Akita and tohoku shinkansen

Summary of 2019-20 winter seasonal trains of JR train

tadami line
Tadami line in Fukushima (C) kenkou hoshi/JNTO

Winter is cold in Japan but it is still very popular season. Especially northern and mountain areas, such as Hokkaido, Shirakawago, Echigo-Yuzawa are very popular for Asian tourist to see the snow. And New Year’s holidays from late December to Early January is the busiest season in Japan. This is very challenging to book a seat in New Year’s holidays period. Early February is busy season in Hokkaido because of Sapporo winter festival. And also many Asian tourist come over Japan in Chinese New Years period.

In this post, I show you many seasonal trains that will run in major tourist spots from December 2019 to February 2020.

*If you are looking for fall seasonal train schedule (September to November), please see the post, Summary of 2019 fall seasonal trains of JR trains.

*2020 spring seasonal train schedule (March to May) will come up in late January in 2020.

Contents

JR Hokkaido (Hokkaido area)

SL Fuyu no Shitsugen train (Winter train to Kushiro marsh by Steam Locomotive)

SL Fuyu no Shitsugen
SL Fuyu no Shitsugen train (C) JNTO

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 in summer period. But this train is not operated by Norokko train. There are reserved seat only. You need to book it before boarding.

Operation dates

January 25,26
Feb 1-11,14-16,21-24,29

Timetable

Kushiro 11:05Shibecha 12:35
Shibecha 14:00Kushiro 15:40

This train stops at Higashi-Kushiro, Kushiro Shitsugen, Toro, and Kayanuma.

Ryuhyo Monogatari (means “the story of drift ice”)

Ryuhyo monogatari Kiha 54 鯨六寸 [CC BY-SA 4.0]
Ryuhyo Monogatari train exterior (C) 鯨六寸 [CC BY-SA 4.0]

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 a refurbished ordinary diesel fleet.

Operation dates

February 1– 29

Timetable

#1Abashiri 09:45Shiretoko-Shari 10:40
#2Shiretoko-Shari 11:30Abashiri 12:30
#3Abashiri 12:45Shiretoko-Shari 13:35
#4Shiretoko-Shari 13:48Abashiri 14:46

*This train stop at Kitahama and Hamakoshimizu.

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JR East (Tohoku and Kanto area)

Genbi Shinkansen

Genbi Shinkansen that runs between Echigo-Yuzawa and Niigata is called the world fastest art gallery.
Genbi Shinkansen that runs between Echigo-Yuzawa and Niigata is called the world fastest art gallery.

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”.

Operation dates

Dec 1,7,8,14,15,21,22
Jan 11-13,18,19,25,26
Feb 1,2,8,9,11,15,16,22-24,29
Mar 1,7,8,14,15,20-22,28,29

Timetable

Station
train#
Echigo
Yuzawa
Niigata
Toki 45108:2409:14
Toki 45312:4413:38
Toki 45515:2016:14
Station
train#
NiigataEchigo
Yuzawa
Toki 45211:2612:20
Toki 45414:0214:56
Toki 45616:4217:32

All trains stops at all stations between Echigo-yuzawa and Niigata.

Please see the post below to find more information about Genbi Shinkansen.

SL Banetsu Monogatari

It is operated by one of the legendary steam locomotive “C57” and the old style carriages between Niitsu and Aizu-Wakamatsu.

Operation dates

Dec 1

Timetable

Niitsu 10:05 – Aizu Wakamatsu 13:35
Aizu Wakamatsu 15:25 – Niitsu 18:40
The train stops at Niitsu, Gosen, Sakihana, Mikawa, Tsugawa, Hideya, Nozawa, Yamato, Kitakata and Shiokawa.

If you need more info about this train, please see the post below:

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.

