kumamoto-(A train)-Misumi-(A train)-Kagoshima Chuo-(Hayato no Kaze)-Yoshimatsu-(shinpei)-Hitoyoshi-(Trans Kyushu)-Kumamoto-(Tsubame)-Hakata-(Sakura)-Shin Osaka
      I like to try the trains as many as I can. But I want to stay with my family too. But I will spend 3 days for Tohoku and Hokkaido. I hope I will be able to take two of these three trains, Hamanasu, Akebono and Hokutosei. Anyway it is crazy trip too!
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Jonathan Ayre
    JAyre says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I got really lucky today. I was headed for Koyasan early in the morning and was going to take Haruka to Tennoji, but luckily enough, Kitaguni rolled up to Kyoto station right in front of me! I was lucky to get this train from Kyoto to Osaka and it didn’t mess up my schedule. Thats another to tick off the list.

    Also this trip I’ve managed to get on some new trains (for me) including Kuroshio and Ocean Arrow, as well as second runs on the new 287 series (Maizuru this time) and Twilight Express.

    I’ve got my hopes up that I might be able to find the ever elusive HOT7000 used for Super Hakuto at some point also, but there are so few I haven’t fit it in yet. In the least I will try to get a picture on the platform.

    As you can guess, I’m currently in Kyoto/Osaka, and am heading to Kinosaki tomorrow on using both the 287 and 183 series. I’m thoroughly enjoying the trip thus far, and am still heading to Kyushu, Shikoku and the San-in region before visiting Matsumoto, Yudanaka and Kawaguchiko.

    All the best to both James and Takeshi on your trips and best of luck with the trains you are looking for!

    Best regards,

    – Jonathan Ayre –

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hi Jonathan,
      You love Kinosaki onsen. I think whenever you are Japan, you go to Kinosaki. I’m very proud of my home prefecture, Hyogo!
      Lucky you to get Kitaguni. Even though it was a short ride, you could feel atmosphere of legendary 583 series.
      You are going to the place where it is cold and snowy. Take care of yourself. And I would like to thank you for all you have done for my website. Wishing you a happy holiday season!
      Takeshi Shimomura / JP Rail

  6. James says:

    I just got an extension of 1 day in Japan which means I can try to get everything ! 1 day can make a big difference as I noticed Nihonkai is quite empty from Akita to Kyoto in early Jan.

    With that 1 extra day I will try to start from Niigata, go to Nagaoka early in the morning, ride Kitaguni from Nagaoka to Niigata, then travel to Shinjuku to ride Asagiri 5 return on Asagiri 6(not travelling all the way), then jump on Komachi to Akita and (hopefully ) jump on Nihonkai. Thanks to JR East reservation online, I can reserve Komachi/Toki ticket right now, right here from Australia.

    Going to be a crazy trip! 🙂


    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hi James,
      Lucky you!
      I will have a crazy trip too. I’ll be Japan in next March. I will have only 4 days to trip. So I spend one day for Kyushu and spend another 3 days for Tohoku and Hokkaido. I’ll be Japan before timetable revision. But I don’t think I can make Nihonakai or Kitaguni. There will be too many buff. It’s going to be crazy. I have a plan to take either Akebono, Hamanasu or Hokutosei. I’m not surprised that these trains will be discontinued on next timetable revision. So this might be last chance to take these trains. And also I hope I will make New Kyushu trains, like A ressha, Aso-Boy!, Ibusuki no tamatebako. The president of JR Kyushu said the occupancy rate of Ibusuki is more than 95%. That’s why you could not make it! It’ll be hard to get it. But I’ll try it anyway.
      Enjoy you trip and happy holidays!
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  7. James says:

    Some changes to Asagiri as well isnt it?


    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      JPRail says:

      Hi James,
      Yes, it is. It will be operated by only Odakyu 60000 series MSE. Odakyu 20000 RSE and JR Central 371 will be disused. 371 will be used for seasonal and group train. RSE will be discontinued to use.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

Exit mobile version
Copied title and URL