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All Aboard! Top 4 Sightseeing Trains Near Tokyo In The Kanto Area

福島

Translated by Greg

Written by すがたもえこ

2020.03.06

This article features four sightseeing trains accessible from Tokyo in the Kanto area. Book a seat on a traveling restaurant with French dishes and scenic views of Chichibu. Or, journey down Izu with its sweeping ocean vista. Ride a sightseeing train to make the journey a special part of your trip.

4 Scenic Railways to Ride in the Kanto Region

Imagine taking a train where the journey to your destination is part of the fun. Riding a sightseeing train is one way to do this, and there are many opportunities to experience this in Japan.

Passengers can enjoy exquisitely designed train carriages, delicious cuisine, and delightful scenery in the eastern Japan region of Kanto, accessible from Tokyo.

Why not take a scenic train during your long-awaited vacation? Sit back and enjoy your time onboard these special trains.

This article introduces four sightseeing trains in the Kanto region worth knowing about.

1. Seibu Railway's 52 Seats of Happiness: Dine and Wine Aboard A Traveling Restaurant

Sightseeing Train Guide: Kanto Region

Picture courtesy of Seibu Railway

As suggested by its name, Seibu's Fifty-Two Seats of Happiness is a scenic train that exclusively seats fifty-two passengers. Departing from Ikebukuro and Shinjuku stations, it travels as far as Saitama Prefecture's Chichibu City, known for its great outdoor scenery.

The train's eye-catching exterior symbolizes Chichibu's four seasons.

The interior design is also based on Chichibu's stunning nature, including the famous Nagatoro Valley. Kakishibu-washi (*1), a local traditional craft, and wood were also used in constructing the passenger seats.

*1 Kakishibu-washi: traditional Japanese paper dyed with kakishibu (a polymeric tannin derived from fermented persimmon juice). The paper has a brown color and a soft, smooth texture.

Sightseeing Train Guide: Kanto Region

Picture courtesy of Seibu Railway

The famous Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma, designed the train's gorgeous interior. The cars evoke a sense of relaxation with its calm, comforting atmosphere.

Sightseeing Train Guide: Kanto Region

Picture courtesy of Seibu Railway

Overseen by a famous restaurant chef, there is a course menu that changes with each season. Riders can dine on delicious meals prepared with care as they gaze out at Chichibu's magnificent scenery.

There's nothing like spending some luxurious time aboard a train. Check the official homepage for the seasonal menu and additional information.

For reservations, click on the official homepage.

Make your reservations starting at 8:00 on the second Thursday of the month, three months before you want to ride. For example, if your desired date is in June, you must get your seat reservation on the second Thursday in March.

Keep in mind that travel routes and the arrival and departure times can change depending on the day of your trip.

All Aboard! Top 4 Sightseeing Trains In The Kanto Area

Hitsujiyama Park. Photo by Pixta

There are many things to see and do in the vicinity of Chichibu.

For example, Hitsujiyama Park is known for its carpet of shibazakura (moss phlox). There's also Chichibu Shrine that hosts the annual Chichibu Yomatsuri night festival. During the summer, you can enjoy Nagatoro Valley's white water rafting.

Routes Ikebukuro to Seibu-Chichibu Station; Seibu-Shinjuku to Seibu-Chichibu Station; Seibu-Shinjuku to Hon-Kawagoe Station; etc.
Price Brunch: 10,000 yen (including tax), Dinner: 15,000 yen (including tax)
Days of Operation Weekends and Public Holidays
Sightseeing Spots Near the Destination Hitsujiyama Park, Chichibu Shrine, Nagatoro Valley, etc.
Reservation Official English Homepage

2. JR East's Seaside Train: IZU CRAILE

Sightseeing Train Guide: Kanto Region
Sightseeing Train Guide: Kanto Region

Pictures courtesy of East Japan Railway Company (JR East)

Departing from Odawara and Atami stations, IZU CRAILE is a scenic train that runs until Shimoda Station on the southern end of the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka. It's known for its sweeping ocean vistas and tasty cuisine using local Izu ingredients.

The menu riders can savor during the ride was created by the owner and chef of a famous French restaurant (pictured above is the Craile Style Lunch Set).

Alcoholic beverages are also served on board. Enjoy a sophisticated trip as you chat with your fellow passengers.

Sightseeing Train Guide: Kanto Region

Picture courtesy of East Japan Railway Company (JR East)

Each of the train's four carriages offers its unique features and design.

Car No. 1 has counter seating for groups of two and tables that seat four guests. Every seat offers magnificent views of the ocean.

The bar counter and lounge that serves alcohol and tasty snacks can be found in Car No. 2. With its compartment seating, Car No. 3 is ideal for groups, and Car No. 4 has box seating.

You can make reservations for this train at the Travel Service Station (View Plaza) in any JR station.

All Aboard! Top 4 Sightseeing Trains In The Kanto Area

Cape Tsumeki. Photo by Pixta

The Izu area also features Cape Tsumeki, a prominent sightseeing spot with its white lighthouse overlooking the clear blue Pacific Ocean.

During the winter, there are more than three million daffodils in full bloom. This view crowns it as one of the most scenic locations in the prefecture. Additionally, you can also enjoy hot springs (onsen), a Commodore Perry's Black Ship Cruise (Susquehanna), and delicious cuisine such as red sea bream.