Operation dates

Dec 1,7,8,14,15,21,22
Jan 11-13,18,19
Feb 1,2,8,9,11,15,16,22-24,29
Mar 1,7,8,14,15,20-22,28,29

Timetable

Sendai 09:13 – 11:00 Naruko Onsen 11:23 – Shinjo 12:26
Shinjo 15:01 – 16:00 Naruko Onsen 16:02 – 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.

Izu Craile

Renovated exterior looks very lovely.

This is another JR East’s new train. It runs between Odawara and Izu. All seats are Green reserved seat.

Operation dates

Dec 1,7,8,14,15,21,22
Jan 11-13,18,19,25,26
Feb 1,2,8,9,11
Mar 7,8,14,15,20-22,28,29

Timetable

Odawara 11:40 – 14:09 Izukyu-Shimoda
Izukyu-Shimoda 15:20 – 17:12 Odawara
*On Feb 11, the schedule is Izukyu-Shimoda 15:35 – 18:04 Odawara

You can find more information about this train at the post below:

Toreiyu Tsubasa

Renovated E3 series for Toreiyu Tsubasa

This is the first ever Shinkansen train that has the foot Onsen bath in the car.

Operation dates

Dec 1,7,8,14,15,21,22
Jan 11-13,18,19,25,26
Feb 1,2,8,9,11,15,16,22-24,29
Mar 1,7,8,14,15,20-22,28,29

Timetable

StationToreiyu Tsubasa #1StationToreiyu Tsubasa #2
Fukushima10:02Shinjo15:00
Yonezawa10:36Oishida15:16
Takahata10:44Murayama15:28
Akayu10:50Sakuranbo-Higashine15:34
Kaminoyama-Onsen11:08Tendo15:40
Yamagata11:26Yamagata16:13
Tendo11:37Kaminoyama-Onsen16:23
Sakuranbo-Higashine11:45Akayu16:45
Murayama11:50Takahata16:52
Oishida12:00Yonezawa17:07
Shinjo12:16Fukushima17:41

You can find more information about this train at the post below.

POKÉMON with YOU train

Simply it is Pokemon theme train as you see Google image above. It offers fun and it is very kids friendly train.

Operation dates

Dec 21-31
Jan 1-5,11-13,18,19,25,26
Feb 1,2,11,15,16,22,23,29
Mar 1,7,8,14,15,20-31

IchinosekiKesennuma
11:0112:51
KesennumaIchinoseki
14:3716:35

Shu*Kura

Bar space of Shu*Kura

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.

Koshino Shu*Kura

Dec 1

Joetsu-MyokoTokamachi
10:0212:32
TokamachiJoetsu-Myoko
14:5018:38

Roman Shu*Kura

Dec 21,22

NiigataYahiko
09:3310:55
YahikoNiigata
13:3016:00

Yoino Shu*Kura

Dec 13,20

NiigataNagaoka
18:1019:34
NagaokaNiigata
20:1621:34

You can find more information about this train at the post below:

Rapid Resort Shirakami

HB-E300 Buna train set is the newest fleets for 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

Station/train#AkitaAomoriOperation date
18:2013:29Dec 1-10.13-15.20-22.27-31
Jan 1-5.10-13.16-28.31
Feb 1.2.7-9.14-16.21-24.28.29
Mar 1.6-8.13-15.19-22.26-29
513:5219:40Dec 1-9.13.14.20.21.27-31
Jan 1-4.10-12.16-27.31
Feb 1.7.8.14.15.21-23.28.29
Mar 6.7.13.14.19-21.27.28
Station/train#AomoriAkitaOperation date
28:0913:27Dec 1-10.14.15.21.22.28-31
Jan 1-5.11-13.17-28
Feb 1.2.8.9.15.16.22-24.29
Mar 1.7.8.14.15.20-22.28.29
413:5118:56Dec 1-10.13-15.20-22.27-31
Jan 1-5.10-13.16-28.31
Feb 1.2.7-9.14-16.21-24.28.29
Mar 1.6-8.13-15.19-22.26-29
Station/train#AkitaHirosakiOperation date
310:5115:49Dec 1-10
Station/train#HirosakiAkitaOperation date
616:0620:41Dec 1-10

