Direct access to Nikko 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 (新宿) and Ikebukuro (池袋) in Tokyo with Nikko (日光) and Kinugawa-Onsen (鬼怒川温泉=Kinugawa hot springs resort). When I published the post, “How to get Nikko”, I did not mention these limited express trains. Because these trains are operated by Japan Railway East and Tobu Railway Co. and run through Tobu Railway line from Kurihashi (栗橋) to Nikko or Kunugawa-Onsen. That means you have to pay extra if you use Japan Rail Pass. But since I received many valuable comments from the visitors of this site, I know that some of Japan Rail Pass users do not hesitate to pay to get better service.

Anyway Japan Rail Pass official site mention that you need to pay the extra, but they don’t tell you the extra fare and any train informations. In this post, I will tell you how much the extra charge you pay to take these trains and show some images of the trains.

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

*The train name that has “Spacia” is operated by Tobu Railway’s car. That is way better. I will show you the images later.


View Limited Express Nikko and Kinugawa in a larger map

Fare

As you mentioned, these express train go through Tobu Railway line. So you need to pay the extra if you use Japan Rail Pass. If you use JR East pass, these trains are covered by the pass. You can take Niiko, Spacia Nikko, Kinugawa and Spacia Kinugawa without extra charge.

Basic fare 970 yen
Express Surcharge 2,060 yen
*as of July, 2015

If you don’t want to pay any extra charge, you can take Tohoku Shinkansen and Nikko line local train without any extra. Please refer the post, How to get Nikko. But if you want to go to Kinugawa-Onsen, you cannot get there by Japan Railway. You have to take Tobu Railway line anyway.

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

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. Actually Spacia that is serviced by Tobu Railway car is way better than JR East 253 series.

Nikko and Kinugawa by JR East 253 series

Refurbished 253 series replaced old 485 series in June 2011. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
1 2 3 4 5 6
R R R R R R

R=Reserved ordinary seat

It does not have any Green class in this car. 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 100 series Spacia
1 2 3 4 5 6
R R R R R GC

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 gives you online reservation. But you can reserve the seat between Shinjuku and Omiya only. Yes. It is useless. I guess JR East cannot handle this because the sections between Omiya and Nikko/Kinugawa-onsen are owned by Tobu Railway lines. So yo need to go to the ticket reservation window (=Midori-no-madoguchi=みどりの窓口).

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

  1. Hi, Takeshi!
    I noticed the LTD. EXP NIKKO 1 from Shinjuku to Tobu-Nikko is not showing on Hyperdia from March 17th 2018 and on. Is this an error?

    Thank you for your help!

      1. Thank you so much for your response!
        I’m going to Tokyo in two weeks and I’ll try to book the Shinjuku/Tobu-Nikko trip as soon as I get there. I’m thinking about getting the Tokyo Wide pass for this.

        Thank you once again!

  2. Hi Takeshi
    Where do we buy our train tickets from – JR Shinjuku station or Asakusa Tobu office?
    1. Depart from Shinjuku 07:30 and arriving at Tobu-Nikko station 09:28/ 4000yen one way.
    2. Return trip depart Tobu-Nikko 17:23 Tobu Ltd Express Kegon 44 & arrive at Tobu Asakusa 19:15 then subway to Shinjuku.
    Do we need to buy the 2 train tickets in advance?

      1. Hi Takeshi
        Thanks for your reply.
        We arrive late Tues 8/5 and will be in Tokyo for 6 days (to Mon 14/5).
        Will it be too late to buy our ticket on Wed 9/5 to travel on Fri 11/5?
        It seems like we can only buy day passes and area passes for Nikko in advance at Asakusa Tobu Tourist Office?

          1. Hi Takeshi
            Thanks for your reply – I’m just after the train tickets only and will try Tobu Asakusa when we arrive.
            Regards
            Doris

  3. Hi ,

    I’m currently in Japan now staying at shinagawa, I was told about this chugushi nikko, s falls , lake and Japanese garden, and I am tempted to take day trip tom. Am a bit confused on the instruction. From shibuya, can. You simplify it.

    Anna

  4. Hello Takeshi,

    We plan to go to Tobu World Square in February 2018 from a Tokyo station (we have not chosen which one yet, but probably the Asakusa station).
    We will have a JRPass.
    I would like to know if we can take the line TOBU LTD. EXP and if with the JRPass we have an extra and how much?

