Access to Mito, Katsuta and Iwaki from Ueno. Limited Express Hitachi and Tokiwa

E657 series is one of the newest fleets and is used for Limited Express Hitachi and Tokiwa.
E657 series is one of the newest fleets and is used for Limited Express Hitachi and Tokiwa.

Limited Express Hitachi (ひたち) and Tokiwa (ときわ) are operated mostly between Shinagawa, Tokyo, Ueno and Katsuta, Iwaki via Mito on Joban line. These trains were operated as Super Hitachi and Fresh Hitachi from Ueno station before March 13, 2015. After that, these trains depart from Shinagawa station via Tokyo station. It is much more convenient to get on this train from Tokyo now. These trains connect most of cities along the coast side in Ibaragi and southern part of Fukushima.

If you travel to Mito, Iwaki, Yumoto Hot Springs resort, this train gives you directly transfer from Tokyo, Shinagawa and Ueno.

This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. I will tell you the details about this train.

Route, schedule and trip time

Hitachi is operated between Shinagawa/Ueno and Iwaki. Tokiwa is operated mostly between Shinagawa/Ueno and Takahagi or Katsuta. Tokiwa stops at many more stations than Hitachi between Ueno and Mito. Most of Hitachi do not stop at any stations between Ueno and Mito. Both Hitachi and Tokiwa depart from Ueno station before 10:00 am. After 10:00 am, most of Tokiwa and Hitachi depart from Shinagawa station

Average trip times are the following:
Ueno – Mito : 1 hour 10-20 minutes
Ueno – Iwaki : 2 hours 20 minutes

If you take these trains at Shinagawa, trip time is 15 minutes longer and 7 minutes longer if you take it at Tokyo.

There are more than 38 round trips a day. It is operated every 30 minutes from 7:00 to 23:00. Most of trains depart from Ueno station at every :00 and :30. Please refer JR East official site to get the detailed timetable and stop stations. You will find “Limited Express trains on Joban line” on this website.


Limited Express Hitachi is currently operated by E657 series.

E657 series was introduced in March, 2012. In Green class car, E657 series has 2+2 seat configuration. E657 series is still one of the newest fleets in Japan. But actually accommodation is getting worse than older train because some of older fleets gives us 2+1 seat configuration in Green car. Seat pitch is 1160 mm. In Ordinary class, seat configuration is 2+2 as well and seat pitch is 960 mm. So only seat pitch is the big difference. You cannot find other difference between Green and Ordinaryu. All seats in both Green and Ordinary have power outlet. This fleet equip WIFI connection, but the account of major provider in Japan is required to connect.

*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images of accommodations below.

Train formation


G=Green seat R=Reserved ordinary seat
*Non reserved car is not available on this train. Reservation is required to take this train.
*All cars are non smoking.


Green class seat
Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat Green Class seat

Ordinary class seat
Ordinary Class seat Ordinary Class seat Ordinary Class seat Ordinary Class seat Ordinary Class seat Ordinary Class seat Ordinary Class seat Ordinary Class seat Ordinary Class seat Ordinary Class seat Ordinary Class seat Ordinary Class seat Ordinary Class seat

Sanitary space
Sanitary space Sanitary space Sanitary space Sanitary space Sanitary space Sanitary space Sanitary space Sanitary space Sanitary space Sanitary space

Passeger's deck Passeger's deck Passeger's deck Passeger's deck Passeger's deck Passeger's deck Passeger's deck Passeger's deck

78 thoughts on “Access to Mito, Katsuta and Iwaki from Ueno. Limited Express Hitachi and Tokiwa”

  1. Hello Takeshi-san,
    We plan to visit Japan in Sakura season 2019. We are 2 senior citizens.
    This is our plan:
    Day 1: Narita arrival 17:30. Go to hotel (Gotanda)
    Day 2: Tokyo (Ginza, Shibuya , Shinjuku, Omotesando)
    Day 3: Mito ( 5 hours including travel time), Then Odaiba
    Day 4: Tokyo:Meguro or shinjuku Gyoen. Start JR 7 day pass .Shinkansen to Kyoto.
    Day 5-7: Kyoto
    Day 8-9: Kanazawa
    Day 10: Shinkansen Kanazawa to Tokyo. Change to Narita.Ex at Shinagawa
    (Flight at 20:00)

    We plan to activate our 7 day JR pass on Day 4 to Kyoto
    We would be grateful if you can guide us, whether we should:
    – is there a cheap way to go to Mito by train (seishun 18?) or drop Mito, as it is becoming too hectic?
    – what pass should we get for Tokyo (no Disney) and Kyoto?
    – Is it ok to plan Kanazawa -Tokyo- Narita. We are hoping that there will be no train disruptions on our visit. Or we might miss our flight.

