Spring is the best season to visit Japan because of the cherry blossom. Spring break of public school in Japan usually starts from the last week of March to the first week of April. This two weeks period is much busier than usual. And also between late April and the beginning of May is one of the busiest period in the year. It is known as “Golden Week” in Japan. April 29, May 3, 4, and 5 are National holidays. If you travel in this period, train may be booked out quickly. Please see the details in the link below:
All JR companies add lots of seasonal trains during all spring season. In this post, I show you many seasonal trains that will run in major tourist spots until the end of June.
*Summer seasonal train schedule (July to September) will come up in late May. But you can find JR East train schedules until September, 2018. You also can find JR Kyushu train schedules until February, 2019.
- 1 JR Hokkaido (Hokkaido area)
- 2 JR East (Tohoku and Kanto area)
- 2.1 Genbi Shinkansen
- 2.2 Toreiyu Tsubasa
- 2.3 Izu Craile
- 2.4 Shu*Kura
- 2.5 Oykot
- 2.6 Narita Express #8 and #41
- 2.7 Rapid Holiday Kaisoku Fujisan
- 2.8 Rapid Resort Shirakami
- 2.9 Rapid Resort Minori
- 2.10 Rapid Resort View Furusato
- 2.11 Rapid Kirakira Uetsu
- 2.12 HIGH RAIL 1375
- 2.13 Rapid SL Banestsu Monogatari
- 2.14 SL Ginga
- 3 JR Central (Chubu, Tokai and Hokuriku)
- 4 JR West (Kansai, Hokuriku and Chugoku)
- 5 JR Shikoku (Shiokoku)
- 6 JR Kyushu (Kyushu)
JR Hokkaido (Hokkaido area)
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.
Train runs one round trip (#1, #2) only on those above dates.
Train runs two round trips on these dates.
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.
Train runs one round trip (#3, #4) only on those above dates.
Train runs two round trips on these dates.
*Train stops at Iwamizawa, Takikawa and Ashibetsu.
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.
*Summer schedule (July to October) will be released in late May.
*Train makes stops at Biei, Bibaushi, Kami-Furano, Lavender-Batake and Naka-Furano.
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 – Mar 4
|#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 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.
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 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.
All Saturday, Sunday and Holidays
*Rapid Holiday Kaisoku Fujisan makes a stop at Mitaka, Tachikawa, Hachioji, Takao, Sagamiko, Uenohara, Shiotsu, Otsuki, Tsurushi, Tsuru-Bunkadaigakumae, Mitsutoge, Fujisan and Fujikyu-Highland.
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 10:11 – 12:51 Sakata
Sakata 16:10 – Niigata 18:31
Arrival time at Sakata is 13:14 on Jul 27 to 30, Aug 1 to 6 and 8 to 9.
The following schedule is applied to the train that runs on the *mark dates. This train extends to run to Akita.
Niigata 09:32 – 13:47 Akita
Akita 14:07 – Niigata 18:31
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.
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.
JR Central (Chubu, Tokai and Hokuriku)
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 – March 16-24
To Tokyo – March 17-25
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 be done for this spring season. If you are interesting in this train, do not miss the chance for boarding. The last operation date is May 13, 2018.
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 Mar 1 to Jun 30
*This train is expected to run after Jul 1 too.
Hiroshima 10:02 – 10:52 Kure 10:53 – Mihara 12:30
Mihara 14:25 – 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 Mar 3 to Jun 30 except Mar 21
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)
Saturday, Sunday and all holidays from March 24 to June 30
*This train is expected to run after Jul 1 too.
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)
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. However heavy rain storm hit Kyushu in last summer. 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 so far.
Operation dates and timetable after March 17
If you look for timetable before March 16, please refer the link below:
Train #91 and #92 run everyday. But #93 and #94 run on some dates.
*Yufuin no Mori #93 and #94 will run on the following dates:
Mar 17-20, 22-27,29-31
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.
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.
This train goes through Nichinan coastline. Please see the details at my post.
|Stations||to Nango||to Miyazaki|
|Obi (飫肥)||11:12||16:00-16:12||Aburatsu (油津)||11:32||15:50|
This train makes stops at Tayoshi, Kodomo no Kuni amd Nichinan too.
Rapid SL Hitoyoshi
This train is connects Kumamoto with Hitoyoshi by steam locomotive and specialized passenger’s cars.
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 following dates:
This train runs between Kagoshima-Chuo and Yoshimatsu. It currently runs as the scheduled train and it runs everyday. However after March 17, this train will runs as the seasonal train. Please see the details at Limited Express Hayato no Kaze.
This train makes stops at Kurino, Osumi-Yokogawa, Hayato and Kagoshima too.