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Ganbaro Tohoku

Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train), the fastest train to Tohoku area from Tokyo.


Hayate, Yamabiko and Nasuno 10 cars formation

Hayate, Yamabiko and Nasuno 10 cars formation

Tohoku Shinkansen is the second oldest Shinkasen (a.k.a. Bullet Train) line and it connects Tokyo with Shin-Aomori via Ueno, Omiya, Fukushima, Sendai, Morioka and Hachinohe. Tohoku means Northeast in Japanese. North part of Honshu island (main island) is called this name. Most of trains on Tohoku Shinkansen are combined with Akita Shinkansen “Komachi” or Yamagata Shinkansen “Tsubasa”. These trains give you direct access to other cities in Tohoku area. And also the trains that go to Shin-Aomori are connected with Hakucho/Super Hakucho and give you access to Hokkaido via Seikan Tunnel.

*If you are looking for the images of these train’s interior, please refer Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen image gallery.

Types of train, schedule and time required

There are four types of trains in service. These trains are all non smoking. You can take any trains on Tohoku Shinkasen by Japan Rail Pass. We don’t have any restriction except Glan class on Hayabusa.

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

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

Hayabusa

This train is the newest and the fastest train that connects Tokyo with Shin-Aomori. It was stared to operate on Mar 5, 2011. Most expensive and luxury seat, “Gran Class” was introduced on this train. This train stops at Ueno, Omiya, Sendai and Morioka. Just one trip to Tokyo from Shin-Aomori stops at Hachinohe. If you need more informations, please refer these pages, overview and images, timetable, extra charge for boarding Gran Class, this post, Gran class and all class seat of Tohoku Shinkansen E5 series and Gran class for Hayabusa, Hayate and Yamabiko image gallery.

Hayate

Hayate was the fastest train and only train that is operated from Tokyo to the north of Morioka before Hayabusa was introduced. But Hayabusa is operated only three round trips a day so far. So Hayate is still major train that connects Tokyo with Morioka or Shin-Aomori. Hayate do not stop at any stations between Omiya and Sendai. And most of Hayate do not stop at any stations between Sendai and Morioka. But some of Hayate stop at several or all stations between Sendai and Morioka. Since Hayate is only train that is operated between Morioka and Shin-Aomori except Hayabusa, most of Hayate stop at all stations on this section. Some of Hayate is combined operation with Akita Shinkansen “Komachi” between Tokyo and Morioka. The time required for the major sections are following:

Tokyo to Sendai — 1 hour 36 minutes by the fastest Hayate, 1 hour and 45 minutes on the average
Tokyo to Morioka — 2 hours 21 minutes by the fastest Hayate, 2 hours and 30 minutes on the average
Tokyo to Shin-Aomori — 3 hours 24 minutes by the fastest Hayate, 3 hours and 35 minutes on the average

Yamabiko / Max Yamabiko

Yamabiko is operated mostly between Tokyo and Sendai. But some of this train goes to Morioka. This train stops at Ueno, Omiya, Utsunomiya, Fukushima and Shiraishi-Zao between Tokyo and Sendai. But some of Yamabiko stop at all stations on this section. Yamabiko that is operated to Morioka stops at all stations between Sendai and Morioka. Yamabiko departs at Tokyo every 20 minutes. Some of Yamabiko that have “Max” at the beginning of the name is operated by “Max” Double-decker cars. Most of Max Yamabiko is combined operation with Yamagata Shinkansen “Tsubasa” between Tokyo and Fukushima.

Nasuno / Max Nasuno

Nasuno is operated as short distance transfer train and is operated between Tokyo and Nasu-Shiobara or Koriyama only. This train stops every stations on that section. Max double decker trains is used for some of Nasuno and this type of Nasuno is called “Max Nasuno”.


