The Kōshin'etsu Region has many trains which special characteristics relating to things such as the starry night sky, Japanese sake, local cuisine, and much more. Let's take a ride on some of these amazing trains and experience Japanese culture in a way you never have before.
※To help in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, certain trains within this article may have schedules different from those stated within this article. For accurate information, please ensure to check each train line's official homepage.
1. Koshino Shu*Kura Niigata
This is the Koshino Shu*Kura, a train that has a concept of Japanese sake. Within the train, you're able to try some carefully selected foods that only use locally sourced ingredients, as well as some of Niigata's most prestigious Japanese sake, with over 5 different types available for tasting, you'll come out of this experience knowing and understanding all of the different flavors. Whilst drinking and eating delicious foods, look out of the large windows and enjoy the passing scenery during your journey.
- Koshino Shu*Kura：Jōetsumyōkō Station 〜 Tōkamachi Station
- Yuzawa Shu*Kura：Jōetsumyōkō Station 〜 ECHIGO YUZAWA STATION
- Ryuto Shu*Kura：Jōetsumyōkō Station 〜 Niigata Station
- Schedule: Mar～Nov Fri/Sat/Sun/Public Holidays 1 round trip per day
- Required Time：One-way 2 hours 30 minutes - 3 hours 50 minutes
- Fee: Adult Ticket 3,550 + Reserved Seat 530 JPY (Differs depending on route)
2. HIGH RAIL 1375 Nagano - Yamanashi
This train's theme is the "Sky" and "Starry night". The seats are designed with stars from all 4 seasons, and the starry night interior is perfect for a romantic journey. It was given the name HIGH RAIL 1375 due to it reaching the highest altitude of any JR train during its journey. From your window, you're able to see the great nature of the Southern Yatsugatake Volcanic Group. There are various events at the final station during this journey at Kobuchisawa Station relating to stars such as the "Star screening party" and "Star observation party" among more.
※The train may be unavailable depending on weather conditions. The train does run in the dark meaning it is equipped with lighting equipment so you can see where you're walking, and also has equipment prepared in case of sudden weather changes.
- Route: Komoro～Kobuchisawa
- 1 Return Trip per Day, at night you're able to ride the "HIGH RAIL Starry Sky" which does to Komoro 1-way and allows you to look at the beautiful night sky for an hour in the Nobeyama Mountains.
- Schedule: All-year-round mostly on Fri/Sat/Sun/Public Holidays
- Required Time：One-way 2-2 1/2 Hours (HIGH RAIL Starry Sky requires 3 1/2 hours)
- Fee: Adult 1,520 + Reserved Seat 820 JPY, Child 760+410 JPY
3. OYKOT Niigata-Nagano
"OYKOT" is actually "TOKYO" backwards! It was given this name due to the train running in a location that's the polar opposite of Tokyo's cityscape, the countryside. The rural landscape you're able to see during your journey is what could be called something straight from a film. The train is designed in the style of the old-style houses of local villagers using things such as shoji (paper sliding door). Within the train carts, you'll be able to try some of Shinshū's (light) refreshments such as "Nozawanazuke". You can also try some local Japanese sake and apple juice created using ingredients that have been locally sourced. Don't forget to take a commemorative photo at the original board which is prepared on the train! You can also try on a traditional straw hat and take some pictures perfect to show off to your friends and family!
- Route：Tōkamachi Station－Nagano Station （During winter Tōkamachi Station → Togari-Nozawaonsen Station）
- Required Time：One-way approx. 2 hours 40 mins
- Schedule：All-year-round Sat/Sun/Public Holidays 1 Return Trip per day (2 Return Trips During Winter)
- Fee：Adult 1,740 + Reserved Seat 520 JPY Children Half Price
4. Resort View Furusato Nagano
During your trip on this train, you're able to see mountain ranges, lakes, bright blue skies, and old-style villages, all of which remind you of the "Old Japanese-style" we've all come to love and know. Within the train, you have plenty of room including a reclining sheet that allows you to stretch your legs during your journey. Take a look at the Northern Alps from the indoor observation deck. If you're on the train heading for Minami-Otari, during weekends and holidays, you'll be able to see some performances from locals of the Azumi Basin using Shakuhachi bamboo flutes and Taiko drums. Also, you're able to enjoy leisurely sightseeing at Hotaka Station and Shinano-Ōmachi Station during your stop.
- Route：Nagano Station－Minami-Otari Station
- Required Time：One-way approx. 3 hours 30 mins
- Fee: Adult 3,100 + Reserved Seat 530 JPY Children Half Price
- Schedule: All-year-round Sat/Sun/Public Holidays 1 Return Trip per day
5. Kairi - Niigata Station (Niigata) - Sakata Station (Yamagata)
This is a train that has taken the design of Japan's sea at sunset as well as the white of snow. The interior is designed with seats facing the window to allow for the perfect viewing experience. You can enjoy a relaxing experience whilst looking out onto the Japanese sea and large mountain ranges. There are 4-people compartment rooms available, with full-flat flooring available for you to sit and relax on. There are meals available onboard where you can try and buy some original foods and drinks which use local ingredients. (Lunch boxes much be reserved up to 3 days in advance).
・To reserve a lunch box, visit the URL below:
- Route：Niigata Station—Sakata Station
- Required Time：One-way approx. 3 hours 30 mins
- Fee: Adult 3,080 + Reserved seat 840 Children Half Price
- Schedule: All-year-round Mainly Sat/Sun/Public Holidays 1 Return Trip per day
6. SL Banestsu Monogatari Niigata Station (Niigata) - Aizu-Wakamatsu Station (Fukushima)
This C57 steam locomotive was often called the noblewoman as it charges forward with immense power letting off steam. The interior is retro and stylish. There is an indoor observation room as well as a panoramic observation room available for those using the special seats on the green car (1st class). You're able to enjoy the view of the different seasons during your journey on this train. You can also get a commemorative stamp, and even send postcards from within the train itself.
- Route：Niigata Station－Aizu-Wakamatsu Station One-way 126.2km
- Required Time：One-way approx. 4 hours
- Fee：Adult 1,980 + Reserved Seat 530 JPY Children Half Price
- Schedule：Apr～Sep Sat/Sun/Public Holidays 1 Return Trip per day
Pictures Provided By：JR East Japan Railway Company