Sanin area train access guide. How to access to Kinosaki, Izumo, Matsue, Tottori and other major cities in Sanin area.

Chugoku Area
This map shows you all trains to Sanin area. Click to enlarge. (C) JP
Limited Express Hamakaze crossing one of famous bridge, Amarube Bridge. (C) RSA - JR West KiHa 189 series DMU on a Hamakaze limited express service crossing the Amarube Viaduct on the Sanin Main Line
Limited Express Hamakaze crossing one of famous bridge, Amarube Bridge. (C) RSA – JR West KiHa 189 series DMU on a Hamakaze limited express service crossing the Amarube Viaduct on the Sanin Main Line

I published several post about the limited express trains to Sanin area, such as Super Oki, Super Matsukaze, Super Inaba, Super Hakuto and Hamakaze. But there are some more trains from Osaka and Kyoto to Kinosaki-Onsen area. And there are several gateway stations. You might be confused.

This post shows you all trains to Sanin area, such as northern part to Hyogo and Kyoto, Tottori, Shimane and northern part to Yamaguchi. I hope you will find the right way to the place where you want to go.

Gateway stations

This map shows you all trains to Sanin area. Click to enlarge. (C) JP

As you see the map above, you can access to Sanin area from Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Osaka, Himeji, Okayama and Shin-Yamaguchi. Let’s see how to access to major spots in Sanin area.

Kinosaki Onsen

You can catch the direct transfer from Kyoto, Osaka, Shin-Osaka and Himeji.

287 series is used for the limited express Konotori, Kinosaki and Hashidate.

From Kyoto and other cities to the east from Kyoto

Limited Express Kinosaki can take you directly. Average travel time is 2 hours 25 minutes. If you travel from Nagoya, Yokohama and Tokyo, you can transfer to this train from Shinkansen at Kyoto.
Please see the post below:

From Shin-Osaka, Osaka and other cities to the west from Osaka

Limited Express Kounotori is available. All trains depart from Shin-Osaka and stop at Osaka station. Average travel time is 2 hour 40 minutes. If you travel from Okayama, Hiroshima and Hakata, you can transfer to this train at Shin-Osaka.
Please see the post below:

From Himeji and Kobe

Limited Express Hamakaze departs from Osaka. But this train takes the different route from Limited Express Kounotori. This train stops at Sannomiya, Kobe and Himeji. There are only 3 round trips. But if you can catch this train at Himeji or transfer at Himeji from Okayama, Hiroshima or Hakata, this route is faster than Kounotori’s route.
Please see the post below.


Direct access from Kyoto is available. But Amanohashidate is not located on JR lines, but Kitakinki Tango Railway. You need to pay extra if you use Japan Rail Pass or JR West Kansai WIDE Area Pass.

From Kyoto and other cities to the east from Kyoto

Limited Express Hashidate is available. Average travel time is 2 hours. You can transfer to this train from Shinkansen at Kyoto.
Please see the post below:

You can also take Limited Express Kinosaki to Fukuchiyama and transfer to local or express train of Kitakinki Tango Railway.

From Osaka and other cities to the west from Osaka

There is no direct access to Amanohashidate. Take Limited Express Konotori to Fukuchiyama and transfer to local or express train of Kitakinki Tango Railway. Some Kounotori connect Limited Express Hashidate at Fukuchiyama.
You cannot use Limited Express Hamakaze because this train does not stop at Fukuchiyama. Fukuchiyama is the junction to Amanohashidate.


Direct access from Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Osaka, Sannomiya (Kobe), Himeji and Okayama is available.

Super Hakuto is operated by HOT 7000 series that is one of the fastest diesel fleet in Japan.

From Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Osaka, Sannomiya and Himeji

Limited Express Super Hakuto takes you there directly. But this train goes through non JR line, Chizu Kyuko Railway. That means you need to pay extra if you use Japan Rail Pass.
Please see the post below:

If you access to Tottori from Nagoya or Tokyo by Shinkansen, you can transfer to this train at one of three stations, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka or Himeji.

If you catch the train at Osaka, Sannomiya or Himeji, you can take the Limited Express Hamakaze too. But there is only one round trips. It is so hard to squeeze into the schedule.

From Okayama

Limited Express Super Inaba is available. But this train takes Chizu Kyuko Railway too. You have to pay extra on Japan Rail Pass.
Please see the post below:

The first departure from Okayama is connected with Overnigtht train Sunrise Seto and Overnight train Sunrise Izumo. This overnight route from Tokyo to Tottori is very popular.

