Train Review: Rapid Marine Liner 33 from Okayama to Takamatsu by Train (5000 series EMU & 223-5000 series EMU)

Rapid Marine Liner 33 from Okayama to Takamatsu Train Review

The Rapid Marine Liner is the main train link to Shikoku island via the Great Seto Bridge, plying between Okayama and Takamatsu. On the way to Hakata, I took a detour to Takamatsu to try out the Rapid Marine Liner and have lunch, since my JR Sanyo-San’in Northern Kyushu Area Pass allows for it. With my JR Sanyo-San’in Northern Kyushu Area Pass, I was also allowed to get a reserved seat on the Rapid Marine Liner in the unique JR Shikoku 5000 series double-decker car.

Okayama Station

I arrived at Okayama Station from the Hello Kitty Shinkansen, and it was a comfortable transfer to the Rapid Marine Liner 33.

My Rapid Marine Liner 33 will be departing from Platform 6.

Heading down to Platform 6.

Having just 1 reserved seat car, it was easy to find my waiting position on Platform 6.

Rapid Marine Liner from Okayama to Takamatsu

The incoming Rapid Marine Liner 30 arriving at Okayama, which will form my Rapid Marine Liner 33 train to Takamatsu.

This train is formed of 3+2 cars.

Car 1 is what I am here for – a unique double-decker car on a regular train.

Unfortunately for me, I am only able to get a seat on the lower deck as the upper deck is classified as Green Class seats.

Rapid Marine Liner 33

The front view of the Rapid Marine Liner 5000 series EMU. Car 1 is on the Takamatsu end.

As this is a reserved seat car and Green Car, cleaning is done after all incoming passengers had alighted.

If using the ordinary non-reserved seat cars, the train is ready for boarding immediately like a regular commuter train.

Non-Reserved Seat

The interior of the Rapid Marine Liner non-reserved seat cars.

For Car 1, the upper deck consists of Green Car seats in a 2+2 configuration with a padded headrest.

The lower deck consists of ordinary reserved seats in a 2+2 configuration without a padded headrest.

Boarding commenced at 1.06pm – 6 minutes before departure time.

Seat numbers are displayed on a simple map by the stairs.

I first headed upstairs to see the Green Car section.

Green Car

The interior of the Rapid Marine Liner Green Car.

Seats are in 2+2 configuration but are more padded than the ordinary reserved seats. The upper deck view is the premium here.

There are also 4 Green Car sears behind the driver’s cab offering a front view out of the wide windscreen.

Heading down to the lower deck where I belong.

Non-Reserved Seat

The interior of the Rapid Marine Liner ordinary reserved seat. Seats are laid out in a 2+2 configuration.

The legroom available on board the Rapid Marine Liner ordinary reserved seat.

Do note that luggage storage is an issue on board the Rapid Marine Liner with no overhead luggage racks and just 1 small luggage rack at the rear of the train car. Luckily for me, the seat beside me was empty throughout the journey, so I had space to place my bags.

The windows and train car body are tapered down on the lower deck, probably to allow for platform clearance.

The window sill doubles up as a side table to place drinks and small items on it.

My Rapid Marine Liner 33 departed from Okayama Station on time at 1.12pm.

Splitting off to the south from the Sanyo Shinkansen and Sanyo Line east-west alignment.

The conductor came round to match reserved seats with passengers on her phone, and with no discrepancies, the check along the lower deck took less than 10 seconds.

Senoo Station

Making a brief stop at Senoo Station.

Chayamachi Station

Making a brief stop at Chayamachi Station.

The view from the lower deck is unfortunately not ideal on viaducts, with views of concrete only.

Approaching Kojima Station.

Kojima Station

Making a brief stop at Kojima Station. This is the last station on Honshu before crossing over to Shikoku.

There are 2 single reserved seats on the level deck beside the toilets for universal access.

A universally-accessible toilet is also available on board the Rapid Marine Liner reserved seat car. Green Car and reserved seat passengers share this toilet.

Great Seto Bridge

After Kojima, the Rapid Marine Liner heads on to the Great Seto Bridge. The Great Seto Bridge is a series of double-deck bridges connecting Okayama and Kagawa prefectures across the Seto Inland Sea.

The railway takes the lower deck of the Great Seto Bridge, with the road highway taking the upper deck.

Between bridges, the alignment goes on 5 small islands in the Seto Inland Sea.

The view of the Seto Inland Sea from the Rapid Marine Liner in the Great Seto Bridge.

Heading over Yoshima Island.

Continuing over the Seto Inland Sea.

Approaching Shikoku island.

The road highway diverges left while the railway diverges right on entering Shikoku island.

The Rapid Marine Liner will soon turn right on the wye junction, passing under the road highway again.

Approaching Sakaide with a view of AEON Sakaide.

Sakaide Station

Making a brief stop at Sakaide Station.

The scenery along the way to Takamatsu.

Passing by Takamatsu Freight Terminal Station.

Crossing over the Koto River.

Approaching Takamatsu Station.

Takamatsu Station

Entering Takamatsu Station.

Another Rapid Marine Liner was ready to depart from Takamatsu.

My Rapid Marine Liner 33 arrived at Takamatsu Station on time at 1.05pm.

Heading out of the end-on platforms.

The Takamatsu station sign with Anpanman in front of it.

There was an issue with the ticket gates at Takamatsu Station as it kept rejecting my JR Sanyo-San’in Northern Kyushu Area Pass. However, the gate line staff seems to know about this issue and he called me to use the manual lane instead, with him checking my JR Sanyo-San’in Northern Kyushu Area Pass physically.

The concourse of Takamatsu Station.

There is a tourist information desk at Takamatsu Station. However, as my time in Takamatsu was limited, I didn’t bother asking for places to go as I could only stay around the station.

Heading out of Takamatsu Station.

The station square of Takamatsu Station.

Takamatsu Station is located by the port, with some malls and hotels around it. However, it is not in the centre of Takamatsu which is about 2 kilometers south.

The JR Hotel Clement Takamatsu is right in front of Takamatsu Station.

The façade of Takamatsu Station.

The Takamatsu Symbol Tower is located across the road from Takamatsu Station.


The Rapid Marine Liner is an interesting train with a double-decker car at the front of the train, and reserved seats for a comfortable ride. However, while the ride was comfortable, the views out of the lower deck windows were less than ideal, as I was just staring at concrete for the whole time when on viaducts. Luggage storage was also an issue with not enough storage racks on board the train car, with no overhead racks available due to height restrictions of the double-decker train car.

After skipping the novelty of the unique double-decker train car of the Rapid Marine Liner, it may be better to use the ordinary unreserved seat cars instead for level views out of the window and usage of overhead luggage racks.

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