The Tohoku-Hokkaido, the Akita and the Yamagata Shinkansen train guide. The Shinkansen goes to Hakodate, Aomori, Sendai, Akita and Yamagata

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.

The Tohoku Shinkansen is one of the Shinkansen (a.k.a. Bullet Train) lines. This Shinkansen line connects Tokyo and Tohoku region, such as Shin-Aomori, Fukushima, Sendai, Morioka and Hachinohe. In March, 2016, this Shinkansen line is extended to Hokkaido. This new segment is called the Hokkaido Shinkansen. The name of the line is different but many of trains run on both Tohoku and Hokkaido Shinkansen lines. And also the Yamagata Shinkansen and the Akita Shinkansen also run on the Tohoku Shinkansen line.

In this post, I will explain about the Tohoku, the Hokkaido, the Akita and the Yamagata Shinkansen lines.

Overview

The Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto is just one train line. But this line is divided by two Shinkansen lines. Because two different companies own this Shinkansen line.

The first segment is called the Tohoku Shinkansen which runs between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori. This line belongs to JR East.

The map of the Tohoku Shinkansen (C) Hisagi – CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

The second segment is called the Hokkaido Shinkansen. This line belong to JR Hokkaido.

The map of the Hokkaido Shinkansen (C) Hisagi – CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

Hokkaido and mainland of Japan are connected by the Hokkaido Shinkansen line. This Shinkansen line goes through Seikan Tunnel which is the undersea tunnel. But Hakodate is about 20 minutes away from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto by the rapid train. You have to change the trains there to get Hakodate. Please find some more information in the post below:

And there are the Akita Shinkansen and the Yamagata Shinkansen. These two Shinkansen lines are like the branch lines of the Tohoku Shinkansen. And these lines are not technically the Shinkansen lines. Because the Shinkansen tracks are completely separated from the conventional lines. The Shinkansen fleet is wider and longer than the conventional line fleet. But on both the Akita and the Yamagata Shinkansen lines, the Shinkansen trains share the track with the conventional trains. The fleet size of the Yamagara and the Akita Shinkansen is almost same as the conventional fleets. That is why these Shinkansen lines are called “Mini” Shinkansen. And the maximum speed is 320 km/h on the Tohoku Shinkansen. But it is only 130 km/h on the Akita Shinkanse route between Morioka and the Yamagata Shinkansen route between Fukushima and Shinjo.

But in the train operation, most trains of these four Shinkansen lines depart from Tokyo. These four Shinkansen trains operation are integrated.

Train operation of the Tohoku, the Hokkaido, the Akita and the Yamagata Shinkansen lines

Fukushima, Morioka and Shin-Aomori are border stations. But as I mentioned, most trains depart from Tokyo. Please see the train operation map below:

tohoku hokkaido shinkansen map
Click to view large.

Shin-Aomori is the border station of the Tohoku and the Hokkaido Shinkansen lines. But in the train operation, Shin-Aomori is just one of the major stations on the way to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. Many trains connect Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto directly. The Tohoku Shinkansen and the Hokkaido Shinkansen are just a line name. For the travelers, it does not matter.

The Akita Shinkansen and the Yamagata Shinkasnen are same. These are just a line name. Most of these Shinkansen trains depart from Tokyo.

Types of train

There are five types of trains in service.

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 on the Tohoku and the Hokkaido Shinkansen lines. Hayabusa connect Tokyo and Sendai, Morioka, Shin-Aomori or Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto via Hokkaido Shinkansen.

All Hayabusa stop at Omiya, Sendai, Morioka, Shin-Aomori. Some of Hayabusa skip even Ueno. Most Hayabusa stops only Sendai between Omiya and Morioka. Some of early morning and late niget deparuture train stop at many stations between Sendai and Morioka

Only Hayabusa and Hayate run between Morioka and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. Most Hayabusa stop at Hachinohe on this segment but there are very few Hayabusa stop at Iwate-Numaknai, Ninohe, Shichinohe-Towada, Okutsugaru-Imabetsu and Kikonai. Please make sure the timetable when you travel to these stations.

Many Hayabusa run with the Akita Shinkansen “Komachi” between Tokyo and Morioka. Hayabusa and Komachi are uncoupled at Morioka.

Approximate travel time between the major stations by Hayabusa

The trip time below is avarage. The trip time is varied by the train.

