Hokuriku Shinkansen, direct access to Kanazawa, Nagano and Toyama from Tokyo.

E7 series is one of the newest Shinkansen fleets for Hokuriku Shinkansen (C) Rsa (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
E7 series is one of the newest Shinkansen fleets for Hokuriku Shinkansen (C) Rsa (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

This Shinkansen lines is currently called “Nagano Shinkansen”. On March 14. 2015, this Shinkansen lines will be extended to Kanazawa and will be called official name “Hokuriku Shinkansen”. This Shinkansen will offer us much faster transport mode than current train services. So this Shinknansen line is covered by Japan Rail Pass fully and JR East Pass covers between Tokyo and Joetsu-Myoko station.

It does not open yet. But some of you have already started to make an itinerary for next spring. I would like to show you the information about this Shinkansen service with you. Continue reading Hokuriku Shinkansen, direct access to Kanazawa, Nagano and Toyama from Tokyo.

Access to Mito, Katsuta and Iwaki from Ueno. Limited Express Hitachi and Tokiwa

E657 series is one of the newest fleets and is used for Limited Express Hitachi and Tokiwa.
E657 series is one of the newest fleets and is used for Limited Express Hitachi and Tokiwa.

Limited Express Hitachi (ひたち) and Tokiwa (ときわ) are operated mostly between Shinagawa, Tokyo, Ueno and Katsuta, Iwaki via Mito on Joban line. These trains were operated as Super Hitachi and Fresh Hitachi from Ueno station before March 13, 2015. After that, these trains depart from Shinagawa station via Tokyo station. It is much more convenient to get on this train from Tokyo now. These trains connect most of cities along the coast side in Ibaragi and southern part of Fukushima.

If you travel to Mito, Iwaki, Yumoto Hot Springs resort, this train gives you directly transfer from Tokyo, Shinagawa and Ueno.

This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. I will tell you the details about this train. Continue reading Access to Mito, Katsuta and Iwaki from Ueno. Limited Express Hitachi and Tokiwa

Limited Express Kusatsu, most convenient access to Kusatsu-Onsen from Ueno, Tokyo

651 series was introduced instead of older 185 series. (C) 651 series K106 Kusatsu Miyahara  - ja:User:細谷侑希 (Yuki Hosoya) - ja:File:651series Kusatsu.jpg
651 series was introduced instead of older 185 series. (C) 651 series K106 Kusatsu Miyahara – ja:User:細谷侑希 (Yuki Hosoya) – ja:File:651series Kusatsu.jpg

Kusatsu (草津) is operated between Ueno (上野) and Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi (長野原草津口) and Manza-Kazawaguchi (万座・鹿沢口). Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi station is the nearest station to one of most famous hot springs resort, Kusatsu. JR Bus Kanto operates the shuttle bus between this station and Kusatsu Onsen.

This train, Limited Express Kusatsu and shuttle bus to Kusatsu by JR Bus Kanto are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see the details. Continue reading Limited Express Kusatsu, most convenient access to Kusatsu-Onsen from Ueno, Tokyo

Gran class and all class seat of Tohoku Shinkansen E5 series and Gran class for Hayabusa, Hayate and Yamabiko image gallery

More E5 series will be introduced for Hayabusa, Hayate and Yamabiko. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
More E5 series will be introduced for Hayabusa, Hayate and Yamabiko. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

E5 series was introduced for Tohoku Shinkansen in this past March. This is the first fleet that has Glan Class seat and it became very popular topic. This class is higher class than Green class. And it is still very hard to get the ticket. Finally I can you the images of all class and facility in this fleet.

