“Revaty” is the name given to the #500 series trains that Tobu Railway introduced along popular tourist routes in April 2017. The Revaty’s sleek design, “champagne beige” exterior, and comfortable interior have made it very popular with both train enthusiasts and travelers.
This train’s chief characteristic is that it can be coupled together with other Revaty services or separated en route. This coupling capability has enabled Tobu to increase the number of services to popular destinations such as Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen, and also means that passengers can now travel directly from Asakusa in Tokyo to the Aizu region in northern Japan, without having to change trains on the way.
Limited Express Revaty trains make seven daily departures from Tobu Asakusa Station on weekdays and eight on weekends and holidays. There are six return trains on weekdays and seven on weekends and holidays. However, because of the Revaty’s coupling and decoupling capability the number of routes served is actually greater than that. At Tobu Asakusa Station Revaty services depart from platforms 3 and 4.
There are four separate Revaty services:
- Revaty Kegon which runs between Tobu Asakusa and Tobu Nikko
- Revaty Ryomo which runs between Tobu Asakusa and Tatebayashi
- Revaty Kinu which runs between Shin-Fujiwara Station and Tobu Asakusa
- Revaty Aizu which runs between Tobu Asakusa and Aizu Tajima
Revaty Kegon is the most frequent service and the “Ryomo”, “Kinu” and “Aizu” services are all coupled with Revaty Kegon services at some point along their routes. In this article we will look at each of these services in turn.
As Tobu Railway is a private company none of these services are covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
Most Revaty Kegon services run between Tobu Asakusa Station and Tobu Nikko Station stopping at the following stations on the way. Not all services stop at Tobu-Dobutsuen-Koen, Itakura-Toyodai-mae or Shin-Tochigi stations.
Tobu Asakusa – Tokyo Skytree – Kita-Senju – Kasukabe – (Tobu-Dobutsuen-Koen) – (Itakura Toyodai-mae) – Tochigi – (Shin-Tochigi) – Shin-Kanuma – Shimo-Imaichi – Tobu Nikko
There are two Revaty Kegon services that start and finish at Shin-Tochigi Station and do not go as far as Tobu Nikko. These are the outbound service Revaty Kegon #257 which runs from Tobu Asakusa to Shin-Tochigi Station and the inbound service Revaty Kegon #208 which runs from Shin-Tochigi back to Tobu Asakusa Station. These services are not coupled with other trains.
|Outbound Services||Tobu Asakusa||Shin-Tochigi||Tobu Nikko|
|Revaty Kegon #1||6.30||–||8.22|
|Revaty Kegon #3
(weekends & holidays only)
|Revaty Kegon #11||9.00||–||10.54|
|Revaty Kegon #17||11.00||–||12.51|
|Revaty Kegon #23||13.00||–||14.48|
|Revaty Kegon #29||14.30||–||16.23|
|Revaty Kegon #47||20.00||–||21.58|
|Revaty Kegon #257||22.50||0.05||–|
Revaty Kegon #1, #11, #17, and #29 are all coupled with Revaty Aizu services between Tobu Asakusa and Shimo-Imaichi stations. At Shimo-Imaichi Station the trains are decoupled and then follow separate routes.
Revaty Kegon #47 is coupled with Revaty Ryomo #43 between Tobu Asakusa Station and Tobu-Dobutsuen-Koen Station where the two trains are decoupled and then follow separate routes.
Revaty Kegon #3, #23 and #257 are not coupled with other trains.
|Inbound Services||Tobu Nikko||Shin-Tochigi||Tobu Asakusa|
|Revaty Kegon #208||–||6.03||7.33|
|Revaty Kegon #14||8.52||–||10.45|
|Revaty Kegon #22
(weekends & holidays only)
|Revaty Kegon #28||12.19||–||14.15|
|Revaty Kegon #32||14.23||–||16.16|
|Revaty Kegon #40||16.23||–||18.15|
|Revaty Kegon #48||19.18||–||21.15|
Revaty Kegon #208, and #22 are not coupled with other services.
Revaty Kegon #14 is coupled with Revaty Kinu #114 at Shimo-Imaichi Station before proceeding on to Tobu Asakusa Station.
Revaty Kegon #28, #32, #40 and #48 are all coupled with Revaty Aizu services at Shimo-Imaichi Station before proceeding on to Tobu Asakusa Station.
