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
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 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. Jessie says:

    Hi Takeshi-San,

    I will be using JR Pass for the trip from Omiya (Saitama) to Kinugawa Onsen by taking Ltd. Exp Spacia Kinugawa.

    Wondering if I can pay the extra fee and reserve my seat at any JR Office for the Spacia or do I need to go to Tobu Office?

    Also, Hyperdia mentions that the fee for Reserved Seat is 2,160 Yen. Wondering if that would be the extra fee that I have to pay?

    Thank you for the help.


  2. Apple says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    We will stay in Yokohama, can you advise how to get to Nikko from Yokohama Station. We will be using JR East South Pass (which we will use for travelling to Hakodate in the first few days).

    1) Is travelling to Omiya Station from Yokohama better and shorter route?
    2) Should I travel on JR Shonan Shinjuku Line to Shinjuku and take Shinkasen from Omiya? Do I need to pay for JR Shonan Shinjuku Line if I use the JR East-South pass?
    3) How about from Shin Yokohama to Tokyo? Is it advisable?

    As the journey is very long, we hope to use the shortest time to travel with the use of our JR East-South Pass appropriately for the last day.

    Cheers, Apple

  3. Kay Ahmad says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Is there any direct limited express train from Nikko/Kinugawa back to Shinjuku?

    Thank you.

  4. Twong says:

    Hi there,

    Would like to check what’s the best way to get from Nagano to Nikko using the JR East pass. Hyperpedia showed that I could change to JR Nikko Line from UTSUNOMIYA for NIKKO, is this covered under JR EAST pass? Thanks!

    • Hi Twong,

      You can take the following route:
      Nagano (Hokuriku Shinkansen) Omiya (Tohoku Shinkansen) Utsunomiya (Nikko line) Nikko

      All trips are covered by JR East Pass Nagano Niigata.


      Takeshi /

  5. Vann says:

    Hello Takeshi-san,

    Im planning to arrive via narita, spend 1 nite at tokyo, and then going to : takayama (1 nite), kanazawa (1 nite), nikko (2nite), gala yuzawa (1nite), lake kawaguchi (1nite) and back again to tokyo (5nite),, what pass should i buy? I consider to buy both jr east nagano niigata and tokyo wide pass,, do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks a heaps =)

  6. Chandra says:


    I would like to purchase Tokyo Wide Pass and travel to Nikko. Do I need to make reservation if I am going to take train from Shinjuku to Nikko?

    On the other hand, how to travel to Lake Kawaguchiko and do I need to make reservation as well?

  7. Andre says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    Could you please explain the cost of the fare as quoted above, I will be travelling from Shinjuku to Niko accompanied by my wife and 13 yr old daughter. Does this mean we will each have to pay the basic fare of 970 yen plus the Express surcharge of 2,060 yen making it a total of 3030 yen? Also, is this one way only, if so does one get a discount for purchasing a return ticket?
    Your assistance in this will be much appreciated.
    Kind regards,

  8. Rosita says:

    Dear Takeshi-San,

    Need to check with you regarding the Tokyo Wide Pass, is it covers to these places, such as Nikko, Kinugawa Onsen, Matsumoto and Fuji from Asakusa without any extra charges? as I’m a bit confused understanding it.

    Arigato gozaimasu

  9. Melanie says:

    Hi Takeshi

    Spending 8 days in Tokyo with my husband and 4-year old son (technically we have 6 days – minus the 2 days of travelling to and from Narita Airport). Staying in a hotel in Shinjuku. We have booked tours of 1-day tour of Tokyo, 1-day tour of Mount Fuji Hakone tour, 1 day pass of Disneyland and tickets to Glibli Museum tour. So that leaves us 2 free and easy days remaining. In your opinion, should we in include 1-day of Nikko World Heritage tour? Is it worth seeing with a kid in tow during the winter season (January)?


  10. Rosalinda Ismail says:

    Hi there.If I don’t have the any JR pass how much would it cost me to take the spacia nikko from shinjuku??Can I reserve seats online without one?if i was to get the Kinugawa Theme pass,would the 20% discount apply on this train?Please advise.Thank you.

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