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

Nikko Kinugawa 253 seriesAizu Wakamatsu, Fukushima, Koriyama, Nikko, Kinugawa-Onsen
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.


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

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
Entrance deck
Baggage space

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

Tobu Railway Limited Express Spacia

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


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.


  1. AY.JAEE
    ADWA says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    i’m planning to go to Edo Wonderland this coming November and planning to get there as early as i can. i’m using JR Pass. as i read through the instructions from many sources and i got confused with few things. here is my riddles : it possible for me to book Nikko express train with JR Pass ?
    2. is it worth of money to reserve seats from Shinjuku to Kinugawa-Onsen or just walk-in ?
    3. which bus is stop at Edo Wonderland or there got shuttle train that goes straight to the place ?
    4. how to get to Shinjuku Station from Edo Wonderland
    5. the last trains & buses from Edo Wonderland *couldnt understand with their operating schedule*

    Thanks in advance and really appreciate for your help.

  2. Kenny says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I read from JR Tokyo Wide Pass that it covers till Kinogawa-onsen. The pass term stated when use Tobu line, either departure or arrival must be JR line.

    If I departure from Shinjuku, how to go about it in order to utilize the pass? Do I need to reserve the seat in advance? If needed, from the counter for round trip?

    Thanks in advance for the guide.

  3. Hi Takeshi san,

    My wife and I intend to travel to Nikko using the Japan Rail Pass on 25th October 2016. We will board the Limited Express Nikko 1 at Ikebukuro station. Do we need to pay any extra fare (and how much is the fare?) as we noticed the Ltd Express Nikko train will partly travel through the Tobu Railway line.

    We appreciate your confirmation.

    Arigatou gozaimasu.

  4. Yvonne says:

    Hi Takeshi…again…
    Can I take this itinerary with JR East Pass?
    5:30 PM

    Kosagoe Station
    5:30 PM
    Kosagoe Station
    6:43 PM
    TrainTobu-Kinugawa Line区間快速Asakusa
    26 min (4 stops)
    Continue on the same vehicle
    TrainTobu-Nikko LineAsakusa
    44 min (11 stops)
    6:52 PM
    Shin-Tochigi Station
    7:26 PM
    TrainTobu-Nikko Line各停Minami-Kurihashi
    34 min (8 stops)
    7:50 PM
    Kurihashi Station
    8:52 PM
    TrainUtsunomiya Line各停Hiratsuka
    1 h 2 min (14 stops) · Platform 1,2
    8:59 PM
    Tokyo Station
    TrainChuo Line快速Toyoda
    14 min (4 stops) · Platform 1,2
    9:13 PM
    Shinjuku Station

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      Takeshi / says:

      Hi Yvonne,

      Unfortunately you can’t. You can take only limited express train that goes to Shinjuku between Shimo-Imaichi and Kurihashi.
      You have two choices. The first one is taking limited express Nikko 84. You can catch this at Shimo-Imaichi at 17:09. You can take any local trains from Kosagoe to Shimo-Imaichi. But you need to leave around 16:30 at Kosagoe.

      The second option is the following route:
      Kosagoe (Tobu) Shimo-Imaichi (Tobu) Tobu-Nikko (walk 3 minutes) Nikko (JR Nikko line) Utusunomiya (JR Tohoku Shinkansen) Tokyo (JR Chuo line) Shinjuku

      If you take second option, there are many more trains and all trains are covered by JR East Pass.


      Takeshi /

      • Yvonne Lo says:

        Hi Takeshi

        I want to ask you whether I can take this trip with JR East pass
        4:21 PM – 6:36 PM (2 h 15 min)
        TrainTobu-Kinugawa Line TrainNikko-Kinugawa
        4:21 PM from Kosagoe Station
        4:21 PM

        Kosagoe Station
        4:21 PM
        Kosagoe Station
        4:37 PM
        TrainTobu-Kinugawa Line区間快速Asakusa
        16 min (4 stops)
        4:47 PM
        Shimo-Imaichi Station
        TrainNikko-KinugawaNikko 8特急Shinjuku
        1 h 16 min (3 stops)
        Continue on the same vehicle
        TrainNikko-KinugawaNikko 8Shinjuku
        32 min (3 stops)
        6:36 PM
        Shinjuku Station
        6:36 PM

        Shinjuku Station

        Also will I have enough time to change from the Tobu-Kinagawa platform to Nikko Kinagawa platform at Shimo-Imaichi? It looks like I have 10minutes…

        Also I will be reserving the tickets which I know I can only reserve the JR ones online. However, when I pick them up in person, will I be able to pick up the Tobu section tickets at Shinjuku (that is the section between Shimo-Imaichi and Kosagoe)?

