Category Archives: Tohoku Area

Tohoku area is northern part of Honshu island (Main and biggest island). Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures are in this area.

My trip from Osaka to Aomori via Tokyo, Matsushima and Kakunodate on March 19, 2012 by Tokaido, Tohoku and Akita Shinkansen

I had never taken Akita Shikansen "Komachi". That was one of my object in this trip. (C) JP Rail
I had never taken Akita Shikansen “Komachi”. That was one of my object in this trip. (C) JP Rail

I think this post is nothing special for the frequent travellers. Because I got on Tokaido Shinkansen, Tohoku Shinkansen, Akita Shinkansen and local train to Matsushima (松島). Since I think the access to Matsushima is the most technical part in this trip, I have already posted about this at Easy trip from Sendai. How to access to Matsushima by Japan Rail Pass. But even other part of this trip might help the first time visitors. So I would like to write about this trip. Continue reading

Shin-Aomori station guide. How to change the train, Shinkansen, Super Hakucho and other local trains.

The exterior of Shin-Aomori station. It looks new because this station opened in 2010.
The exterior of Shin-Aomori station. It looks new because this station opened in 2010.

Hokkaido Shinkansen was opened in March 26, 2016. You can get Hokkaido by Shinkansen directly without changing trains at Shin-Aomori.

I have received some questions about train transfer at Shin-Aomori station. Shin-Aomori is the last station of Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo. And this station is the place to change the train to Hokkaido, like Hakodate and Sapporo. Some travellers worry about the transfer. They are not sure how big Shin-Aomori station and how many minutes is a enough to transfer the trains.

I show you map and images. I hope this instruction will help you to plan your itinerary. Continue reading

Easy trip from Sendai. How to access to Matsushima by Japan Rail Pass

Godaido is one of the best EASY-ACCESS view point. (C) JP Rail
Godaido is one of the best EASY-ACCESS view point. (C) JP Rail

Matsushima (松島) is one of “Three Views of Japan” (Matsushima, Amanohashidate and Miyajima). There are more than 200 hundred broken islands in Matsushima bay. You can enjoy the scenery from the land or on the cruise boat. As probably you know, this region was damaged by the great earthquake in March, 2011. However Matsushima was not damaged very seriously because of many islands.

I strongly recommend you to visit Matsushima since it can be accessed from Sendai very easily. It is only 40 minutes trip by Senseki line local train. Of course it is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass.

I visited Matsushima on this past March. I show you how to get there. Continue reading

Sample itinerary Tohoku 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

Yamadera is located between Yamagata and Sendai. ©JNTO
Yamadera is located between Yamagata and Sendai. ©JNTO

This itinerary includes all part of Tohoku and covers many popular spots, such as Nikko, Zao, Matsushima, Hiraizumi, Oirase, Lake Towada, Shirakami Sanchi and Kakunodate, in 7 days. So you can simply use Japan Rail Pass 7 days. I also try to minimize an extra cost.

You may start this itinerary either from Tokyo or from Osaka. But if you can start this from Osaka, you need to take the overnight train Sunrise Seto/Izumo from Osaka to Tokyo. As long as you catch “Nobi Nobi seat” on Sunrise Seto or Izumo before the date change, you can travel without any extra charge. Continue reading

Rail cruising in UNESCO World Heritage Shirakami mountains by Rapid train Resort Shirakami

HB-E300 Buna train set is the newest fleets for Resort Shirakami.

Resort Shirakami (リゾートしらかみ) is a rapid train that is operated between Akita (秋田) and Aomori (青森). This train is named from UNESCO World Heritage site “Shirakami mountains (白神山地)”. This train runs on Gono line (五能線) along the shoreline of Sea of Japan. Gono line is known as one of the most scenic lines. The view is amazing.

This train is not an express train but this cruising train offers very comfortable interior. It is operated by specialized train and it does not have any non reserved seat. This train is operated on weekend, holidays and the peak periods only. If you use Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass), JR East Pass, JR-East South Hokkaido Rail Pass, you can take this train with no extra charge.

I show you some images of this train and tell you the details of this train in this post. Continue reading

Visit by Japan Rail Pass! How to access to Lake Towada (Towadako).

Lake Towada (autumn season)
Lake Towada (autumn season)

This lake is one of the most beautiful lake in Japan and most popular destination in Tohoku Area (North part of main island). Especially it has very colorful and amazing view in autumn. JR Tohoku Bus operate the schedule bus to Towadako. This bus service is included in Japan Rail Pass. So you can go there with NO EXTRA charge. Continue reading

How to access to Ryusendo (Limestone cave) by Japan Rail Pass

Ryusendo - You can explore the lon cave without any special equipment.
Ryusendo – You can explore the lon cave without any special equipment.

Ryusendo (=龍泉洞) is one of three biggest limestone caves in Japan. It has some crystal clear blue lakes in the cave. You can see three lakes during viewing the cave and third lake is 98m deep. Ryusendo has very well maintained path in the cave. So you don’t worry about any special equipments. Continue reading