Direct access to Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen from Shinjuku, Limited Express Nikko and Kinugawa

Tobu Railway Limited Express "Spacia" (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Tobu Railway Limited Express “Spacia” (C) Sonic Rail Garden

These trains connect Shinjuku and Ikebukuro in Tokyo, and Nikko and Kinugawa-Onsen. These trains run on JR line and Tobu Railway line. That means you have to pay extra if you use JR Pass. JR Pass cover JR line portion only. But if you use JR East Passes, such as JR East Pass Nagano Niigata, Tokyo Wide Pass, JR East Pass Tohoku, both JR line and Tobu Railway lines are covered. This may be complicated for you.

In this post, I will tell you about Limited Express Nikko and Kinugawa. I also show you the extra fare on top of JR Pass.

Route, schedule and trip time

Limited Express “Nikko” connects Shinjuku with Nikko in 2 hours. “Kinugawa” connects Shinjuku with Kinugawa-Onsen in 2 hours and 15 minutes. They have 1 round tiip to Nikko from Shinjuku and 3 trips to Kinugawa-Onsen from Shinjuku. But you will have a few more extra trips during the peak season and long weekend. You can check the most updated timetable at JR East official website.

to Nikko/KinugawaNikko/Spacia NikkoKinugawa/Spacia Kinugawa
Shinjuku (新宿)xx
Ikebukuro (池袋)xx
Omiya (大宮)xx
Tochigi (栃木)xx
Shin-Shikanuma (新鹿沼)xx
Shimoimaichi (下今市)xx
Tobu Nikko (東武日光)x
Kinugawa Onsen (鬼怒川温泉)x

These trains are operated by JR fleet and Tobu Railway fleet. The train name which includes “Spacia” is operated by Tobu Railway’s fleet. Actually it is way better than JR fleet. I will show you the images of both fleets below.


View Limited Express Nikko and Kinugawa in a larger map

Extra fare

As you mentioned, these express train go through Tobu Railway line. You have to pay the extra if you use Japan Rail Pass. If you use JR East Pass Tohoku, JR East Pass Nagano Niigata, Tokyo Wide Pass, JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass, these trains are covered fully. You can take Niiko, Spacia Nikko, Kinugawa and Spacia Kinugawa without extra charge.

The extra fares for JR pass are the following (as of May 2018):
Basic fare 970 yen
Limited express surcharge and reserved seat fee 2,060 yen

The fare is same for both bound for Nikko and Kinugawa-Onsen.

If you want to avoid any extra charge, you can take Tohoku Shinkansen and Nikko line local train. It is covered by JR pass fully. If you do not intend using any JR deals, you may take Tobu Railway from Asakusa. Please see the link below to learn more about access to Nikko.

How to access to Nikko from Tokyo. There are three ways from Tokyo, Shinjuku and Asakusa

If you take “Spacia Nikko” or “Spacia Kinugawa”, these trains have Green seat. But it is not regular Green seat but it is Green compartment. Even JR Pass Green does not cover this seat. You have to pay full charge which is another 6,000 yen per compartment. Nikko and Kinugawa do not have any Green seats.

Accommodation

Spacia Nikko and Spacia Kinugawa are operated by Tobu Railway car 100 series. Nikko and Kinugawa are operated by JR East refurbished 253 series. This 253 series was operated as Narita Express before. Aa I mentioned, the fleet of “Spacia” is way better than JR East 253 series.

Nikko and Kinugawa by JR East 253 series

Refurbished 253 series will be used for Nikko and Kinugawa
Refurbished 253 series will be used for Nikko and Kinugawa
123456
RRRRRR

R=Reserved ordinary seat

This fleet does not offer any Green class seat. These cars are refurbished and renovated, but these are more than 25 years old.

Interior

Sanitary space

Passenger’s deck and luggage space

JR East is going to use refurbished 285 series (link to wikipedia image) which used to be Narita Express and will stop using 485 series. It is better change. But Spacia is still better than 285 series.

