はるか

The Haruka (literally "Far Away") is a limited express train operated by JR, running from Kyoto Station to Kansai International Airport along the Kyoto Line, Osaka Loop Line, and Hanwa Line. It has been in operation since 1994. The train takes 75 minutes to complete its journey from Kyoto to the airport, and runs every half hour from 6 AM to 10 PM, seven days a week.

Stops, travel times, and fares are:

           Coach   Green Car Minutes
Kansai
Tennoji    ¥2270    ¥3000       30
Shin-Osaka ¥2980    ¥3710       45
Kyoto      ¥3490    ¥4220       75
Several Haruka trains go as far as Maibara on Lake Biwa, a journey of two hours from KIX: these travel southbound in the early morning, and northbound at night. Several others stop in Hineno and Kazumi, on the way to Osaka and Kyoto, during rush hour.

The train used is a six-car JR Type 281, a white and blue train easily identifiable by its concave nose and high windshield: during rush hours, three more cars are added to bring the total to nine. The first class Green Car has three-abreast seating with a wonderful 1.16 meter seat pitch, while the coach cars seat four abreast with a 970mm pitch. At each end of the line, the seats automatically turn around, so that the train always appears to be facing forward, even though it does not turn around itself. This feature greatly impressed my engineer father when he visited.

Inside the train, passengers can watch the Mainichi Shimbun news ticker on an LED marquee over their heads, which alternates with the English-language Mainichi Daily News. There is also a soda machine, payphone, and ventilated smoking corner on board.

Other trains traveling to Kansai include the JR rapid service to Osaka Station and Kyobashi, and the Nankai Railway's rapi:t service to Namba.

for pictures: http://www.trainseat.net/interior/ltdexp/haruka/haruka.htm

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