Tag Archives: Hayabusa

Trip to Hokkaido in 2017 winter – Part 1, from Narita Airport to Sendai

First night in Akihabara, Tokyo. It was rain and wet snow mixed.

I usually have quick trip to Japan in mid February. In this year, I had another quick trip, 3 nights 4 days and visited Hokkaido. In this trip, I visited Sapporo snow festival, Biei, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya and Hakodate. This was super busy trip and this is not recommended for all travelers. However you may get some idea from my trip report. I hope my trip experience help you to build your plan. Continue reading

Alternatives of Overnight train Twilight Express, in case that you cannot make a reservation.

***Twilight Express was discontinued in 12 March, 2015. There is no overnight train option between Osaka and Hokkaido any more.***

Twilight Express is one of the most popular train in Japan. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Twilight Express is one of the most popular train in Japan. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Twilight Express is very popular. Many tourists might think about taking this luxury overnight train. But you have a problem. Twilight Express cannot be reserved online. The only way to reserve it from outside of Japan is calling Odekake net 078-341-7903 in Japanese and you have to pick up your ticket in JR West, Shikoku or Kyushu stations. You cannot pick up it in other areas, like Tokyo. Otherwise You need to go to a reservation window at the station in Japan. Ticket is started to sell one month prior to the departure date. That means it may be sold out when you arrive in Japan. So you need to think about alternatives if you have a plan to take this train. I tell you several options for the case that you cannot make Twilight Express.

Twilight Express departs from Osaka at 11:50am and arrive in Sapporo at 09:52am, and depart from Sappro at 12:52pm and arrive in Osaka at 14:05pm. I try to make an alternatives as same schedule as possible. 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

Summary of Japan Railway’s timetable revision in March, 2012

Overnight limited Express train Nihonkai (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Overnight limited Express train Nihonkai will be discontinued as a schedule train. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Japan Railway usually revise the timetable every March. Hayabusa on Tohoku Shinkansen, Mizuho and Sakura on Kyushu Shinkansen were introduced in this past March. All JR six companies released the outline of next timetable revision in March 2012. I will show you the outline about this timetable revision.

Overnight train, Nihonkai and Kitaguni will be discontinued as a scheduled train.

I already mentioned this news on Twitter. Now it is officially confirmed. Continue reading

More chance to get Gran Class on Tohoku Shinkansen on Nov 19, 2011

Gran Class seat on E5 series (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Glan Class seat on E5 series (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Gran Class ticket on Hayabusa is one of Japan Railway’s ticket that is hardest to get. But JR East will add more E5 series train that equips Gran Class. JR East announced that E5 series is going to be used for Hayate and Yamabiko. They offer Gran Class service on Hayate and Yamabiko too! JR East will start to use E5 series for these following trains on November 19, 2011: Continue reading

Alternatives of Overnight train Cassiopeia and Hokutosei, in case that you cannot make a reservation.

Overnight Limited Express train Cassiopeia (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Overnight Limited Express train Cassiopeia (C) Sonic Rail Garden
***Hokutosei was discontinued as scheduled train in 14 March, 2015. Now Hokutosei runs as seasonal train until end of summer. It will be discontinued after it. Please find operation date at the post, Schedule of 2015 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways.***

Both Cassiopeia and Hokutosei very popular. Many tourists have a plan to take one of these trains. However these overnight trains cannot be reserved online. The only way to reserve it from outside of Japan is calling Odekake net 078-341-7903 in Japanese and you have to pick up your ticket in JR West, Shikoku or Kyushu stations. You cannot pick up it in other areas, like Tokyo. Otherwise You need to be the reservation window at the station in Japan. Ticket is started to sell one month prior to the departure date. That means it may be sold out when you arrive in Japan. So you must have a back up plan when you try to make a reservation after arrival.

I tell you several options for the case that you cannot make Cassiopeia or Hokutosei. Continue reading

Tips for taking Gran Class of Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa

The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37
The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37

JR East started to operate 2 round trips of Hayabusa after suspension by earthquake. It takes more than 4 hours between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori. Extra 1 hour is spent to get Aomori by Hayabusa. Because there is maximum speed restriction between Omiya and Morioka due to the damage by earthquake. I hope it will be restored with 100% soon.

