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Thursday 27 February 2020

Exploring lesser-discovered Japan by train

Catching the train in Japan is unlike taking to the rails anywhere else on the planet. 

Rail travel is fast, comfortable and the trains run on time.

East Japan Railway Company (JR East) is one of the many rail companies in Japan and operates trains including the Shinkansen (high-speed bullet trains) in the East Japan region.

The company is the largest passenger railway company in Japan, serving around 17 million people every day and their network covers the half of the main island of Honshu, from the Tokyo metropolis to multiple areas in eastern Japan.

JR East has just revealed its newest limited express sightseeing train, Saphir Odoriko (above), scheduled to launch next monthg running between Tokyo and Shimoda, a resort town situated on the south-eastern coast of the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka prefecture. 

The new train will have a designated dining car with an open-style kitchen serving local noodles dishes.

The Saphir Odoriko will carry 164 passengers in its 'Green' cars, which will feature first-class seating.

The leading car, called the 'Premium Green', will have seating with wide reclining seats, a first for JR East trains. The second and third cars will have private compartments for up to six people, all with large windows.

The train's name was inspired by a beautiful, bright blue gem that resembles the ocean and skies of Izu.

The coastline of the Izu Peninsula is popular among locals for its surf, sun and sand.

The train's final stop, Izukyu-Shimoda Station is home to perhaps one of the country's most popular beaches, Shirahama, with easy access to the Shimogamo Hot Springs area.

For information about Saphir Odoriko see

JR East also has a discount pass for international visitors to Japan (limited to those entering on a short term 90-day visa). Pass holders can get unlimited access to all JR East Japan Railways (Shinkansen bullet trains), affiliated railway companies and JR buses for five days within the period of 14 days from the date of issue of the pass.

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