Routes Odawara Station and Atami Station to Izukyu-Shimoda Station
Price From Odawara: 11,600 yen (including tax); from Atami: 11,200 yen (including tax)
Days of Operation Saturdays and Sundays
Sightseeing Spots Near the Destination Cape Tsumeki, hot springs (onsen), Black Ship Cruise (Susquehanna)
Reservation JR East View Plaza

3. Shinano Railway's Rokumon

Sightseeing Train Guide: Kanto Region

Picture courtesy of Shinano Railway Co., Ltd.

Rokumon is one of Shinano Railway's most impressive sightseeing trains. It was named after the family crest Rokumonsen, which belonged to the Sanada clan who were samurais once ruling what is currently Nagano Prefecture.

Sightseeing Train Guide: Kanto Region

Picture courtesy of Shinano Railway Co., Ltd.

The interior design of each carriage was carried out by Eiji Mitooka, an award-winning industrial designer. Passengers can relax in a warm, retro-like atmosphere made from Nagano Prefecture lumber.

Sightseeing Train Guide: Kanto Region

Picture courtesy of Shinano Railway Co., Ltd.

Depending on the reservation plan, passengers can either select Western or Japanese-style cuisine for their onboard meal. The dishes will showcase the bounty from the mountains in Nagano's Shinshu region.

For beverages, guests can choose from a varied selection of locally brewed beer, Japanese sake, and wine.

All Aboard! Top 4 Sightseeing Trains In The Kanto Area

Matsumoto Castle. Photo by Pixta

You'll also find Zenkoji Temple, one of the Shinshu region's famous spots, here. Visiting some of Nagano's historic buildings is a great way to spend some time. Delicious regional cuisine, such as oyaki (Japanese dumplings) and soba noodles, can be savored in this sightseeing area, too.

For reservations please refer to the Shinano Railway's official homepage.

Reservations can be made two months before your travel date from the first day of the month, up to seven days before your departure date. For example, if you're traveling in June, make a reservation starting from April 1 up until seven days before your travel date. The train is popular, so we recommend securing your seat as early as possible.

You can also purchase tickets directly at these five stations: Komoro, Ueda, Togura, Yashiro, and Karuizawa Station.

Routes Karuizawa Station to Nagano Station
Price Meal Plan: 15,100 yen (including tax). *Starting April 2020, the price will be 15,800 yen (including tax).
Days of Operation Saturdays and Sundays
Sightseeing Spots Near the Destination Zenkoji Temple
Reservation Official English Homepage

4. Fujisan View Express: Ride by Mt. Fuji

Sightseeing Train Guide: Kanto Region

Picture courtesy of Fujikyu Railway

The Fujisan View Express travels near the foot of Mt. Fuji. During the 45-minute trip, this train connects Yamanashi Prefecture's Otsuki Station with Kawaguchiko Station near Mt. Fuji.

When traveling to Otsuki Station from Tokyo, first board the Chuo Line at JR Shinjuku Station. Then, when you arrive at Takao Station, transfer to the Chuo Main Line and get off at Otsuki Station.

Both Tokyo and Shinjuku Station also offer direct access to Otsuki Station via other limited express trains such as the Azusa and Kaiji.

Sightseeing Train Guide: Kanto Region

Picture courtesy of Fujikyu Railway

Fujisan View Express provides outstanding views of Mt. Fuji (see photo above). Passengers can gaze at Japan's tallest mountain on this one-of-a-kind train ride.

All Aboard! Top 4 Sightseeing Trains In The Kanto Area
Sightseeing Train Guide: Kanto Region

A menu that changes with the seasons (Sweets Plan). Pictures courtesy of Fujikyu Railway

Available on weekends and public holidays, the Fujisan View Express Sweets Plan features exclusive desserts made by pastry chefs from the Highland Resort Hotel and Spa. This special plan is limited to 26 passengers aboard Car No. 1.

Reservations are required and can be made on the Fujisan View Express official homepage. Bookings are accepted on the first day of the month prior to the day of your intended visit.

Routes Otsuki Station to Kawaguchiko Station
Price Fujisan View Express Car No. 1: Basic fare plus express fare of 400 yen (including tax) and special vehicle fee of 900 yen (including tax).
Fujisan View Express Car No. 2 and 3: Basic fare plus express fare of 400 yen (including tax).
Sweets Plan (Weekends and Public Holidays on Car No. 1): Adults 4,000 yen (including tax), children 3,000 yen (including tax).
Days of Operation Weekdays and Weekends
Sightseeing Spots Near the Destination Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, Oishi Park
Reservation Official English Homepage

Make Unforgettable Memories on a Scenic Train!

These sightseeing trains are the type of trips where the goal is to simply get on board.

Highlighting each region's special features, passengers can enjoy the unique designs of each carriage with delicious cuisine. Embarking on a train-centric journey will be a refreshing change of pace from everyday life.

Allow yourself to enjoy not just the destination, but the journey, too!

In cooperation with Seibu Railway, East Japan Railway Co. (JR East), Shinano Railway Co., Ltd., Fujikyu Railway
Main picture courtesy of Fujikyu Railway

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.