The Spacia Kinu is a limited express service that provides a fast link between Kinugawa-Onsen Station in Tochigi Prefecture and Tobu Asakusa Station in Tokyo. The Spacia Kinu is part of the Tobu #100 series of trains which are all branded “Spacia”. However, the Spacia Kinu is often called simply “Kinu” on official timetables and station signs.
The Spacia Kinu runs between Kinugawa Onsen and Asakusa in around 2 hours. At Kinugawa-Onsen Station all limited express services arrive and depart at platforms 1, 3, and 4. At Tobu Asakusa Station all limited express services arrive and depart at platforms 3 and 4. 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 Spacia Kinu makes stops at the following stations, but not all trains stop at Tobu World Square or Sugito-Takanodai stations. Only one inbound service starts at Shin-Fujiwara and makes a stop at Kinugawa-Koen. All other services start or terminate at Kinugawa-Onsen Station.
(Shin-Fujiwara) – (Kinugawa-Koen) – Kinugawa-Onsen – (Tobu World Square) – Shimo-Imaichi – Shin-Kanuma – Tochigi – (Sugito-Takanodai) – Kasukabe – Kita-Senju – Tokyo Skytree – Tobu Asakusa
The key destinations and transfer points are listed below. Rail fares (including limited express surcharges) and example journey times are listed from Kinugawa-Onsen Station.
Kinugawa Onsen is a popular hot spring resort town with many fine traditional hotels set in a dramatic mountain gorge. Popular activities at Kinugawa Onsen include taking boat cruises on the Kinugawa River (from April till November) and taking the Ropeway cable car to the top of Mount Maruyama where there is an observation point and a small monkey park. Kinugawa Onsen is also convenient for the Edo Wonderland amusement park which is a 15 minute bus ride from the station. This theme park immerses visitors in the culture, life, and architecture of Japan’s Edo era (1603 – 1868). Edo Wonderland’s attractions include street shows, ninja workshops, seasonal festivals, and colorful parades.
Tobu World Square Station
Tobu World Square is an architectural theme park with 102 scale model replicas of famous buildings from all over the world including 45 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Some of the models also have working train sets such as the Tokyo Station replica which has both a shinkansen and a regular JR train, and the Four Seasons of Japan display which is a diverse landscape featuring all of Tobu Railway’s most famous trains. The theme park is a 1 minute walk from Tobu World Square Station.
Train fare: 660 yen
Train time: 3 minutes
Transfers can be made here to the Tobu Nikko Line for services bound for Nikko.
Train fare: 760 yen
Train time: 19 minutes
Tochigi City is famous for the many historic wooden “kura” buildings in the Kuranomachi district. Popular attractions include the Tochigi Kuranomachi Museum of Art, the Tochigi Utamaro Museum which displays ukiyo-e prints by the artist Kitagawa Utamaro, and the Okada Memorial Museum which is a historic residence with many fine antiques and historic artifacts. Transfer at Tochigi Station to the JR Ryomo Line.
Train fare: 1,540 yen
Train time: 54 minutes
This station is the transfer point for Tobu Urban Park Line.
Train fare: 2,330 yen
Train time: 1 hour and 29 minutes
Transfer here to the JR Joban Line, Tokyo Metro’s Chiyoda and Hibiya lines and the Tsukuba Express.
Train fare: 2,700 yen
Train time: 1 hour and 50 minutes
Tokyo Skytree Station
Exit here for Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest tower at 634 meters high. The Skytree is a major tourist destination with upper level observation decks and plenty of shopping and dining facilities.
Train fare: 2,700 yen
Train time: 1 hour and 58 minutes
Tobu Asakusa Station
Asakusa is a major sightseeing destination in Tokyo. Among its chief attractions are ancient Sensoji Temple and the dramatic Kaminarimon gate, the old-fashioned fairground at Hanayashiki Amusement Park, the souvenir stalls on Nakamise shopping street, and the downtown atmosphere of the pubs on Hoppy Street. Transfers can be made in Asakusa to Toei Asakusa Subway Line, Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, and the Tsukuba Express Line.