If you are looking for the general informations about these Shinkansens, please read Tohoku Shinkansen or Joetsu Shinkansen. If you are looking for the images of other trains on Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen, please see the post, Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen image gallery. If you are looking for the images of Akita, Yamagata and Nagano Shinkansen, please refer the following posts:

Akita Shinkansen
Yamagata Shinkansen
Nagano Shinkansen

Continue reading Gran class and all class seat of Tohoku Shinkansen E5 series and Gran class for Hayabusa, Hayate and Yamabiko image gallery

Save money and time going to Kanazawa, Overnight Express train Noto

Overnight Express Noto is operated by 485 series. (C) Sui-setz / 800px-JR_East_485_Express_Noto
Overnight Express Noto is operated by 485 series. (C) Sui-setz / 800px-JR_East_485_Express_Noto

*Since March 2012, this train has not been operated. Even though JR East has not announced officially anything about this train, this train seemed to be discontinued.

Not (能登) is the overnight express train that is operated between Ueno (上野) and Kanazawa (金沢). This train used to be a scheduled train. But it was changed to a seasonal train in Mar, 2010. It is usually operated on every Friday and in peak season, such as spring holidays (late April to early May), Obon hoidays (mid August) and Christmas holidays. This train was operated on Saturday before Mar 2011. But JR cut down the operation days because they tried to make vehicle occupancy higher.

This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. It might be hard to get a seat on this train since this train is always busy. But it is considerable for overnight transfer between Tokyo and Kanazawa. Let’s see the details about this train. Continue reading Save money and time going to Kanazawa, Overnight Express train Noto

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

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 Compare interior of Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa with Hayate

No express surcharge! Fast, economical and convenient! Rapid service network in Greater Tokyo

Tokyo rapid lines map (Click to enlarge)
Tokyo rapid lines map (Click to enlarge)

Japan Railway operate Rapid trains throughout Japan. Especially lots of Rapid trains are operated in urban area, such as Greater Tokyo. In Tokyo, these trains are operated basically for commuters. But there are many operation routes. Of course you can use these trains for your exploring in surrounding Tokyo area. These trains connect Tokyo (=東京) and Shinjuku (=新宿) with Yokohama (=横浜), Kamakura (=鎌倉), Odawara (=小田原) (for Hakone (=箱根)), Utsunomiya (=宇都宮) (for Nikko (=日光)), Mito (=水戸), Narita airport (=成田空港) and even Atami (=熱海) (Izu peninsula hot springs (=伊豆半島)). These trains are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. If you have Japan Rail Pass Green, most of Rapid trains in Greater Tokyo have double decker Green cars. You will feel same type of atmosphere in a commute train. Continue reading No express surcharge! Fast, economical and convenient! Rapid service network in Greater Tokyo

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

Newer E6 series (red color fleet) at Tokyo station (C) James Chuang
Newer E6 series (red color fleet) at Tokyo station (C) James Chuang

Technically Akita Shinkansen means the line between Morioka and Akita. But most of trains are operated between Tokyo and Akita via Morioka as the train name, “Komachi” (こまち).

All Komachi trains are coupled with the fastest Tohoku Shinkansen train, “Hayabusa” between Tokyo and Morioka. Those trains are uncoupled at Morioka. Of course both Akita and Tohoku Shinkansen are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass and JR East Pass. Continue reading Direct access to Akita from Tokyo, Akita Shinkansen (bullet train)

Overnight express train Cassiopeia, very popular overnight train between Tokyo and Sapporo

Cassiopeia is most popular overnight train in Japan.
Cassiopeia is most popular overnight train in Japan.

*This train was discontinued in March 2016.

Cassiopeia is operated between Ueno and Sapporo. This train is like Japanese version Oriental Express and is the most luxurious in three luxurious overnight trains (other two are Twilight Express and Hokutosei) in Japan. Continue reading Overnight express train Cassiopeia, very popular overnight train between Tokyo and Sapporo

Overnight Express Train Hokutosei, most popular overnight train between Tokyo and Sapporo

Overnight Express train Hokutosei
Overnight Express train Hokutosei

This train was discontinued on March 13, 2015.