*JR East lifted a speed limit in some area. Now it takes about 3 hours 30 minutes from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori. It is still 20 minutes more than the regular timetable.

I read the report on Nikkei Trendy. It is one of major magazine by Nihon Keizai Shinbun (Japan Economy Newspaper). There are a lot of images about accommodation, meal, drink and so on. I would like to share this report with you all here. Continue reading

Compare interior of Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa with Hayate

All trains on Tohoku and Joetsu shinkansen. From left to right, E5 (Hayabusa), E3 (Komachi), E2 (Hayate), 200 (Toki/Tanigawa), E4 Max, E1 Max
All trains on Tohoku and Joetsu shinkansen. From left to right, E5 (Hayabusa), E3 (Komachi), E2 (Hayate), 200 (Toki/Tanigawa), E4 Max, E1 Max

All line of Tohoku Shinkansen will be restored soon. Of course the fastest train “Hayabusa” will be operated too. Now I show you the article about comparison Hayabusa and Hayate on Tohoku Shinkansen.

Hayabusa has Gran class that is upper class than Green class. When I wrote this post, I had not received enough images of Gran class and other class’ seat of E5 series that has Gran class. Continue reading

Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa can be booked online.

The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37
The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37

On Feb 5, 2011, the first Hayabusa was on sale. But the first Hayabusa train to Shin-Aomori from Tokyo was sold out in ONLY 40 seconds!!! The fisrt Hayabusa from Shin-Aomori to Tokyo was sold out in one hour and 30 minutes. I don’t talk about only Gran Class, but any class on Hayabusa. I expected it would be popular. But this is more than what I expected.

I tried to access online site, and check the possibility for the booking of Hayabusa. I made it. Yes, we can.

If you want to book online, access to JR East Shinkanse reservation. You have to be a member. You need to have a credit card to guarantee the booking (not for payment).

Oops!

I read most of the major Japanese news paper. They said Hayabusa was sold out on Mar 5, 2011. But I could book it. I could make a reservation for even Gran Class. I did not click “Submit” on the last page. So I don’t know that the reservation would be completed or not.

Anyway you can make a reservation before you depart from your country. If you want to take Hayabusa, I strongly recommend to book in advance.

Japan Rail Pass can be used for Hayabusa (Revised on Feb 2, 10)

The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37
The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37

Since I have received a response about the extra charge on Green Pass from my reader, I noticed I gave the wrong information. I apologize and revise the informations.

I just received the notice from JR East. I am very happy to confirm that Japan Rail Pass will be able to used for Hayabusa.

Details and conditions

Ordinary Class
Both Japan Rail Pass Ordinary and Green can be used. No extra charge.

Green Class
Japan Rail Pass Green can be used with no extra charge.

Gran Class
Japan Rail Pass cover only the basic fare. If you want to take this class, you have to pay both Limited Express surcharge and Gran Class charge. As of Feb, 2011, the extra charges on Japan Rail Pass are the following:

Tokyo to Sendai : Ltd Exp charge 4,810 yen / Gran Class surcharge 9,000 yen (If you upgrade from Green, surcharge is 4,000 yen Even Green Pass cover only the basic fare.)
Tokyo to Morioka : Ltd Exp charge 5,650 yen / Gran Class surcharge 9,000 yen (If you upgrade from Green, surcharge is 4,000 yen Even Green Pass cover only the basic fare.)
Tokyo to Shin-Aomori : Ltd Exp charge 6.500 yen / Gran Class surcharge 10,000 yen (If you upgrade from Green, surcharge is 5,000 yen Even Green Pass cover only the basic fare.)

If you are looking for the details about Hayabusa, please refer this page. If you are looking for the timetable of Hayabusa, please refer this page.

Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa timetable released

The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37
The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37

JR East will start to operate the newest and fastest express train “Hayabusa” on Tohoku Shinkansen on March 5, 2011. They released the timetable for Hayabusa. I will show you that. But Japan Railway still did not announce that Japan Rail Pass can be used for Hayabusa or not. So please wait for that.

On Feb 1, 2011, I confirmed that Japan Rail Pass can be used for Hayabusa. But if you take Gran Class, you need to pay the extra. Please refer this post to see the details.