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 the post below:

Kairi

This train has just been introduced in October. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the coastline. You can add the local cuisine bento box. (advanced reservation required)

Operation dates

Fall schedule
Dec 1.6-8.13-15.20-22

Winter schedule
Dec 27-31
Jan 1-5.11-13.18.19.25.26
Feb 1.2.8.9.11.15.16.22-24.29

Timetable

Fall schedule
Niigata 10:12 – 13:19 Sakata
Sakata 15:02 – Niigata 18:31
*The arrival time at Niigata on Dec 13 and Dec 20 are 18:33.

Winter schedule
Niigata 10:12 – 12:44 Sakata
Sakata 16:00 – Niigata 18:31
*The arrival time at Niigata on Feb 8 is 18:33.

HIGH RAIL 1375

This train runs on Oumi line which goes on the highest elevation in all JR lines. You can enjoy mountain fresh air by riding this train.

Operation dates

Dec 7,8,14,15,21,22
Jan 4,5,11-13,18,19,25,26
Feb 1,2,8,9,15,16,22-24

Timetable (HIGH RAIL 1)

KobuchizawaKomoro
10:4212:56

Timetable (HIGH RAIL 2)

KomoroKobuchizawa
14:3216:57

Timetable (HIGH RAIL Hoshizora)

KobuchizawaKomoro
18:1721:39

Please see the post below to find more information about HIGH RAIL 1375.

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.

Operation dates

To Ogaki – Dec 20-30
To Tokyo – Dec 21-31

Timetable

stationstimestationstime
Tokyo23:10Ogaki22:48
Shinagawa23:18Gifu22:59
Yokohama23:36Nagoya23:20
Odawara00:31Toyohashi00:17
Numazu01:08Hamamatsu00:55
Shizuoka01:50Shizuoka01:55
Hamamatsu03:11Numazu03:19
Nagoya05:24Yokohama04:41
Gifu05:42Shinagawa04:58
Ogaki05:50Tokyo05:05

Please see the post below to find more information about Moonlight Nagara.

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JR West (Kansai, Hokuriku and Chugoku)

Hanayome Noren

This is new train that will start to run in this fall in Kanazawa. This train takes you to Wakura Onsen in Noto peninsula.

Operation dates

Dec 1,6-8,13-15,20-24,27-29
Jan 3-5,10-13,17-19,24-26,31
Feb 1,2,7-11,14-16,21-24,28,29

Timetable

KanazawaWakura Onsen
#110:1511:42
#314:1515:32
Wakura OnsenKanazawa
#212:0813:21
#416:3017:54

The train makes stops at Nanao and Hakui. All seats are reserved. You cannot take this train without booking.

Belles montagnes et mer

The exterior of 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.

Operation dates

Himi line (between Takaoka and Himi)
Dec 1,8,15,22
Jan 5,12,19,26
Feb 2,9,16,23

Johana line (between Takaoka and Johana)
Dec 7,14,21,28
Jan 4,11,18,25
Feb 1,8,15,22,29

Timetable

Shin-TakaokaHimi
#110:0110:55
#313:5414:58
HimiShin-Takaoka/Takaoka
#211:0512:10
#415:1515:48*

Train #4 runs between Himi and Takaoka only. It does not go to Shin-Takaoka.
Train makes stops at Takaoka, Fushiki and Amaharashi.

TakaokaJohana
#519:3810:22
#5313:0813:55
JohanaTakaoka
#5210:4211:30
#5414:1014:59

Train makes stops at Shin-Takaoka, Tonami, Fukuno and Fukumitsu.

Mahoroba

This is the limited express train which connects Shin-Osaka and Nara directly

Operation dates

Dec 1,7,8

Timetable

Shin-Osaka 10:03 – 10:53 Nara
Nara 16:56 – 17:47 Shin-Osaka

The train does not stop at any stations between Shin-Osaka and Nara.