Hokutosei is operated between Ueno and Sapporo. This train is like Japanese version Oriental Express and is operated on the same route as the most luxurious overnight train, Cassiopeia. Continue reading Overnight Express Train Hokutosei, most popular overnight train between Tokyo and Sapporo

Overnight transfer to Aomori/Akita from Tokyo, No extra charge on Japan Rail Pass! Overnight limited express Akebomo


***This train scheduled service was discontinued in March, 2014 due to small demand.***

Overnight train "Akebono"
Overnight train Akebono

This overnight train is operated between Ueno and Aomori. Japan Railway operate 3 overnight trains between Tokyo and Tohoku or Hokkaido. But only “Akebono” has the reserved seat. The other two trains, “Hokutosei” and “Cassiopeia”, have only the sleeper. If you take sleeper class by Japan Rail Pass, Japan Rail Pass is valid for the basic fare only. You have to pay not only sleeper class surcharge but also limited express surcharge. That means you do not need to pay the extra to get “Akebono” because this train has the reserved seat. Continue reading Overnight transfer to Aomori/Akita from Tokyo, No extra charge on Japan Rail Pass! Overnight limited express Akebomo

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

E5 series is a flagship fleet on Tohoku Shikansen. this fleet is mostly used for Hayabusa and Hayate.
E5 series is the primary fleet on Tohoku Shinkansen.

Tohoku Shinkansen is the second oldest Shinkansen (a.k.a. Bullet Train) line in Japan and it connects Tokyo and Tohoku region, such as Shin-Aomori,Fukushima, Sendai, Morioka and Hachinohe. In March, 2016, Hokkaido Shinkansen was opened between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. Hokkaido and mainland of Japan are connected by Shinkansen line via Seikan Tunnel which is the undersea tunnel. This new segment is called Hokkaido Shinkansen and it is technically different Shinkansen line. But many of trains run on both Tohoku and Hokkaido Shinkansen lines. Many trains connect Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto (near Hakodate) directly now. Please see the link below to get the detail of Hokkaido Shinkansen. Continue reading Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train), the fastest train to Tohoku area from Tokyo.

Direct transfer to Yamagata and Shinjo, Yamagata Shinkansen (bullet train)

Yamagata Shinkansen
Yamagata Shinkansen E3 series.

Yamagata Shinkansen is operated between Fukushima and Yamagata and Shinjo. But all train services are provided to/from Tokyo and go through Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Fukushima. It is usually coupled with Tohoku Shikansen “Yamabiko” between Tokyo and Fukushima. At Fukushima station, these trains are uncoupled. Yamagata Shinkansen go toward to Yamagata and Shinjo.

Yamagata Shikansen is sometimes called Mini Shinkansen. Because technically it is not “Real” Shinkansen. It is smaller and slower than common Shinkansen because of sharing the truck with the local trains between Fukushima and Shinjo via Yamagata.

In this post, I would like to show many photos of Yamagata Shinkansen train and explain about this train. Continue reading Direct transfer to Yamagata and Shinjo, Yamagata Shinkansen (bullet train)

Nagano Shinkansen, direct access to Nagano and Karuizawa from Tokyo.

Most of  train is operated by this fleet, E6 / W6 series.
Most of train is operated by this fleet, E6 / W6 series.

*Nagano Shinkansen will be extended to Kanazawa in March 2015 and now it is called Hokuriku Shinkansen. Please see the link below to learn more:

Hokuriku Shinkansen, direct access to Kanazawa, Nagano and Toyama from Tokyo

This Shinkansen services are operated between Tokyo and 1988 Olympic winter game host city, Nagono via Ueno, Omiya, Takasaki and Karuizawa. This Shinkansen will be extended to Kanazawa by 2014 and this route is the original plan. This Shinkansen share the rail with Joetsu Shinkansen between Omiya and Takasaki. If you travel from Niigata to Nagano, you can transfer to Shinkansen at Takasaki station.

Continue reading Nagano Shinkansen, direct access to Nagano and Karuizawa from Tokyo.

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. Continue reading Joetsu Shinkansen, access to Niiagata, Nagaoka and Echigo Yuzawa