Tokyo
30 minutes
Omiya
1 hour 10 minutes
Sendai
45 minutes
Morioka
1 hour 5 minutes
Shin-Aomori
1 hour 5 minutes
Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto

Hayabusa train formation

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

Many Hayabusa run with the Akita Shinkansen “Komachi” between Tokyo and Morioka. The train formation is the following:

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RRRRRRRRGGCGRRRRRR

NR:Non Reserved Ordinary class R:Reserved Ordinary class G:Reserved Green class GC:Reserved Gran class
Car #1 to #10 is Hayabusa and car #11 to #17 is Komachi. You cannot go through between car #10 and #11.

Hayabusa does not have non reserved seat. You cannot get on Hayabusa without a reserved seat ticket. Even if you have JR Pass or other train passes which covers a reserved seat fee, you must get the reserved seat ticket before on board.

Hayate

Hayate was the fastest train before Hayabusa was introduced. Most of Hayate was replaced by Hayabusa. Hayate is now the train which runs between Morioka, Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto only in early morning and late night only.

Approximate travel time

It is same as Hayabusa, please see above in the chapter of Hayabusa.

Hayate train formation

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

Some of seasonal operation trip is operated by the older fleet. This fleet does not have Gran class.

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RRRRRRRRGR

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

Hayate does not have non reserved seat. You cannot get on Hayate without a reserved seat ticket. Even if you have JR Pass or other train passes which covers a reserved seat fee, you must receive a reserved seat ticket at the ticket window before on board.

Yamabiko

Yamabiko is the second fastest train on the Tohoku Shinkansen. It runs between Tokyo, Sendai and Morioka. All Yamabiko stop at Omiya, Fukushima, Sendai and all stations between Sendai and Morioka. And most Yamabiko stop at Ueno, Utsunomiya, Koriyama. Some Yamabiko also stop at Oyama, Nasu-Shiobara, Shin-Shirakawa and Shiroishi-Zao too.

Many Yamabiko are coupled with the Yamagata Shinkansen “Tsubasa” between Tokyo and Fukushima. These two trains are uncoupled at Fukushima.

Approximate travel time between the major stations by Yamabiko

Tokyo
30 minutes
Omiya
1 hour
Utsunomiya
30 minutes
Koriyama
14 minutes
Fukushima
25 minutes
Sendai
35 minutes
Ichinoseki
20 minutes
Kitakami
20 minutes
Morioka

Yamabiko train formation

Since Yamabiko is operated by several type of fleet, there are a few kinds of the train formation.

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NRNRNRNRNRNRNRRGR
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NRNRNRNRNRRRRGGCGNRNRNRNRNRNR
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NRNRNRNRNRRRRGGCGNRNRNRNRNR

NR:Non Reserved Ordinary class R:Reserved Ordinary class G:Reserved Green class GC:Reserved Gran class
In 17-car train formation above, you cannot go through between car #10 and #11.

Many Yamabiko run with the Yamagata Shinkansen “Tsubasa” between Tokyo and Fukushima. The train formation is the following:

1234567891011121314151617
NRNRNRNRRRNRRGRGRRRRNRNR

NR:Non Reserved Ordinary class R:Reserved Ordinary class G:Reserved Green class
Car #1 to #10 is Yamabiko and car #11 to #17 is Tsubasa You cannot go through between car #10 and #11.

Nasuno

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

Approximate travel time between the major stations by Nasuno

Tokyo
5 minutes
Ueno
20 minutes
Omiya
15 minutes
Oyama
10 minutes
Utsunomiya
15 minutes
Nasu-Shiobara
10 minutes
Shin-Shirakawa
15 minutes
Koriyama

Nasuno train formation

Nasuno is operated by several type of fleet and there are a few kinds of the train formation.

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NRNRNRNRNRNRNRRGR
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NRNRNRNRNRNRRRGGCGNRNRNRNRNRNR
12345678910111213141516
NRNRNRNRNRNRRRGGCGNRNRNRNRNR
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NRNRNRNRNRNRRRGRGNRNRNRNRNRNR

NR:Non Reserved Ordinary class R:Reserved Ordinary class G:Reserved Green class GC:Reserved Gran class
In 16-car and 17-car train formations above, you cannot go through between car #10 and #11.

Komachi

Komachi is the train name of the Akita Shinkansen and it runs between Tokyo, Sendai and Akita. The Akita Shinkansen is the name of the train line between Morioka and Akita. But you may find “Akita Shinkansen” in Tokyo station. Komachi and Akita Shinkansen is used for the train which runs between Tokyo and Akita.

