The Akita Shinkansen is a mini-Shinkansen line and is split from the Tohoku Shinkansen line at Morioka station.
Trains travelling this route stand out for their beautiful red colour, and are some of the most modern and fastest trains in Japan, with a top speed of 320 km/h (200 mph).
Overview of the Akita Shinkansen
Known as a mini-Shinkansen, the Akita Shinkansen is basically a branch line of the Tohoku Shinkansen. Train formations depart together from Tokyo station, at Morioka trains are split up and the train service known as Komachi continues to Akita, while the Hayabusa continues onward to Aomori and Hokkaido.
The Komachi and Hayabusa
What’s special about the Akita Shinkansen trains is that they run both on the high-powered Shinkansen tracks and conventional tracks from Morioka. This is a unique feat of engineering, and one of the few trains in the world equipped to do so.
Trains on the Akita Shinkansen: The Komachi
All Shinkansen train services on the Akita Shinkansen line are run by E6 series mini-Shinkansen, better known as the Komachi service. Komachi trains are iconic because of their red colour, that is intended to evoke images of the Namahage demons and festival lanterns that have long been associated with the prefecture of Akita.
The interior of the train is modern and comfortable. Ordinary (2nd) class carriages operate a 2×2 seating layout, where 2×3 is customary on other Shinkansen. Furthermore, all seats come equipped with power outlets, onboard Wi-Fi and reclining chars.
Green (1st) class seats on the Komachi operate a 2×2 seating layout as well. Seats are made of luxury faux leather, and are much more spacious.
In addition to the Shinkansen, local trains operate as well on the line between Akita and Morioka. Making it one of the few places in Japan where Shinkansen trains can be seen riding along locals trains on the same tracks.
Stations on the Akita Shinkansen
The following stations are on the route of the Akita Shinkansen
Using the JR Pass on the Akita Shinkansen
The Japan Rail Pass covers the Akita Shinkansen entirely. It is recommended to make seat reservations beforehand, these can be made free-of-charge at any JR Station using the pass.