Hello Kitty Shinkansen

500 series Shinkansen which is wrapped by Hello Kitty painting.

This is one of scheduled Kodama train that is operated by the specialized “Hello Kitty” wrapping fleet.

Operation dates

Dec 1-7.9.13-31
Jan 1-5.9-27.31
Feb 1-17.21-29

Timetable

HakataHiroshimaOkayamaShin-Osaka
Kodama 7306:428:12/8:139:48/9:5711:13
Shin-OsakaOkayamaHiroshimaHakata
Kodama 74111:2912:31/12:3813:54/13:5515:38

This train stops at all stations between Shin-Osaka and Hakata on the Sanyo Shinkansen line.

Setouchi Marine View

The exterior of Setouchi Marine View

This train runs along the coast of Setonaikai sea between Hiroshima and Mihara via Kure.

This train set will be replaced by new fleet “etSETOra” in 2020 fall. December 22 is the last day of operation by this train set.

Operation dates

Dec 1.7.8.14.15.21.22

Timetable

HiroshimaKureTakeharaMiharaOnomichi
10:0310:52/10:5311:50/11:5312:2712:2812:42
OnomichiMiharaTakeharaKureHiroshima
14:0214:2615:00/15:0616:35/16:4017:22

This train runs between Mihara and Onomichi in October and November only.

OO (maru maru) no Hanashi

Exterior of OO no Hanashi (C) Higashi Kaze Miruku [CC BY-SA 4.0]

This train runs along the coast of Sea of Japan.

Operation dates

Weekend and holidays until February 20 except December 28 to January 5.

Timetable

to Higashi-Hagito Shin-Shimonoseki
Shin-Shimonoseki09:5917:50
Shimonoseki10:08/10:2117:39/17:43
Kawatana-Onsen10:5317:03
Ogushi10:5816:59
Takibe11:2616:33
Kottoi11:3216:27
Hitomaru11:5315:58
Nagatoshi12:18/12:2215:31/15:33
Senzaki14:56/15:27
Hagi12:5214:20
Higashi-Hagi12:5714:13

Ametsuchi

This is the newest sightseeing train by JR West. This train runs in San’in region between Tottori and Izumoshi. Please check the images at the following link:
JR West official site

Operation dates

Dec 1,7,8,14,15
Jan 25,26
Feb 1,2,8,9,15,16,22,23,29

Timetable

to Izumoshito Tottori
Tottori09:0017:36
Kurayoshi09:5416:36
Yonago11:0615:35
Yasugi11:1615:22
Matsue11:4514:43
Tamatsukuri-Onsen14:26
Izumoshi12:4713:41

SL Christmas and SL Tsuwano Inari

SL Yamaguchi is one of most popular train by steam locomotive. (C) soryofu / JNTO

This train is operated by a steam locomotive between Shin-Yamaguchi and Tsuwano as SL Yamaguchi from spring to fall. In winter season, the train is operated as SL Christmas and SL Tsuwano Inari. But basically these trains are same as SL Yamaguchi. This train has only reserved seat. (Japanese site link)

Operation dates

Dec 22 (SL Christmas)
Jan 1-3 (SL Tsuwano Inari)

Timetable

to Tsuwanoto Shin-
Yamaguchi
Shin-Yamaguchi10:5017:30
Yuda-Onsen11:0617:14
Yamaguchi11:1317:09
Niho11:34
Shinome11:5716:42
Chomonkyo12:0316:32
Jifuku12:31
Nabekura12:3616:13
Tokusa12:4316:07
Tsuwano12:5915:45

JR Kyushu (Kyushu)

Limited Express Yufuin-no-Mori

The newer fleet KIHA 72 series is used for two round trips of Yufuin no Mori.

It is very popular train that connect Hakata and Yufuin. This train runs daily basis but some of trips do not run due to the annual inspection.