Komachi runs with Hayabusa between Tokyo and Morioka. In this segment, these two trains are coupled. Please see the movie below how these two trains are coupled and uncoupled at Morioka.

Approximate travel time between the major stations by Komachi

Komachi runs with Hayabusa between Tokyo and Morioka. I show you the travel time on the Akita Shinkansen segment between Morioka and Akita only here. Please find the trip time between Tokyo and Morioka above at the chapter of Hayabusa.

Morioka
15 minutes
Shizukuishi
20 minutes
Tazawako
15 minutes
Kakunodate
10 minutes
Omagari
30 minutes
Akita

All Komachi stop at Omagari. Most Komachi stop at Kakunodate and Tazawako. Only few Komachi stop at Shizukuishi. The train change the direction at Omagari.

Komachi train formation

Please refer the train formation of Hayabusa above. Because Komachi runs with Hayabusa between Tokyo and Morioka.

Tsubasa

Tsubasa is the train name of the Yamagata Shinkansen and it runs between Tokyo, Yamagata and Shinjo. The Yamagata Shinkansen is the name of the train line between Fukushima and Shinjo. But you may find “Yamagata Shinkansen” in Tokyo station. Tsubasa and Yamagata Shinkansen is used for the train which runs between Tokyo and Yamagata, Shinjo.

Most Tsubasa runs with Yamabiko between Tokyo and Fukushima. In this segment, these two trains are coupled. Please see the movie below how these two trains are coupled and uncoupled at Morioka.

Approximate travel time between the major stations by Tsubasa

Most Tsubasa runs with Yamabiko between Tokyo and Fukushima. I show you the travel time on the Yamagata Shinkansen segment between Fukushima and Shinjo only here. Please find the trip time between Tokyo and Fukushima above at the chapter of Yamabiko.

Fukushima
32 minutes
Yonezawa
10 minutes
Takahata
5 minutes
Akayu
13 minutes
Kaminoyama-Onsen
10 minutes
Yamagata
20 minutes
Tendo
5 minutes
Sakurambohigashine
5 minutes
Murayama
15 minutes
Oishida
15 minutes
Shinjo

All Tsubasa stop at Yonezawa, Yamagata and all stations between Yamagata and Shinjo. Most Tsubasa stop at Akayu and Kaminoyama-Onsen. A few Tsubasa stop at Takahata.

Tsubasa train formation

Please refer the train formation of Yamabiko above. Because Tsubasa runs with Yamabiko between Tokyo and Fukushima.

Toreiyu Tsubasa

Renovated E3 series for Toreiyu Tsubasa

Toreiyu Tsubasa runs between Fukushima and Shinjo only. This trains is one of the Yamagata Shinkansen fleet but it is totally different from other Shinkansen trains. This Shinkansen train is opratred as the sightseeing train. It has the foot bath in the train. This train also has a lounge space which offers a local food and alcohol beverage. Please find more information in the post below:

Timetable

You can find the timetable in JR East official timetable. Please find the link below to get it.

JR East official site – the timetable

Photo gallery

The accommodation is a bit different from the fleets. There are several kinds of the fleet to be used for the Shinkansen trains. All fleets have Green class seat (like business class) and ordinary class seat. E5 and H5 have Gran class seat.

E5 series and H5 series (Hayabusa, Hayate, Yamabiko, Nasuno)

H5 sereis Hokkaido Tohoku Shinkansen
H5 series looks same as E5 series

This is the primary Shinkansen fleet on the Tohoku Shinkansen. On the Hokkaido Shinkansen, only this series is used. E5 and H5 are same fleet. E5 is owned by JR East and H5 is owned by JR Hokkaido. The only difference is the line color below the window. E5 has pink line and H5 has purple line. The interior is same.

E5/H5 series is only fleet which has Gran class seat. This is the highest category seat in all JR trains. This seat was developed by JR East, Hitachi and world famous seat manufacturer RECARO. The light meal and beverage are served in Gran class. But Gran class on all Nasuno and some Yamabiko do not include the light meal and beverage. It is availble on Hayabusa and

Gran class

2+1 seat configulateion in Gran class
Leg space 1,300 mm
Seat control panel
Power outlet at each seat

You can choose western style meal or Japanese style meal. The menus are varied by the season and the destination. This meal is quite small. Please do not full size meal.

