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

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

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

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 Schedule of 2012 summer seasonal trains of Japan Railways

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

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 Schedule of 2011-12 winter seasonal trains

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

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 Tohoku, Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen operation status

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)

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.

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