The chief destination for this route is Tobu Nikko Station which serves the popular tourist destination of Nikko. Nikko has many famous shrines and temples, but chief among these is the Toshogu, a beautifully decorated shrine built around the tomb of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu who died in 1616. Nikko is also famous for its hot springs, its wild monkeys, and for the sacred Shinkyo Bridge which is part of the Futarasan Shrine and considered to be one of the most beautiful bridges in Japan. It takes around 1 hour and 53 minutes to reach Tobu Nikko Station from Asakusa and the full fare is 2,800 yen.
Alternative Services for Nikko
Other limited express services that run between Tobu Asakusa and Tobu Nikko stations are the Spacia Kegon which is the fastest service and the Kirifuri which only runs on weekends and holidays but is the cheapest service available.
There is only one Revaty Ryomo service (#43) and this is an outbound service that runs from Tobu Asakusa Station to Tatebayashi Station in Gunma Prefecture. This train is coupled with Revaty Kegon #47 between Tobu Asakusa Station and Tobu-Dobutsuen-Koen Station. The two trains are then decoupled and follow different routes. The Revaty Ryomo stops at the following stations on its route:
Tobu Asakusa – Tokyo Skytree – Kita-Senju – Kasukabe – Tobu-Dobutsu-Koen – Tatebayashi
|Outbound Service||Tobu Asakusa||Tatebayashi|
|Revaty Ryomo #43||20.00||21.12|
The chief destination on this route is Tatebayashi Station. Tatebayashi’s attractions include the azalea park at Tsutsujigaoka Koen, the large flower park at Tobu Treasure Garden, Gunma Museum of Art, and Morinji Temple which is known as the setting of a famous folktale about a magical raccoon-dog. It takes 1 hour and 12 minutes to reach Tatebayashi from Asakusa and the full fare is 2,120 yen.
Alternative Services for Tatebayashi
For alternative services on this route see our article on the Limited Express Ryomo.
There is only one Revaty Kinu Service (#114) and this is an inbound service that runs from Shin-Fujiwara Station in Tochigi Prefecture to Tobu Asakusa Station. This train runs independently until it reaches Shimo-Imaichi Station where it is coupled with Revaty Kegon #14. The two services then continue on together to Tobu Asakusa Station. The Revaty Kinu stops at the following stations on its route:
Shin-Fujiwara – Kinugawa-Koen – Kinugawa-Onsen – Kosagoe – Shin-Takatoku – Okuwa – Daiyamuko – Shimo-Imaichi – Shin-Kanuma – Tochigi – Kasukabe – Kita-Senju – Tokyo Skytree – Asakusa
This train provides a useful additional return service from the popular spa resort of Kinugawa Onsen back to Asakusa in Tokyo. The journey from Kinugawa Onsen to Asakusa takes 2 hours and 11 minutes for a full fare of 2,990 yen. For outbound services to this resort passengers can use the Revaty Aizu (see below) or the Spacia Kinu.
|Inbound Service||Shin-Fujiwara||Kinugawa-Onsen||Tobu Asakusa|
|Revaty Kinu #114||8.26||8.34||10.45|
Four return Revaty Aizu services run between Tobu Asakusa Station and Aizu Tajima Station. Revaty Aizu services are all coupled with Revaty Kegon services between Tobu Asakusa and Shimo-Imaichi stations. Beyond Shimo-Imaichi Station Revaty Aizu services stop at the following stations. Not all services stop at the stations in brackets ().
Shimo-Imaichi – Daiyamuko – Okuwa – Shin-Takatoku – Kosagoe – (Tobu World Square) – Kinugawa-Onsen – Kinugawa-Koen – Shin-Fujiwara – Ryuoukyo – Kawaji-Onsen – Kawaji-Yumoto – Yunishigawa-Onsen – Nakamiyori-Onsen – Kamimiyori-Shiobara-Onsenguchi – (Ojika-Kogen) –Aizukogen-Ozeguchi – (Nanatsugatake-Tozanguchi )– (Aizu-Sanzon-Dojo) – (Aizu-Araki) – (Nakaarai) – Aizu-Tajima
|Outbound Services||Tobu Asakusa||Aizu Tajima|
|Revaty Aizu #101||6.30||9.45|
|Revaty Aizu #111||9.00||12.24|
|Revaty Aizu #117||11.00||14.20|
|Revaty Aizu #129||14.30||17.39|
|Inbound Services||Aizu Tajima||Tobu Asakusa|
|Revaty Aizu #128||10.43||14.15|
|Revaty Aizu #132||12.50||16.16|
|Revaty Aizu #140||14.57||18.15|
|Revaty Aizu #148||17.48||21.15|
There are a number of key destinations on this route as it services both the Kinugawa Onsen hot-spring resort area and the Aizu region of northern Japan. Example journey times and full rail fares (including limited express surcharges) are given below.