Station/train#HakataKurumeYufuinOitaBeppu
#109:2409:5911:36
#310:2410:5812:3413:2313:36
#514:3515:0716:44
Station/train#BeppuOitaYufuinKurumeHakata
#212:0913:4514:16
#414:4114:5915:5017:3018:06
#617:0818:4719:18

Train #1, #2, # 5 and #6 will not run on the following dates:
Jan 14-16

Train #3 and #4 will not run on the following dates:
Dec 16-20

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 the massive earthquake in a few years ago, this segment has been closed since then. This train run between Beppu and Aso temporary.

Operation dates

Dec 1.7.8.13-15.20-23.27-31
Jan 1-5.10-13.17-19.24-31
Feb 1.2.7-11.14-16.21-23.28.29

Timetable

Station/train#BeppuOitaAso
#9210:0510:2912:20
Station/train#AsoOitaBeppu
#9115:1117:0117:11

This train makes a stop at Nakahanda, Miemachi, Ogata, Bungo-Takeda, Bungo-ogi and Miyaji too.

This train has only reserved seat. Please see the post below to get more information about this train.

Limited Express Umisachi-Yamasachi

Limited Express train Umisachi-Yamasachi is operated by refurbished KIHA125 series.
Limited Express train Umisachi-Yamasachi runs southern Kyushu along Nichina coast.

This train goes through Nichinan coastline.

Operation dates

Dec 1.7.8.14.15.21-23.27-31
Jan 1-5.11-13.18.19.24-27.31
Feb 1.2.7-11.14-16.21-23.28.29

Timetable

Stationsto Nangoto Miyazaki
Miyazaki (宮崎)10:1117:15
Minami-Miyazaki (南宮崎)10:1717:10
Aoshima (青島)10:3616:48
Kitago (北郷)11:0316:22
Obi (飫肥)11:12-11:2216:00-16:12
Aburatsu (油津)11:3215:50
Nango (南郷)11:4715:35

This train makes stops at Tayoshi, Kodomo no Kuni amd Nichinan too.

Please find more information about this train in the post below.

A Ressha de Iko (A列車で行こう=Take the ‘A’ train)

Ltd Exp A Train runs between Kumamoto and Misumi is not covered by Northern area pass. (C) Jonathan Ayre

This train connects Kumamoto with Misumi. Misumi is the gateway station for Amakusa. JR Kyushu add one more trip after March 16.

Operation dates

Dec 1.7.8.14.15.21-23.28-31
Jan 1-5.11-13.18.19.25.26
Feb 1.2.8-11.15.16.22.23.29

Only two round trips, #1,#2,#5 and #6 will run on the following dates:
Dec 6.13.20.27
Jan 24.27-31

Timetable

Station/train#KumamotoUtoMisumi
#110:3510:4511:12
#312:2312:3613:03
#514:3714:4715:15
Station/train#MisumiUtoKumamoto
#211:2011:4611:57
#413:5014:2214:31
#616:1916:5117:01

Please see the post below to find more information.

Limited Express Hayato no Kaze

Hayato no Kaze (C) JP Rail

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.

Operation dates

Sep 1.7.8.14-16.21-23.28.29
Oct 5.6.12-14.19.20.26.27
Nov 2-4.9.10.16.17.23.24.30
Dec 1.7.8.14.15.20-31
Year 2020
Jan 1-6.11-13.18.19.24-26.31
Feb 1.2.8-11.15.16.22.23.29

Timetable

Station/train#YoshimatsuKirishima
Onsen
KareigawaKagoshima
Chuo
#111:2511:5212:0312:53
#315:0115:3215:4316:44
Station/train#Kagoshima
Chuo
KareigawaKirishima
Onsen
Yoshimatsu
#209:2610:3010:4111:11
#413:2314:1814:2514:54

This train makes stops at Kurino, Osumi-Yokogawa, Hayato and Kagoshima too.

Please see the post below to find more information about this train.

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