Traveling long distance in Japan typically means taking the Shinkansen Bullet train. The Shinkansen is fast, running frequently and always on time. However, its quite expensive, has limited views to the country side and the comfort is good but not luxury.
If your are traveling between the major cities of Osaka and Nagoya there are other options to travel cheaper, more comfortable and more exciting.
In this article we introduce the Kintetsu Hinotori Limited Express which recently debuted.
Kintetsu Railway is one of many private railway companies in Japan. It offers a dense network between Nagoya, Ise Shima and the Kansai region around Kyoto, Nara and Osaka. With Kyoto, Nara and Ise it offers services to some of the major tourists spot of this area which are famous by international and also domestic tourists. Ise Shima on the peninsula south of Nagoya is especially famous by domestic tourist for the Ise Jingu. That is the most important shrine in Japan.
The great thing about Kintetsu is their huge variation of limited express trains. There are special sightseeing ones such as the Aoniyoshi, Blue Symphony, Sakura Liner, Ise Shima Liner and the incredible Shimakaze. And there are other more focused on a business travel such as the Urban Liner or the Hintori.
It can be really fun to use Kintetsu Railway and experience those different type of trains.
Prices of Tickets are rather fair and also unlimited passes for tourists are available.
Hinotori Limited Express
The Hinitori Limited Express is a brand new train debuted just recently. Hinotori means phoenix, the bird, in english. And the outer design is held accordingly in a dark red color.
It uses huge windows for the front and the side offering great views for the passengers. Especially if you catch first row in the first car you have spectacular views on the rails while traveling.
It typically runs as a set of six cars. Two of them, the first and the last, are premium ones. The other fours are standard. The difference is the number of seats as well as their number. Standard cars have 4 seats in a row. They are comfortable and windows are huge for good views. The Premium ones are really extraordinary. There are three seats per row. They are put in a hard back shell so that you can decline them without disturbing others behind you. That‘s really an innovation. They have a spacious 130 cm and electric decline. Further a leg rest for enhanced relaxation. The premium cars are higher and windows are even larger for more spectacular views.
Also there a coin lockers on board to store luggage safely. And very cool: vending machines with special snacks. Some of the only offered on the Hinotori.
And the best: Premium tickets are rather fair prices. The trip from Osaka to Nagoya is only 700 Yen more than for the standard one.
Comparison Hinotori vs Shinkansen
The Hinotori connects Nagoya and Osaka in just a bit over two hours. It departs either station on the full our. On the half hour a Urban Liner is running.
The stop of the Hinotori is in the center of Osaka, namely Namba. The Shinkansen stops at Shin Osaka which means you need to take the subway to get into the city center. That extends you travel time as well. Obviously the Shinkansen between Nagoya and Osaka is running more frequently.
Especially the premiums seats offer a totally different travel experience.
So let‘s look at the comparison in detail.
|Station in Osaka
|Shin-Osaka (subway from city center)
|Namba (city center)
|Station in Nagoya
|Kintetsu Nagoya (Basement of Nagoya Station)
|Travel Time (Stations)
|Travel Time (Center)
|5 and more per hour
|1 per hour
|Views of the country side
As you can see the Hinotori offers a great budget but luxury alternative for traveling between Osaka and Nagoya. It‘s cheaper, more comfortable and a great experience if you have used the Shinkansen already. Definitely give it a try if you are in that area.
Have you taken the Hinotori or do you know other great trains in Japan. Leave a comment! We are happy to discuss.