Suspension and schedule change of overnight trains, Hokutosei, Cassiopeia and Hamanasu

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JR Hokkaido and JR East have just announced that overnight trains that go through Seikan tunnel will be suspended or schedule changed in this coming fall and winter. As you probably know, Hokkaido Shinkansen will be open in spring 2016. JR Hokkaido will inspect and maintain the tracks and tunnels. That is the reason why this segment will be shut off.

If you intend to take these following trains in your trip, please check the dates and schedule change before you leave.

Hokutosei (Ueno – Sapporo)

Hokutosei will be suspended on the following dates:

From Ueno (19:03) to Sapporo (11:15)

October 5, 12 and 13, 2014
December 6, 7, 14, 21, 28, 29, 30 and 31, 2014
January 1, 2, 3, and 4, 2015

From Sapporo (17:12) to Ueno (9:38)

October 6, 13 and 14, 2014
December 7, 8, 15, 22, 29, 30 and 31, 2014
January 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, 2015

Hokutosei will be discontinued as scheduled train on 14th March. It will run as seasonal train until August. Please find more info at the post, Schedule of 2015 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways.

Hamanasu (Aomori – Sapporo)

Hamanasu will be suspended on the following dates:

From Aomori (22:18) to Sapporo (06:07)

October 6, 13 and 14, 2014
December 7, 8, 15, 22, 29, 30 and 31, 2014
January 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, 2015
May 3-5, 2015
July 13, 20 and 21, 2015
August 14-16, 2015

From Sapporo (22:00) to Aomori (05:39)

October 5, 12 and 13, 2014
December 6, 7, 14, 21, 28, 29, 30 and 31, 2014
January 1, 2, 3, and 4, 2015
May 2-4, 2015
July 12, 19 and 20, 2015
August 13-15, 2015

Arrival time of Hamanasu at Aomori will be changed on the following dates:
October 6, 9, 16, 25, 26 and 30, 2014
November 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 13, 15, 16 and 19, 2014
December 6, 7, 14, 21, 28, 29, 30 and 31, 2014
January 7, 8, 9, 15, 16 and 17, 2015
April 1-30, 2015
May 1, 5-10, 23 and 24, 2015
June 7, 13-15, 2015
July 22, 26 and 31, 2015
August 1-12, 16-31, 2015
September 1-30, 2015

Hamanasu will arrive Aomori at 6:19. Originally Hamanasu arrives at 5:39 and connect to Hayabusa 4 (06:17 / Shin-Amori). But you cannot catch Hayabusa 4 from changed schedule of Hamanasu. You have to take Hayabusa 8 (6:49 @ Shin–Aomori).

Cassiopeia (Ueno – Sapporo)

All runs of Cassiopeia will be suspended from Oct 2 to Dec 17, 2014 due to annual maintenance.

From Ueno (16:20) to Sapporo (09:32)

The schedule will be changed on January 12, 20 and 24, 2015.
Hakodate 5:44
Oshamabe 8:03
Date-Monbetsu 8:45
Minami-Chitose 10:10
Sapporo 10:44

Cassiopeia will run as seasonal train until September. Please find more info at the post, Schedule of 2015 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways.

Twilight Express

From Osaka (11:50) to Sapporo (09:52)

The schedule will be changed on the following dates:
November 12, 17, 27 and 29, 2014
January 13, 19, 21 and 23, 2015.

Toya 8:33
Noboribetsu 9:20
Minami-Chitose 10:10
Sapporo 10:44

From Sapporo (14:05) to Osaka (12:53)

The schedule will be changed on the following dates:
November 28 and 30, 2014
January 14, 20, 22 and 24, 2015.

Sapporo 16:12
Noboribetsu 17:37
Toya 18:43
Toyama 11:55
Kanazawa 13:07
Kyoto 16:15
Osaka 16:53

Twilight Express will be discontinued completely on 14th March.