Timetable (from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori)

Station / Train Hayabusa 1 Hayabusa 3 Hayabusa 5
to Sendai
Tokyo (東京) 8:12 9:36 21:36
Omiya (大宮) 8:37 10:01 22:01
Sendai (仙台) 9:48 11:12 23:12
Morioka (盛岡) 10:32 11:56
Shin-Aomori (新青森) 11:22 12:46

Timetable (from Shin-Aomori to Tokyo)

Station / Train Hayabusa 2
from Sendai
Hayabusa 4 Hayabusa 6
Shin-Aomori (新青森) 6:10 18:14
Hachinohe (八戸) 6:34
Morioka (盛岡) 7:04 19:04
Sendai (仙台) 6:25 7:49 19:49
Omiya (大宮) 7:35 8:59 20:59
Tokyo (東京) 8:00 9:24 21:24

JR East has Hayabusa special website now. http://www.jreast.co.jp/e5/top-html.html
It’s in Japanese only. But it has tons of images and some English words. You may understand it.

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

The newest and fastest train! Tohoku Shinkansen “Hayabusa”

The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37
The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37

Tohoku Shinkansen will be extended to Shin-Aomori on this coming December 4. The fastest train that is called “Hayabusa” will be operated on March 2011. We will have 2 round trips between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori, and 1 round trip between Tokyo and Sendai. (Please refer another post to check the timetable.)

This train will have Ordinary class, Green class and the brand new class which is called “Gran class”. The same type of service as the first class on the flight will be provided on Gran class.

Images gallery of Gran class
Seat 1
Seat 2
Meal on board (Western style)
Meal on board (Japanese style)
Amenities

If you are looking for the images of Hayabusa and E5 series, please refer this post, Gran class and all class seat of Tohoku Shinkansen E5 series and Gran class for Hayabusa, Hayate and Yamabiko image gallery.

Japan Railway did not announce that Japan Rail Pass user can take this class without the extra fare. The surcharge of this class 5,000 yen more than Green class. So the extra surcharge for Japan Rail Pass user will be expected.

On Feb 1, 2011, I confirmed that Japan Rail Pass can be used for Hayabusa. But if you take Gran Class, you need to pay the extra. Please refer this post to see the details.

Connect Mainland (Aomori) with Hokkaido (Hakodate). Limited Express Hakucho / Super Hakucho

Limited Express Hakucho connect Honshu island with Hokkaido island.
Limited Express Hakucho connect Honshu island with Hokkaido island.

Super Hakucho and Hakucho will be discontinued in mid March. This train will run until March 21, 2016 normally. There is no train running between Shin-Aomori and Hakodate between March 22 and March 25, 2016. There is no way to get Hokkaido in this period.

On March 26,2016, Hokkaido Shinkansen will be opened. Hokkaido Shinkansen will connect Tokyo and Hokkaido. Please see the following link to see the details of this Shinkansen line.

Direct access to Hokkaido from Tokyo, Hokkaido Shinkansen (bullet train)

Hakucho/Super Hakucho is operated between Shin-Aomori (新青森) and Hakodate (函館). These trains go through the longest tunnel in Japan, “Seikan Tunnel” and connect the main island in Japan, “Honshu” (本州) and Hokkaido (北海道). All these trains are scheduled to be connected with Tohoku Shinkansen at Shin-
Aomori station and Limited Express “Hokuto” and “Super Hokuto” to Sapporo at Hakodate. These trains used to connect Hachinohe with Hakodate via Aomori. But Tohoku Shinkansen was extended to Shin-Aomori on December 4, 2010. Departure location had been changed to Shin-Aomori instead of Hachinohe.

Both Hakucho and Super Hakucho are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. But the accommodation between Hakucho and Super Hakucho is very different. So I would like to show you the difference and other details. Continue reading

How to access to Hakodate and Sapporo in Hokkaido by railway.

Sapporo in winter time is so beautiful.
Sapporo in winter time is so beautiful.

Sapporo is the biggest city in Hokkaido and is very well known as the base city of the biggest winter festival in the world.

We can get Sapporo in same day from Tokyo and Osaka by Shinkansen and Limited express trains. And also we can take an overnight train too. Let’s see the sample itinerary. Continue reading