Most of winter is shoulder season to travel. But New Year’s holidays from late December to Early January is the busiest season in Japan. And also early February is busy season in Hokkaido too because of Sapporo winter festival.
JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during winter season. In this post, I show you many seasonal trains that will run in major tourist spots until the end of February.
*Spring seasonal train schedule (March to May) will come up in late January.
JR Hokkaido (Hokkaido area)
SL Fuyu no Shitsugen train (Winter train to Kushiro marsh by Steam Locomotive)
This train is operated by steam locomotive. This is a cruising train that goes through Kushiro marsh. It is similar type train to Kushiro Shitsugen Norokko train. But this train is not operated by Norokko train. There are reserved seat only. You need to book it before boarding.
|Kushiro 11:05||Shibecha 12:35|
|Shibecha 14:00||Kushiro 15:40|
This train stops at Higashi-Kushiro, Kushiro Shitsugen, Toro, and Kayanuma.
Ryuhyo Monogatari (means “the story of drift ice”)
Shiretoko is very popular destination in winter time for Ryuhyo (流氷=Drift Ice) viewing. Open air passengers car train, “Ryuhyo Norokko train” used to run in this season. But it was discontinued in previous season. This train will replace Ryuhyo Norokko train in Drift Ice season but this is not open air train. This train will be operated by the refurbished ordinary diesel fleet.
Feb 3 – Feb 28
|#1||Abashiri 09:45||Shiretoko-Shari 10:40|
|#2||Shiretoko-Shari 11:30||Abashiri 12:30|
|#3||Abashiri 12:50||Shiretoko-Shari 13:40|
|#4||Shiretoko-Shari 13:48||Abashiri 14:46|
*This train stop at Kitahama and Hamakoshimizu.
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”.
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.
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 is the cruising train which promote 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.
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 between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko is not covered. Tokyo Wide Pass covers fully.
*Narita Express makes a stop at Shibuya, Tachikawa, Hachioji, Otsuki, Tsuru-Bunkadaigakumae, Fujisan and Fujikyu-Highland.
Rapid Holiday Kaisoku Fujisan
This train connects 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. Tokyo Wide Pass covers fully.
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays until end of November
*Rapid Holiday Kaisoku Fujisan makes a stop at Mitaka, Tachikawa, Hachioji, Takao, Sagamiko, Uenohara, Shiotsu, Otsuki, Tsurushi, Tsuru-Bunkadaigakumae, Mitsutoge, Fujisan and Fujikyu-Highland.
Rapid Yamanashi Fuji
This train connects Chiba and Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi) directly via Shinjuku. 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. Tokyo Wide Pass covers fully.
*Rapid Yamanashi Fuji makes a stop at Inage, Tsudanuma, Funahashi, Ichikawa, Shin-Koiwa, Kinshicho, Shinjuku, Mitaka, Tachikawa, Hachioji, Takao, Uenohara, Shiotsu, Otsuki, Tsurushi, Tsuru-Bunkadaigakumae, Mitsutoge, Fujisan and Fujikyu-Highland.
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
|#1 (Akita to Aomori)||8:20||13:29||Dec 1-3.8-10.15-17.22-31|
|#5 (Akita to Aomori)||14:17||19:26||Dec 184.108.40.206.15.16.22-31|
|#2 (Aomori to Akita)||8:02||13:31||Dec 220.127.116.11.16.17.23-31|
|#4 (Aomori to Akita)||13:55||19:00|
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
Nagano 09:04 – 10:29 Matsumoto 10:41 – 10:59 Hodaka 11:26 – 11:47 Shinano Omachi 11:51 – 12:23 Hakuba 12:29 – 12:57 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 – 12:51 Sakata
Sakata 16:11 – Niigata 18:32
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 trains 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.awa.
JR Central (Chubu, Tokai and Hokuriku)
Overnight Rapid Moonlight Nagara
This is very popular and hard to book a seat. This train does not have any non reserved seat. You cannot take this train without seat reservation. This train is operated by old type Limited Express train set. But there is no berth or compartment.
To Ogaki – Dec 22 to Jan 2
To Tokyo – Dec 23 to Jan 3
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 from Dec 2 to Feb 25, and Jan 2,3
*This train will not run after Nov 26 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.
OO (maru maru) no Hanashi
This is the newest train by JR West. This train runs along the coast of Sea of Japan. Please check the images at the following link:
JR West official site
Weekend and holidays from Dec 2 to Feb 25, but it will not run from Jan 1 to 3
Shin-Shimonoseki 09:59 – 10:08 Shimonoseki 10:21 – 12:18 Nagatoshi 12:22 – 12:57 Higashi-Hagi
Higashi-Hagi 14:13 – 15:31 Nagatoshi 15:33 – 17:39 Shimonoseki 17:43 – 17:50 Shin-Shimonoseki
This train makes a stop at Kawatana-Onsen, Kogushi, Takibe, Kottoi, Hitomaru, Hagi and Senzaki (to Shin-Shimonoseki only).
This train is operated by C57 type steam locomotive between Shin-Yamaguchi and Tsuwano. This train has only reserved seat. (Japanese site link)
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 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. Please see the link below to find the most updated train operation schedule:
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. Therefore this train run between Beppu/Oita and Aso currently until 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.
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|
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. J
Only two round trips, #1,#2,#5 and #6 will run on the dates with *mark.