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Joetsu Shinkansen, access to Niiagata, Nagaoka and Echigo Yuzawa


Original type of car, 200 series.

Original type of car, 200 series.

Joetsu Shinkansen is the third oldest Shinkasen (a.k.a. Bullet Train) line and it is operated between Tokyo and Niigata via Ueno, Omiya, Takasaki and Nagaoka. Joetsu is the name of area where is between Niigata and Gunma. You may use this Shinkansen to access to one of popular destination, Kanazawa. Transfer to Limited Express “Hokuetsu” at Nagaoka. That Limited Express train will take you Kanazawa. And you have one more choice. If you want to stay in Tokyo as much as you can and do not care to arrive at Toyama or Kanazawa are so late, you can take overnight express train “Kitaguni”.

*The fastest route to Kanazawa is exchange to Limited Express “Hakutaka” at Echigo-Yuzawa station. But “Hakutaka” take Hokuetsu Kyuko line that is not owned by Japan Railways. So you have to pay extra if you use Japan Rail Pass.

Types of train, schedule and time required

Two types of trains are operated. These trains are all non smoking. You can take any trains on Joetsu Shinkasen by Japan Rail Pass.

Toki / Max Toki

“Toki” means Japanese Crested Ibis in Japanese. This train is operated between Tokyo and Niigata and is faster than “Tanigawa”. Toki stop at Ueno, Omiya, Takasaki, Echigo-Yuzawa, Nagaoka and Tsubamesanjo mostly. But some of Toki stop at many stations, like Tanigawa. The fastest Toki takes you to Niigata directly from Tokyo in 1 hours 40 minutes. But it takes about 2 hours to get Niigata from Tokyo mostly. Toki is operated twice an hour and depart Tokyo station at :12 and :32 past the hour between 6:00 and 22:00. Some of Toki that have “Max” at the beginning of the name is operated by Double decker cars.

Tanigawa / Max Tanigawa

“Tanigawa” is named from one of the popular mountain for climbing in Japan, “Mt. Tanigawa”. This train service is operated between Tokyo and Takasaki or Echigo-Yuzawa and stop at all stations. Tanigawa is operated once an hour and depart from Tokyo at 52 past the hour. And this train service is extended to Gala-Yuzawa station during ski season. Gala-Yuzawa is open for ski season only and a few km away from Echigo-Yuzawa. This station is located just in front of the ski hill and gives you direct access to ski hill. Some of Tanigawa are operated by Double decker train too. These types of trains have “Max” at the beginning of the name as well as Toki.

Stations

Station Toki
Max Toki
Tanigawa
Max Tanigawa
Tokyo (東京) x x
Ueno (上野) x x
Omiya (大宮) x x
Kumagaya (熊谷) * x
Honjo-Waseda (本庄早稲田) * x
Takasaki (高崎) x x
Jomo-Kogen (上毛高原) * x
Echigo-Yuzawa (越後湯沢) x x
Urasa (浦佐) *
Nagaoka (長岡) x
Tsubamesanjo (燕三条) *
Niigawa (新潟) x

x:All train stop *:some train stop


View Joetsu Shikansen (Bullet Train) in a larger map

Accommodations and train formation

Double-Decker train Max old type E1 series

Double-Decker train Max old type E1 series

Toki and Tanigawa are operated by same types of trains. Refurbished 200 series, E1 series and E4 series are used on this route.
*If you are looking for the images of these train’s interior, please refer Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen image gallery.

Train formation

Train formation that is operated by refurbished 200 series, the oldest type of train (images)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
NR NR NR NR NR R R R G R

R:Ordinary class reserved seat NR:Ordinary class non-reserved seat G:Reserved Green class (First class seat)

Train formation that is operated by E4 series, newer “Max” double decker train (images)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
NR NR NR NR R R G G
NR NR NR NR R R R R

R:Ordinary class reserved seat NR:Ordinary class non-reserved seat G:Reserved Green class (First class seat)
*Some Max Toki anb Max Tanigawa are operated by 2 x 8 Double-Decker cars formation.

Train formation that is operated by E1 series, older “Max” double decker train (images)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
NR NR NR NR R R R R G G G R
NR NR NR NR R R R R R R R R

R:Ordinary class reserved seat NR:Ordinary class non-reserved seat G:Reserved Green class (First class seat)

Max Double-Decker is very interesting. But non reserved seats of Max (car#1-3 of new series and car#1-4 of old series) do not have the arm rest and the reclining function. And also the seating configration of the second floor of Max is 3+3 instead of regular formation 3+2. As long as you have a reserved seat, it’s no problem. But please be careful when you take non reserved seat.

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!

Chisun Hotel Niigata Good location and good price
Dormy Inn Annex Niigata Convenient location and fair price


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2 Comments to “Joetsu Shinkansen, access to Niiagata, Nagaoka and Echigo Yuzawa”

  1. Sherry says:

    Hi,

    Is the SHINKANSEN MAX TOKI covered by the JR Pass?

    Thanks!

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Sherry,
      JR Pass cover Max Toki. JR Pass does not cover Nozomi on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen and Mizuho on Sanyo-Kyushu Shinkansen only. All other trains can be used by JR Pass.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

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