The Narita Express Train, which whisks travelers on the 56-mile journey from Narita Airport to downtown Tokyo in just 60 minutes, has just become smoke-free! This follows a gradual move by East Japan Railway Co., which operates Japan Rail bullet and express trains in the Eastern part of Honshu — the area around Tokyo and north – to reduce the number of smoking cars on all of its trains. The smoking ban applies to all trains, with less than a two-hour traveling time, operating exclusively within JR East’s territory (does not apply to trains traveling to Western Honshu). In addition to the Narita Express train, the ban includes all cars of the “Asama” Nagano Shinkansen bullet trains – that travel north to Honshu ski resorts.
On the overnight “Hokutosei” and “Cassiopeia” express trains, with sleeping berths between Tokyo and Hokkaido, the lounge, hallway and other common spaces became non-smoking on September 1, 2005.
The JR East non-smoking move follows that of JR Kyushu. When the Kyushu Shinkansen began operating on Japan’s southernmost main island in March 2004, all of the cars on all of its bullet trains were inaugurated as non-smoking cars.
Currently, long haul JR East routes, those of more than two hours, still offer two smoking cars on a 16-car train. JR Routes traveling to Western Honshu, such as those from Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka, still maintain five smoking cars on a 16-car train.
For further information on traveling around Japan by rail, including Japan Rail schedules, fares, reservations, and information about purchasing a Japan Rail Pass, visit Japan Rail’s
website at www.japanrail.com. For other Japan travel information or to request brochures, including our free booklet, “Explore Japan by Rail: the Fun and Convenience of Train Travel in Japan,” contact the Japan National Tourist Organization through our website: www.japantravelinfo.com. The Japan National Tourist Organization is a public-private partnership under the auspices of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, with the mission to encourage international travel to Japan and support Japanese travel suppliers.