    Thank you so much,

    1. Hi Ria san,

      Your trip plan looks okay. But don’t think about using Seishun 18. It’s not your choice at all. You have to take a commute train all the way and need to change trains a few times. You may have to stand up because all trains are busy.

      If you intend to use train to get Gotanda, you may use Tokyo Wide Pass for the first 3 days. You can take Narita Express and Yamanote line to get Gotanda from Narita. And you can use Yamanote line for day 2, and you can take limited express Hitachi to Tokiwa to get Mito.

      In Kyoto, you can use JR pass to get some spots.

      You can get Narita from Kanazawa by train on departure day. But please take some extra hours. Train operation in Japan is very reliable. But it never be 100%. I usually take one to two extra hours to do this.


      Takeshi /

      1. Arigato Takeshi San.

        Wonderful insight and to the point advice… Exactly what we needed. Your prompt help is truly amazing.


          1. Takeshi san,

            Season’s greetings to you!

            We have one more request for advice:
            A friend is with us for the same route Day 1-Day 10. Our friend stays for 3 more days in Tokyo. .

            HER TRIP:
            Day 1-10: as above ( our JR 7-day pass finishes).
            Day 11-13: Tokyo (mainly in Central Tokyo/ along Yamanote line area)
            Day 13: Tokyo to Narita

            1. Do you have a good suggestion for a public transport pass for her?
            2. Would it be cheaper for her to buy the N Ex return ticket at 4000 jpy and then the local 3 dayTokyo subway pass (1500 jpy)? She will be doing maximum 5-6 trips in the subway/metro each day.
            3. Then should she buy the 10,000 jpy Tokyo Wide pass (for Days 1-3) for Mito ? Or is there a cheaper option?

            Thank you so much,

            1. Hi Ria san,

              She can use Tokyo wide pass and JR pass from day 1 to 10. It’s same as you.

              She can use Tokyo subway ticket 48 hours or 72 hours for staying in Tokyo from day 11.

              And she may take bus or train to get Narita. Nex round trip is not recommended because she has to pay a regular fare to get Mito. There are a bedget bus from Tokyo station or Keisai railway from Ueno to get Narita at affordable cost.

              There is no deals to take Narita Express just one way. If she want to take it, just pay as she goes.


              Takeshi /

  2. hi takeshi,

    will jr east nagano pass fully cover a ride on the limited express hitachi or tokiwa trains? meaning i do not have to pay extra for the reserved seat? i will be coming from Asakusabashi station.

    thank you for your help!

  3. Hi, may I know if the Tokyo 1 Day ticket covers the JR Joban Line or the Ltd Express Hitachi train or in particular the Hitachi Seaside Park from Ueno?

    1. Hi Jean,

      No. It’s way far from coverage area. You need to purchase regular ticket. If you have some more trips to outside Tokyo, you may use Tokyo Wide Pass.

      Round trip fare and limited express surcharge to Katsuta is around 8,000 yen. So you need to make 2000 yen ride to get the worth.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thank you for your reply. However, can you let me know whether the below route is covered under the Tokyo 1 Day ticket?

        Ueno –> Mito (Ibaraki) via JR Joban Line for Katsuta
        Mito (Ibaraki) –> Katsuta via JR Joban Line for Iwaki

        Thank you once again.

        1. Hi Jean,

          No. Tokyo 1 day ticket covers downtown Tokyo only. Mito and Katsuta are way far from Tokyo. Please see the coverage map in the link below:

          Kanamachi is located on the way to Mito on Joban line. If you use Tokyo 1 day ticket, only Ueno to Kanamachi is covered by this pass. You cannot take any express trains by this pass. Even if you use this pass for trip to Mito, you need to pay single fare, 1940 yen for Kanamachi to Mito. It doesn’t include any express surcharge.

