Oyama is above all a major train junction, and most visitors won't stop much longer than it takes to change trains. However, one of the minor thrills of Oyama is to stand on the Shinkansen platform and watch the through-trains barrel past at full throttle and full volume on the middle tracks away from either platform.
Oyama is on the Tōhoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Aomori, and is served by the Nasuno and Yamabiko all-stations services. There is one train per hour from Tokyo to Oyama, with more frequent trains for the peak-direction rush (42 minutes, ¥3440 for an unreserved seat).
Oyama also lies at the intersection of the JR Tohoku Line, which runs north-south between Utsunomiya and Ueno; the JR Mito Line, which runs east to the historic city of Mito; and the JR Ryōmō Line, which runs west to Takasaki, where the Jōetsu Shinkansen (toward Niigata) splits off from the Nagano Shinkansen.
Local trains from Ueno to Oyama on the Tohoku Line, the section of which is also referred to as the Utsunomiya Line, take 75 minutes at a cost of ¥1280. Some rapid services during rush hours cut this time down to as little as 60 minutes.
There is no cost to use JR train services with the Japan Rail Pass.
Oyama also lies at the intersection of two major national highways: National Route 50, which runs east-west between Mito and Takasaki, and National Route 4, which runs north-south between Tokyo and Aomori.
Oyama station is a decent place to do some quick shopping while waiting for train connections to smaller cities or towns. There are two fairly big, midrange department stores, Val and Roble.
The local post office (36.309232, 139.814939) ATM allows you to withdraw cash by credit and debit cards issued outside of Japan, including Visa, Plus, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express and JCB cards and provide an English user menu.
If you want to grab a quick meal between trains, try the ground floor food court below the Val department store at the West Exit. The ramen shop doesn't stint on the pepper or garlic, and the soba shop provides fresh wasabi that you grate yourself (and little bags to take away the leftover stubs). For those with a little more time to kill, here are a few options outside the station.
Bistro de Princess, Shiroyama-cho 2-6-49 (a few blocks west of JR Oyama Station West Exit, on the right just before you reach a pedestrian overpass), tel. 0285-24-1424. Open daily 12:00-2:00 pm, 6:00-8:00 pm. An omakase French-style bistro owned and operated by an eccentric chef who trained at the Akasaka Prince Hotel. Prix fixe lunch ¥980. For dinner, just tell the chef how many people are in your party and how much you are willing to pay per person and leave it up to him. (He may ask about the age, sex, or eating restrictions of people in the party.) Recommended budget per person, ¥1500-2500; more if you ask him to choose the wine.
Cafe Colorado (across the street from Roble department store out JR Oyama Station West Exit). Open Th-Tu (closed W) 9:00 am to 8:00 pm. Sandwich plates ¥720-840.
Ramen Genki, Chuo-cho 3-5-20 (at the far left end of the block in front of JR Oyama Station West Exit that has Cafe Colorado on one corner), tel. 0285-21-2050. Open 11:00 am to 2:00 am. Closed Su. Handmade gyoza. House ramen ¥500, lunch special ¥630, cold chuka soba ¥800.
Yamamoto-ya, Chuo-cho 3-6-6 (at the end of the alley that runs down the middle of the block in from of JR Oyama Station West Exit), tel. 0285-22-0159. Open 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. Closed Sa. Handmade soba, udon. Zarusoba ¥570, yakiniku teishoku ¥720.
Yuzen-ya (between Toys-R-Us and Family Mart on Route 50, a ¥660 taxi ride from the East Exit of Oyama station), tel. 0285-31-3557. A foreigner-friendly, family-friendly, and family-run izakaya that serves up an impressive variety of tasty meals, appetizers, and drinks.
If you want to grab a quick coffee between trains, Beck's is inside JR Oyama station, Starbucks is just outside the West Exit wickets at the entrance to Val department store, a quieter Tully's is on the second floor at the outside edge of Roble department store adjacent to Val, and a more traditional Cafe Colorado is just across the street from Roble.
Natty Pub, Ekihigashi-dori 1-24-17 (straight out JR Oyama Station East Exit, turn right at second light, Tonoike Building 1F), tel. 0285-24-1115, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, . Reggae bar with tropical treats.
Excel Inn Oyama, Ekihigashi-dori 2-23-7 (right outside the East Exit of JR Oyama station), tel. 0285-30-5555, fax 0285-30-6700, . Single ¥6300, deluxe single ¥7800 (for 2 ¥9200), twin ¥10500, deluxe twin ¥12000. Free breakfast service 6:30 to 9:30 am. All hotel literature bilingual (Japanese-English). Internet connected computer in 1F lobby.
Kokusai Daiichi Hotel, Chuo-cho 3-3-2 (one minute walk from the West Exit of JR Oyama station), tel. 0285-24-3161, fax 0285-24-3199, e-mail email@example.com, . Free international calls in the lobby to Korea, Canada, and the U.S.; free high-speed (ADSL) Internet access from rooms. Single ¥8350, twin ¥13000.
Oyama Grand Hotel, Hitotonoya 202 (25 minutes from the Sano-Fujioka exit on the Tohoku Expressway, near the intersection of National Routes 4 and 50), tel. 0285-24-5111, fax 0285-22-1117, . Single ¥8300, twin (2) ¥16500, Japanese (4) ¥32000.
Super Hotel Oyama, Shiroyama-cho, 3-16-10 (About 5 minutes walk from the west exit of Oyama Stations), ☎ 0285-24-9000, . checkin: 3:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.; checkout: 10:00 a.m.. Single Room: 5480 yen. edit
Hotel Sun Royal Oyama (ホテルサン・ロイヤル小山), 1-24-20 Ekihigashi-dori (JR Oyama Station 5 minutes walk from East Exit), ☎ 0285-24-7111, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. Single: ¥5,000, Double: ¥6,500. edit
E-Hotel Oyama, 3-5-11 Chuuouchou, ☎ 0285-24-5833, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 11:00. 6,800 yen (per person) 8,800 yen (2 persons). edit
Toyoko Inn Oyama-eki Higashi-guchi No.1, 1-4-5, Ekihigashidori (1 minute walk from the east exit of JR Oyama station.), ☎ 0285-21-1045, . checkin: 16:00; checkout: 10:00. Single Room ¥5,700. edit