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.
Route and Schedule
Inaho is operated 4 round trips between Niigata (新潟) and Sakata (酒田), 3 round trips between Niigata and Akita. In peak season, usually a few more trips are operated. This limited express train connects Niigata with Sakata in 2 hours and 15 minutes, Niigata with Akita in 3 hours and 40 minutes.
View Limited Express Inaho in a larger map
x=all trains stop
Inaho is operated by JR East refurbished E653 series.
E653 is newer and it was fully renovated before it was introduced to Inaho. Especially Green car has 2+1 seat layout and very spacious. The seat pitch is 1820mm. This seat gives you the biggest leg space in all limited express trains of JR. But Ordinary class is nothing special. The seat pitch is 910mm and seat configuration is 2+2.
G=Green seat R=Reserved ordinary seat NR=Non-Reserved ordinary seat
E653 series images
Green seat – James Chuang (JPRail.com reader)
Ordinary seat – JR East E653 inside / TC411-507, Seat of JR E653 / Lover of Romance, JREaste-SeriesE653Gripplusｓeat / L,t,d,express
You cannot reserve the seat online. So you need to go to the ticket reservation window (=Midori-no-madoguchi=みどりの窓口).