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TestudoToTetsudo

Favorite Limited Express/Shinkansen Equipment as a Passenger

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So I'm starting to compile a wish list of trains to ride for my next trip to Japan, whenever that ends up happening.

 

One thing I'd like to do is finish the Shinkansen network including Mini-Shinkansen.  For me that requires Morioka to Shin-Hakodate/Hokuto, Shin-Tosu to Kagoshima-Chuo and Fukushima-Shinjo.

 

Another thing I'd like to do is ride the most interesting trains from a *PASSENGER* perspective.  At least, those I can jump on with a Japan Rail Pass (or JRP + Seat Reservation)...no Seven Stars Kyushu for me.  Something that is used daily in revenue service as opposed to an excursion. 

 

So I'd like to poll the audience of experts here: What do you think are the most interesting Shinkansen models or Limited Express trainset types to RIDE as a passenger, and why?  My bias is towards new equipment, "latest and greatest" as opposed to old stuff still running, but I'm open to all answers.

 

Would love to hear everyone's thoughts -- and the rationale behind them!

 

Thanks.

Edited by TestudoToTetsudo

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Call me cynical, but unless you're looking for something weird like that 500 series pretending to be some kind of anime transformer wotsit, or the Anpanman train, they all start to look alike from the inside. Personally I put more value on the destination and the scenery in between, mind you I live here.

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With Shinkansen I would have to say E7/W7 to Kanazawa as they are such a beautiful train inside and outside, I also really like the E5 Hayabusa as it is very roomy and offers a nice smooth ride especially when hitting 320km/h, I wasn't really a fan of the E5's as I thought they were a bit of an ugly train but after doing a day trip to Sendai my mind was changed.

 

For limited express services the Wide View Hida on the Takayama Honsen offers some stunning views, mind you try and get seats that are not in the lead connecting cab cars, we enjoyed the ride from Toyama to Takayama but when they coupled us up with another KiHa 85 at Takayama diesel fumes were getting into the coach somehow and we were glad that were getting off at Gero. The trip from Gero to Gifu was absolutely stunning as the train winds it's way down through the valleys and next to the Kiso River. 

 

 The Kawasemi Yamasemi in Kyushu is also well worth a ride, for a two car DMU the train seems to be very spacious and the whole presentation of the train is immaculate with its stunning interior and its stylish livery, especially when you consider that it is two KiHa 47's that have been tarted up. The train travels from Kumamoto to Hitoyoshi which in itself is well worth the ride for the spectacular views of the countryside that you get to see on the way. 

 

 

 

26187707249_e9400f0401_z_d.jpg

 

 

26187639259_5183bd28f3_z_d.jpg 

 

 

37909825826_92e04f8482_z_d.jpg

 

 

37909840296_962f458783_z_d.jpg .

 

 

37909846836_ef8aa46cdb_z_d.jpg

 

 

26187689419_e5c1407b14_z_d.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by Das Steinkopf
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56 minutes ago, Das Steinkopf said:

With Shinkansen I would have to say E7/W7 to Kanazawa as they are such a beautiful train inside and outside, I also really like the E5 Hayabusa as it is very roomy and offers a nice smooth ride especially when hitting 320km/h, I wasn't really a fan of the E5's as I thought they were a bit of an ugly train but after doing a day trip to Sendai my mind was changed.

 

For limited express services the Wide View Hida on the Takayama Honsen offers some stunning views, mind you try and get seats that are not in the lead connecting cab cars, we enjoyed the ride from Toyama to Takayama but when they coupled us up with another KiHa 85 at Takayama diesel fumes were getting into the coach somehow and we were glad that were getting off at Gero. The trip from Gero to Gifu was absolutely stunning as the train winds it's way down through the valleys and next to the Kiso River. 

 

 The Kawasemi Yamasemi in Kyushu is also well worth a ride, for a two car DMU the train seems to be very spacious and the whole presentation of the train is immaculate with its stunning interior and its stylish livery, especially when you consider that it is two KiHa 47's that have been tarted up. The train travels from Kumamoto to Hitoyoshi which in itself is well worth the ride for the spectacular views of the countryside that you get to see on the way. 

 

 

 

26187707249_e9400f0401_z_d.jpg

 

 

26187639259_5183bd28f3_z_d.jpg 

 

 

37909825826_92e04f8482_z_d.jpg

 

 

37909840296_962f458783_z_d.jpg .

 

 

37909846836_ef8aa46cdb_z_d.jpg

 

 

26187689419_e5c1407b14_z_d.jpg

 

 

 

 

Thanks!  The Kyushu DMU you include here looks very interesting, wonder if I could do that + the Yufuin No Mori if I go to southern Japan.

