Joetsu Shinkansen, access to Niiagata, Nagaoka and Echigo Yuzawa

Hayate by E2 series on Tohoku Shinkansen
E2 series is main train set on Joetsu Shinkansen.

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 old name of area where is between Niigata and Gunma. Echigo-Yuzawa is one of well known hot springs town in this area. It also has nice ski slope. JR East that owns Joetsu Shinkansen also owns Gala Yuzawa ski slope. You can access this ski slope directly from Gala Yuzawa station. In winter season, many Joetsu Shinkansen trains run directly to Gala Yuzawa station.

In this post, I will show you the details of Joetsu Shinkansen.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

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 that is called "MAX". It runs on Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen.
Double decker train that is called “MAX”. It runs on Joetsu Shinkansen.

Toki and Tanigawa are operated by same types of trains. E2 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 E2 series for Toki (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 E2 series for Tanigawa (images)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
NR NR NR NR NR NR NR 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, “Max” double decker train for Toki (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 is operated by 2 x 8 Double-Decker cars formation.

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

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

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

22 thoughts on “Joetsu Shinkansen, access to Niiagata, Nagaoka and Echigo Yuzawa”

  1. Hi,

    Im thinking of going to manza nishinkan for 2 nights in march. Arriving in Narita Airport at 11am. After 2 nights in Manza, im thinking of exploring Tokyo in another 4 nights. Is it advisable to buy the JR Pass East? Does this pass cover the train to Manza Kazawaguchi?

  • Your comment will not be shown until I approve. When you submit your comment, the page will be reloaded and nothing happens. But your comment will be shown when I approve. Please click submit only once and wait for my approval.
  • Please do not ask me to make your itinerary. Because I am not your personal travel agent. I am very happy to check your itinerary. But please try to make the plan by yourself. In this website, there are lots of resources to make your plan.
  • Please do not ask me about the access to your hotel. You can google your hotel and find it at hotel website or google map easily.
  • If you want to ask me which pass suits your plan, please tell me your detailed itinerary and location to stay. I cannot choose any deals without the detailed itinerary because I have to compare the total single fare and deals

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