Experiencing Tobu Railway From Tokyo

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Our Tobu Railway experience was new to us on our recent September trip to Japan and we were thrilled to test out their Limited Express route from Tokyo to Nikko. Tobu Railway starts at Asakusa/Ikebukuro in Tokyo and covers the metropolitan area as well as northern parts of the Kanto region, Nikko included. It’s a modern train with comfortable seats and wifi in some areas (we got it for a chunk of the way to Nikko for example).

Meet the Tobu Railway Revaty Limited Express

The new Tobu Railway Revaty Limited Express was created by Ken Okuyama Design, a design studio which has produced various designs for trains and automobiles. The design of the train itself is super modern — a blend of urban meets comfort.

Tobu Railway

Tobu Railways covers a large region from central Tokyo to the outskirts of the Kanto area, passing many tourist attractions such as the world’s tallest free-standing broadcasting tower: Tokyo Skytree, the warehouse town of Kawagoe (known as Little Edo) and others.

The white base color is inspired by the Tokyo Skytree and there’s also wood grain that symbolizes the earth and trees of the countryside through which the train passes. The curved ceiling shape is meant to represent the flow of the Kinugawa and Sumidagawa rivers, the backrests of the seats are colored with an Edo Purple motif (the traditional color of historic Edo Tokyo), and the armrests feature an inden motif (a traditional Edo-period decorative craft).

Tobu Railway

They seem to have put a lot of meaning in the design. For example, the Champagne beige base color symbolizes the rich and gentle flow of time, while the forest green symbolizes Revaty’s Limited Express route past the abundant greenery that the train passes on its various routes. Just look at the views we passed on the less than two hour route.

Tobu Railway

Tobu Railway


In addition to their Wifi connectivity, there are power outlets installed in each seat. The new Revaty also includesaccessibility features such as AED and medical treatment support devices, wheel chair spaces and washrooms catering to wheelchair users.

Using their coupling and decoupling capabilities, the Revaty Tobu Limited Express makes it possible to travel to a lot of destinations where you formerly had to make a transfer.  The increased number of limited express trains from Tokyo to destinations like Nikko and Kinukawa add to people’s convenience efficiency (Weekdays: +5 trains/day, Saturdays and holidays: +9 trains/day as of time of writing)

Tobu Railway

“Coupling/decoupling design enables passengers to travel to their destination without changing trains”

Tobu Railway

We love that they’ve integrated eco-friendly features into their trains as well, such as a high-PMSM (Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor). Its lightweight aluminum chassis helps with this aspect as well as reduced power consumption, as do their usage of LED lamps for its headlights and internal lighting. Bravo!!!

Tobu Railway

The other thing we loved were the trays which can be used to do work for longer trips and the pockets in the back of the seats which can be used for papers, books and so on. You can also move the seats around if you’re a family so that two seats face an adjacent two seats. It’s great if you’re traveling with friends as well.

Tobu Railway

Here is a map to give you an idea of where Tobu Railway travels to from and around Tokyo.

Tobu Railway

The Tobu Railway network spans four prefectures in Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, Tochigi, and Gunma. The main line that extends from Asakusa to the eastern part of Saitama Prefecture and extends to Tochigi, Gunma, and Chiba prefectures consists of three main lines and their branch lines: Tobu Skytree Line, Isesaki Line, Nikko Line, and Tobu Urban Park Line (Noda Line).

It covers the Tobu Sky Tree Line (Southern Isesaki Line) and Tobu Urban Park Line (Noda Line), which are mainly for commuting and school transportation, and Nikko and Northern Isesaki Line, which are mainly for tourism and business transportation. The railway covers 463.3 kilometers and 206 stations.

Interesting tidbit: The train transports 2.54 million passengers a day on average, more than I expected. Here’s a short video we took of our experience from Tokyo to Nikko. Enjoy!

For more information, visit the Tobu Railways website for details on routes and how to buy tickets. In addition to information on timetables, route maps, and tickets, they offer updated information on their website and news. For example, with the recent Typhoon in Japan, the Tobu Railway Autumn Maple Campaign was extended by five days. 

Tobu Railway

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