Tōhoku Shinkansen

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Tohoku Shinkansen
JRE-TEC-E5 omiya.JPG
An E5 series shinkansen on a Hayabusa service in March 2011
Native name東北新幹線
LocaleTokyo; Saitama, Tochigi, Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate and Aomori Prefectures
Opened23 June 1982
OwnerJR East (From Tōkyō to Morioka)
Depot(s)Tokyo, Oyama, Nasushiobara, Sendai, Morioka, Shin-Aomori
Rolling stockE2 series, E3 series, E5 series, E6 series, H5 series
Line length674.9 km
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification25 kV AC, 50 Hz, overhead catenary
Operating speed320 km/h (200 mph)
Route map
Tohoku Shinkansen map.png

The Tohoku Shinkansen (東北新幹線, literally "northeastern Shinkansen") is a Japanese high-speed Shinkansen rail line, connecting Tokyo with Aomori in Aomori Prefecture in a route length of 674.9 km (419.4 mi), making it Japan's longest Shinkansen line. It runs through the more sparsely populated Tōhoku region of Japan's main island, Honshu, and was extended as the Hokkaido Shinkansen through the Seikan Tunnel to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto (this section opened March 2016) and on to Sapporo by 2030. It has two Mini-shinkansen branch lines, the Yamagata Shinkansen and Akita Shinkansen. The line is operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East).


There are four services in operation:

  • Hayabusa, Tokyo – Shin-Aomori/Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto limited-stop, starting 5 March 2011
  • Hayate, Morioka/Shin-Aomori - Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto limited-stop (slower than Hayabusa), starting December 2002
  • Yamabiko, Tokyo – Sendai limited-stop, and all-stations to Morioka, starting June 1982
  • Nasuno, Tokyo – Oyama/Nasushiobara/Kōriyama all-stations, starting 1995

One service has been discontinued:

  • Aoba, Tokyo – Sendai all-stations, June 1982 – October 1997 (consolidated with Nasuno)

Through trains on the Akita Shinkansen and Yamagata Shinkansen lines also run on Tōhoku Shinkansen tracks from Morioka and Fukushima respectively.

As of 16 March 2013, the maximum line speed is 110 km/h (70 mph) between Tokyo and Ōmiya, 275 km/h (170 mph) between Ōmiya and Utsunomiya, 320 km/h (200 mph) between Utsunomiya and Morioka, and 260 km/h (160 mph) between Morioka and Shin-Aomori.[1][2] On 30 October 2012, JR East announced that it is pursuing research and development to increase speeds to 360 km/h (224 mph) on the Tohoku Shinkansen.[3] Work seems to be ongoing to upgrade the section between Morioka and Shin-Aomori to 320 km/h, primarily in the form of improved sound barriers. This should make operating at 360 km/h possible, if the improved noise dampening techniques being tested using the ALFA-X test train are successful. If so, the speed limit is expected to be raised sometime between 2020 and 2030.[4]

List of stations[edit]

Map all coordinates in "Category:Tōhoku_Shinkansen" using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML · GPX

〇→All trains stop
▲→Some trains pass
△->Some trains stop
レ→All trains pass ⇑,⇓ One direction only

Station Japanese Distance (km) Nasuno Yamabiko Hayabusa Hayate Transfers Location
Tokyo 東京 0.0 Shinkansen blue new.png Tokaido Shinkansen,

M Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line

JY Yamanote Line

JK Keihin-Tōhoku Line

JC Chūō Main Line

JT Tokaido Main Line

JU Tohoku Main Line

JO Yokosuka LineSōbu Line (Rapid)

JE Keiyō Line

Chiyoda Tokyo
Ueno 上野 3.6 G Tokyo Metro Ginza Line

H Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line

KS Keisei Main Line

JJ Jōban Line

JY Yamanote Line

JK Keihin-Tōhoku Line

Ōmiya 大宮 31.3 Shinkansen-E.svg Hokuriku Shinkansen,

Shinkansen-E.svg Joetsu Shinkansen, TD Tobu Urban Park Line,

New Shuttle,

JK Keihin-Tōhoku Line,

JA Saikyō Line,

Kawagoe Line,

JU Utsunomiya Line

JU Takasaki Line

Ōmiya-ku, Saitama Saitama Prefecture
Oyama 小山 80.6 JU Utsunomiya Line

Ryōmō Line

Mito Line

Oyama Tochigi Prefecture
Utsunomiya 宇都宮 109.0 JU Utsunomiya Line,

Nikkō Line

Karasuyama Line

Nasu-Shiobara 那須塩原 152.4 JU Utsunomiya Line Nasushiobara
Shin-Shirakawa 新白河 178.4 Tōhoku Main Line Nishigō Fukushima Prefecture
Kōriyama 郡山 213.9 Tōhoku Main Line,

