Express train service between Niigata and Akita, Limited Express Inaho

Akita, Morioka, Hiraizumi
This fleet E653 series will be used for Limited Experss Shirayuki. But this photo is Limited Express Inaho's train set. The exterior will be different for Shirayuki. (C) James Chuang
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E653 series was transferred from Joban line’s limited express Hitachi. And it was fully renovated and it looks a brand new fleet. (C) James Chuang

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
Niigata (新潟)x
Toyosaka (豊栄)x
Shibata (新発田)x
Nakajo (中条)x
Sakamachi (坂町)x
Murakami (村上)x
Fuya (府屋)x
Tsuruoka (鶴岡)x
Amarume (余目)x
Sakata (酒田)x
Yuza (遊佐)x
Sakikata (象潟)x
Nikaho (仁賀保)x
Ugo-Honjo (羽後本荘)x
Akita (秋田)x

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.

Train formation


G=Green seat R=Reserved ordinary seat NR=Non-Reserved ordinary seat

E653 series images

Green seat

Ordinary seat

Photo credit
Green seat – James Chuang ( 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).


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