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A 185 series, on Hamakaiji service if possible.  This is I think the last JNR era rolling stock in Tokyo, and probably JR East's oldest.  Another would be the 381 series.

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Yes the Yatsushiro to Hitoyoshi section of the Hisatsu Line is amazing.  No matter what train you are on, the view is awesome.

 

Even the trip over the mountain tops and turnbacks to Yoshimatsu is worth the views.  Yoshimatsu Station area seems to be setting up a small museum, (which I cannot find much info on yet).

 

https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/観光SL会館/@32.012565,130.7379028,82m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x353f0f1fafd4483f:0xeceae5c1ef1d6b29!8m2!3d32.012565!4d130.7381764

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railsquid is imho right.  the best part is standing there and watching them go by

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On 2/25/2018 at 6:04 AM, TestudoToTetsudo said:

So I'm starting to compile a wish list of trains to ride for my next trip to Japan, whenever that ends up happening.

 

One thing I'd like to do is finish the Shinkansen network including Mini-Shinkansen.  For me that requires Morioka to Shin-Hakodate/Hokuto, Shin-Tosu to Kagoshima-Chuo and Fukushima-Shinjo.

 

Another thing I'd like to do is ride the most interesting trains from a *PASSENGER* perspective.  At least, those I can jump on with a Japan Rail Pass (or JRP + Seat Reservation)...no Seven Stars Kyushu for me.  Something that is used daily in revenue service as opposed to an excursion. 

 

So I'd like to poll the audience of experts here: What do you think are the most interesting Shinkansen models or Limited Express trainset types to RIDE as a passenger, and why?  My bias is towards new equipment, "latest and greatest" as opposed to old stuff still running, but I'm open to all answers.

 

Would love to hear everyone's thoughts -- and the rationale behind them!

 

Thanks.

Forget about the Shikishima Express unless you have extremely deep pockets. I checked it out and the price was $8000.00 per person for two nights (the minimum you could spend). I decided it was cheaper to order a model of the train, which is Kato 10-1447.

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JR West 700 series Hikari Railstar standard class reserved seating- Green Car class seating at standard class prices.  I usually travel on the Kodama (all stops) trains when taking the shinkansen (unless I'm in a particular hurry), these are especially comfortable.

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On 26 February 2018 at 7:48 AM, katoftw said:

Yes the Yatsushiro to Hitoyoshi section of the Hisatsu Line is amazing.  No matter what train you are on, the view is awesome.

 

Even the trip over the mountain tops and turnbacks to Yoshimatsu is worth the views.  Yoshimatsu Station area seems to be setting up a small museum, (which I cannot find much info on yet).

 

https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/観光SL会館/@32.012565,130.7379028,82m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x353f0f1fafd4483f:0xeceae5c1ef1d6b29!8m2!3d32.012565!4d130.7381764

 

 We went through there last April, from memory they just had some old railway paraphernalia and C5552 sitting in an open shed outside, it was when we did our how many Joyful Trains can you do in one day trip. We started off with the SL Hitoyoshi from Kumamoto to Hitoyoshi, from there we took the Isaburo Shinpei to Yoshimatsu and then the Hayato no Kaze to Kagoshima Chuo.  The scenery along the whole trip was stunning, even the sections along the coast heading towards Kagoshima Chuo where the line travelled along a thin shelf of land flanked by the sea on one side and extremely steep hills on the other was breathtaking.

 

 One regret that I did have was missing getting a shot of EF81-303,when we were coming into a station near Kagoshima Chuo I was distracted by a Ballast Cleaning Train on one side of the line that I was trying to get a shot of when I noticed EF81-303 sitting on the other side of the line and I didn't have time to get a shot of her.

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Yeah once you round the corner at Hayato Station and hit the bay, the left side water view is awesome.  Sitting at those big windows give a good view of Sakurajima.

 

The yard you saw was probably the freight and sidings at Kagoshima station.

 

If I was to do that route again, I'd probably do an overnighter somewhere.  Probably at Hitoyoshi.  While it can be done in one day, I do think we don't the places justice by rushing through them.

Edited by katoftw

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So I'd like to poll the audience of experts here: What do you think are the most interesting Shinkansen models or Limited Express trainset types to RIDE as a passenger, and why?  My bias is towards new equipment, "latest and greatest" as opposed to old stuff still running, but I'm open to all answers.