Spacia Nikko and Spacia Kingawa by Tobu Railway 100 series “Spacia”

Tobu Railway 100 series Spacia
Tobu Railway Limited Express Spacia
123456
RRRRRGC

R=Reserved ordinary seat GC=Green compartment

Spacia has Green seat. But as I mentioned to you, Japan Rail Pass does not cover this green seat. Even the reserved ordinary class give you very comfortable seating. It has almost same comfortability as the regular green seat. This series usually is used for the scheduled Sapcia Kinugawa only. We cannot find any Spacia to Nikko. But in the peak season, you may have Spacia Nikko.

Ordinary seat Ordinary seat in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa Ordinary seat in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa Ordinary seat in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa Ordinary seat in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa Ordinary seat in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa Ordinary seat in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa

Green compartment Green compartment in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa Green compartment in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa Green compartment in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa Green compartment in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa Green compartment in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa Green compartment in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa

Washroom Green compartment in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa Green compartment in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa Green compartment in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa Green compartment in Spacia Nikko and Kingawa

Reservation

JR East has the online reservation. Please see the link below to find more information:

JR East online reservation

I hope this post helps you to build your trip plan.

144 thoughts on “Direct access to Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen from Shinjuku, Limited Express Nikko and Kinugawa”

  1. Hi Takeshi,
    On hyperdia, using the 8:02 example, one train route is hamamatsucho-yurakucho-ikebukuro (8:02-8:06/8:10-8:30)
    The other also leaving at 8:02 is hammatsucho- ikebukuro (8:02-8:33)
    I’ve tried to decipher if there’s a way to distinguish the direct train. Will the platform signs tell me that one stops & changes at Yurakucho?

    By transferring at Yurakucho, it means getting of the train and getting into another OR do I stay on the same train? As it’s peak hour, I’m hoping to not change trains as it’ll be packed.

  2. Hi Takeshi
    I’m heading to Kinugawaonsen directly from Haneda using JR East Sth pass.
    To do so, I’m taking this route : Hnd-Hamamatsucho-ikebukuro-Kinugawaonsen.
    Looking at Hyperdia there’s a direct train from Ikebukuro-Kinugawaonsen on the Yamanote line (inner loop) for Ikebukuro or for Osaki.
    Take an example 8:02 train. There are 2 trains leaving at the same time- one direct to ikebukuro,the other via Yurakucho. How does one determine the direct one vs the other.
    If there was a platform no.,it would help but not stated on hyperdia.
    So the question is on the platform,is there a way of determining this easily? I guess even with a small roller, I want to avoid changes.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Ames,

      Actually both trains go to Ikebukuro directly. You don’t need to change trains at Osaki. If take train for Osaki, you can stay in same train at Osaka and train proceed to Ikebukuro. Yamanote line is a loop line. Train runs continuously. So you can pick the faster train to get Ikebukuro. You can find the info about Hamamatsucho station in the link below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/station-information/hamamtsucho-station-guide-how-to-trasnsfer-jr-tokyo-monorail-and-subway-lines.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

Before you leave your comment, please see the conditions below.
  • Your comment will not be shown until I approve. When you submit your comment, the page will be reloaded but nothing happens. Your comment will be shown when I approve. Please click submit only once and wait for my approval.
  • Please do not ask me to make your itinerary. Because I am not your personal travel agent. I am very happy to check your itinerary. But please try to make the plan by yourself. In this website, there are lots of resources to make your plan.
  • Please do not ask me about the access to your hotel. You can google your hotel and find it at hotel website or google map easily.
  • I cannot recommend any hotels other than which I have stayed. Basically I cannot talk about hotels in this site. The number of hotels are too many to talk about by my experience.
  • If you want to ask me which pass suits your plan, please tell me your detailed itinerary and location to stay. I cannot choose any deals without the detailed itinerary because I have to compare the total single fare and deals.
  • Please do not ask me to reply to your inquiry by email. In this website, I would like to share all information with any readers. I do not communicate with you directly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*