Tag Archives: Morioka

JR East Pass Tohoku. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Tokyo, surrounding area of Tokyo and Tohoku region.

Cherry blossom in Kakunodate Samurai Residence district. It is one of the highlights in Tohoku region. (C) Akita Prefecture / JNTO
Cherry blossom in Kakunodate Samurai Residence district. It is one of the highlights in Tohoku region. (C) Akita Prefecture / JNTO

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

Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen image gallery. Check the interior and accommodations.

E2 series (left) and 200 series (right)
E2 series (left) and original fleet 200 series (right). All 200 series were retired already.

Tohoku Shinkansen and Joetsu Shinkansen share the track between Tokyo and Omiya. So some types of trains are used on both Tohoku and Joetsu. I show you several types of trains that are used on Tohoku or Joetsu Shinkansen. If you are looking for the general information about these Shinkansens, please read Tohoku Shinkansen or Joetsu Shinkansen.

*If you are looking for the images of Akita, Yamagata or Nagano, please refer the following posts:

Akita Shinkansen
Yamagata Shinkansen
Nagano Shinkansen

*If you are looking for the images of the newest E5 series for Hayabusa (Gran class seat), please refer the following posts:

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

Continue reading

My trip from Osaka to Aomori via Tokyo, Matsushima and Kakunodate on March 19, 2012 by Tokaido, Tohoku and Akita Shinkansen

I had never taken Akita Shikansen "Komachi". That was one of my object in this trip. (C) JP Rail
I had never taken Akita Shikansen “Komachi”. That was one of my object in this trip. (C) JP Rail

I think this post is nothing special for the frequent travellers. Because I got on Tokaido Shinkansen, Tohoku Shinkansen, Akita Shinkansen and local train to Matsushima (松島). Since I think the access to Matsushima is the most technical part in this trip, I have already posted about this at Easy trip from Sendai. How to access to Matsushima by Japan Rail Pass. But even other part of this trip might help the first time visitors. So I would like to write about this trip. Continue reading

Schedule of 2012 summer seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Some of Furano Lavender Express are operated by Kiha183 Crystal Express train.
Some of Furano Lavender Express are operated by Kiha183 Crystal Express train.

In summer season, the busiest period is mid August. This period is called “Obon (お盆)”. Everybody try to go back to hometown in this period. In this year 2012, August 10 to 19 will be Obon period. Especially the direction to go out from major cities on Aug 10-12 and the direction to go into major cities on Aug 17-19 will be much busier. These dates are weekend days. Everybody will try to move on these dates. If you travel in this period, try to go opposite direction. It makes you to travel much easier.

JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during all summer season and increase the number of trains in Obon period. It is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the popular trains and are operated in the popular spot. Continue reading

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

Schedule of 2011-12 winter seasonal trains

KIHA183 Crystal Express is one of the trains to use for Tomamu-Sahoro Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
KIHA183 Crystal Express is one of the trains to use for Tomamu-Sahoro Express trains. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Some part of winter season is the busiest period. Especially in Japan, New Years holidays are crazy busy. In this year, December 30, 11 (Fri) and January 4, 12 (Sun) will be busiest days. Please try to avoid taking a train on those days. the vehicle occupancy rate may be more than 200%. Sometimes it is almost impossible to get in or out from the train.

Even though Japan is very small country, Japan have several climate zone. It is icy freeeeeezing weather in Hokkaido. South part of Kyushu have very mild weather. It is very interesting season to travel. But if you travel in Hokkaido, Tohoku or Hokuriku region, please expect the delay due to snow. I do not recommend you to make a tight schedule.

Anyway JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during all winter season. But it is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the popular trains and are operated in the popular spot. Continue reading

Two days unlimited ride on Japan Railways in Tohoku area, Tohoku Ouen Pass

Matsushima is one of three greatest scenery in Japan. ©JNTO
Matsushima is one of three greatest scenery in Japan. ©JNTO

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.

Anyway I would like to share the information about this pass with you. Continue reading

Tohoku, Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen operation status

I update information at new Train Operation status page now.

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.

Tentative schedule after April 29 from Tokyo (click to enlarge)
Tentative schedule after April 29 from Tokyo (click to enlarge)
Tentative schedule after April 29 to Tokyo (click to enlarge)
Tentative schedule after April 29 to Tokyo (click to enlarge)

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.

How to read Tohoku Shinkansen timetable (from Tokyo to Sendai, Yamagata, Morioka, Akita, Shin-Aomori)
How to read Tohoku Shinkansen timetable (from Tokyo to Sendai, Yamagata, Morioka, Akita, Shin-Aomori) (click to enlarge)
How to read Tohoku Shinkansen timetable (from Sendai, Yamagata, Morioka, Akita, Shin-Aomori to Tokyo)
How to read Tohoku Shinkansen timetable (from Sendai, Yamagata, Morioka, Akita, Shin-Aomori to Tokyo) (click to enlarge)

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.

