The Kinugawa is a limited express service that provides a fast connection between Kinugawa-Onsen Station in Tochigi Prefecture and Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. This service is jointly operated by JR East and Tobu Railway. Because Tobu Railway is a private company, the Japan Rail Pass will only cover the cost of the JR East section of this route.
At Kinugawa-Onsen Station all limited express services arrive and depart at platforms 1, 3, and 4. At Shinjuku Station the Kinugawa departs from JR platforms 5 and 6. All seats on this service must be reserved in advance, and you will have to pay a limited express surcharge as well as paying for your train ticket.
The Kinugawa runs between Kinugawa-Onsen Station and Shinjuku Station in a little over 2 hours. Between Kinugawa Onsen and Tochigi it runs on Tobu Railway operated lines. It then switches to JR East lines at Kurihashi Station before continuing the rest of the journey to Shinjuku. The Kinugawa makes passenger stops at the following stations.
Kinugawa-Onsen – Tobu World Square – Shimo-Imaichi – Shin-Kanuma – Tochigi – Omiya – Urawa – Ikebukuro – Shinjuku
The key destinations and transfer points are listed below with rail fares (including the limited express surcharge) and example journey times given from Kinugawa-Onsen Station.
Kinugawa Onsen is a hot spring resort town with many traditional hotels set along a scenic mountain gorge. Recommended activities at Kinugawa Onsen include taking boat cruises on the Kinugawa River (from April till November) and riding a cable car to the observation point on top of Mount Maruyama where there is a small monkey park. Kinugawa Onsen is also convenient for the Edo Wonderland amusement park which is a 15 minute bus ride from Kinugawa-Onsen Station. This theme park is a recreation of a town in the Edo era (1603 – 1868) with typical buildings of the time and staff dressed in period costume. Entertainment at Edo Wonderland includes street shows, ninja workshops, seasonal festivals, and colorful parades.
Tobu World Square Station
Tobu World Square is a theme park with over a hundred scale model replicas of the world’s most famous buildings including 45 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Some models also have working train sets such as the Tokyo Station replica which has both a model shinkansen and a regular JR train, and the Four Seasons of Japan display which features all of Tobu Railway’s most famous trains running through a diverse Japanese landscape.
Train fare: 660 yen
Train time: 2 minutes
Shimo-Imaichi Station is the transfer point for the Tobu Nikko Line with services bound for Tobu Nikko Station.
Train fare: 760 yen
Train time: 19 minutes
Tochigi City’s main sightseeing area is the historic Kuranomachi district with its well preserved wooden warehouses. Local attractions include Tochigi Kuranomachi Museum of Art which is located in three 200-year-old warehouses, Tochigi Utamaro Museum which displays ukiyo-e prints by the artist Kitagawa Utamaro, and Okada Memorial Museum which has on display many fine historic artifacts. Boat tours on the Uzumagawa River are also a popular activity. Transfers can be made at Tochigi Station to the JR Ryomo Line.
Train fare: 1,540 yen
Train time: 52 minutes
Exit here for the Omiya Railway Museum, Omiya Bonsai Village, Japan Mint Museum, Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore, and Hikawa Shrine.
Omiya Station is an important transportation hub in Saitama Prefecture. Transfer here to JR East’s Shonan-Shinjuku Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Saikyo Line, and Kawagoe Line. Shinkansen services that run from Omiya Station are the Tohoku Shinkansen, the Yamagata Shinkansen, the Akita Shinkansen, the Joetsu Shinkansen, and the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Transfers can also be made here to the Tobu Urban Park Line, and Saitama New Urban Transit’s “New Shuttle” on the Ina Line.
Train fare: 3,530 yen
Train time: 1 hour and 35 minutes
Transfers can be made here to JR East’s Utsunomiya Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, and Shonan-Shinjuku Line.
Train fare: 3,610 yen
Train time: 1 hour and 42 minutes
Ikebukuro is one of Tokyo’s major commercial centers and the area around the station is filled with department stores, electronics stores, restaurants and bars. Local attractions include Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre, and the Sunshine City shopping complex which includes an aquarium, and the observation deck of the Sunshine 60 skyscraper.
Transfers can be made at Ikebukuro Station to the JR Saikyo Line, the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line, the Seibu Ikebukuro Line, the Tobu Tojo Line, the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, and the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line.
Train fare: 3,870 yen
Train time: 2 hours
Shinjuku is a large entertainment and business district in Tokyo with countless shopping dining and nightlife opportunities. Top attractions include the restaurants and clubs of Kabukicho, the bars of Golden Gai, the cheap eateries of Omoide Yokocho, the observation decks of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings, and the peace and tranquility of Shinjuku Gyoen Park.
Transfers can be made here to the JR Chuo Line, the JR Chuo-Sobu Line, the JR Saikyo Line, the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line, the Keio Line, the Keio New Line, the Odakyu Odawara Line, the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, the Toei Shinjuku Line, Toei Oedo Line, and the Seibu Shinjuku Line. Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal is located on Shinjuku Station’s south side. Because Shinjuku Station is so big and has multiple rail links it is very easy to get lost there. Be sure to use our Shinjuku Station Map & Guide to help you find your way.
Train fare: 4,000 yen
Train time: 2 hours and 6 minutes
The Kinugawa makes just one return journey each day between Kinugawa-Onsen Station and Shinjuku Station. Times from the main boarding locations are given in the timetables below.
|Tobu World Square
|Tobu World Square
About the Limited Express Kinugawa
The Limited Express Kinugawa is a refurbished six-car #253 series train. This train has luggage compartments, spaces for wheelchairs, and a wheelchair accessible toilet. On board announcements and displayed information are given in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean.
Alternatives to the Kinugawa
Although there is just one daily Kinugawa service each way, JR East and Tobu Railway also operate regular Spacia Kinugawa return services that follow the same route. Spacia Kinugawa services use Tobu #100 series trains and the travel time varies slightly, but the fare is the same as for the Kinugawa.
Tobu Railway also operate a series of limited express services between Kinugawa-Onsen Station and Asakusa Station in Tokyo. Services that run between these two stations are the Spacia Kinu, Revaty Kinu, and Revaty Aizu.
JR East have complete timetables for limited express and shinkansen services on their official website. Tobu Railway also have complete up-to-date timetables for all their limited express services on their website. To find the train times and routes that suit your own travel itinerary, we recommend using English language route finders like the Japan Transit Planner or Hyperdia.
Article by Michael Lambe. Photos by Michael Lambe, tarousite/pixta (2). All rights reserved.