If you do not want to pay extra on JR Pass, you can take the Limited Express Yakumo (if you take Sunrise Izumo from Tokyo, continue to travel) to Yonago. And transfer to the Limited Express Super Matsukaze, the Limited Express Super Oki or the local train. But this route is a big detour. You might spend more than 1.5 hour than Super Inaba direct route.

Yonago, Matsue and Izumoshi

These cities can be accessed from both Okayama and Shin-Yamaguchi.

Limited Express Yakumo is most frequent trains to Sanin area. There are 15 round trips a day available.

From Okayama

This is the most popular route to get those cities. Limited Express Yakumo gives you direct access. Travel times are 2 hours 10 minutes to Yanago, 2 hours 30 minutes to Matsue and 3 hours to Izumoshi.
Please read the post below:

If you travel from Tokyo, Overnight train Sunrise Izumo is a good choice too.

You can access to Okayama by the Sanyo Shinkansen. All Shinkansen trains stop at Okayama. You can transfer from the Shinkansen to the Limited Express Yakumo easily.

From Shin-Yamaguchi

Limited Express Super Oki is suspended between Masuda and Shin-Yamaguchi due to closure on Yamaguchi line. Please see Train operation status to get more details.

If you access from Kyushu, such as Hakata, Kokura, Kumamoto, Kagoshima, Limited Express Super Oki from Shin-Yamaguchi may be faster than Limited Express Yakumo. Shin-Yamaguchi is Shinkansen station. However there are not many Shinkansen trains that stop at Shin-Yamaguchi. And there are only 3 round trips from Shin-Yamaguchi. But if you can catch Super Oki, travel times are 3 hours 30 minutes to Izumoshi, 4 hours to Matsue and 4 hours 30 minutes to Yonago. Especially it takes 3 hours from Okayama to Izumoshi. You have to think about travel time to get Okayama if you travel from Kyushu. It is 1 hour 50 minutes from Hakata to Okayama and 1 hours from Hakata to Shin-Yamaguchi.
Please get the details about Limited Express Super Oki at the post below:

Masuda and Odashi

Direct access is available from Shin-Yamaguchi. You may transfer the trains at Yonago, Matsue and Izumoshi.

From Shin-Yamaguchi

As you saw above, Limited Express Super Oki is only direct access train from major Shinkansen stations.

Transfer at other stations in Sanin area

Please think about combination with other cities in Sanin area, There are another 7 round trips of Limited Express Super Matsukaze between Yonago and Izumoshi. It is much easier to catch the trains than Shin-Yamaguchi route.
Please read the post below:


You can access there from Shin-Yamaguchi by Limited Express Super Oki. And also seasonal train SL Yamaguchi is available during mostly weekend from March to November. I have not written about this train yet. You can find some images at the official site (Japanese). And you can find the operation dates at Seasonal Trains Schedule.


  1. PeterH says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    for two days I struggled to develop my train itinerary for the Sanin Coast. I ended up on your site today- what a relief. You are filling a vital information gap.
    Thanks. PeterH

  2. Justine says:

    Hi Takashi,

    Firstly, thank you so much for your wonderful website, I lived in Japan for 3 years a while ago and your site was invaluable for my travels! Especially your advice for the Seishun 18 Kippu – I have had many brilliant trips with that pass!

    I am re visiting Japan in February – my itinery is Osaka – Okayama – Tottori (via Bitchu Takahashi to see the castle and Yura to see the Conantown things) – Fukui – Takayama – Nagoya – Osaka.

    From this post it seems like the Yakumo limited express Okayama to Yonago is best, then Tottori Liner to Tottori. There is a 4 day pass called San’in Okayama Area which seems perfect – ¥4500 abroad ¥5500 in Japan. Would you recommend this?

    Then for Tottori to Fukui I want to travel to Toyo-oka, then either JR or Kyoto Tango railway to Maizuru, then Tsuruga Fukui. Which do you think is more scenic? I can’t find a pass for this journey, do you know of any?

    Fukui – Takayama – Nagoya – Osaka I think I will use regular tickets as I can’t see a pass. I love the slow train Takayama to Gifu, so beautiful!

    Thank you for any help and suggestions!