Western style light meal
Japanese style light meal
Beer, wine, Japanese Sake, juice, pop, coffee and tea are included

The meal and drink are not available on the following trains:

  • Hayabusa which runs between Sendai and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto only
  • All Hayate
  • Yamabiko which runs between Tokyo and Sendai only
  • All Nasuno
Amenity items

Green class

2+2 seat layout in Green class
Leg space 1,160 mm
Power outlet equipped at the center arm rest

Ordinary class

2+3 seat layout in ordinary class
Leg space 1,040 mm
Power outlet available at window side, very front row seats and the last row seats only on E5 series. All seats equip on H5 series

Other facilities

Washroom and passngers entrance area

E2 series (Hayabusa, Hayate, Yamabiko, Nasuno)

This was the primary fleet on Tohoku Shinkansen. But this fleet is being replaced by E5 series since it was introduced.

Hayate by E2 series on Tohoku Shinkansen
Exterior of E2 series

Green class

2+2 seat layout
Leg space 1,160 mm
Power outlet is NOT available on all fleets of E2 series Green class. Only newer fleet have it.

Ordinary class

Seat configulation 2+3
Leg space 980 mm. It is smaller than E5/H5 series but it is okay.
Power outlet is NOT available on all fleets of E2 series ordinary class. Only newer fleet have it at the window side, very front row and the last row seat.

Other facilities

Unversal washroom

E3 series for the Yamagata Shinkansen (Tsubasa, Yamabiko, Nasuno)

This series is the primary fleet of the Yamagata Shinkansen. And this fleet is sometimes operated as the part of Yamabiko or Nasuno train set.

E3 sereis for the Yamagata Shinkansen exterior

Green class

2+2 seat configulation. It is same as E5/H5 and E2 serieses. But E3 series is narrower than these fleets. This Green class seat is smaller than other Shinkansen fleets.
Leg space 1,160 mm
Power outlet available at the arm rest.

Ordinary class

Seat layout 2+2
Leg space 980 mm. Only one power outlet available below the window. Power outlet is available at all seats at the first and the last rows.

Other facilities

Washroom with diaper changing table

E3 series of former Akita Shinkansen fleet (Yamabiko, Nasuno)

Akita Shinkansen "Komachi"
This E3 series is the former Akita Shinkansen fleet.

There is another E3 series but this E3 sereis is older than the Yamagata Shinkansen E3 series. This was used for the Akita Shinkansen before. But E3 series on the Akita Shinkansen were replaced by newer E6 series. This E3 series are used for Yamabiko and Nasuno now.

Green class

2+2 seat layout
Leg space 1,160 mm. Power outlet is not equpped.

Ordinary class

2+2 seat layout
Leg space 980 mm. Power outlet not available either.

Other facilities

Washroom with diaper changing table

E6 series (Komachi and Hayabusa)

E6 series runs on the conventional rail track.

E6 series runs as Komachi on the Akita Shinkansen line. This train runs on the conventional line with other local trains between Morioka and Akita. The size of the fleet is smaller than common Shinkansen fleets.

Green class

Seat layout 2+2. But the seat is norrower than E5/H5 and E2 serieses.
Leg space 1,160 mm
Power outlet is equipped.

Ordinary class

2+2 seat layout
Leg space 980 mm. Power outlet is available at the window side, the wall at the front row and very back row.

Other facility

Universal washroom
Universal washroom

The coverage by the travel passes

There are many rail passes available. You may be confused which Shinkansen train and class are covered by the pass. The following table shows you the coverage on the Tohoku, the Hokkaido, the Akita and the Yamagata Shinkansen lines only. The table below does not show the coverage on the other Shinkansen lines, such as the Tokaido Shinkansen, the Hokuriku Shinkansen.