Tentative schedule after April 29 from Tokyo (click to enlarge)
Tentative schedule after April 29 from Tokyo (click to enlarge)
Tentative schedule after April 29 to Tokyo (click to enlarge)
Tentative schedule after April 29 to Tokyo (click to enlarge)

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 Shin-Aomori
Hayate 501 Morioka 06:55 – Shin-Aomori 08:01
Hayate 503 Ichinoseki 07:12 – 07:57 Morioka 07:58 – Shin-Aomori 09:05
Hayate 505 Morioka 09:01 – Shin-Aomori 10:07
Hayate 507 Ichinoseki 10:03 – 10:49 Morioka 10: 50 – Shin-Aomori 11:56
Hayate 509 Ichinoseki 12:33 – 13:19 Morioka 13:20 – Shin-Aomori 14:26
Hayate 511 Ichinoseki 14:33 – 15:19 Morioka 15:20 – Shin-Aomori 16:26
Hayate 543 Ichinoseki 16:22 – Morioka 17:07
Hayate 513 Morioka 18:20 – Shin-Aomori 19:26
Hayate 515 Ichinoseki 18:33 – 19:19 Morioka 19:20 – Shin-Aomori 20:26
Hayate 517 Ichinoseki 20:17 – 21:03 Morioka 21:04 – Shin-Aomori 22:10
Hayate 519 Ichinoseki 21:48 – 22:34 Morioka 22:35 – Shin-Aomori 23:41

From Shin-Aomori to Ichinoseki via Morioka
Hayate 500 Shin-Aomori 06:10 – 07:16 Morioka 07:17 – Ichinoseki 08:04
Hayate 502 Shin-Aomori 07:24 – 08:33 Morioka
Hayate 504 Shin-Aomori 08:31 – 09:38 Morioka 09:39 – Ichinoseki 10:25
Hayate 506 Shin-Aomori 09:44 – 10:51 Morioka 10:52 – Ichinoseki 11:38
Hayate 508 Shin-Aomori 12:48 – 13:55 Morioka 13:56 – Ichinoseki 14:42
Hayate 510 Shin-Aomori 15:20 – 16:27 Morioka 16:28 – Ichinoseki 17:14
Hayate 512 Shin-Aomori 17:13 – 18:20 Morioka 18:21 – Ichinoseki 19:07
Hayate 514 Shin-Aomori 18:33 – 19:40 Morioka 19:41 – Ichinoseki 20:27
Hayate 516 Shin-Aomori 20:03 – 21:10 Morioka 21:11 – Ichinoseki 21:57
Hayate 518 Shin-Aomori 21:48 – Morioka 22:55

Akita Shinkansen

5 round trips are operated a day. All cars are non-reserved seat except Green seat until Apr 28. After Apr 29, these trains will have reserved seat only. (it is same condition as normal)

From Akita to Morioka
Komachi 220 08:56 Akita – 10:39 Morioka
Komachi 224 10:56 Akita – 12:37 Morioka
Komachi 228 12:58 Akita – 14:37 Morioka
Komachi 236 16:29 Akita – 18:04 Morioka
Komachi 244 19:30 Akita – 21:00 Morioka

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

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

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 a flagship fleet on Tohoku Shikansen. this fleet is mostly used for Hayabusa and Hayate.

Tohoku Shinkansen is the second oldest Shinkasen (a.k.a. Bullet Train) line in Japan and it connects Tokyo with Shin-Aomori via Ueno, Omiya, Fukushima, Sendai, Morioka and Hachinohe. “Tohoku” means Northeast in Japanese. So Tohoku region is north part of Honshu island (main island).

Many trains of Tohoku Shinkansen are coupled with Akita Shinkansen “Komachi” or Yamagata Shinkansen “Tsubasa”. These trains give you direct access to other cities in Tohoku area.

On March 26, 2016, Hokkaido Shinkansen was opened between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. Hokkaido and mainland of Japan are connected by Shinkansen line via 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.

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

I would like to share the information about this Shinkansen train with you.

*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 trip time

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 the first class that is called “Gran Class”.

Hayate by E2 series on Tohoku Shinkansen
E2 series is still main fleets of Tohoku Shinkansen. But many of this fleets have been replaced by E5 series.

Hayabusa

This is the fastest train that connects Tokyo with Shin-Aomori. This is the first train that has most expensive and luxury seat, “Gran class”. Gran Class is the first ever upper class seat than Green Class. When Hayabusa started to run, only Hayabusa had Gran class. But now many of other trains on Tohoku Shinkansen, such as Hayate, Yamabiko and Nasuno are operated by E5 series and have Gran class too.

All of Hayabusa stops at Omiya, Sendai and Morioka. Some of Hayabusa stop at Ueno, Furukawa, Ichinoseki and Kitakami. And also Hayabusa that runs to north from Morioka stop at most of stations between Morioka and Shin-Aomori. Trip time of Hayabusa are the following:

Tokyo to Sendai — 1.5 hours
Tokyo to Morioka — 2 hours 20 minutes
Tokyo to Shin-Aomori — 3 to 3.5 hours

You can find some more information at the following links:
Extra charge for boarding Gran Class on top of Japan Rail Pass
Gran class and all class seat of Tohoku Shinkansen E5 series image gallery.

