If you are feeling the cold this month then Kintetsu’s “Tsudoi” tourist train may be just the ticket to heat you up! The second carriage of the train has been specially fitted with footbaths to warm the feet of its passengers. Currently running weekend trips between Nagoya and the hot spring resort of Yunoyama Onsen, this “footbath train” offers the perfect start to a luxury spa weekend.[Read more…]
A series of fruit and vegetable themed manner posters on Japan’s Tsukuba Express (TX) Line is providing passengers with humorous lessons in correct onboard etiquette. Since 2016 a different poster has been released each month on the line that runs between Akihabara in Tokyo and Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture.
Each poster combines the name of a different fruit or vegetable with comical examples of good and bad passenger behavior, and passengers have been delighted with the inventive play on words. For Japanese language-learners these posters also provide lessons in the Japanese love of wordplay. Called dajare, these jokes are similar to puns, and are the equivalent of “dad jokes” in English.[Read more…]
Although Christmas in Japan is not an official holiday, or celebrated as a religious event, Japanese people do seem to enjoy the festive mood. In the weeks leading up to Christmas decorative illuminations are everywhere, and all the stores are playing Yuletide tunes.
Japan has also developed its own unique set of popular Christmas traditions. Christmas Eve, for example, is seen as a special night for romantic dinner dates. Fried chicken is considered a traditional Christmas food and is an essential element of any Christmas party. And Japanese Christmas Cake comes in the form of a light strawberry sponge cake with lots of whipped cream. Christmas Trains have also become a popular element of the winter season and many railway companies up and down Japan offer some form of festive ride in the weeks before Christmas. Here are seven of the best Christmas Trains available this season.
Yuri-Kogen Railway are running a Christmas Train between December 15th and 25th. This is a popular train with small children. The train decked out with sparkling illuminations will run between Ugo-Honjo Station and Yashima Station on the Chokai Sanroku Line. This Christmas train runs only in the morning on weekdays, but also runs in the afternoon on weekends.
Departure from Ugo-Honjo Station: 10.43
Arrival at Yashima Station: 11.22
Departure from Ugo-Honjo Station: 13.00
Arrival at Yashima Station: 13.39
A special Christmas event will be held on the train on the following days: 15th (Saturday), 16th (Sunday), 23rd (Saturday), 24th(Sunday) and 25th (Monday). On these days children can take part in a handicraft-making event and Santa will appear to give out presents. Parents who wish to reserve presents for their children should make a booking in advance. The fee for a present is 500 yen. For more details see the official webpage (Japanese)
To reserve a present for your child call 0184-56-2736 (Japanese)
Tokyo – Saitama
Seibu Railway’s “52 Seats of Happiness” restaurant train will run as a Christmas Train on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of this month. On route passengers will be treated to live Christmas music, a delicious gourmet meal, and a stop at Seibuen Amusement Park. Both a “brunch course” trip and “dinner course” trip are available.
Departure from Ikebukuro Station: 10.28
Arrival at Seibu Shinjuku Station: 13.52
Departure from Seibu Shinjuku Station: 16.44
Arrival at Ikebukuro Station: 20.18
The full fee including the meal is 14,000 for brunch and 17,500 for dinner.
Bookings can be made online at this webpage: https://shifuku.seibu-group.co.jp/
For more details download this year’s PDF brochure.
Toden Arakawa Tramline are running a specially decorated Christmas vintage trolley-car every day this December until the 25th. The trolley-car runs the regular route between Minowabashi and Waseda and costs the regular fare.
Oigawa Railway are running a Thomas the Tank Engine Christmas Steam Train on the 15th, 16th, 17th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th of December. The train will run between Shin-Kanaya Station and Senzu Station on the Oigawa Main Line.
Departure from Shin-Kanaya Station: 10.38
Arrival at Senzu Station: 11.54
Departure from Senzu Station: 14.10
Arrival at Shin-Kanaya Station: 15.27
Fares (one-way): 3,000 yen for adults and 1,500 yen for children.
For more details see the official webpage: http://oigawa-railway.co.jp/2018xmas_thomas
Sanriku Railway will run a Christmas Party Train on December 21st. This decorated retro train will make a return trip between Miyako Station and Tanohata Station on the Kita-Riasu Line. Beer, sparkling wine, sake, and non-alcoholic beverages will be served on board together with a range of treats, snacks, and Christmas Cake. Entertainment will be provided with juggling, balloon art, and a game with prizes.
