The Tohoku Shinkansen connects Tokyo and Tohoku region, such as Shin-Aomori, Fukushima, Sendai, Morioka and Hachinohe. In March, 2016, this Shinkansen line extended to Hokkaido. This new segment is called the Hokkaido Shinkansen. Although these Shinkansen have different names, many trains operate as one line. And also the Yamagata Shinkansen and the Akita Shinkansen also have different names, but theae lines operate from Tokyo as an integral part of the Tohoku Shinkansen.
In this post, I will explain about the Tohoku, the Hokkaido, the Akita and the Yamagata Shinkansen lines.
I usually have quick trip to Japan in mid February. In this year, I had another quick trip, 3 nights 4 days and visited Hokkaido. In this trip, I visited Sapporo snow festival, Biei, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya and Hakodate. This was super busy trip and this is not recommended for all travelers. However you may get some idea from my trip report. I hope my trip experience help you to build your plan.
Utsunomiya station is the station to transfer to Nikko line. If you use JR Pass to get Nikko, you take Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo and transfer here at Utsunomiya. Utsunomiya is the major terminal station in Tochigi prefecture. Even though Utsunomiya station is not a mega size terminal, if you are the first time traveller, you really know how to transfer the trains. Continue reading Utsunomiya station guide. How to transfer to Nikko train.
JR East and JR Hokkaido have just announced that they will two types of unlimited ride ticket for trip to Hokkaido from Tokyo. If you go to Japan from outside of Japan, you have lots of choices, like Japan Rail Pass, JR East Pass or Hokkaido Area Pass. But if you are in Japan as resident, you cannot purchase these tickets for overseas travellers. So if you want to go to Hokkaido by train, this ticket may be your choice. Only Japanese information will be provided by JR East (JR東日本). So I would like to share the information about this ticket with you here in English. Continue reading Hokkaido Unlimitd Train Ticket and Southern Hokkaido Unlimited Train Ticket for resident in Japan
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.
Japan Railway usually revise the timetable every March. Hayabusa on Tohoku Shinkansen, Mizuho and Sakura on Kyushu Shinkansen were introduced in this past March. All JR six companies released the outline of next timetable revision in March 2012. I will show you the outline about this timetable revision.
Overnight train, Nihonkai and Kitaguni will be discontinued as a scheduled train.