Akita Shinkansen

The Akita Shinkansen line serves the Kantō and Tōhoku regions, linking Tokyo and Akita, the capital of Akita prefecture with hourly services. Akita Shinkansen Komachi trains have all-reserved seating and stop at Ueno, Omiya, Sendai and Morioka on the Tōhoku Shinkansen line, travelling at speeds of up to 320 km/h. 

Up to Morioka, trains come in two sections, an  Aomori-bound Hayate and a seven-car Komachi which turns off the Tohoku line for the rest of the run to Akita. 

From Morioka to Ōmagari, it uses the Tazawako Line, then the Ōu Main Line from Ōmagari to Akita. Since neither line was engineered specifically for Shinkansen services, the maximum speed is significantly reduced (to 130 km/h). 

Stations on the latter section of the route are Shizukuishi, Tazawako, Kakunodate, Omagari, and Akita. Trains reverse direction at Omagari as they change from the Tazawako Line to the Ōu Line. 

The trip from Tokyo takes four hours, costs about ¥17,000 and  is fully covered by both the Japan Rail Pass and JR East Pass. Since all seats require reservations there's no chance of getting in the wrong half of the train in Tokyo.

Stations: Morioka; Shizukuishi; Tazawako; Kakunodate; Ōmagari; Akita

Route details and maps: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/routemaps/akitashinkansen.html

© Ian Hughes 2017