Train fare: 2,890 yen
Train time: 2 hours and 3 minutes
On Board the Spacia Kinu
All cars on Spacia limited express trains are non-smoking and have free Wi-Fi internet service. In addition to regular seating there are also six private compartments which can seat up to four people. These compartments cost an additional 3,090 yen on weekdays and 3,700 yen on weekends and holidays. The Spacia has an on board trolley service selling drinks, sandwiches, bento-style lunch boxes, and Spacia-themed souvenirs. There is also a soft drinks vending machine in car 3. Some trains also have a kiosk in car 3 where you can buy drinks, snacks, and souvenirs.
Seven Spacia Kinu services run from Kinugawa Onsen to Asakusa on weekdays, and eight services run on weekends and holidays. Please note that only four services stop at Tobu World Square Station: #120, #130, #138, and #142. Service #112 is unusual because it starts at Shin-Fujiwara Station at 7.13 and makes a stop at Kinugawa-Koen Station at 7.17 before arriving at Kinugawa-Onsen. This is the only Spacia Kinu service to stop at Shin-Fujiwara and Kinugawa-Koen stations.
|INBOUND||Kinugawa-Onsen||Tobu World Square||Tobu Asakusa|
|Spacia Kinu #110||6.42||–||8.49|
|Spacia Kinu #112||7.22||–||9.33|
|Spacia Kinu #116||9.11||–||11.15|
|Spacia Kinu #120||10.12||10.15||12.15|
|Spacia Kinu #130||13.10||13.13||15.15|
|Spacia Kinu #138||15.45||15.48||17.45|
|Spacia Kinu #142
(weekends and holidays only)
|Spacia Kinu #150||19.25||–||21.35|
Seven Spacia Kinu services run from Tobu Asakusa Station on weekdays, and eight services run on weekends and holidays. Please note that the last three services of the day do not stop at Tobu World Square Station.
|OUTBOUND||Tobu Asakusa||Tobu World Square||Kinugawa-Onsen|
|Spacia Kinu #107||8.00||9.56||9.59|
|Spacia Kinu #115||10.00||11.57||12.00|
|Spacia Kinu #119||11.30||13.26||13.29|
|Spacia Kinu #125||13.30||15.32||15.35|
|Spacia Kinu #127
(weekends and holidays only)
|Spacia Kinu #135||17.00||–||19.01|
|Spacia Kinu #139||18.00||–||20.03|
|Spacia Kinu #143||19.00||–||21.02|
Because Tobu Railway is a private company its lines are not covered by the Japan Rail Pass. However, Tobu does have its own system of discount passes for international tourists. Special passes are offered that offer discounts for the Kinugawa Onsen and Nikko areas and the journey between Kinugawa Onsen and Asakusa. To find out more please visit the official Tobu Railway website.
Alternatives to the Spacia Kinu
Tobu Railway operates two other limited express services that connect Kinugawa Onsen with Asakusa. The Revaty Kinu is a single inbound service that runs between Shin-Fujiwara Station and Tobu Asakusa Station. This train stops at Kinugawa Onsen but does not stop at Tobu World Square. There are also inbound and outbound Revaty Aizu services which run between Aizu-Tajima Station in Fukushima Prefecture and Tobu Asakusa Station. All Revaty Aizu services stop at Kinugawa Onsen, and some also stop at Tobu World Square.
The Kinugawa and Spacia Kinugawa are limited express services that run between Kinugawa Onsen and Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. The Kinugawa and Spacia Kinugawa services are jointly operated by Tobu Railway and JR East, so the Japan Rail Pass will cover the cost of the JR section of the journey but it will not cover the cost of the Tobu Railway section.
The official Tobu Railway website has downloadable route maps of all the Tobu lines and complete timetables for all limited express services. 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 and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.