Price: 4,000 yen for adults, 3,500 yen for children
For more details see the official webpage (Japanese)
Bookings should be made by December 17th at 0193-62-8900 (Japanese)
Yamagata Railway are running a Christmas Wine Train on the Flower Nagai Line on December 15th and 16th. Passengers will be treated to wine from five different local wineries, take part in a rock, paper, scissors tournament for prizes, and enjoy a cheerful commentary in the local Yamagata dialect. On the 15th hot bowls of sukiyaki will be served, and on the 16th a special bento box lunch will be prepared.
Departure from Akayu Station: 14.35
Arrival at Arato Station: 15:35
Departure from Arato Station: 15.59
Arrival at Akayu Station: 16.51
The fee for participating in this event is 4,980 yen. This train should be booked 3 days in advance. See the official webpage for more details (Japanese) To book the train call 0238-88-2002 (Japanese)
Kobe Electric Railway (also called Shintetsu) are running a specially decorated Christmas Train every day this December until the 25th.
On the 16th of this month a special “Happy Christmas” event for children with songs, sweets, and presents from Santa will be held on board the following trains:
1. 9.00 – Nishisuzurandai Station to Shijimi Station
2. 10.15 – Ono Station to Shijimi Station
3. 11.00 – Shijimi Station to Suzurandai Station
The fee for the event is 500 yen for anyone over the age of 3.
Article by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.
This week we are giving away two awesome large format Shinkansen and Express Trains Calendars for 2019.
Readers can increase their chances of winning by completing additional or all tasks on the giveaway form. Deadline for entries is Tuesday December 11th @ 11:59 PM Tokyo Time. [Read more…]
Shin-Keisei Electric Railway are now running a special Dragon Ball train between Matsudo and Chiba-Chuo stations in Chiba Prefecture. The train features a special nameplate and exterior wrapping which is entirely decorated with characters from the popular manga and anime franchise.
The new Dragon Ball train is running to celebrate the release on December 14th of a new animated movie, Dragon Ball Super: Broly. In the latest installment of the hit martial arts fantasy series, the hero Goku will fight his arch enemy, the villainous Broly. Posters for the new movie also decorate the interior of the train. [Read more…]
Nankai Electric Railway have released details of new cable cars for the Koyasan Cable Line. Two sets of two linked cabins will be introduced.
The Koyasan Cable Line links Gokurakubashi Station on the Nankai Koya Line with Koyasan Station on top of Mount Koya. The town of Koya on top of the mountain is the location of a historic Buddhist monastic settlement and a center of spiritual retreat. As such it has also become a popular tourist location with many temples offering overnight accommodation and the opportunity to try vegetarian Buddhist cuisine and early morning meditation. The cable line is an important route for travelers and pilgrims who wish to visit this sacred location, and it is also important for the townsfolk of Koya for whom it is an important means of transportation. [Read more…]
JR East now run a special weekend train for cyclists traveling from Tokyo to the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture.
Named the B.B.Base, or Boso Bicycle Base, the new train is fitted with space-saving upright bike racks, so that cyclists can easily board and stow their bicycles. On most trains in Japan cyclists must fold or dismantle their bicycles when boarding a train, but as the following video shows taking your bicycle on board the B.B.Base is totally hassle-free. [Read more…]
Work has begun on a major renovation of Katase-Enoshima Station in the popular sea-side resort destination of Fujisawa. The station, first built in 1929, is popular for its distinctive “Dragon Palace” design, but after 90 years of use its overall condition has deteriorated and it is clearly in need of repair. It is to be rebuilt in a similar Dragon Palace style, and work on the building should be completed by 2020.[Read more…]
JR Central has announced a comprehensive expansion plan for its free wireless LAN Wi-Fi service beginning this spring.
Free Wi-Fi will be expanded to all JR Tokaido Shinkansen stations between Tokyo and Osaka. Currently free W-Fi is only provided at 6 stations: Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Shin-Osaka. But from March 2018 this service will be extended to the remaining 11 stations. As the number of overseas tourists using the Tokaido Shinkansen is increasing, JR Central has decided to make it easier for them to obtain travel information with their smartphones. Areas where free Wi-Fi is available will be marked with a sign. Typically these signs will be found by ticket gates or in station waiting rooms. [Read more…]