Tobu World Square Station
Tobu World Square is an architectural theme park with 102 scale model replicas of famous buildings from all over the world including 45 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Please note that this destination is not served by all Revaty Aizu services. Services that do stop here are the outbound services #111, #117 and #129 and inbound services #128, #132, and #140. However the outbound service #101 and inbound service #148 do not stop at Tobu World Square.
Train fare: 2,800 yen
Train time: 2 hours and 4 minutes
Kinugawa Onsen is a hot spring resort town with many traditional hotels. Boat trips on the River Kinu can be taken from April till November and there is a hiking trail through the nearby scenic Ryuokyo Gorge. The nearby Edo Wonderland amusement park is a 15 minute bus ride from the station.
Train fare: 2,990 yen
Train time: 2 hours and 7 minutes
Ryuoukyo means “Dragon King Valley” and is the name of a scenic ravine which is in walking distance from Ryuoukyo Station. The ravine is popular with hikers and is known for its spectacular views particularly in the autumn foliage season.
Train fare: 3,550 yen
Train time: 2 hours and 27 minutes
Kawaji Onsen is a scenic hot spring resort town on the Kinugawa River with many open air baths on the banks of the river. The mineral waters here are said to have many health benefits and be particularly good for easing muscle ache and the pain of rheumatism and neuralgia.
Train fare: 3,660 yen
Train time: 2 hours and 31 minutes
Yunishigawa Onsen is a hot spring resort town which also has open air baths, as well as traditional thatched-roof houses, and it is well known for its local rustic cuisine which includes wild boar and venison cooked in a sunken hearth.
Train fare: 3,870 yen
Train time: 2 hours and 42 minutes
Nakamiyori Onsen is a small hot spring resort with hot spring bathing, dining, camping and barbecue facilities. Overnight cabins are also available to rent which all have their own mini-kitchens and free Wi-Fi.
Train fare: 4,090 yen
Train time: 2 hours and 49 minutes
Aizu Tajima itself is not a major tourist destination, but from here passengers can take a connecting relay train service to Aizu Wakamatsu. Aizu Wakamatsu is a castle town famous for its samurai history and traditions. Attractions include Tsurugajo Castle, the Oyakuen Garden, Aizu Sake Museum and Enzoji Temple. Aizu Wakamatsu is located in the far west of Fukushima Prefecture and so was largely unaffected by fallout from the 2011 nuclear meltdown on the east coast. The relay train for Aizu Wakamatsu departs just 10 minutes after the Revaty Aizu arrives at Aizu-Tajima. It takes 1 hour and 7 minutes and costs 1,660 yen.
Train fare: 5,350 yen
Train time: 3 hours and 24 minutes
For Tobu World Square and Kinugawa Onsen passengers can also take the Spacia Kinu from Tobu Asakusa Station.
On Board Facilities
All Revaty services are completely non-smoking. All seats on Revaty services have electrical power outlets and free Wi-Fi is available throughout the train. Revaty trains also have spaces for wheelchairs and washrooms accessible for wheelchair users. These trains are the first Tobu trains to have active suspension which reduces vibrations as the train is moving.
Drinks and snacks are sold on board the following Revaty services: Revaty Kegon #11, #17, #28, #32 between Tobu Asakusa and Tobu Nikko, and on Revaty Aizu #111, #117, #128, and #132 between Tobu Asakusa and Shimo-Imaichi.
For other services passengers are advised to buy food and drink before the journey.
Limited express trains require seat reservations, so you will have to pay a limited express surcharge as well as paying for your train ticket. You can buy limited express tickets from automated machines on the 1st and 2nd floor of Tobu Asakusa Station, or you can buy them from the ticket office on the 1st floor.
Article by Michael Lambe. Photos by (1,2) Michael Lambe, (3) K2Lab/PIXTA, (4) Bluewater/PIXTA. All rights reserved.