The ‘MAHOROBA’ express launches to Nara – With opening of the new tracks of Osaka

In line with the opening of Osaka Station (Umekita Area) in March 2023, JR West will operate the extra limited express trains “MAHOROBA” that connects Osaka, Shin-Osaka and Nara without changing trains.

JR West 287 series EMU used for the extra limited express trains "Mahoroba" (Image by JR West)
JR West 287 series EMU used for the extra limited express trains “Mahoroba” (Image by JR West)

Revived after 2 and a half years against the pandemic

In line with the full opening of the Osaka-Higashi Line in March 2019, the limited express “MAHOROBA” started operation on November 2, 2019 as extra trains that goes through the route. By operating non-stop between Shin-Osaka and Nara mainly on Saturdays and holidays and connecting with the Shinkansen, access to Nara from the Sanyo & Kyushu areas has been improved.

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The train nickname “MAHOROBA” means “wonderful place” and “a comfortable place to live”, and is widely recognized as a beautiful name that expresses the charm of the ancient city of Nara.

“MAHOROBA” was planned to be operated in the following tourist season in the next year 2020, but due to the spread of COVID-19, operation was canceled depending on some periods. The train has not been set since September 27, 2020.

Due to the revision of the JR West Japan timetable that will be scheduled on March 18, 2023 (Sat), all trains on the Osaka-Higashi Line will start running into the Osaka Station underground platform (Umekita Area). Taking this opportunity, the newly reborn “MAHOROBA”, which has been revived for the first time in about two and a half years, will be extended to depart from and arrive at Osaka Station, stopping only at Shin-Osaka on the way to Nara (See the chart below about the details such as the timetable and route map of the extra limited express “MAHOROBA”).

JR West will operate the extra limited express ‘MAHOROBA’

Direct access from Osaka to Nara in 1 hour

“MAHOROBA” will be in operation for a total of 16 days, mainly weekends from March 25 (Sat) to June 11 (Sun), 2023. There are no plans to operate during Golden Week. The outbound trip departs from Osaka at 9:58 to Nara (arrives at 10:56), and the return trip departs from Nara at 17:41 to Osaka (arrives at 18:43).

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On March 25 (Sat), the first day of operation, a welcome event will be held at Nara Station by the Nara City Tourism Association’s mascot character “Shikamaro-kun” and the “Nara City Concierges” who are in charge of promotional activities in Nara.

The rolling stocks used for “MAHOROBA” is a 3-car train of the 287 series, which is usualy operated for the limited express “KUROSHIO”. From this season, new bright green nickname symbols with the motif of the silhouette of a temple in Nara will be displayed on the direction curtain on the side of the trains.

All cars are operated with reserved seats, so you need a limited express ticket for a reserved seat in addition to a fare ticket. A one-way limited express ticket between Osaka / Shin-Osaka and Nara Station costs 1,730 yen (normal season).

In addition, some travel agencies are planning to release tour products that allow visitors to enjoy sightseeing in Nara using “MAHOROBA” on the way back and forth.