Kinugawa-Onsen Station is a railway station on the Tobu Kinugawa Line which serves the hot spring resort town of Kinugawa Onsen in Nikko. This station receives several limited express services from Asakusa and Shinjuku in Tokyo, as well as local services on the Tobu Kinugawa Line, and rapid services that run as far north as the scenic Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture.
This article will explain the general layout of Kinugawa-Onsen Station, where to access the station’s information and ticketing services, which train services you can board here, and what general facilities are available.
Kinugawa-Onsen Station has just one entrance at the front of the building. Entering the station from this entrance you will see the ticket gates directly ahead of you. The main station facilities are all located to the left of the ticket gates. These include the Station Office, ticket machines, a ticket/information counter for limited express tickets and a Tourist Information Center.
General facilities can be found to the right of the main entrance as you enter the building. These include a waiting room, an ATM, a kiosk for snacks and drinks, a café, public toilets, and coin lockers.
When you enter the station via the station entrance the ticket gates are directly ahead of you and there are signs above the gates showing the times and platforms for upcoming departures.
These signs alternate between showing departure information in Japanese and English.
Directly to the left of the ticket gates is the Station Office. You can make enquiries here or show your ticket and pass through here if you have a problem with the ticket gates. Wheelchair users can also pass through here instead of using the ticket gates.
Directly to the left of the Station Office are the automatic ticket machines. You can buy local and rapid train tickets here. The machines are operated with touch screens, have English language guidance, accept a variety of coins and bills, and are very easy to use.
There is a fare chart above the ticket machines showing all possible destinations in English and Japanese.
There is also a set of timetables above the fare chart showing all the regularly scheduled departures from this station.
If you wish to buy a limited express ticket, go into the Tourist Information Center on the far left side of the station building. There is a ticket/information counter for limited express tickets here and an automatic ticket machine for limited express tickets.
To the left of the limited express information counter is a Tourist Information Counter. Here you can make sightseeing enquiries, book hotel rooms, buy local bus passes and tickets, and buy admission tickets for local attractions.
Platforms & Trains
Kinugawa-Onsen Station has two platform islands which are linked by two bridges. Platforms 1 and 2 are on the first island and Platforms 3 and 4 are on the second. When you pass through the ticket gates the first island (Platforms 1 and 2) is on your right. On your left are stairs for the footbridge which leads to the second island (Platforms 3 and 4). If you are using a wheelchair or if you have heavy luggage, you can find elevators for a second bridge further down the first island of Platforms 1 and 2.
Platform 1 receives southbound services bound for Shimo-Imaichi, Kasukabe, Kita-Senju, Tokyo Skytree, Asakusa and JR Shinjuku.
Platform 2 receives southbound services for Shimo-Imaichi, Kita-Senju, Tokyo Skytree, Asakusa and JR Shinjuku; and northbound services for Aizu-Tajima.
Platform 3 receives northbound services for Shin-Fujiwara, Aizukogen-Ozeguchi, and Aizu-Tajima.
Platform 4 receives southbound services for Shimo-Imaichi, Shin-Tochigi, Kita-Senju, Tokyo Skytree, and Asakusa.
Local & Rapid Services
Local trains on the Tobu Kinugawa Line link Kinugawa-Onsen Station with destinations to the south such as the Tobu World Square theme park and Shimo-Imaichi Station. In order to travel between Kinugawa Onsen and Nikko, take a southbound train for Shimo-Imaichi Station, then transfer to the Tobu Nikko Line and take a northbound train for Tobu Nikko Station.
The Aizu Mount Express is a rapid train that connects Kinugawa-Onsen Station with the historic castle town of Aizu-Wakamatsu in Fukushima Prefecture.
The SL Taiju is a special sightseeing service drawn by a steam locomotive that runs on weekends and holidays between Kinugawa-Onsen and Shimo-Imaichi Station.
Limited Express Services
The Spacia Kinu and the Revaty Kinu both run between Kinugawa-Onsen Station and Asakusa in Tokyo. The Revaty Aizu is a limited express service that runs from Asakusa in Tokyo to Aizu-Tajima Station in Fukushima stopping at Kinugawa-Onsen Station on the way.
When you enter the station via the station entrance the station’s waiting room is on your immediate right. There is a kiosk inside the waiting room where you can buy a variety of snacks and drinks.
Directly across from the waiting room and to the immediate right of the ticket gates is a 7-Bank ATM. This ATM has English language guidance and accepts most major international bank cards.
If you take a right turn along the passageway that runs between the waiting room and the ATM you will find a café called Bento Café Kodama.
This café serves simple meals and drinks and also sells takeaway bento lunch boxes and sandwiches that you can buy for your journey.
Public toilets can also be found along this passageway with the gentlemen’s toilets on the left and the ladies toilets at the end of the passage.
Along this same passageway there are three banks of coin lockers. There are also coin lockers outside the station entrance. To find the outside lockers, exit the station and turn right. For more details of these lockers please see our article Lockers and Baggage Storage at the Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen Stations.
Outside the Station – Buses, Taxis, & Attractions
When you arrive at this station by train and exit the station building you will see a number of bus stops to the left and right of the station building. There is one highly convenient bus service that does a circuit round most of the main hotels and inns in the Kinugawa Onsen area and this service runs from Bus Stop 5. Buses are timed to pick up passengers arriving on limited express services and the bus fare is only 200 yen. In order to check if this bus goes to your hotel, you should ask the bus driver. You can also book the same bus service back to Kinugawa-Onsen Station by asking at your hotel’s reception desk.
Another convenient bus service is for the Edo Wonderland amusement park and that runs from Bus Stop 3. However, you may also be able to board this bus service directly from your hotel if you ask at your hotel reception desk. Bus stops 3 and 5 and a taxi rank can all be found on the right (or north) side of the station.
Immediately outside the station exit is a gold-colored statue of a demon carrying a club. The demon is named “Kinuta” after the Kinugawa River (Kinugawa means “angry demon river” in Japanese). Kinuta is the town’s mascot and you will see several statues and images of the demon around the resort.
Just beyond the statue there is a public footbath using waters from a natural hot spring which is called Kinuta-no-Yu. Visitors can freely use this spring water to bathe their feet.
To the left of the station exit is a turntable where the steam locomotive of the SL Taiju is rotated in preparation for its next journey. The turning of the locomotive is a big attraction and very popular with photographers.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.