Nikko Kinugawa 253 series

The limited express Nikko and Kinugawa. The train connects Shinjuku and Nikko, Kinugawa Onsen directly

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

These trains connect Shinjuku in Tokyo and Nikko, 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 the limited express Nikko and Kinugawa. I also show you the extra fare on top of JR Pass.

Route, schedule and trip time

The limited express “Nikko” connects Shinjuku with Nikko in 2 hours. “Kinugawa” connects Shinjuku with Kinugawa-Onsen in 2 hours and 15 minutes. You can find the timetable of these trains in JR East official timetable in the link below:

JR East official site – the timetable

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 the train fleet of “Spacia” 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 October 2019):
Basic fare 990 yen
Limited express surcharge and reserved seat fee 2,100 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.

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 nearly 30 years old.

Ordinary class seat
Ordinary class seat
Washroom
Washroom
Entrance deck
Baggage space

Spacia Nikko and Spacia Kinugawa 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 class seat
Ordinary class seat
Green compartment
Green compartment
Washroom
Washroom

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.

148 thoughts on “The limited express Nikko and Kinugawa. The train connects Shinjuku and Nikko, Kinugawa Onsen directly”

  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

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