And as I mentioned, many trains run between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto now. Most of trains go to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto is Hayabusa.

Hayate

Hayate was the fastest train before Hayabusa was introduced. Most of Hayate was replaced by Hayabusa. Now there are 3.5 round trips between Tokyo and Morioka. And 1 round trip between Morioka and Shin-Aomori run as well. The trip time of Hayate are the following:

Tokyo to Sendai — 1 hour and 45 minutes
Tokyo to Morioka — 2 hours and 30 minutes
Tokyo to Shin-Aomori — 3 hours and 35 minutes

Yamabiko

Yamabiko runs mostly between Tokyo and Sendai. But some of this train goes to Morioka. Most of Yamabiko stop at Ueno, Omiya, Utsunomiya, Koriyama and Fukushima between Tokyo and Sendai. A few Yamabiko skip Ueno, Utsunomiya and Koriyama. Meanwhile some of Yamabiko stop at all stations on this section. Yamabiko that run to Morioka stop at all stations between Sendai and Morioka.

Some of Yamabiko are coupled with Yamagata Shinkansen “Tsubasa” between Tokyo and Fukushima.

Nasuno

Nasuno is operated as short distance transfer train and is operated between Tokyo and Oyama, Nasu-Shiobara or Koriyama only. This train stops all stations on this segment.


View Tohoku Shinkansen (Bullet Train) in a larger map

Stations

StationHayabusaHayateYamabikoNasuno
Tokyo (東京)xxxx
Ueno (上野)*x*x
Omiya (大宮)xxxx
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)xxx
Furukawa (古川)*xx
Kurikomakogen (くりこま高原)*xx
Ichinoseki (一ノ関)*xx
Mizusawaesashi (水沢江刺)*xx
Kitakami (北上)*xx
Shinhanamaki (新花巻)*xx
Morioka (盛岡)xxx
Iwatenumakunai (いわて沼宮内)*x
Ninohe (二戸)*x
Hachinohe (八戸)*x
Shichinohe (七戸十和田)*x
Shin-Aomori(新青森)xx

x:All trains stop *:some trains stop |: all trains skip

Accommodations and train formation

There were many types of trains on Tohoku Shinkansen before. But now E5 and E2 are main stream of Tohoku Shinkansen. And E3 series for Yamagata Shinkansen “Tsubasa” and E6 series for Akita Shinkansen “Komachi” are coupled with Hayabusa or Yamabiko. Andt E3 series and E6 series are sometimes used as Tohoku Shinkansen trains.

*If you are looking for the images of these train’s accommodations, please refer Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen image gallery. And also you can see some images of E6 series on Akita Shinkansen and E3 series on Yamagata Shinkansen.

Train formation

E5 series (images)

Hayabusa and Hayate formation

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Yamabiko formation

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Nasuno formation

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NR:Non Reserved Ordinary class R:Reserved Ordinary class G:Reserved Green class GC:Reserved Gran class

E5 series + E6 series

E6 series is usually used as Komachi. But some of Tohoku Shinkansen trains (not Hayabusa and Komachi combination) are operated as these two series combination. Please see Akita Shinkansen post to see the image of E6 series.

Hayabusa formation

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Yamabiko formation

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Nasuno formation

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NR:Non Reserved Ordinary class R:Reserved Ordinary class G:Reserved Green class GC:Reserved Gran class

E2 series (images)

Hayate formation

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Yamabiko formation

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Nasuno formation

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R:Reserved Ordinary class seat NR:Non Reserved Ordinary class seat G:Reserved Green class

E5 series + E3 series (previous Komachi fleet)

This E3 series was used as Komachi before E6 series was introduced. This E3 series is the extra train sets for peak hours and seasonal operation. Some of Yamabiko and Nasuno are operated as these two series combination.

Yamabiko formation

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Nasuno formation

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NR:Non Reserved Ordinary class R:Reserved Ordinary class G:Reserved Green class GC:Reserved Gran class

E2 series + E3 series (images)

*E3 series for Yamagata Shinkansen Tsubasa is sometimes used for Nasuno with E2 series.

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NR:Non Reserved Ordinary class R:Reserved Ordinary class G:Reserved Green class GC:Reserved Gran class

How to access to Ryusendo (Limestone cave) by Japan Rail Pass

Ryusendo - You can explore the lon cave without any special equipment.
Ryusendo – You can explore the lon cave without any special equipment.

Ryusendo (=龍泉洞) is one of three biggest limestone caves in Japan. It has some crystal clear blue lakes in the cave. You can see three lakes during viewing the cave and third lake is 98m deep. Ryusendo has very well maintained path in the cave. So you don’t worry about any special equipments. Continue reading