Type of the passCoverage
JR Pass GreenAll trains and seats except Gran class
JR Pass OrdinaryBoth reserved and non reserved ordinary seats on all trains on the Tohoku, the Hokkaido, the Akita and the Yamagata Shinkansen lines
JR East-South Hokkaido Rail PassBoth reserved and non reserved ordinary seats on all trains on the Tohoku, the Hokkaido, the Akita and the Yamagata Shinkansen lines
JR East Pass TohokuBoth reserved and non reserved on the Tohoku, the Akita and the Yamagata Shinkansen trains. The Hokkaido Shinkansen between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto is not covered.
JR East Pass Nagano NiigataBoth reserved and non reserved ordinary seats on all trains on the Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Nasu-Shiobara
Tokyo Wide PassBoth reserved and non reserved ordinary seats on all trains on the Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Nasu-Shiobara
Hokuriku Arch PassBoth reserved and non reserved ordinary seats on all trains on the Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Omiya
JR Tohoku-South Hokkaido Rail PassBoth reserved and non reserved on the Tohoku Shinkansen between Shin-Shirakawago and Shin-Aomori, the Akita, the Yamagata Shinkansen and the Hokkaido Shinkansen trains.
Hokkaido Rail PassIt does not cover any Shinkansen trains.

Additional charge to take Gran class seat

As I mentioned above, the highest seat, “Gran class” is not covered by any rail pass. If you want to take a seat in Gran class, you have to pay a full fare of Gran class seat. For example, the fares for Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto are the following:

Base fare12,100 yen
Gran class seat fee27,220 yen
Green class seat fee18,840 yen
Reserved ordinary class seat fee11,330 yen

Even if you use JR Pass Green, you have to pay 27,220 yen to get a seat on Gran class. The additional fee is NOT the difference (8,380 yen = 27,220 – 18,840) between Gran class seat fee and Green class seat fee. If you use JR Pass Ordinary or other rail pass, such as JR East Pass Tohoku, the additional fee is same. In this case, only base fare 12,100 yen is covered by any type of the rail passes.

Summary

You can take any Shinkansen trains by rail pass. On the Shinkansen between Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo, JR Pass does not cover Nozomi and Mizuho. But the fastest train, “Hayabusa” is covered by JR Pass and other rail passes on the Tohoku-Hokkaido Shinkansen.

The accommodation of most fleets are very updated. I am sure that you can enjoy the trip by these Shinkansen trains.

74 thoughts on “The Tohoku-Hokkaido, the Akita and the Yamagata Shinkansen train guide. The Shinkansen goes to Hakodate, Aomori, Sendai, Akita and Yamagata”

  1. Hi Takeshi,
    We are a family of 4 and we plan to travel by bullet train from Sapporo to Tokyo. Is there a direct train (how long is the journey) or do we need to change trains? Which ticket will be best for this? Is there a limit to the amount of luggage we bring on board?
    Arigato gozaimasu

    1. Hi Siew,

      You have to change the trains at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. Please see the link below how you move from Sapporo to Tokyo:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/hokkaido-area/how-to-get-sapporo.html

      You may find the timetable of the limited express Super Hokuto (from Sapporo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto) in the link below:
      https://jprail.com/img/timetable/jprail-timetable-kamiki.pdf

      The following link shows you the timetable of the Shinkansen:
      http://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/english/wb/common/timetable/e_tohoku_u/index.html

      You may use JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass. This is about 1,000 yen cheaper than the regular fare:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/hokkaido-area/jr-east-south-hokkaido-rail-pass-user-guide-perfect-deal-for-the-travelers-who-visit-tokyo-and-sapporo-by-train.html

      Basically 2 luggages per person is a limit but it is not very strict. However the luggage space is very limited. You may have to hold your luggage at your space. Please do not bring many luggages:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/travel-tips/baggage/managing-luggage-how-to-carry-your-baggage-on-board-and-how-to-store-your-baggage-at-the-station.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thank you so much for your earlier reply. This is our itinerary:
        25-28 Dec ’19- Sapporo (arriving via New Chitose airport on 25Dec and visiting areas around Sapporo),
        29-30 Dec ’19- Hakodate (travelling by train from Sapporo to Hakodate on 29th),
        31Dec-4Jan’20 – Tokyo (31 Dec travelling from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto to Toyo and 4Jan travelling from Tokyo to Haneda).
        Could you advise if it is worth gettingJR EAST-SOUTH HOKKAIDO RAIL PASS(6 day pass)for our trip?

        I am rather confused as to how this pass works:
        1) Is the price of 26,900yen the price for the whole 6-day period and do we need to use the pass on 6 consecutive days? I read on another post that the pass can only be used the day after picking up our pass.
        2) How do we book the Hayabusa for 31 Dec from Shin-Hakodate -Hokuto using the 6-day pass? Do we need to top up the pass to cover the cost of the fare to Tokyo?
        3) Is it advisable to stay around the Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station so we do not need to change train when leaving for Tokyo on 31 Dec?