View Tohoku Shinkansen (Bullet Train) in a larger map

Stations

Station Hayabusa Hayate Yamabiko
Max Yamabiko
Nasuno
Max Nasuno
Tokyo (東京) x x x x
Ueno (上野) | x x x
Omiya (大宮) x x x x
Oyama (小山) | | * x
Utsunomiya (宇都宮) | | * x
Nasushiobara (那須塩原) | | * x
Shinshirakawa (新白河) | | * |
Koriyama (郡山) | | * x
Fukushima (福島) | | x
Shiraishizao (白石蔵王) | | *
Sendai (仙台) x x x
Furukawa (古川) | * x
Kurikomakogen (くりこま高原) | * x
Ichinoseki (一ノ関) | * x
Mizusawaesashi (水沢江刺) | * x
Kitakami (北上) | * x
Shinhanamaki (新花巻) | * x
Morioka (盛岡) x x x
Iwatenumakunai (いわて沼宮内) | *
Ninohe (二戸) | *
Hachinohe (八戸) * x
Shichinohe (七戸十和田) | x
Shin-Aomori(新青森) x x

x:All trains stop *:some trains stop |: no train stop
*Only one Hayabusa from Shin-Aomori to Tokyo stops at Hachinohe.

Accommodations and train formation

There are many types of trains on Tohoku Shinkansen. The newest E5 series, E2 series, “Max” E4 series and 200 series are used on this route. And E3 series which is used for Yamagata Shinkansen “Tsubasa” and Akita Shinkansen “Komachi” is combined with Hayate or Yamabiko. Moreover Max E4+E3 or E2+E3 combinations are sometimes used for only Yamabiko or Nasuno.

*If you are looking for the images of these train’s interior, please refer Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen image gallery. And also you can see some images of E3 series on Akita Shinkansen and Yamagata Shinkansen.

Train formation

E2 series (left) and 200 series (right)

E2 series (left) and 200 series (right)

E2 series used for Hayate (images)

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

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

Some of Hayate are operated with E3 series 6 cars formation “Komachi” that bound for Akita between Tokyo and Morioka. So if you take this type of Hayate, the train is the following 16 cars formation:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
R R R R R R R R G R G R R R R R

*Car#11-16 are operated as Komachi.

E2 series or 200 series used for Yamabiko (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)
*Car#4, 5, 6 and 7 are sometimes used as the reserved seat.

E2 series + E3 series combination used for Yamabiko and Nasuno (images)

*E3 series for Akita Shinkansen Komachi is sometimes used for Yamabiko and Nasuno with E2 series.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
NR NR NR NR NR NR R R G R G NR NR NR NR NR
Double decker train "MAX" Shinkansen

Double decker train Max Shinkansen

Max E4 series used for Max Yamabiko

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)
*Car#5 is sometimes used as the reserved seat.

Most of Max Yamabiko are operated with 7 cars formation “Tsubasa” that bound for Yamagata or Shinjo between Tokyo and Fukushima. So if you take this type of Max Yamabiko, the train is the following 15 cars formation:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
NR NR NR NR NR R G G
NR NR NR NR NR R R R G R R R R NR NR

*Car#11-17 are operated as Tsubasa.

2 X Max E4 series used for Max Yamabiko

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
NR NR NR NR R R G G NR NR NR NR R R G G
NR NR NR NR R R R R 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)

Max E4 series used for Max Nasuno

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

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

2 X Max E4 series used for Max Nasuno

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
NR NR NR NR NR NR G G NR NR NR NR NR NR G G
NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR

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

Max E4 series + E3 series combination used for Nasuno (images)

*E3 series for Yamagata Shinkansen Tsubasa is sometimes used for Nasuno with Max E4 series.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
NR NR NR NR NR NR G G
NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR G NR NR NR NR NR NR

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

Max E4 series

Max Double-Decker is very interesting. But non reserved seats of Max (car#1-3) do not have the arm rest and the reclining function. And also the seating formation 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.


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2 Comments to “Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train), the fastest train to Tohoku area from Tokyo.”

  1. Rami says:

    I’m visiting Japan very soon and I found your website AMAZING and helpful! Thank you so much!
    Maybe it’s because I’m a little nervous but I’m confused- at the train station with a JRP pass do I have to buy NO ticket? And just get on board?
    If so does that mean I should check that the train I board is one with non-reserved seats? Because I saw on your Narita page that there are no non-reserved seats on that train.

    • Hi Rami,

      As long as you take non reserved seat, you don’t need to purchase anything. All you have to do is showing your pass at the ticket gate and proceed to the platform.
      However if you have decided which train you will take, you can get reserved seat ticket with no extra charge on top of JR pass. Reserved seat is covered by the pass.
      You can’t get the seat sometimes if you take non reserved seat.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

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