          On the other hand, if you pay single fare for Ueno to Mito, it costs 2270 yen. It’s cheaper than Tokyo 1 day ticket + extra. That is why this pass does not suit your trip plan.

          Please use hyperdia to find the exact fare for each segment if you want.


          Takeshi /

  4. Hi, im going to tokyo in october. My itinerary is as follows:
    Day 1: narita airport- omotesando-gotanda (hotel)
    Day 2. Roppongi, tsukiji
    Day 3: Travel to Kyoto
    Day 4: still at Kyoto
    Day 5: Travel to Nara then Osaka
    Day 6: Travel back to Tokyo, asakusa, ueno, sky tree
    Day 7: shinjuku, meiji shrine
    Day 8: shibuya, tokyo tower
    Day 9: kawaguchiko
    Day 10: disneyland and disneysea
    Day 11: hitachi seaside park
    Day 12: gotanda- narita airport

    My question is
    1. should i buy 7days or 14 days JR pass?
    Or is it better to buy kanto pass to use in tokyo for day 1 and 2. Then use 7 days JR pass from day 3 to day 9.
    2. How about day 10 until day 12?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Novi,

      I recommend you to use 7 days JR pass for the first 7 days of your trip but you should switch day 7 and 11. You should include trip to Hitachi Seaside Park in 7 days period of JR Pass. JR pass is not required for other trips.
      You may use subway pass in Tokyo.

      But single ticket is okay for Disneyland and Sea.

      You can take express bus for trip to Kawaguchiko.

      Single fare or budget bus from Tokyo station is your choice for trip to Narita.


      Takeshi /

  5. Are there any local trains that run between the Izumi and Iwaki stations and if so, is there any online timetable / schedule?

  6. Good day Takeshi,

    i will be in Japan for 8 days. My planning as below
    30 April – Shinjuku
    1 May – Hitachi seaside park – return
    2 May – shibuya
    3 – 5 May – fuji mount
    5 – 7 May- Akihabara(And back to Haneda Airport)

    can you suggest me pass should i use for round Shinjuku/shibuya/akihabar area?
    and do you know train fare from shinjuku to Katsuka Station?
    and train fare from shinjuku to Gekkoji Station?

    thanks a lot


  7. Hello Takeshi /,

    Good day to you!
    This month, I will have a short trip to Japan, and would like to avail the JR Kanto Area Pass and I plan to go to Hitatchi Sea Side Park.
    Is the Limited express train Hitachi/Tokiwa covered in the JR Kanto Area Pass? I can only see the Mito Station in the JR website. (no Katsuta Station). Please help me clarify.
    Also, This is a reserved-seats only train right? How to reserve incase it is covered?

    Thanks alot for the time.
    God Bless,

    1. Hi Ami,

      It’s covered by this pass fully. You can book a ticket at any JR stations that have reservation window. All stations surrounding/in Tokyo have this window. You may book it when you purchase Kanto Area Pass.


      Takeshi /

      1. Takeshi-san,

        Understood! Thank you very much for the help.
        Also, for all the helpful information in this site.

        More power to you and!
        God Bless. 😀

  8. Hai…

    This october i really interested to go to tateyama kurobe. Since we only travel around tokyo and hitachi seasude park for our 5 days in japan, i think buying jr east past with promo/discounted ticket tateyama kurobe (9000¥ from 12500¥ normal price) i think it is still a lot of money for Us.
    Does jr kanto area pass cover shinkansen from tokyo to nagano or joetsu myoko. If it is covered….so is it wise to buy jr kanto area pass then travel to nagano/joetsu myoko (hokuriku shinkansen) with my pass and continue to toyama with additional fee. Then buy tateyama kurobe alpine route ticket worth 12.500¥ then finish at nagano. And back from nagano to tokyo with hokuriku shinkanses for free (by jr kanto pass)…
    Please corect me…is it the most economist way??

    I hope you get my point….

    Thanks a lot


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