When touring around the Kansai area, there’s a whole lot to see and not always enough time. The easiest and most popular way to travel around is via Japan’s famously clean and efficient rail service. If you could spend the time taken travelling sightseeing and experiencing Japanese culture, you wouldn’t have to waste a single minute.

The Kyo-train is a sightseeing express which allows you to take in the scenery in a luxury atmosphere. The Kyo-train GARAKU, which will set off from March next year is the second edition, which will go between Osaka Umeda and Kyoto Kawaramachi.

With the concept of fully immersing passengers in a Kyoto atmosphere as soon as they step foot on the train, the designers tried to ensure you can experience Kyoto with all five senses while riding. The interior theme is ‘Japanese Modern, Kyomachiya’. Kyomachiya are wooden townhouses which were common in Kyoto before the 1950s.

Each of the six carriages have a seasonal theme so passengers can walk through the train and experience Kyoto’s changes through the seasons, using Japan’s fauna as a decorative motif. Carriage 1 is all about autumn and is adorned with maple leaves, the theme of carriage 2 is winter and bamboo. Carriage 3 goes classic with a cherry blossom spring, and summer is represented by hollyhock. Carriages 5 and 6 take pay tribute to micro-seasons, early autumn’s susuki grass, and early spring pays tribute to plum blossom.

Circular windows are installed as a nod to those found in Kyoto’s shrines and temples, and some cars even have mini Japanese gardens to enjoy in a stylish and relaxing setting.

Despite the luxurious interior, a ride on the Kyo-train doesn't require a special ticket or reservation, it costs just 400 yen from Umeda to Kawaramachi, the same as a normal train ride on the Hankyu line.

The above image shows the proposed schedule including the original Kyo-train and the new Kyo-train GARAKU, this should come into place in March 2019. The top line shows the departures from Umeda and the bottom line shows from Kawaramachi. The times on a red block are for Kyo-train GARAKU and the ones outlined in red on a white background are when the original Kyo-train departs. If you're planning to ride the Hankyu line from Osaka to Kyoto, it's definitely worth planning ahead to arrive in style at no extra cost!

Up to date information will be made available on Hankyu's official website.

By - Jess.