May. 08, 2019 UPDATE

All Aboard the Kyo-Train! Hankyu Railway’s Latest Weekend-exclusive Kyoto Themed Train

Hop on Hankyu Railway’s latest Kyoto themed sightseeing train, the “Kyo-Train GARAKU” and take a trip to Japan’s former capital! The “Kyo-Train GARAKU”—which exclusively runs on weekends and holidays—was designed and built around the concept of transporting passengers to Kyoto as soon as they step inside the carrage. Below, Sharing Kyoto’s very own Taiwanese writer, Vanessa, will introduce all the little details you might miss on this beautiful train, before sharing her personal adventure on the “Kyo-Train.”
Hankyu Railway

I’m sure a lot of you will stay in Osaka when you come to the Kansai region, but since you’ve made the long trip to Japan, why not check out the historic and charming city of Kyoto, as well!

For anyone going to Kyoto, we recommend using the incredibly convenient and stylish Hankyu line.

And speaking of Hankyu, They’ve just released a new Kyoto themed train, the “Kyo-Train GARAKU.” Sharing Kyoto sent one of our writers, Vanessa, to hop on the Kyo-Train bound for Kyoto’s Kawaramachi, at Osaka’s Umeda station and go check out the Kyoto cherry blossoms.

Down below we’ll introduce the different details and showcase the serene, Kyoto-like atmosphere of this train.

Alright then, all aboard the Kyo-Train!

◎Information on the “Kyo-Train GARAKU”

Kyo-Train GARAKU

Hankyu Railway based the design of the Kyo-Train GARAKU on the four seasons and their specific flowers and plants. The exterior of the train features an elegant fan design, which incorporates a black and gold color pallet against Hankyu’s signature “Hankyu Maroon.”

Carrage no. 1

Theme: Autumn | Maple

The seats in this carriage, with their appropriately themed maple leaf design, give off the air of autumn.

The rounded window in the center of the carriage features paintings of maple leaves as well.

Enjoy the spacious seating in this relaxed Kyomachi styled carriage.

Carriage no. 2

Theme: Winter | Bamboo

The seats in this carriage feature “Cloisonné Crest” and “Chintz” based designs with cool, wintery colors.

You’ll also be surprised to find an actual Karesansui Japanese rock garden inside the carriage as well.

This quaint rock garden occupying this tiny area of the carriage is an impressive reminder of the brilliance of Japanese culture.

Carriage no. 3

Theme: Spring | Cherry Blossoms

Take a seat by the window and relax with a tea or coffee as you watch the world pass by outside.

The brilliant cherry blossom designs that surround the rounded window and cover the seats give off a pleasant Kyoto springtime vibe.

Carriage no. 4

Theme: Summer | Hollyhock

The iris patterns—which were cherished by Heian period nobles—surroudning the rounded window and the “Chintz” patterns on the seats give off the feeling of a cool summers day.

Carrage no. 5

Theme: Early Autmn | Grass Awns

Warm oranges and yellows were used in this carriage to give off an early autumn atmosphere.

The tatami bamboo mat-like seats and small Japanese garden, often seen in Kyoto townhouses, work to strengthen the Kyoto-like atmospere of the train even further.

Carriage no. 6

Theme: Early Spring | Japanese Plum

Japanese plums are famous as the symbol of early spring in Kyoto. The paintings of cranes and pine trees that surround the rounded window give off a wonderful early spring vibe.

Train Schedule (No reservation is necessary to ride)

・Opperating Days: Saturday, Sunday and Holidays

・Umeda Station Schedule: 9:32, 11:32, 13:32, 15:32 (Rapid Express)

Kawaramachi Station Schedule: 10:41, 12:41, 14:41, 16:41 (Rapid Express)

・Stops: Umeda, Jūsō, Awaji, Katsura, Karasuma, Kawaramachi

・Fare: ¥400 (One-way)

We recommend lining up early if you want a seat.

◎Below Vanessa shares her adventure riding the Kyo-Train and going to see the cherry blossoms in Kyoto!

On the 23rd of March, Vanessa heard the news about the new “Kyo-Train GARAKU” and immediately ran to check it out for herself.

The picture above was taken on the train’s first day of operation. The Hankyu Umeda station was absolutely packed with people in the morning!

The tree and flower patterns that represent Kyoto’s different seasons, such as maples, cherry blossoms, and bamboo, together with Hankyu’s signature “Hankyu Maroon” give this entire train an air of luxury.

All ready to go, I excitedly jumped on the train.

When inside, you’ll see window facing and single person seats. The combination of the lights with the wood grain gives the carriages a high-class feel. Everything about the carriages felt so Kyoto-esque that it was almost like I’d been instantly transported to the ancient capital.

For this trip, I was able to snag a sakura-themed seat in carriage no. 3.

One way to spend your time on the train is to sit back in one of the tatami bamboo mat seats and read a book, or you could jump on social media and share some pictures of this beautiful train with your friends.

“Kyo-Train GARAKU” offers free WI-FI as well, and you can even enjoy a live stream of the front of the train!

A must see is the awesome view from the front of the train! You can access this live stream from your smartphone by scanning one of the special QR codes.

The live stream is way more interesting than I thought, so definitely check it out!

Arriving at Kyoto Kawaramachi

Just as I was thinking, “Today’s gonna be a good day,” the train pulled into its final stop at Kawaramachi station.

Feeling good about the day, I stepped off the train, ready to take on some sightseeing in Kyoto!

Vanessa[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
I always use the Hankyu line, so I was super excited about the release their special sightseeing train, the "Kyo-Train Garaku." After actually getting the opportunity to ride it a bit, I thought the high-class feel of the carriages, fabulous attention to detail and Kyoto-like atmosphere of the train—not to mention the fact that you don't need a reservation and can just hop on at the price of a normal express train—were all absolutely amazing. The train only runs on the weekends and holidays, but you'll have a truly wonderful time, so I highly recommend taking a ride when you can.
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