The Shimotsuke is a limited express service that runs one daily return service between Tobu Asakusa Station in Tokyo and Tobu Utsunomiya Station in Tochigi Prefecture. At Tobu Asakusa Station this train departs from platforms 3 and 4. There is an information desk at the entrance to these limited express platforms where you should show your ticket before boarding.
This service is operated by Tobu Railway, which is a private company, so it is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
Shimotsuke #282 departs from Tobu Utsunomiya Station at 7.00 each morning and arrives at Tobu Asakusa Station at 9.11.
Shimotsuke #283 departs from Tobu Asakusa Station at 18.20 every afternoon and arrives at Tobu Utsunomiya Station at 20.20.
The Shimotsuke stops at the following stations. Only the #283 service, which is bound for Tobu Utsunomiya Station, stops at Sugito-Takanodai Station.
Tobu Asakusa – Tokyo Skytree – Kita-Senju – Kasukabe – (Sugito-Takanodai) – Tochigi – Shin-Tochigi – Mibu – Omocha-no-Machi – Esojima – Tobu Utsunomiya
The key destinations with rail fares (including limited express surcharges) and example train times are given below.
This station is convenient for the hot spring spa resort, Uta-no-Yu which is 9 minutes away by taxi.
Train fare: 900 yen
Train time: 44 minutes
Tochigi City has many historical buildings and old warehouses called “kura”. In particular Reiheishi Road is well known for these buildings and Tochigi Kuranomachi Museum of Art is located in three converted 200-year-old warehouses. For more details of Tochigi’s sightseeing attractions you can download a PDF sightseeing map. Transfer here to the JR Ryomo Line.
Train fare: 1,790 yen
Train time: 1 hour and 16 minutes
Omocha-no-Machi literally means “Toy Town” and this station is very convenient for two toy museums: the Mibu-machi Toy Museum which has lots of play areas and activities for small children, and the Bandai Museum which exhibits antique toys.
Train fare: 2,020 yen
Train time: 1 hour and 43 minutes
Tobu Utsunomiya Station
This station is located in the central business district of Utsunomiya, which is the capital city of Tochigi Prefecture. Utsunomiya’s chief attractions are the reconstructed Utsunomiya Castle and its surrounding park, and Oyaji Temple which is said to date from 810 and has a museum with many ancient artifacts. Utsunomiya is well known for its tasty Chinese dumplings, called Gyoza, and a Gyoza Festival is held in Utsunomiya Castle Park in early November each year.
Train fare: 2,020 yen
Train time: 2 hours
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 and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.