I think the OP as implied above was seeking opinions more along the lines of the interiors, seating, fittings, etc. of favorite stock, rather than what's going on outside the windows.  JMHO.

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I suggest taking at least a short trip in Gran Class on E5 or E7/W7.  In my opinion, this is the pinnacle of public train travel (not including tour trains).  It's like riding in a private jet at ground level.

 

This is maybe not the best way to sight see - small windows and high speeds.

 

E7 from 2014:

DSC00890sm.thumb.jpg.d565dfe8b2007c3788e6b2607f7c6871.jpg

 

E5 from 2016:

DSC05208sm.thumb.jpg.455c937ac948264d36abdf4627d5ee3f.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by maihama eki
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17 hours ago, bikkuri bahn said:

I think the OP as implied above was seeking opinions more along the lines of the interiors, seating, fittings, etc. of favorite stock, rather than what's going on outside the windows.  JMHO.

Maybe he'll enjoy the upmarket wooden interiors and small model train and book library on the SL Hitoyoshi, or maybe the big windows and upmarket wooden interiors of the kiha 40/47s with the food and drink service provided on these services that run along the Hisatsu Line previously discussed. JMHO.

Edited by katoftw

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I will second the Gran Class for a short ride.  It will cost money but I walked through an E5 and we ended up in the Gran Class car by accident (did not know what we were doing -- this was a few years ago) and it was stunning.


The E7/W7 is also a fun train.  We did a short hop in one (regular class) and it was nice.

 

I like the interiors of the 800s if any are still running on Kyushu.

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On 2/26/2018 at 8:55 PM, bikkuri bahn said:

JR West 700 series Hikari Railstar standard class reserved seating- Green Car class seating at standard class prices.  I usually travel on the Kodama (all stops) trains when taking the shinkansen (unless I'm in a particular hurry), these are especially comfortable.

 

I was planning on doing an "INSANE DAY TRIP" of Shinkansen riding -- and not much else -- to go Tokyo - Kagoshima-Chuo - Tokyo on one of the days, to complete the Kyushu Shinkansen while my family is staying in Tokyo for the trip.  Riding the Hikari (Japan Rail Pass) to Shin-Osaka (or Shin-Kobe for a same-platform transfer) then transferring to a reserved seat on the Sakura to Kagoshima-Chuo and back.  I'd plan on the reserved seat as the N700-7000 Shinkansen has a MUCH nicer 2x2 reserved seating set up vs. unreserved and can do so for free with a Japan Rail Pass :-).

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8 hours ago, chadbag said:

I will second the Gran Class for a short ride.  It will cost money but I walked through an E5 and we ended up in the Gran Class car by accident (did not know what we were doing -- this was a few years ago) and it was stunning.


The E7/W7 is also a fun train.  We did a short hop in one (regular class) and it was nice.

 

I like the interiors of the 800s if any are still running on Kyushu.

 

I got a chance to ride GranClass Morioka-Tokyo in 2015 and it was amazing.  If there's but one splurge I go on for this future trip, it's to ride GranClass Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate/Hokuto in one of the directions when I try to complete the Hokkaido Shinkansen.  Thanks for the suggestion!

 

I rode the Kanazawa Shinkansen E/W 7 in Green Class in 2015.  Nice trip.  My friend and I even got delayed for 10 minutes when an earthquake stopped all traffic.

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37 minutes ago, TestudoToTetsudo said:

 

I was planning on doing an "INSANE DAY TRIP" of Shinkansen riding -- and not much else -- to go Tokyo - Kagoshima-Chuo - Tokyo on one of the days, to complete the Kyushu Shinkansen while my family is staying in Tokyo for the trip.  Riding the Hikari (Japan Rail Pass) to Shin-Osaka (or Shin-Kobe for a same-platform transfer) then transferring to a reserved seat on the Sakura to Kagoshima-Chuo and back.  I'd plan on the reserved seat as the N700-7000 Shinkansen has a MUCH nicer 2x2 reserved seating set up vs. unreserved and can do so for free with a Japan Rail Pass :-).

 

We get reserved cars for almost every Shinkansen ride, unless just doing a 1-2 stop Kodama (or equivalent -- north of Tokyo they have all sorts of names for their Shinkansen levels) or something.  They are easy to get and you can often get them right before you get on the train during non-busy times.   But you are right, on the Sakura N700, the 2x2 is much nicer in reserved than the normal 2x3 in unreserved.  The very first N700 I ever rode was a Sakura as on JR Central, the N700 was Nozomi only, pretty much, at the beginning (now you see them everywhere).