        Thanks Tadeshi- you are the best!

        • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
          Takeshi / says:

          Hi Yvonne,

          You can use JR East pass for this trip. Actually the section between Kosagoe and Shimo-Imaichi is a rapid train. That is sort of the commute trains and you cannot reserve a seat. Just hop on and hop off. All you need is JR East pass to take this train.

          I think it will be same platform from Kinugawa line train and Nikko line train in Shimo-Imaichi. Even 1 minute is fine to transfer.


          Takeshi /

  5. Yvonne Lo says:

    I am confused which pass to buy.
    I arrive into Haneda Airport and will be staying in Shinjuku. I want to do:
    a day trip to Edo Wonderland on a Saturday
    a day trip to Hakone on a Sunday
    a day trip to Kamakura on a Sunday
    I also will be travelling to Matsumoto on a Monday for 5 days and return to Tokyo on the Friday.
    I will have about 3 days sightseeing about Tokyo including Ghibli Museum.
    And need to get back to Haneda Airport.
    Is JR East pass the best one for me? But I’m confused with getting to Kosagae from Shinjuku with the JR East pass….as I don’t think Asakusa Express is not covered.
    Thanks so much in advance, Yvonne

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      Takeshi / says:

      Hi Yvonne,

      JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano is the best choice for you.

      You may get Kosagoe by this pass. Take limited express train Kinugawa from Shinjuku in the post above. You can get off at Shimo-Imaichi and transfer to local train to Kosagoe. This trip is covered fully. You also can get Odawara, Kamakura and Matsumoto. But you have to add Hakone Free Pass or single fare after Odawara. Please see the link below:


      Takeshi /

      • Yvonne Lo says:

        Hi Takeshi,
        I input into hyperdia and came up with this itinerary- so JR East will cover all of trip? However when I used Google map it did give this option…why would that be? The earliest Google map would provide me would be a 9:30am arrival unlike Hyperdia’s 8:30am- which i prefer more. 8)

        begin SHINJUKU(JR)

        [21 Min]
        JR Yamanote Line(Outer loop) for OSAKI
        Train timetable | Interval timetable

        transfer NIPPORI
        Station timetable | Add to favorite

        [7 Min]
        JR Joban Line Rapid Service for TORIDE
        Train timetable | Interval timetable

        transfer KITA-SENJU
        Station timetable |

        [104 Min]
        Tobu Skytree Line Section Rapid for AIZUKOGEN-OZEGUCHI
        Train timetable | Interval timetable

        through SHIMO-IMAICHI
        Station timetable | Add to favorite

        [16 Min]
        Tobu Kinugawa Line for AIZUKOGEN-OZEGUCHI

        end KOSAGOE
        Also some of these Shinjuku-Kosagoe itineraries also include a section by Metro, could I still use the JR East pass for the JR and Tobu sections, and pay the surcharge for using Metro?
        Thanks again!!!
        Sorry for the bad formatting of the itinerary

        • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
          Takeshi / says:

          Hi Yvonne,

          Unfortunately this route is not covered by JR East Pass. The official site says:

          “The pass can be used for travel on local and rapid trains between Shimo-imaichi and Tobu-nikko/Kinugawa-onsen on Tobu Railway Lines. Between Kurihashi and Shimo-imaichi Stations, the pass may be used only on limited express trains that connect directly with Tobu Railway Lines.*”

          And also, the following condition is mentioned:
          *The JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) may be used for Tobu Railway Lines as long as either the departing or destination station is on a JR line.

          So basically you can take all Tobu line trains between Shimo-Imaichi and Kinugawa Onsen. You cannot take Metro and Tobu railway rapid or local from Kitasenju. You need to take Limited Express train from Shinjuku.


          Takeshi /

          • Yvonne Lo says:

            Hi Takeshi
            Thank you for being the guardian angel through all this!
            Ok can I pay to ride Kita-Senju to Shimo-iamchi and use the JR East pass for the other sections?
            Also the previous link showed the 7:30am from Shinjuku does not go to Kosagoe? Do I need to look at Tobu timetable to make the connection and look at the Tobu Kinugawa Line for AIZUKOGEN-OZEGUCHI? According to the link I could only make it to Kosagoe by 12:21pm or thereabouts…I really want to get to Edo Wonderland as early as possible, before 9am….maybe i need to consider a different pass? What do you suggest?
            Thanks- Yvonne

            • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
              Takeshi / says:

              Hi Yvonne,

              You can take this route if you pay extra as you think.
              If you take limited express at 7:30 from Shinjuku, you need to transfer at Shimo-Imaichi. Limited Express train does not stop at Kosagoe. There is train at 9:27 from Shimo-Imaichi to Kosagoe. You can get there at 9:46.

