The Vintage Touristic Train Between Osaka and Yoshino
Blue Symphony is a limited express train operated by Kintetsu connecting Osaka-Abenobashi and Yoshino station in Nara prefecture. Composed of only three cars, this touristic train offers its passengers the experience of a comfortable and peaceful travel throughout the Japanese countryside.
The Japanese do love trains, and especially the Shinkansen for fast trips between two destinations. But they also enjoy slow travels with the possibility to take the time to watch the landscape from the train. Kintetsu’s Blue Symphony is one of the numerous touristic trains in Japan 🚅, that journeys through the beautiful rural and forsaken sceneries of the archipelago.
A touristic and rural travel
Starting from the great city Osaka, the line circulates in Nara prefecture’s countryside for a little bit more than one hour to the foot of Mount Yoshino, famous for its thousands of cherry trees 🌸 blooming in spring and its numerous maple trees in autumn 🍁.
Between these two major touristic destinations, several small and quiet stations hide off the beaten track discoveries. Thus, Japanese civilization amateurs might find interesting to stop at Asuka station and visit, among other places, Kofun Ishibutai, an ancient stone tomb from the 7th century, or Oka-dera, an important Buddhist temple of the area.
The ambiance of a quiet and comfortable lounge
The Blue Symphony train has only three cars 🚙, with the middle one dedicated to catering. Indeed, a train travel in Japan would not be perfect without a gourmet corner, and some passengers therefore choose this specific trip for its menu. Part of it is changed throughout the seasons and the limited-edition snacks are usually quickly sold-out as they are produced in very limited numbers. In spring and when the train is full, it is highly recommended to go ordering at the bar as soon as possible. Onboard prices are affordable.
The inside layout of the beautiful blue train offers a retro and cozy decoration. The focus was clearly put on the seats’ comfort and providing a space wide enough for each passenger. Compared to a classic train, seating is far less numerous, and it is wider and more comfortable. A comfort that helps reducing the occasional bumps due to the relative old age of the railway tracks.
The dark colors, the carpet on the floor and the dimmed lights all create a serene and warm ambiance. Moreover, the arrangement of seating by four or face to face for couples are invitations to conversation, as if traveling in a cozy tearoom.
A travel that must be planned in advance
As a special touristic train, the Blue Symphony only makes two rotations a day. Booking the seat before boarding the train is required. The paid reservation can be made up to one month beforehand on the train’s Homepage or at a station. The ticket is valid only when the reservation, the additional fee for booking, as well as the usual travel fare are ordered and paid. Moreover, the train is operated by Kintetsu, a private railway company, and therefore is not included in the Japan Rail Pass.