Ban'etsu East Line,

Ban'etsu West Line,

Suigun Line

Fukushima 福島 255.1 Yamagata Shinkansen,

Tōhoku Main Line,

Yamagata Line

Fukushima Kōtsū Iizaka Line,

Abukuma Express Line

Shiroishi-Zaō 白石蔵王 286.2 Shiroishi Miyagi Prefecture
Sendai 仙台 325.4 Tōhoku Main Line,

Senzan Line,

Senseki Line,

Jōban Line,

Sendai Airport Line

Sendai Subway Namboku Line,

Sendai Subway Tōzai Line

Aoba-ku, Sendai
Furukawa 古川 363.8 Rikuu East Line Ōsaki
Kurikoma-Kōgen くりこま高原 385.7 Kurihara
Ichinoseki 一ノ関 406.3 Tōhoku Main Line,

Ofunato Line

Ichinoseki Iwate Prefecture
Mizusawa-Esashi 水沢江刺 431.3 Ōshū
Kitakami 北上 448.6 Tōhoku Main Line,

Kitakami Line

Shin-Hanamaki 新花巻 463.1 Kamaishi Line Hanamaki
Morioka 盛岡 496.5 Akita Shinkansen,

Tohoku Main Line,

Tazawako Line,

Yamada Line,

Iwate Galaxy Railway Line (IGR),

Hanawa Line (JR, via IGR)

Iwate-Numakunai いわて沼宮内 527.6 Iwate Ginga Railway Line Iwate
Ninohe 二戸 562.2 Iwate Ginga Railway Line Ninohe
Hachinohe 八戸 593.1 Aoimori Railway Line,

Hachinohe Line,

Hachinohe Aomori Prefecture
Shichinohe-Towada 七戸十和田 628.2 Shichinohe
Shin-Aomori 新青森 674.9 Ōu Main Line

Shinkansen jrh.svg Hokkaido Shinkansen (through-service)


Rolling stock[edit]

As of March 2015, the following types are used on Tohoku Shinkansen services.

Types no longer used[edit]

Tohoku Shinkansen bilevel E4 series train

Non-revenue-earning types[edit]


200 series
400 series
E1 series
E2 series
E3 series
E4 series
E5 series
E6 series
H5 series
Rolling stock transitions


  • 28 November 1971: Construction starts on the line.
  • 23 June 1982: The ŌmiyaMorioka section opens.
  • 14 March 1985: The UenoŌmiya section opens.
  • 20 June 1991: The TokyoUeno section opens.
  • October 1998: 1 billionth passenger carried on Tōhoku, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen lines.
  • 1 December 2002: The MoriokaHachinohe section opens.
  • 13 April 2010: Test running starts on the extension from Hachinohe to Shin-Aomori.[6]
  • 4 December 2010: The extension from Hachinohe to Shin-Aomori opens.[7]
  • 5 March 2011: New Hayabusa services operating at 300 km/h (190 mph) commence operation between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori using new E5 series trainsets.[8]
  • 23 June 2012: The line's 30th anniversary was celebrated, with approximately 1.93 billion passengers having been transported on the line.[9]

From Shin-Aomori, the line continues to Shin-Hakodate in Hokkaido (148.9 km or 92.5 mi, since March 26, 2016 under the name Hokkaido Shinkansen), passing through the world's longest undersea railway tunnel, the Seikan Tunnel. A further 211.3 km (131.3 mi) to Sapporo is due to open by 2030.

