I think everybody agree that spring is the best season to travel. The cherry blossom is amazing, gorgeous and unforgettable. Therefore this season is very busy. Especially the period from late March to early April is the spring break of the public school in Japan. This period is usually the peak period of the cherry blossom in southside of Japan. It is busy season.
Do not forget “Golden Week”. Japan has many holidays from late April to early May. Especially 2019’s Golden Week will be very special. The emperor will retire and the prince will take over. Please see the link below to find the detailed information about the calendar.
JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during the spring peak period. In this post, I will show you many seasonal trains that will run in major tourist spots until the end of June.
*Summer seasonal train schedule (July and August) will usually come up in late May.
- 1 JR Hokkaido (Hokkaido area)
- 2 JR East (Tohoku and Kanto area)
- 3 JR Central (Chubu, Tokai and Hokuriku)
- 4 JR West (Kansai, Hokuriku and Chugoku)
- 5 JR Shikoku (Shikoku)
- 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.
Jun 1-16, 20-30
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 2 – Mar 3
|#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.
Rapid DL Banetsu Monogatari
This train is originally operated as “SL Banestsu Monogatari”. But steam locomotive was breakdown. It is operated by a diesel locomotive and the old style carriages between Niitsu and Aizu-Wakamatsu.
Niitsu 10:05 – Aizu Wakamatsu 13:35
Aizu Wakamatsu 15:25 – Niitsu 18:40
Niitsu, Gosen, Sakihana, Mikawa, Tsugawa, Hideya, Nozawa, Yamato, Kitakata and Shiokawa.
If you need more info about this train, please see the post, Popular Steam Locomotive train, SL Banetsu Monogatari.
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 – 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.
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.
This is the first ever Shinkansen train that has the 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.
This steam locomotive train 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
*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 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
This train runs on the following dates between Niigata and Akita:
Niigata 09:31 – 12:03 Sakata 12:05 – 13:47 Akita
Akita 14:07 – 16:03 Sakata 16:10 – 18:31 Niigata
The following schedule will be applied to the train which runs on Jul 26-29, 31, Aug 1-5 and 7-8.
Niigata 10:11 – 13:14 Sakata
Sakata 16:10 – Niigata 18:31
This train set will be retired on September 29 and the new fleet will be introduced on this trains’ operation.
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 (HIGH RAIL 1)
Operation dates (HIGH RAIL 2 and Hoshizora)
Timetable (HIGH RAIL 1)
Timetable (HIGH RAIL 2)
|14:32 (11:43)||16:57 (14:07)|
*Departure time 11:43 and arrival time 14:06 are applied on Mar 2, 3, 9 and 10.
Timetable (HIGH RAIL Hoshizora)
|18:17 (17:09)||21:39 (20:14)|
*Departure time 17:09 and arrival time 20:14 are applied on Mar 2, 3, 9 and 10.
JR Central (Chubu, Tokai and Hokuriku)
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 – Mar 15-23
To Tokyo – Mar 16-24
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.
Hello Kitty Shinkansen
This is one of scheduled Kodama train that is operated by specialized “Hello Kitty” wrapping fleet.
This train will be introduced in the end of June.
This train stops at all stations between Shin-Osaka and Hakata on Sanyo Shinkansen line.
OO (maru maru) no Hanashi
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 until the end of June except March 21.
|to Higashi-Hagi||to Shimonoseki|
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
|to Izumoshi||to Tottori|
This train is operated by C57 type steam locomotive between Shin-Yamaguchi and Tsuwano. This train has only reserved seat. (Japanese site link)
|to Tsuwano||to Shin-|
JR Shikoku (Shikoku)
This train is operated by the open-air fleet and runs along Shimanto river which is one of the most beautiful stream in Japan.
Uwajima 11:39 – Kubokawa 14:22
Kubokawa 15:01 – Uwajima 17:24
*This train stops at all stations between these stations.
JR Kyushu (Kyushu)
Limited Express 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.
Train #1, #2, # 5 and #6 will not run on the following dates:
Year 2020 Jan 14-16
Train #3 and #4 will not run on the following dates:
May 8-Jul 11
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 Beppu and Asp.
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|
This train makes stops at Tayoshi, Kodomo no Kuni amd Nichinan too.
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.
Rapid SL Hitoyoshi
This train is connects Kumamoto with Hitoyoshi by steam locomotive and specialized passenger’s cars.