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. Al says:

    Hi Takeshi-san,
    I shall travel from Narita Airport to Kinugawa-onsen on October 20, than Kinugawa Nikko and Nikko Kinugawa on the 21, than Kinugawa Chuzenji and return to Kinugawa on the 22, Finally Kinugawa-onsen to Kyoto on the 23.
    Five days in Kyoto than Amanohachidate – Kinosaki – Kobe – Nara – Koyasan – back to Tokyo
    3 weeks all together.
    What would you suggest as JR pass covering these trips ?

  2. Bruno Gomes says:

    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!

  3. Doris says:

    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?

    • Hi Doris,

      You can purchase both at Asakusa. But in Shinjuku station, you can purchase a ticket for Shinjuku to Tobu-Nikko only.
      Advanced reservation is recommended.


      Takeshi /

      • Doris says:

        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?

  4. Anna Bautista says:

    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.


  5. Dany says:

    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.

    • 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

      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.


      Takeshi /

  6. Kristin says:


    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!

  7. Yogi says:

    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

    • 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.


      Takeshi /

  8. Mandy says:

    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? =(

  9. Juri says:

    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,

  10. Hanna says:

    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?

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