  3. Joe Pan says:

    Need your help again Takeshi-San.
    I will base in tsuwano, matsue, okayama, Kyoto and kinosaki . What’s the best route if I want to do a couple of day trips to sakaiminato/tonago, maizuru/amanohashidate ?
    I first plan was after kyushu, 10/8 hakata -tsuwano -matsue -takamatsu/tokushima at 14/8 for the festival then carry on the rest of shikoku and back to Okayama -Kyoto, then not sure how to plan the day trips.
    Not sure my first plan is suitable, but seeing the festival is my priority .
    Thanks for your time again, Takeshi-San

    • Hi Joe san,

      Sakaiminato is just a step away from Matsue. You can make it easily when you are in Matsue.
      Amanohashidate and Maizuru can be made from Kinosaki. It’s not hard either. I think you can do this after Shikoku.


      Takeshi /

      • Joe Pan says:

        Thanks Takeshi-San. So you mean I can stop in okayama after shikoku, then go to kinosaki via Kyoto (or himeji?), make day trip to Amanohashidate /maizuru from kinosaki then go to Kyoto and stay?
        A day trip of amanohashidate /maizuru between kinosaki and Kyoto too rush?

        • Hi Joe san,

          I didn’t say that. You mentioned that you will stay in Matsue before going to Takamatsu/Tokushima. So I said you can visit Sakaiminato when you are in Matsue. I didn’t say about staying in Okayama at all.

          You can squeeze Amanoshashidate and Maizuru. It may be rush. It depends on how much you want to see these places.


          Takeshi /

          • Joe Pan says:

            Sorry Takeshi-San, stay in okayama after shikoku was my first plan.
            After okayama should I go to kinosaki via himeji or Kyoto? Which route is more convenient? I will stay in Kyoto after kinosaki.

            • Hi Joe san,

              If you take Himeji route, trip time is shorter. But number of trips is fewer than Kyoto route. You also take Shin-Osaka route. There are many trips between Shin-Osaka and Kinosaki that is limited express Konotori.

              Anyway if you can catch train to Kinosaki at Himeji, this is fastest route from Okayama.


              Takeshi /

  4. Joe Pan says:

    Hi Takeshi-San, Is the 鬼太郎train travel between yonago and sakaiminato covered by the jr pass?
    I will stay in matsue for 2 nights , wonder if it’s convenient for a 1/2 day trip there
    Thanks again

    • Yes. It’s covered, Joe san.


      Takeshi /

      • Joe Pan says:

        Cheers Takeshi-San.
        I will stay in hakata and want to do a day trip to karato market in 下関, what’s the best route by using the JR pass? I know that 小倉also has a food market and it’s a bit easy from Hakata. A silly question, How’s 小倉 compare to下関 regarding for attractions and small town atmosphere. I really like places such as Kurashiki, 川越,郡上八幡 and kamakura from my last visit.

        • Hi Joe san,

          Hakata (Shinkansen) Shin-Shimonoseki (local train) Shimonoseki

          Shimonoseki is better than Kokura. Kokura is very ordinary middle size city.


          Takeshi /

          • Joe Pan says:

            Got it Takeshi-San, you are billion, a master of anything about japan.
            I will go to shimonoseki and have fugo in karata market. I search Google map there is a 1/2hr walk from the station to the market, is there a bus in between?

  5. bartoli says:

    Dear Sir,
    I really appreciate all of you posts and I thank you for all the information you provide people with.
    Jean Pierre Bartoli

  6. Andy says:


    Thanks again for the very informative posts.

    My only time to the Sanin coast is to Masuda and many years ago to Maizaru, I hope to get to Tottori, Matsue sometime, and this post will make it easier.

    I notice many of the routes are using brand new rolling stock, I wonder why as I assume it is not a particularily busy section of Japan?


    • JPRail says:

      Hi Andy,
      That’s right. It is not a busy section. But lots of highway bus lines competes with JR lines. So JR wants to offer faster train service. However they cannot invest lots for the truck or electrify because it is not busy section. And there are mountains between Sanyo and Sanin. It is very hard to offer faster train service by old fleet. And also it is impossible to make 2 or 3 cars train formation by old fleet. Because most of JR express trains used to be long formation, like 6 cars at lease and include Green car and dining car. But it is too much for the demand lately.
      These are reason why JR need to introduce new fleet. But personally I miss old rolling stock so much. 🙁
      Takeshi / JP Rail

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