Japan Rail, Tram and Sightseeing

May 4–24, 2014

The ERA is proud to announce its 12th international tour.

Japan Rail, Tram and Sightseeing will cover all four principal Japanese Islands, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and Hokkaido in an extensive 21-day program. The tour will include first-class travel on Japan’s Shinkansen (“Bullet”) trains in order to visit many historic and modern tram and interurban operations throughout the country. There will general sightseeing opportunities provided to cover many of Japan’s beautiful and historic places.

During 21 days of travel we will cover many major and provincial cities. The tour will begin in Tokyo on Sunday, May 4 as we settle into our luxury hotel, with Tokyo sightseeing and a tram charter the next day followed by our welcome dinner. The last tour activity will be our farewell dinner after a day in Tokyo on Friday, May 23; with an overnight stay to follow and departure from Japan on Saturday, May 24. All breakfasts will be provided and four additional dinners will also be included on days when late arrivals are scheduled.

We will stay four nights in Tokyo, three nights in Toyama, two nights in Hiroshima, one night in Nagasaki, one night in Kagoshima, two nights in Matsuyama, three nights in Kyoto, two nights in Hakodate, and the last two nights in Tokyo. Three or four star hotels close to railway stations will be our homes during the tour. Checked baggage will be transported separately between cities in most cases so that tour members will only have to carry their cameras and hand baggage when they travel by train from location to location.

Highlights

We plan on chartering historic equipment (where available), visiting depots, utilizing service trams and interurbans, and experiencing escorted sightseeing in the following locations:

Tokyo

Three full days with plenty of time for day trips and sightseeing.

  • Toden Arakawa line fantrip and visit to the Setagaya line.
  • Hakone day trip via Odakyu Railway with Mt. Fuji included.
  • Enoshima day trip including Kamakura tour, Enoshima Electric Rwy. and Shonan monorail.

Toyama

Shinkansen travel from Tokyo to Toyama with time to visit the tram system.

  • Fukui/Takaoka day trip to visit both tram systems. Separate coach tour of area available.
  • All-day tour of Kurobe Gorge and Japan Alps via train, funicular, ropeway and trolleybus.

Hiroshima

Shinkansen travel from Toyama to Hiroshima with stop in Okayama to view tram system.

  • Sightseeing by tram and interurban followed by visit to tram depot.

Nagasaki

Shinkansen and connecting train travel to Nagasaki with sightseeing by tram and visit to tram depot.

Kagoshima

Shinkansen and connecting train travel to Kumamoto and Kagoshima with riding both tram systems available along with depot visits.

  • Separate coach tour available to view the sights of Kumamoto.

Matsuyama

Shinkansen and connecting train travel to Matsuyama.

  • Day trip to Kochi to visit tram system and charter trip on an Oslo or Lisbon tram.
  • Morning visit to tram system and tram depot.

Kyoto

Connecting train and Shinkansen travel from Matsuyama to Kyoto.

  • Escorted tour to historic Nara and time for round-trip ride on Keifuku Railway in Kyoto.
  • Osaka day trip via Hankyu railway, and chartered car on Hankai Electric Tramway.
  • A separate sightseeing tour of Osaka will also be available.

Hakodate

Shinkansen and connecting train travel from Kyoto to Hakodate.

  • Sapporo day trip with visit to tram system and subway control center.
  • Time to visit Hakodate tram system.
  • Connecting train and Shinkansen travel to Tokyo.

Itinerary

We plan on chartering historic equipment (where available), visiting depots, utilizing service trams and interurbans, and experiencing escorted sightseeing in the following locations:

