This iconic train is in service on the Akita Shinkansen line and famous for its red colour, modern design and top speed of 320 km/h (200 mph). Let’s take a closer look at the Komachi.
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What is the Komachi Shinkansen
The Komachi is a high speed train service that travels on the Akita Shinkansen line that connects Tokyo with both the city and prefecture of Akita. Operated by JR-East, the Komachi follows the same route as the Tohoku Shinkansen until Morioka station, where it splits off and follows the Akita branch. The experience starts when boarding the Komachi, with its modern layout, comfortable interior and special suspension, a train ride has never been as smooth and enjoyable.
The history of the Komachi
The Komachi service made its debut on 22 March 1997 and was the first Shinkansen service to Akita prefecture. At the time, the service introduced the new E3 series Shinkansen with a top speed of 275 km/h (170 mph). The train would be coupled to a 200 series Yamabiko train, trains would be split at Morioka, where to Komachi would continue to Akita and the Yamabiko train to Shin-Aomori, a very similar practise remains today.
The E3 Shinkansen
On the 16th of March 2013, the new Super Komachi was introduced. This is the emblematic red train in service today. Initially, the service was limited to a few round trips a day, with normal Komachi services running the majority of services. On the 16th of March 2013, the E3 series was phased out on the Akita Shinkansen line (but remains in service on the Yamagata Shinkansen line) and all services were taken over by the E6 series. The adjective of super was also removed, and the service simply named Komachi.
On board the Komachi train
The E6 series, is an improved design from its older brother the E5 Series that runs regular services on the Tohoku Shinkansen. Improvements include power outlets for each seat, on board WiFi, comfortable faux leather seats in Green Class and improved suspension for a smooth riding experience.
Where most Shinkansen trains operated a 3 x 2 seat layout on ordinary (2nd) class, the Komachi operated a 2 x 2 seating layout that adds extra privacy. All seats have reclining and headrests.
Green seats (1st class) on the Komachi are some of the most comfortable train seats available anywhere in Japan. Seat padding is made of faux leather, with ergonomic wooden arm rests that add to the feeling of luxury. Seats come in a 2 x 2 layout with seats in front of the train car in a 1 x 1 formation for individual travellers who wish for extra privacy. Unlike the E5 Shinkansen, there is no Gran Class on the Komachi.
Can I use the Japan Rail Pass on the Komachi Shinkansen?
Yes, Komachi train service is fully included in the Japan Rail Pass, and seat reservations can be made free of charge as well. Green Pass holders can use the Green Car seats and amenities.