The mountainous terrain that the line passes through has necessitated heavy reliance on tunnels. The Iwate-Ichinohe Tunnel on the Morioka–Hachinohe stretch, completed in 2000, was briefly the world's longest land rail tunnel at 25.8 km (16.0 mi), but in 2005 it was superseded by the Hakkōda Tunnel on the extension to Aomori, at 26.5 km (16.5 mi). In 2007 the Lötschberg Base Tunnel (34.57 km or 21.48 mi), and in 2010 the Gotthard Base Tunnel (57 km or 35 mi, bored through and due in service by 2016) in Switzerland superseded both.

Tohoku earthquake and tsunami[edit]

On the afternoon of 11 March 2011, services on the Tohoku Shinkansen were suspended as a result of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. JR East estimated that around 1,100 repairs would be required for the line between Omiya and Iwate-Numakunai, ranging from collapsed station roofs to bent power pylons.[10]

Limited service on the line was restored in segments: Tokyo to Nasushiobara was re-opened on 15 March, and Morioka to Shin-Aomori was re-opened on 22 March.[11] The line between Morioka and Ichinoseki re-opened on 7 April, Nasu-Shiobara and Fukushima on 12 April, and the rest of the line on or around 30 April, although not at full speed or a full schedule.[12][13][14] The trains returned to full-speed operations on 23 September 2011.[15]

Special event train services[edit]

25th anniversary[edit]

Refurbished 10-car set K47 in "revival livery" on a special 25th anniversary working, 23 June 2007

On 23 June 2007, 10-car set K47 was used for a special Yamabiko 931 service from Omiya to Morioka to mark the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Tohoku Shinkansen.[16]

30th anniversary[edit]

On 23 June 2012, 10-car set K47 was used for a special Yamabiko 235 service from Omiya to Morioka to mark the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Tohoku Shinkansen.[17]


  • JR Timetable, December 2008
  1. ^ "300km/hのトップランナー" [300 km/h Top Runners]. Japan Railfan Magazine. Vol. 52 no. 612. Japan: Kōyūsha Co., Ltd. April 2012. p. 14.
  2. ^ JR East press release: "東北新幹線八戸~新青森間の開業時期について" (10 November 2008). Retrieved on 11 November 2008. (in Japanese)
  3. ^ グループ経営構想Ⅴ [Group Business Vision V] (PDF) (in Japanese). Japan: East Japan Railway Company. 30 October 2012. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 2, 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  4. ^ "東北新幹線、盛岡~新青森間を時速320キロへ 高速化への挑戦(小林拓矢) - Yahoo!ニュース". Yahoo!ニュース 個人 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  5. ^ 東北新幹線:はやてにもE5系 200系は姿消す [E5 for Tohoku Shinkansen "Hayate" also - 200 series to disappear]. Mainichi.jp (in Japanese). Japan: The Mainichi Newspapers. 12 September 2011. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  6. ^ 4月から八戸・新青森間で試験走行開始 (in Japanese). 3 February 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  7. ^ 東北新幹線 新青森開業等について [Opening of Tōhoku Shinkansen to Shin-Aomori] (PDF) (in Japanese). JR East. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  8. ^ 新しい東北新幹線の列車愛称等の決定について [Name selected for new Tohoku Shinkansen services] (PDF) (in Japanese). JR East. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  9. ^ [1] Archived July 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ [2][dead link]
  11. ^ [3] Archived March 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "東日本大震災:東北新幹線、7日に盛岡-一ノ関間運転再開". Mainichi Shimbun. 4 April 2011. Archived from the original on 16 April 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  13. ^ Kyodo News, "Tohoku Shinkansen to resume services on more sections", 12 April 2011.
  14. ^ NHK, "Tohoku Shinkansen to fully resume April 30", 18 April 2011.
  15. ^ Kyodo News, "Tohoku Shinkansen Line back to normal", Japan Times, 24 September 2011, p. 2.
  16. ^ "JR東日本 "東北新幹線大宮開業25周年記念号" 運転" [JR East runs Tohoku Shinkansen 25th anniversary special train]. Tetsudō Daiya Jōhō Magazine. Vol. 36 no. 280. Japan: Kōtsū Shimbun. August 2012. p. 75.
  17. ^ "JR東日本 東北新幹線が開業30周年を迎える" [JR East Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Tohoku Shinkansen Opening]. Tetsudō Daiya Jōhō Magazine. Vol. 41 no. 340. Japan: Kōtsū Shimbun. August 2012. p. 74.

External links[edit]