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Day 1 – Arrival in Tokyo throughout the day. Individuals exchange JR pass at Narita Airport and travel to Shinjuku by Narita express. No activities planned. Overnight at Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Day 2 – Tokyo, Day trip to Enoshima Electric Railway and sightseeing. Travel via JR train to Fujisawa. Enoshima Electric Railway to Hase and Kamakura for sightseeing with English-speaking guide; including Hasedera Temple, Kotuko-in (Daibutsu) and Tsurogaoka Hachimanngu. After tour travel via Enoshima Electric Railway to Shonan Enoshima, then Shonan Monorail to Ofuna. Travel via JR train to Shinjuku. Welcome dinner in evening. Overnight in Tokyo.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Day 3 – Tokyo, Day trip to Hakone. Travel via Odakyu Electric Railway Romancecar service to Hakone-Yumoto station. Hakone Tozan Railway to Gora. Hakone Tozan cable car and ropeway to Lake Ashi and Lake Ashi mini cruise. Afternoon group tour bus trip to Mt. Fuji 5th Station, returning to Odawara station and then JR Bullet train and connecting JR Rapid service to Shinjuku station. Overnight in Tokyo.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day 4 – Tokyo, general sightseeing with English-speaking guide. Day will include chartered tram on Toden Arakawa tram line, depot visit and a round trip on the Tokyu Setagaya light rail line. Overnight in Tokyo.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Day 5 – Tokyo to Toyama. Prepare bags for baggage service transfer. Morning departure for Omiya via JR train, then travel to Toyama via JR bullet train and connecting train with afternoon available to view and ride tram system, consisting of five local tram lines operating as two routes and one suburban light rail line. Overnight in Toyama, Toyama Excel Hotel.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Day 6 – Toyama, Group separates. Tram group travels via JR train to Fukui for short visit to Fukutetsu city tramway (with tram charter) and Echizen railway (photo opportunity). Travel via JR train to Takaoka. Tram charter Takaoka to Koshinokata and return to tram depot, then regular service return to Takaoka station. JR train from Takaoka to Toyama. Second group does general sightseeing of Fukui and Takaoka via coach with English-speaking guide. Half-day in Fukui visiting Tojinbo Cliff then half-day in Takaoka visiting Zuiryuji Temple, Takaoka Daibutsu and Takaoka Castle Park returning via coach to Toyama. Overnight in Toyama.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Day 7 – Japan Alps tour; Train to Teteyama, then Alpine tour to Kurobe Dam and Ogizawa. Return to Toyama via same route. Overnight in Toyama.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Day 8 – Prepare bags for baggage service transfer. Travel to Shin-Osaka via JR limited express. Change to JR bullet train for Okayama. Visit two short tram lines or, as an alternative, Korakuen Garden. Resume trip to Hiroshima via JR bullet train. Overnight in Hiroshima, Hotel Granvia Hiroshima.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Day 9 – Half-day sightseeing via tram with English-speaking guide including Itsukushima Jingu shrine at Miyajima Island, Peace Memorial Park, and Peace Memorial museum. Afternoon visit to Tram depot. Remaining time on own. Overnight in Hiroshima.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Day 10 – Prepare bags for baggage service transfer. Travel to Hakata via JR bullet train. Change to JR electric train for Nagasaki. Group visits depot and then rides portions of five-line tram system, including visiting Peace Memorial Park and Museum and Glover Garden. Overnight in Nagasaki, Hotel New Nagasaki.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Day 11 – Morning departure via JR electric train to Shin-Tosu, then change to JR bullet train to Kumamoto. Group separates. Tram group rides the two Kumamoto Tram lines and visits depot, then travels via JR bullet train to Kagoshima, proceeding to ride the two Kagoshima tram lines and visit depot. Second group does sightseeing via coach with English-speaking guide visiting Kumamoto Castle and Senganen and rejoins the tram group for travel to Kagoshima. Overnight in Kagoshima, Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 12 – Prepare bags for baggage service transfer to Kyoto. Pack a small bag for two overnights in Matsuyama. Travel to Matsuyama via JR bullet train to Okayama and JR connecting train to Matsuyama. Group can ride/photograph the five-line system utilizing regular service. Overnight in Matsuayma, Sky Hotel Matsuyama.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Day 13 – Morning departure for day trip to Kochi via JR train to Tadotsu then JR Diesel Express Train to Kochi. Group visits depot and takes tram charter in historic European tram (Oslo “Goldfisk” tram requested) to points on the Kochi system. Late afternoon return after light meal in Kochi; late evening arrival in Matsuyama via Tadotsu; overnight in Matsuyama.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Day 14 – Morning time for tram riding and visit to tram depot in Matsuyama; departure after lunch via JR electric train to Okayama, then JR Bullet train to Kyoto. Overnight in Kyoto, New Miyako Hotel.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Day 15 – Kyoto, full day of sightseeing available with English-speaking guide. Local train to Nara, followed by walking tour, visiting Todaiji Temple with Great Buddha, Nara sacred Deer Park and Kasuga Shrine. After sightseeing tram group takes round trip ride on Keifuku Railway and Keihan Electric Railway Otsu line. Overnight in Kyoto.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Day 16 – Kyoto, Day trip to Osaka via JR Bullet train. Group separates. Tour group has full day of sightseeing utilizing Hankyu Railway with English-speaking guide and visiting Osaka Castle, Dotonbori, and Umeda Sky Garden Observatory; and returning to Kyoto. Tram group rides both Hankai Electric Tramway lines in a chartered tram and visits the Hankai Electric Tramway carhouse and then travels to the Wakayama Electric Railroad to ride its short route. Tram group returns from Wakayama via JR train to Osaka and JR Bullet train to Kyoto. Overnight in Kyoto.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Day 17 – Prepare bags for baggage service transfer. Morning JR Bullet train Tokyo with short stop to take out “Bento” lunches in Tokyo station. Afternoon JR Bullet Train to Shin-Aomori, changing to JR Electric train to Hakodate via the 33.5 mile Seikan tunnel. Late dinner to be arranged in Hakodate at Hotel. Overnight in Hakodate, Loisir Hotel Hakodate.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Day 18 – Hakodate, Day trip to Sapporo via JR Diesel Pendulum Express. Group tram charter and depot visit, then bus charter to Subway depot and Transport museum. Early dinner in Sapporo with early evening departure to Hakodate via JR Diesel Pendulum Express. Late arrival in Hakodate, overnight in Hakodate.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Day 19 – Prepare bags for baggage service transfer. Travel in historic tram car then visit tram depot. Leave Hakodate after picking up Bento lunches in depot via JR Electric to Shin-Aomori and JR Bullet Train to Tokyo station and Yamanote line to Shinjuku Station. Late dinner arranged at Hotel in Tokyo. Overnight at Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Day 20 – Independent sightseeing in Tokyo, farewell dinner at local restaurant. Overnight in Tokyo.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Day 21 – End of trip. Leave Hotel via JR limited express train for Narita Airport or continue stay if choosing extension option.

