The Urban Park Liner is a limited express commuter service that runs from Tobu Asakusa Station to Omiya Station in Saitama Prefecture and Noda Station in Chiba Prefecture, and from Omiya Station to Unga Station in Chiba Prefecture. The Urban Park Liner is one of the #500 series fleet of “Revaty” trains that were introduced by Tobu Railway in April 2017.
The Urban Park Liner only runs on weekday evenings and has just three services numbered #1, #2, and #3. Urban Park Liner #1 is a six car train that runs from Tobu Asakusa Station to Omiya Station. Urban Park Liner #2 is a three car train that runs from Omiya Station to Unga Station. Urban Park Liner #3 is a six car train runs from Tobu Asakusa Station to Kasukabe Station where it splits into two separate services: one bound for Omiya Station and the other bound for Nodashi Station. On Urban Park Liner #3 cars 1-3 are bound for Omiya Station and cars 4-6 are bound for Nodashi Station.
Urban Park Liner #1 and cars 1-3 of Urban Park Liner #3 stop at the following stations:
Tobu Asakusa – Tokyo Skytree – Kita-Senju – Sengendai – Kasukabe – Yagisaki – Toyoharu – Higashi-Iwatsuki – Iwatsuki – Omiya
Cars 4-6 of Urban Park Liner #3 follow the same route until Kasukabe Station but then stop at the following stations:
Kasukabe – Fujino-Ushijima – Minami-Sakurai – Kawama – Nanakodai – Shimizu-Koen – Atago – Nodashi
Urban Park Liner #2 stops at the following stations:
Omiya – Kasukabe – Fujino-Ushijima – Minami-Sakurai – Kawama – Nanakodai – Shimizu-Koen – Atago – Nodashi – Umesato – Unga
The key destinations of these services are given below. Example train times and rail fares (including limited express surcharges) are from Asakusa.
Tokyo Skytree Station
This station serves Tokyo Skytree which is the world’s tallest tower at 634 meters high. The Skytree is both a broadcasting tower and a major tourist destination with lots of shopping and dining facilities, and upper level observation decks.
Train fare: 560 yen
Train time: 3 minutes
Transfer here to the JR Joban Line, the Tsukuba Express, and Tokyo Metro’s Chiyoda and Hibiya lines.
Train fare: 610 yen
Train time: 13 minutes
The city of Kasukabe in Saitama Prefecture is best known as the setting of the Crayon Shinchan series of manga comics and anime cartoons. There is a game center dedicated to Crayon Shinchan on the top floor of the Lala Garden shopping center which is just 7 minutes’ walk from Kasukabe Station.
Kasukabe Local History Museum is also just a 10 minute walk from Kasukabe Station. The RyuQkan museum is a 15 minute drive from the station and offers free tours of the “G-Cans Project”. This is the world’s largest underground drainage facility. However, as tours are only available in Japanese, you will need to bring an interpreter.
Fuji Dori (literally “Wisteria Street”) runs south from Kasukabe Station to Onuma Park and has a 1.1 km long wisteria trellis which blooms every spring. A Wisteria Festival (Kasukabe Fuji Matsuri) is held here every April with parades and performances of music and dance.
Train fare: 930 yen
Train time: 36 minutes
Iwatsuki is famous as a historical center for the making of dolls. The Tokyu Doll Museum and the Togyoku Doll Museum are both within walking distance of the station. Iwatsuki station is also convenient for Iwatsuki Castle and its surrounding park which is famous for its cherry trees and iris pond.
Train fare: 1,000 yen
Train time: 51 minutes
Omiya is a ward of Saitama City and has a number of attractions including Omiya Railway Museum, Hikawa Shrine which is said to date from 473 BC, Omiya Bonsai Village, which is the center of bonsai culture in Japan, and Omiya Bonsai Art Museum.
Train fare: 1,130 yen
Train time: 1 hour and 1 minute
This station is close to Ushijima-no-Fuji Park, a garden which is famous for its wisteria and in particular for one tree which is 1,200 years old and is a designated National Treasure. The garden is only open to the public from late April to early May.
Train fare: 930 yen
Train time: 47 minutes
This station is convenient for Shimizu Koen Park which has numerous facilities including seasonal flower displays, pony rides, a water fountain maze, an obstacle course for kids, a camp ground with bungalows, and barbecue facilities.
Train fare: 1,060 yen
Train time: 1 hour
This station is convenient for the Kikkoman Soy Sauce Museum. Sekiyado Castle is a 30 minute taxi ride from the station.
Train fare: 1,060 yen
Train time: 1 hour and 5 minutes
Timetables for key stops on all three services are given below. For complete timetables please visit the official Tobu Railway website.
|Urban Park Liner #1||20.30||21.06||21.18||21.28|
|Urban Park Liner #3||21.30||22.06||22.21||22.31||22.35|
|Urban Park Liner #2||22.43||22.59||23.21||23.28|
On Board Facilities
The Urban Park Liner, in common with other Revaty series trains, is notable for its sleek design, and comfortable seating. This train has a free Wi-Fi internet service and electrical power outlets at each seat. This train also has spaces for wheelchairs and universal access toilets. Food and drink are not sold on board the train so it is recommended that passengers buy their provisions at the station before boarding. All cars on the Urban Park Liner are completely non-smoking.
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.
At Tobu Asakusa Station the Urban Park Liner 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. As Tobu Railway is a private company the Urban Park Liner service is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.