 

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Posted (edited)

Looking back at my earlier trips in the 1990's I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and ride some of the older trains that were still in service then, especially locomotive hauled trains, and quirky little private lines that have since closed and gone forever instead of spending my time riding the newest flashiest trains.

 

These days I mostly use the Shinkansen and fancy Ltd Exp trains to get to the more interesting stuff. If I can find an plain old unrefurbished kiha 40 meandering along a branchline somewhere that's what I go for over the fancy tourist trains.

Edited by westfalen
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On ‎25‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 11:52 PM, TestudoToTetsudo said:

Thanks!  The Kyushu DMU you include here looks very interesting, wonder if I could do that + the Yufuin No Mori if I go to southern Japan.

 

That's a nice train to ride on, the Yamasemi... and a nice alternative to the SL Hitoyoshi on the same leg. 

 

The whole ride from Kumamoto to Kagoshima-Chuo leg takes more than half a day away:

SL-Hitoyoshi or Yamasemi - Kumamoto to Hitoyoshi

Isaburo-Shinpei - Hitoyoshi to Yoshimatsu

Hayato-no-Kaze - Yoshimatsu to Kagoshima-Chuo 

Great Scenic line that is a must ride for any rail fans... The switch back on the Isaburo is also mighty interesting, and remember to ring the bell on Masaki station!

 

Having said that, Yufuin-on-mori starts from Hakata station to Beppu or Yufuin, which is on the other side of Kyushu.... Hence it might not be doable on the same day to ride all the trains...

 

 

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8 hours ago, JR 500系 said:

 

That's a nice train to ride on, the Yamasemi... and a nice alternative to the SL Hitoyoshi on the same leg. 

 

The whole ride from Kumamoto to Kagoshima-Chuo leg takes more than half a day away:

SL-Hitoyoshi or Yamasemi - Kumamoto to Hitoyoshi

Isaburo-Shinpei - Hitoyoshi to Yoshimatsu

Hayato-no-Kaze - Yoshimatsu to Kagoshima-Chuo 

Great Scenic line that is a must ride for any rail fans... The switch back on the Isaburo is also mighty interesting, and remember to ring the bell on Masaki station!

 

 

It was certainty a very scenic ride and I got to ring the bell at Masaki Eki, it was pretty funny as I watched a lot of other people being quite vigorous ringing the bell multiple times making a fair bit of a racket. I rang it only once but did it in a fashion that nearly perforated everyones eardrums with the strength that I put into it, they probably could have heard it in Hitoyoshi with the way the sound carried from it.

 

 

Hisatsu-sen

 

Kofuku no kane Masaki Eki

 

IMG_7342

 

Isaburou Shinpei

 

 

 

 

 

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On 2/25/2018 at 8:56 AM, Das Steinkopf said:

With Shinkansen I would have to say E7/W7 to Kanazawa as they are such a beautiful train inside and outside, I also really like the E5 Hayabusa as it is very roomy and offers a nice smooth ride especially when hitting 320km/h, I wasn't really a fan of the E5's as I thought they were a bit of an ugly train but after doing a day trip to Sendai my mind was changed.

 

For limited express services the Wide View Hida on the Takayama Honsen offers some stunning views, mind you try and get seats that are not in the lead connecting cab cars, we enjoyed the ride from Toyama to Takayama but when they coupled us up with another KiHa 85 at Takayama diesel fumes were getting into the coach somehow and we were glad that were getting off at Gero. The trip from Gero to Gifu was absolutely stunning as the train winds it's way down through the valleys and next to the Kiso River. 

 

 The Kawasemi Yamasemi in Kyushu is also well worth a ride, for a two car DMU the train seems to be very spacious and the whole presentation of the train is immaculate with its stunning interior and its stylish livery, especially when you consider that it is two KiHa 47's that have been tarted up. The train travels from Kumamoto to Hitoyoshi which in itself is well worth the ride for the spectacular views of the countryside that you get to see on the way. 

 

 

 

26187707249_e9400f0401_z_d.jpg

 

 

26187639259_5183bd28f3_z_d.jpg 

 

 

37909825826_92e04f8482_z_d.jpg

 

 

37909840296_962f458783_z_d.jpg .

 

 

37909846836_ef8aa46cdb_z_d.jpg

 

 

26187689419_e5c1407b14_z_d.jpg

 

 

 

 

I am definitely interested in the Kawasemi Yamasemi trip.  Is this covered by the JR pass?  Would I need reservations the last week in June?

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It is covered by the pass. Some trains are full reserve seating. Two are half non reserved. First and last of the day. See the Kyushu Railway website for full details.

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