Hokuriku Shinkansen Train

Hokuriku Shinkansen Train

The Hokuriku Shinkansen is a line of Japanese high-speed trains, commonly-known as bullet trains, co-owned by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and West Japan Railway Company (JR West). In service since 1997, the Hokuriku Shinkansen line operated by JR east connects the capital city of Tokyo with Nagano, the capital of Nagano Prefecture (though the section between Tokyo and Takasaki is handled by the Joetsu Shinkansen service).

The average travel time for the 226 km-long Tokyo to Nagano route is 1 hour and 40 minutes. City stops along the way include Kumagaya, Takasaki, Karuizawa and Ueda.

There are two types of Hokuriku Shinkansen trains currently serving the Tokyo to Nagano route: the E2 Series and E7 Series. Three different seating classes are offered on most trains: “Ordinary Car” (essentially Standard Class), “Green Car” (comparable to First or Business Class) and “Gran Class” (supreme luxury class).

Travel by Hokuriku Shinkansen train by purchasing a JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) e-ticket. This pass provides unlimited travel between Tokyo and the central region of Japan’s main island, Honshu, and travel aboard sections of Tohoku, Yamagata, and Joetsu Shinkansen trains. JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) also includes travel on the Hokuriku Shinkansen, from Tokyo to Takasaki. Passes are valid for 5 flexible travel days within a 14-day period.

The JR EAST PASS represents great value and flexibility for your travels in the heart of Japan!

Why choose travel on Hokuriku Shinkansen trains?

  • Hokuriku Shinkansen trains are as efficient as they are powerful, and provide comfortable, reliable commutes between cities at extremely high speeds, even on curved tracks.
  • An established record of dependable railway travel at speeds of up to 260 km/h.
  • Frequent and punctual daily departures.
  • Your JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) can save you money while offering travel flexibility not only on the Hokuriku, but 3 other Shinkansen Super Express Line trains as well.

Types of Hokuriku Shinkansen trains

  • E2 Series
    • first introduced: 1997
    • maximum operating speed: 260km/h
    • layout: 8-car trains
    • seats: 630 in total
  • E7 Series
    • first introduced: 2014
    • maximum operating speed: 260km/h
    • layout: layout: 12-car trains
    • seats: 934 in total

Train services and amenities

  • Spacious, comfortable seats capable of swiveling 180 degrees
  • 3x2 row seat layout in Ordinary Class; 2x2 row seat layout in Green Car Class; 2x1 seat layout in Gran Class
  • Signs and announcements in multiple languages
  • Catering services onboard including food carts with snacks, drinks and meals plus vending machines
  • Multiple-toilet washroom facilities
  • Most trains are non-smoking

Route itinerary

From: Tokyo to Nagano
Train stations: Tokyo and Nagano
Popular stops: Kumagaya, Takasaki, Karuizawa, Ueda
Estimated travel time: 1h40
Travel included with a: JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)


Passengers are allowed two pieces of luggage, up to a maximum weight of 60 kg and having total dimensions measuring no more than 250 cm (based on height, length and width). Delivery services are available.


Bicycles are permitted at no extra cost but must be folded or disassembled and packed inside carrying cases.


Small pets including dogs, cats and birds are allowed onboard. However, they must travel in a cage or similar container no bigger than 90 cm (based on height and length) and must weigh less than 10 kg.


Passengers in wheelchairs have access to special seating on the train but must make a request at the station they are boarding from 2 days in advance. Wheelchairs must conform to maximum size requirements and those with steering wheels are generally not allowed. Elevators and escalators at stations are wheelchair-friendly. Strollers can be carried onboard at no extra charge, as long as they are folded and placed either in front of the seat or in the designated luggage compartment.

Rail passes for travel on Hokuriku Shinkansen trains in Japan

JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)
JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)

Some top attractions along the Hokuriku Shinkansen train route

Tokyo Tower (Tokyo)
Standing at 1,092 feet, the Tokyo Tower is Japan’s second-tallest building. Its exterior frame, painted orange and white only, has a shape inspired by Paris’s famous Eiffel Tower. Each year, thousands of tourists visit the tower, particularly for the beautiful panoramic city views seen from its two large observation decks.

Iizuna Kogen Ski Resort (Nagano)
The venue known for hosting freestyle skiing, luge and bobsledding events during the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, Iizuna Kogen remains a popular destination among ski enthusiasts. Night skiing is available plus access to a dedicated snowboard park that features a half-pipe.

Matsushiro Castle (Nagano)
Built in 1560, the Matsushiro Castle was once the home and headquarters for the Sanada clan, a group of powerful feudal lords of Matsushiro Domain during the Edo Period. Ravaged by fire in 1872, the castle was partially restored in 2004 and subsequently registered as a National Historical Site of Japan. Today, a park lush with cherry trees surrounds the site and guests can visit free of charge.

Museum of Modern Art (Takasaki)
Designed by master architect Arata Isozaki, this Takasaki museum opened its doors to the public in 1974. Inside this unique building, you will find a number of famed art collections, including works by Renoir, Monet and renowned Japanese painter Soga Jasoku.

Karuizawa Lake Garden (Karuizawa)
If you love serene, floral surroundings, you’ll simply love this little hidden Japanese treasure. Spread over 12 acres of land, Karuizawa Lake Garden is home to 400 varieties of flowers, separated into 5 distinct zones. You’ll also find more than 4,500 roses in bloom each spring!

Anraku-ji Temple (Ueda)
A Buddhist temple established towards the end of the 13th century, the Anraku-ji is Nagano Prefecture’s most ancient Zen temple. It is also the only octagonal-shaped (8-sided) temple of its kind in Japan.

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