On second day of my trip, I flied to Akita and visited Kakunodate. I have been to Kakunodate but my mother had asked me to take her to Kakunodate. Actually she requested Takachiho and Kakunodate. We had already done Takachiho 4 years ago. This was another task of me. I had JR pass but I booked the domestic flight from Itami (another Osaka airport) to Akita. She is Japanese and she can not get JR Pass. So we flied to Akita to visit Kakunodate and Yamadeara at the beginning part of my trip and I shared these two days with my mother. Continue reading →
JR East has decided to divide JR East into two regional passes, JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano, and JR East Pass Tohoku. Current JR East pass will be discontinued in the end of March and these two JR East passes will be on sale. In this post, I would like to explain one of these passes, JR East Pass Tohoku in this post. Continue reading →
Shinkansen (新幹線) is high speed train service that is operated by JR. It is one of the fastest train in world and sometimes called “Bullet Train”. JR has this high speed train network throughout Japan. You can save lots of your trip time by using this train system.
Most of you use this train system in your trip. I would like to share the basic information about this train system, Shinkansen. Continue reading →
After I got off Akebono at Akita, I was going to ride Resort Shirakami. But it would depart at 8:38 am. I had almost 2 hours. I was looking for somewhere to stay for 2 hours near Akita station in early morning. Continue reading →
At Ueno station before getting on Overnight Limited Express Akebono
Before you get on Overnight trains, you have to make sure that you should purchase some food and drink. So far, only Cassiopeia, Twilight Express and Hokutosei have a dining car and on-board sales. Other overnight trains, Akebono, Sunrise Seto/Izumo and Hamanasu do not have those services. Akebono does not have even vending machines. If you get on Akebono, you must finish dinner and get something to eat and drink before boarding. Continue reading →
JR East announced that they will sell Tohoku Ouen Pass (東北応援パス). “Ouen (応援)” means Supporting in Japanense. This pass will be sold for supporting Tohoku region where is seriously damaged by the great earthquake in this past March. This pass motivate tourists go to Tohoku region and spend money there to revitalize economy there. Anybody can buy this pass. If you travel outside from Japan, you can buy Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass. But if you live in Japan as a student or work permit, you cannot buy these pass for visitors. This pass may be considerable for you.
This itinerary includes all part of Tohoku and covers many popular spots, such as Nikko, Zao, Matsushima, Hiraizumi, Oirase, Lake Towada, Shirakami Sanchi and Kakunodate, in 7 days. So you can simply use Japan Rail Pass 7 days. I also try to minimize an extra cost.
You may start this itinerary either from Tokyo or from Osaka. But if you can start this from Osaka, you need to take the overnight train Sunrise Seto/Izumo from Osaka to Tokyo. As long as you catch “Nobi Nobi seat” on Sunrise Seto or Izumo before the date change, you can travel without any extra charge. Continue reading →
Resort Shirakami (リゾートしらかみ) is a rapid train that is operated between Akita (秋田) and Aomori (青森). This train is named from UNESCO World Heritage site “Shirakami mountains (白神山地)”. This train runs on Gono line (五能線) along the shoreline of Sea of Japan. Gono line is known as one of the most scenic lines. The view is amazing.
This train is not an express train but this cruising train offers very comfortable interior. It is operated by specialized train and it does not have any non reserved seat. This train is operated on weekend, holidays and the peak periods only. If you use Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass), JR East Pass, JR-East South Hokkaido Rail Pass, you can take this train with no extra charge.
I show you some images of this train and tell you the details of this train in this post. Continue reading →
***This train scheduled service was discontinued on March, 2012 due to small demand. It is operated as a seasonal operation train. Please refer the most updated operation date at Seasonal Trains Schedule.***
Nihonkai (日本海) is one of JR Overnight Express trains. It connects Osaka (大阪) with Akita (秋田) and Aomori (青森). This train has only the berth. So if you will use Japan Rail Pass, Japan Rail Pass does not cover an accommodation charge and also limited express surcharge. Even though Japan Rail Pass cover a basic fare, Nihonkai is still considerable way to get Aomori from Osaka. Let’s see the types of accommodation and extra charge. Continue reading →
This post gives you most updated informations about Shinkansen lines operation status in Tohoku area.
As of September 23, 2011
The timetable has been back to normal today.
As of August 11, 2011
JR East announced that they will revise the timetable on Sep 1, 2011. It will be almost back to normal. And JR East also announced they start to use the original timetable on Sep 23.
As of June 7, 2011
JR East announced that they will revise the timetable on July 9, 2011. You can find new timetable here. If you want to know how to read it, please refer the chapter of “As of April 29, 2011” below. New timetable is different format from the present timetable. But you can use same way to read. Now they have the speed restriction between Nasu-Shiobara and Morioka. They will lift this restriction between Nasu-Shiobara and Fukushima, and between Ichinoseki and Morioka on July 9. They will still have the speed restriction between Fukushima and Ichinoseki. But it will be faster than the present schedule.
It will be 30 minutes faster to get Shin-Aomori by Hayate than the present time required.
17 trains will be added departure or arrival train at Tokyo station.
It will 34 minutes faster to get Shin-Aomori by Hayabusa. And Hayabusa will be operated 2 round trips between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori, and 1 round trip between Tokyo and Sendai.
Tsubasa will be operated as the regular timetable. 16 round trips will be operated between Tokyo and Yamagata/Shinjo.