29 thoughts on “Suspension and schedule change of overnight trains, Hokutosei, Cassiopeia and Hamanasu”

  1. We are planning to ride Hamanasu night train from Aomori to Sapporo by mid Januar 2016. Do you think it still suspended? I was trying to find information regarding schedule for 2016 but I guess I’m too early for that.

    1. Hi J,

      Nobody knows it at this point. I’m not surprised if it will be discontinued in this coming October.
      I think the official announcement will be placed in late August if it will be discontinued in October.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. Hi Takeshi / JP Rail,

    I am planning to use JR pass on 29th December from Tokyo to Sapporo via Hamanasu train.

    Will that period train still be activated?

    thank you

    1. Hi Pcool,

      I don’t think it will run. The official announcement has not been released yet. But it may be discontinued in mid October.
      I will update info after I get the announcement.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      1. Takeshi san,
        Can you explain me if hamanasu illegible, How can I travel from Tokyo to Sapporo on 29 december ?
        in case , I have jr pass or Do I have to fly?

        Thank you very much

        1. Hi Pcool san,

          You still can get Sapporo by daytime trains.
          https://jprail.com/destinations/hokkaido-area/how-to-get-sapporo.html

          However Dec 29 is may be busy because of New Years holidays. I think Dec 30 will be the busiest day but Dec 29 is busy too.
          If you have JR pass, you cannot book a train until you arrive in Japan. This is very very risky. You may not be able to book a train that you want to take. If you book a flight, you can book before you leave and secure your seat. This is much safer.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JP Rail

  3. Takeshi-san,

    I am an ardent fan of JR overnight services and therefore very sorry about these news. Does the date “14 March” in your post regarding total discontinuation of Hokutosei and Twilight mean 2015 or 2016.

    Other question: could you confirm on which date in March/April 2016 the Shinkansen line from Shin-Aomori to Shin-Hakodate through the Seikan Tunnel will come into service ? (I need to know it in order to schedule my next visit to Japan).

    Thank you in advance for both your answers and all the best,

    Christoph.

    1. Hi Christoph san,

      Twilight was completely done on March 14 in this year.
      Hokutosei still run until end of summer in this yeas. But it’s not daily operation. You can find operation dates at the link below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/seasonal-trains-schedule/schedule-of-2015-spring-seasonal-trains-of-japan-railways.html

      All overnight train to Hokkaido will be done by this fall.

      Shinkansen to Hakodate is expected to open in next spring. But the exact date has not been announced yet. I think it will be mid March.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. I will take the hamanasu from sapporo to aomori in May 2015,10 (overnight) Is it still available for this time, cause I can’t find the route in hyperdia website.

    1. Hi PuM,

      As you see this post, it will not run in early May. But it will run other than these dates. I think Hyperdia does not show it because JR will revise timetable in March. It’s been updating now.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Hi Takashi,

    My name is Leony. Me and my friends have a plan to sapporo, due to suspended schedule above on Mayfor Hamanashu Train, is it still available or i need to change the dates?

    Aomori to Sapporo : 1 May 2015 (22.18 pm)
    Sapporo to Aomori : 3 May 2015 (22.00 pm)

    Thank you very much,
    Leony

    1. Hi Leony,

      Aomori-Sapporo on May is okay but it’s suspended on May 3 to Aomori.
      And also this period is Golden Week. It may be very hard to book for Hamanasu during this period.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  6. I will take the hamanasu from sapporo to aomori in July 2015,26 (overnight) Is it still available for this time, cause I can’t find the route in hyperdia website.

    Thank you .

  7. Hi! 🙂 We’ll be taking the Hamanasu train on our Feb. 3, 2015 from Tokyo to Sapporo trip and return on Feb. 6, 2015 Sapporo to Tokyo. Will there be a schedule change or suspension? What adjustments should we make in Aomori?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Kei,

      As long as I know, there is no schedule change and suspension in February.
      It will be Sapporo snow festival season. I don’t think JR Hokkaido suspend train during this period.

      Cheers,

      Takehsi / JP Rail

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