        Thank you.

        1. Hi Siew,

          You can get the worth of JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass. You can use any 6 days in 14 days period. So you can start using it right after you arrive in New Chitose. The pass is valid from December 25th to January 7th. You can pick any 6 days in this 14 days period. Please see the link below. It doesn’t say anything that you have to start using the pass one day after.
          http://www.jreasthokkaido.com/easthokkaido/e/

          You can book a seat online. Please see the link below:
          https://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/English/wb/common/Menu/Menu.aspx?_ga=1.4778995.1325107855.1421419524

          You don’t need to stay in Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. This place is only the trasnfer point. There are a few stores and hotels. It has almost nothing. It’s just 15 to 20 minutes away from Hakodate. Just stick around Hakodate. Rapid train connects Hakodate and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi,

            We plan to buy our JR East South Hokkaido Passes when we arrive in Japan (New Chitose Airport on Dec25th) because I cannot find an agent in Malaysia that sells this Pass.

            My question:
            1) Am I able to reserve our seats (Shin-Hokkaido-Hokuto to Tokyo: Dec 31st being peak season, seats might be sold out) online before arriving in Japan? We plan to buy our Passes at New Chitose and collect our reserved seat tickets at the same time.
            2) Will we be able to use the Pass on the day of purchase?

            Thank you.

  2. Hi Takeshi San
    My flight will be arriving Narita T1 at around 0800am on 23Oct2018
    I am planning to travel to Hachinohe via Tohoku Shinkansen with JR Pass. I am very excited about this trip but same time worrying due to the limited train schedule
    1. what is the fastest way to go from Narita airport to catch the Tohoku Shinkansen to Hachinohe?
    2. I need to activate my JR pass and make seat reservations for my onward trip to Shin-Aomori and Akita, will I have enough time to catch the Shinkansen to Hachinohe?
    Your advice is much appreciated
    Thanks
    Adriana

    1. Hi Adriana san,

      You can take Narita Express from Narita airport to Tokyo, and then take Shinkansen to Hachinohe. You will spend probably 1.5 to 2 hours to complete immigration, custom, baggage pick up, exchange JR pass and make a reservation.

      Please see the link below to find the timetables of Narita Express and Tohoku Shinkansen. There are lots of trains running and you can make Hachinohe easily.
      http://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/english/wb/common/timetable/index.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi.Takeshi-san..we are couple,.arrive at 2 May 2018 late night.next day early morning 3 May.2018 will go to Midori no guchi change voucher jr pass…and directly reserve ticket to Sapporo.Is it difficult to get ticket on this coming Japan holiday?please help me to have online reservation.Arigato gozaimasu.

    1. Hi Njo Tjin Hok san,

      May 3rd will be very busy day.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/2018-busiest-period-to-travel-by-train-tips-to-book-your-seat-in-even-busy-period.html

      But you cannot book online. You have to book it when you exchange the pass.

      Actually online is available but if you book online, you have to collect a ticket one day before trip date. You cannot pick up a ticket on the travel day. That is why you cannot book online.
      Even if you do not book online, you can access online booking site in the link below. You can find the availability.
      https://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/English/wb/common/Menu/Menu.aspx?_ga=1.4778995.1325107855.1421419524

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi Takeshi,
    great site you have here, we are a little family (2 adults, 1 child 3yrs.) planning a visit to Japan this October, but are wondering if the JR pass will pay off for us and which one to use?
    Our itinerary are as follows;
    Oct 16. Tokyo-Kyoto
    Oct 17. Kyoto-Kōka, Shiga. Return trip.
    Oct. 19. Kyoto-Tokyo
    Oct 20. Tokyo-Nikko
    Oct21. Nikko-Tokyo

    What do you believe would be best for us? We will probably live close to Ueno in Tokyo by the way 🙂

    Best Regards
    Christian

  5. Hi. Could you please help me. I am going to travel from Narita T1 to Sano (tochigi) with JRPass
    Is the best way take Narita express to Tokio. And from Tokio can i take the Tohoku shinkansen to OYAMA? I would like to take the best and quickly way. Thanks in advance

  6. Hi , i will visit Japan end of this year. i would like to go to nikko from tokyo on 29 dec, can you suggest how i go by JR Pass ? is there any timetable i should be aware of ?
    thank youf

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