              If you take Kitasenju route, JR East Pass is not a right choice. But there is no better deal available either. The choice is very very limited to get Kosagoe from Tokyo before 9:00am.


              Takeshi /

          • Yvonne says:

            Is this itinerary possible with JR East pass?
            7:20 AM
            Shinjuku Station
            7:29 AM
            TrainYamanote Line各停For Ikebukuro / Ueno (Clockwise)
            9 min (4 stops) · Platform 15
            7:36 AM
            Ikebukuro Station
            9:18 AM
            TrainNikko-KinugawaNikko 1特急Tobu-Nikko
            1 h 10 min (3 stops) · Platform 3
            Continue on the same vehicle
            TrainNikko-KinugawaNikko 1Tobu-Nikko
            31 min (2 stops)
            9:27 AM
            Shimo-Imaichi Station
            TrainTobu-Kinugawa Line各停Shin-Fujiwara
            19 min (4 stops)
            9:46 AM
            Kosagoe Station

            • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
              Takeshi / says:

              Yes, you can, Yvonne.
              But why don’t you take limited express train from Shinjuku? You don’t need to take Yamanote line to Ikebukuro. It’s just wasting time.


              Takeshi /

  6. Jun says:

    How much from Shinjuku to
    NIKKO direct train per person 1 way and 2 way if not JR Wide Area Pass ¥10,000. How much is the unlimited pass in Nikko per day. Please guide me, many thanks:)

  7. Hello
    I am travelling to Nikko from Shinjuku for a 2 day trip (needing to return back to Shinjuku) from March 30 to April 1.
    It seems the direct express from Shinjuku is the best option.
    Would you agree?
    Could you help direct me to the best way to reserve x 2 seats?
    Many thanks!

  8. hopohlin
    Herlina says:

    Hello Takeshi,
    My family of 4 will be arriving at Haneda on 23 Dec at 0600 h.
    We wish to buy the New JR Wide Pass for 3 Days at Haneda when the counter opens at 0745.
    Somehow we plan to drop some of our bulky luggage at Skytree Station where our lodgings are, and take the Spacia Nikko or Spacia Kinu from Oshiage Station to Nikko. Apparently the new pass covers it. But I have some concerns:
    1. Is this even convenient/feasible?
    2. How to reserve the seats? (as I am aware they require reservations.) Considering I am leaving for Nikko the same morning that I buy the passes!

  9. gwynne says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    i’m planning a trip at the end of this month. I would like to take the 7.30am spacia nikko directly. Can you assist me on :
    1. where to reserve tickets online and 2. if i can reserve online, do i have to go to the office to reserve and how many days earlier do i have to reserve?

    So sorry, but when i try to surf the internet, i am really confuse.

    Secondly, how should i plan my day if id like to visit lake chuzenji, keno falls, Shinkyo Bridge and at least Toshogu Shrine?

    thank you in advance.

  10. Thomas says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    I am planning for a day trip on 19-Nov-2015 from Shibuya station to both Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen (if possible).
    Here is my plan, please help and if it was you how would you have plan it?

    To Nikko & Kinugawa early morning.
    Shibuya station to Asakusa station (Metro Ginza yellow line)
    Asakusa – Nikko or Kinugawa Onsen ????
    These are the interests:
    Shinkyo Bridge & Futarasan Shrine, Edomura Kinugawa
    Optionals (if time permit): Kinugawa Onsen Koen Iwaburo, Lake Chuzenjiko, River cruise.

    Return to Shibuya station in the evening.
    Kinugawa Onsen – Asakusa station
    Asakusa station – Shibuya station

    Could you please help with these questions.
    1. Do you think this is feasible in 1 single day?
    2. Which pass should I buy or just use the SUICA all the way
    3. Should we start at Nikko first or Kinugawa Onsen then
    which do we take Spacia Nikko or Spacia Kinugawa?
    4. How do we get from/to Nikko & Kinugawa most efficiently.
    5. Can we buy/reserve a couple of days before at Shibuya station? or we must do that long before (online)?

    Thanks in advance and really appreciate for your help.
    Cheers, Thomas.

Exit mobile version
Copied title and URL