It will be 32 minutes faster to get Akita by Komachi than the present time required.
As of April 29, 2011
All section of Tohoku, Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen has just been restored. JR East operate the trains on irregular timetable. *Now Tohoku, Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen are mostly back to normal. I stop to daily update this post. When JR East release new information, I will let you know.
You can find the timetable here (from Tokyo, see page 2, from Tokyo, see page 6). But this is in Japanese. If you want to know how to read it, please click the following images.
As of April 27, 2011
We have no news today and still wait for all section of Tohoku Shinkansen on 29th of April.
As of April 26, 2011
We have no news today and still wait for all section of Tohoku Shinkansen on 29th of April.
As of April 26, 2011
Trains were suspended yesterday due to blackout. But it will be back to normal today. We have no news today and still wait for all section of Tohoku Shinkansen on 29th of April.
As of April 25, 2011
The section between Fukushima and Sendai will be operated today. Now Sendai is accessible directly from Tokyo by Tohoku Shinkansen.
JR East will start to operate whole section of Tohoku Shinkansen on Apr 29. They will start to sell reserved seat ticket tomorrow, Apr 26.
Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Sendai, Yamagata Shinkansen between Fukushima and Shinjo
JR East completed to restore between Fukushima and Sendai on Tohoku Shinkansen. They start to operate today. Additional access rapid trains will be operated from Sendai to Ichinoseki until April 29 instead of Shinkansen. Those lines are operated on special schedule. You can download PDF timetable. But this timetable in Japanese. If you want to learn how to read it, please click the following images.
Tohoku Shinkansen between Sendai and Ichinoseki
It is scheduled to operate on April 29. JR East released tentative schedule that will be effected after Apr 29. Hayabusa will be operated too. You can find the timetable here. But this is in Japanese. If you want to know how to read it, please click the following images.
Tohoku Shinkansen between Ichinoseki and Shin-Aomori
10 round trips between Morioka and Shin-Aomori, 8 round trips between Ichinoseki and Morioka are operated a day. All cars are non-reserved seat except Green seat until Apr 28. After Apr 29, any trains to Morioka or to the north from Morioka will have reserved seat only. (it is same condition as normal)
From Morioka to Akita Komachi 211 07:09 Morioka – 08:40 Akita Komachi 217 11:01 Morioka – 12:37 Akita Komachi 225 14:24 Morioka – 15:56 Akita Komachi 231 17:24 Morioka – 19:02 Akita Komachi 235 19:24 Morioka – 20:56 Akita These trains stop at Shizukuishi, Tazawako, Kakunodate and Omagari.
Other Shinkansen lines
Joestu, Nagano, Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen are operated as normal.
As of April 24, 2011
I don’t have anything new today. Train status is same as yesterday. Please refer the chapter of Apr 23, 2011. But I have one thing to tell you about Reserved ticket. On April 29, all section of Tohoku Shinkansen will be restored. After this date, Hayabusa, Hayate and Komachi do not have any non-reserved seat. JR East will start to sell the ticket at 11:00am on Apr 26, 2011.
As of April 23, 2011
The section between Ichinoseki and Morioka will be operated today.
The section between Sendai and Ichinoseki will be started to operate on Apr 29. It is one day earlier than the original schedule.
Tentative schedule after Apr 29 was released. Hayabusa will be operated, one round trip to Sendai and one round trip to Shin-Aomori. Please refer the chapter of “Tohoku Shinkansen between Sendai and Ichinoseki.
Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Fukushima, Yamagata Shinkansen
Those lines are operated as special schedule. You can download PDF timetable. But this timetable in Japanese. Please click the image below. This image shows you how to read it. Continue reading →
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 →
Tsugaru is an inter-city train that connects Aomori with several cities in Akita Pre. (秋田県) and Aomori Pref. (青森県), such as Hirosaki (弘前) and Oodate (大館). You can transfer from Tohoku Shinkansen at Shin-Aomori, and Akita Shinkansen at Akita. If you go to Hirosaki or Oodate, using Tohoku Shinkanse is the faster than Akita Shinansen connection. Of course this train and Tohoku or Akita Shinkansen are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Continue reading →
Inaho is an inter-city train that connects Niigata with several cities in Shonai area (庄内地方) where is located between Niigata and Akita, such as Murakami (村上) and Tsuruoka (鶴岡) and Akita (秋田). You can transfer from Joetsu Shinkansen at Niigata and Akita Shinkansen at Akita. If you go to Akita from Tokyo, take Tohoku and Akita Shinkansen. This route is way faster than Joetsu Shinansen and Inaho. If you go to several cities in Shonai area (庄内地方) where is located between Niigata and Akita, such as Murakami (村上) and Tsuruoka (鶴岡) , Joetsu Shinkansen and Inaho route is faster than Tohoku, Akita Shinaknsen and Inaho from Akita route. Of course Japan Rail Pass cover both Akita route and Niigata route. There is no restriction with using Japan Rail Pass. Continue reading →
***This train scheduled service was discontinued in March, 2014 due to small demand. It is operated as a seasonal operation train. Please refer the most updated operation date at Seasonal Trains Schedule.***
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 →
When you think about buying Japan Rail Pass, you may compare the price of Japan Rail Pass and a single fare. But it is very hard to get an exact fare because the fare rule of Japan Railway is so complicated. So I will give you some examples and consider which way has greater value. Continue reading →