Ticket Information

Air transportation is by individual choice. First arrival is in Tokyo. Tokyo can be accessed from Narita airport via high-speed train, and our 21-day rail pass can be used if picked up at the Airport and validated on May 4. If arriving early, pick up and validate pass in Tokyo on or after May 4, or, under no circumstances before May 2. Departure will be from Tokyo. Air arrangements, especially if you are using frequent flyer miles, are best made as soon as possible. Extra nights are available up to three days before and three days after the tour, in Tokyo.

Land arrangements will cost $5595 per person with double occupancy ($1195 single supplement), and will include:

  • Rooms at 3- or 4-star hotels that tentatively are as follows: Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo, which is a 10-minute walk from Shinjuku station (upon arrival in Japan and before departure from Japan), Toyama Excel Hotel, Hotel Granvia Hiroshima, Hotel New Nagasaki, Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel, Kagoshima, Sky Hotel Matsuyama, New Miyako Hotel in Kyoto, and Loisir Hotel Hakodate.
  • Group travel via “green pass” first class passage on Japanese Railways.
  • Breakfast on each day of travel, and a total of seven dinners.
  • All excursions aboard chartered or regular service vehicles.

If you choose to arrive before the trip in Tokyo, from May 1–2 onward you may stay at the Keio Plaza Hotel for an additional $110 per person per day, double occupancy or $210 single occupancy. If you stay in Tokyo after the trip on May 24–25 to May 27–28 you may stay at the same hotel as above for an additional $100 per person per day, double occupancy or $190 single occupancy. Please note this on the coupon below when sending in your reservation.

To reserve your Japan tour, please complete the order form below and send to: Electric Railroaders’ Association, Inc., Box 3323, New York, NY 10163-3323. A stamped and self-addressed envelope will NOT be necessary.

$500 deposit must be received by February 1, 2014, and full payment must be received by March 1, 2014. Make checks or money orders payable to: Electric Railroaders’ Association, Inc. For questions call 917-714-7087 or use our Contact Us page.