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.
First of all, please see Shin-Aomori station map on JR East website.
Shin-Aomori station is not a big station, like Tokyo. It is composed of two parts, Shinkansen tracks at 3rd floor and conventional line’s tracks on ground floor. Ticket gate, transfer gate and exit are located on 2nd floor.
Shinkansen tracks and platforms
After you get off the trains, just take elevator, escalator or stairs to 2nd floor. And exit or transfer to conventional lines.
Exit, ticket gate and transfer gate
All exits and gates are located on 2nd floor.
There are two stairs at both side. But these stairs go to same platform and tracks. But if you get a reserved seat of Super Hakucho, take left. If you get a non reserved seat of Super Hakucho, take right. Anyway it is easy. Don’t be nervous.
Most of you do not exit this station. But if you plan to stay in Aomori, don’t stay around Shin-Aomori. Shin-Aomori station is one station away from Aomori station. Aomori station is located in downtown Aomori. There is nothing special around Shin-Aomori station.
Conventional lines tracks and platforms
It is very easy to find the train that you need to take. As far as you follow the sign, you can’t miss it. And also the trains do not come very often at Shin-Aomori. You don’t need to worry about taking the wrong train.
How many minutes is enough to transfer
When I get off the train at Shin-Aomori in this past March, I changed from Tohoku Shinkansen Hayate 33 at 18:28 arrival to Limited Express Super Hakucho 33 at 18:38 departure. It was very smooth transfer. I have checked the location of stairs, exit, transfer gates and took some pictures in this 10 minutes. I could do it very easily.
So all of you don’t need to worry about taking pictures or inspection there. All you have to do is just change the trains. I can say 10 minutes is enough. If you rush, you may be able to do it in even 5 minutes. It’s a piece of cake!
Move to Aomori station and transfer
Most of trains can be transferred at Shin-Aomori, like Limited Express Super Hakucho to Hakodate, Limited Express Tsugaru to Hirosaki and Rapid Resort Shirakami to Shirakami Mountains and Gono line. However only one train, overnight express Hamanasu cannot be transferred there. If you take Hamanasu, you need to go to Aomori.
Aomori station is one station away and takes only 5 minutes. This section, between Shin-Aomori and Aomori, is one of the special exception. You can take non reserved seat on limited express trains, like Super Hakucho and Tsugaru without surcharge. If you don’t use Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass and get on the express train only this section, you need to pay only basic fare.
Please see the map of Aomori station if you need. There are only 4 trucks for JR trains (#3-6). You may need to change the platform when you transfer the trains. But Aomori station is not a big station either. 5 minutes is enough to transfer.
I will write about Hakodate station on next post.