    Thank you in advance for your reply.

    1. Hi Dany,

      If you take Tobu train from Asakusa, JR Pass does not help you at all. You have to pay full fare. Tobu railway is most accessible for the trip to World Square. But if you want to use JR Pass as much as you can, you need to take the following route:

      Tokyo/Ueno (Tohoku Shinkansen) Utsunomiya (JR Nikko line) Imaichi
      JR pass covers this above portion. After that, you need to pay full fare:

      Imaichi (walk 10-15 minutes) Shimo-Imaichi (Tobu railway) Tobu World Square
      https://goo.gl/maps/xmbJfJ1nzBM2

      If you take this route, you need to pay only 200 yen for Shimo-Imaichi to Tobu World Square.

      If it’s too much, just pay full fare from Asakusa. Or go to Shinjuku and catch limited express Kinugawa in the post above. Extra fare to take this train is shown in the post above.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hello!

    If I am using the JR East Pass (Nagano), would I have to pay an extra fee to use the Ltd Express Nikko? If so, how much is the extra fee? Thank you!

  6. Hi Takeshi,

    I dont plan to get a JR pass but plan to go for a day trip to Nikko, now the fare you listed. Is it for Spacia express?

    “Basic fare 970 yen”
    “Express Surcharge 2,060 yen”

    I’m staying near Shibuya so If I want to go to Nikko from Shinjuku station for a day trip does that mean I have to pay 6000 yen? I’m still not sure if its better to take the Tokyo Wide Pass or just go for return ticket

    1. Hi Yogi,

      These are additional fares on top of JR pass. If you pay single fare for this train, you need to pay more. Total fare is around 4,000 yen for one way. Single fare is cheaper than Tokyo wide pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. HI Takeshi,

    I would like to visit Edo Wonderland (nearest stn Kinugawa-Onsen) from Shinjuku. I will have a JR pass.

    However on the website of the themepark, it says :

    From JR Shinjuku Station take the direct express Kinugawa-go or Spacia Kinugawa-go to Kinugawa-Onsen Station. Bus (15mins) / Taxi (10 mins) from the station.

    I am unable to identify this ‘Direct Express Kingawa-go’. Is this one of the Tobu Raiways you’ve covered in the post? I did a search on Hyperdia but it yielded results that required 3 transfers and took over 3 hours.

    What do you think is the best way for me to get there? =(

    1. Hi Mandy,

      Please see the link below to find the timetable for Shinjuku to Kinugawa Onsen direct train:
      http://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/english/wb/common/timetable/e_lex_tobu_d/index.html
      http://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/english/wb/common/timetable/e_lex_tobu_u/index.html

      Otherwise, take other trains which Hyperdia showed.

      If you don’t use any JR deals, you also can take Tobu railway from Asakusa.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/how-to-access-to-nikko-from-tokyo-there-are-three-ways-from-tokyo-shinjuku-and-asakusa.html
      http://www.tobu.co.jp/foreign/pdf/timetables.pdf

      You can get Asakusa by subway from Shijuku:
      http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/subwaymap/pdf/routemap_en.pdf

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hi Takeshi,
    I will be staying near Ueno Station, so I will start from there.
    If want to use the Tokyo Wide Area Pass to have more options for the return trip. I’ve seen that I need to change train at Omiya to take the Nikko Limited Express 1, how do I reserve the seat? Can I do it at a JR station or at Tobu? And the the Limited Express is fully covered by the Tokyo Wide Area Pass?

    Thank you,
    Juri

  9. Hi Takeshi san, i am planning to go ti japan for 15 days. 6 nights in tokyo stay at ginza with day trips to kawaguchi and nikko. After that to kyoto 2 nights,osaka 4 nights and back to tokyo for disneyland. Is it better for 4 of us (2adult 2 kids) buying 14 days jr pass or 7 days?

    1. Hi Hanna san,

      7 days pass is better choice. You can use it for Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka-Tokyo only. You can use Tokyo wide pass for Nikko and Kawaguchiko.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/tokyo-wide-pass-is-newer-version-of-kanto-area-pass-nikko-fuji-gala-yuzawa-and-odaiba-are-covered-by-this-pass.html

      If you visit Kawaguchiko and Nikko on day 2 and 3, you can use Tokyo wide pass for airport to Tokyo too.

      You may use other deals, like subway pass when you are in Tokyo.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/tokyo-kanto-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-best-deal-and-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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