Taking SL Taiju to Kinugawa! How to make reservations, fares, and recommended seats!

SL Taiki is the nickname of a steam locomotive (SL) train operated by Tobu Railway between Shimo-Imaichi Station and Kinugawa Onsen Station on the Kinugawa Line.

Although there are trains pulled and operated by steam locomotives on a regular basis on small and medium-sized regional private railways such as Oigawa Railway, Mooka Railway, and Chichibu Railway, and on JR Group companies such as JR East, Tobu Railway’s SL Taiki is the only one operated by a major private railway company.

SL Taiju is a train that runs between Shimoimoichi and Kinugawa Onsen.
The steam locomotive, familiar with the steam whistle called “Poppo,” carries you on the train.

If you are traveling to Kinugawa, this train is a must experience.

SL Taiju Reservation Method and Fees

There are three locomotives running: SL Taiju, SL Taiju Futara, and DL Taiju!
As for how to make reservations and the fare, keep in mind that a seat reservation ticket is required in addition to the train ticket!

Basically, SL Taiju Futara runs from Tobu Nikko to Shimo-Imaichi, and SL Taiju and DL Taiju from Shimo-Imaichi to Kinugawa Onsen.

Depending on the day, SL Taiju Futara will run through Tobu Nikko – Shimo-Imaichi – Kinugawa Onsen!
Fares are as follows. (red is the fare for seat reservation tickets)

SL Taiju Futara
Shimoimoichi – Tobu World Square/Kinugawa Onsen 260yen + 760yen = 1020yen
Tobu Nikko – Tobu World Square/Kinugawa Onsen 320yen + 1080yen = 1400yen・SL Taiju
Shimoimoichi – Tobu World Square/Kinugawa Onsen 260yen + 760yen = 1020yen/DL Taiju

Shimo-Imaichi – Tobu World Square/Kinugawa Onsen 320yen + 520yen = 840yen

And there are two main ways to make reservations.

Make reservations and purchase via the Internet
Purchase directly at the station counter

Reservations and purchases on the Internet

You can make reservations and purchase SL Taiju through the following link (Tobu’s Internet reservation and purchase service).

You can only purchase tickets by credit card, and you can even select your seat on your smartphone.
Then, on the day of the ride, you can simply board the train ticketless.

On the other hand, if you make a reservation, you register your phone number and e-mail address online and purchase your ticket at a manned ticket counter at the station.

When you purchase your ticket, you can even choose your seat!

Purchase at the station counter

The second method is to go directly to the station and purchase the tickets.
Of course, you can buy tickets at the station counter without using the Internet.

If there are seats available on the SL Taiju, you can even buy them on the same day!

When I was waiting for the Taiki at Shimo-Imaichi station, an announcement was made that there were seats available.

However, on weekends and holidays, the train may be full, so it may be a good idea to make a reservation or purchase a ticket online in advance.

View from SL Taiju’s recommended seat Taiki

If you are going to ride SL Taiju, you should have a seat on the “left window side in the direction of travel” for the train to Kinugawa Onsen and on the “right window side in the direction of travel” for the train to Shimo-Imaichi.

This is because the beautiful nature of the Nikko mountain range and Kinugawa River seen from the SL Taiju is easier to see from these seats.

SL Taiju Timetable

SL Taiju began daily service on July 31, 2021.
This is because two trains are now running.

The timetable pattern changes daily.
For detailed timetable, please check the official website of SL Taiju.

If you want to ride SL Taiju, go by “Liberty” or “Spacia”.

SL Taiju trains depart from Shimo-Imaichi Station and Kinugawa-Onsen Station.
Therefore, those coming from Tokyo or Saitama must first go to the first station.

Tobu also has express trains such as “Liberty” and “Spacia.
You can take the fast express train first for a comfortable trip, and then take the SL Taiju for a relaxing train ride!

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