Yamagata Shinkansen Train

Yamagata Shinkansen Train

The Yamagata Shinkansen is a line of Japanese high-speed trains, commonly-known as bullet trains, run by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East). Opened in 1999, the line connects the capital city of Tokyo with Shinjo, located in the north-central area of Yamagata Prefecture (though the section between Tokyo and Fukushima is handled by the Tohoku Shinkansen service). The Yamagata is often called "mini-shinkansen" because unlike most Shinkansen trains, it operates on conventional railway tracks.

The average travel time for the 421 km-long Tokyo to Shinjo route is 3 hours and 30 minutes. City stops along the way include Fukushima, Yonezawa, Kaminoyama and Yamagata.

There are two types of Yamagata Shinkansen trains in service along the Tokyo to Shinjo route: the E3-1000 Series and E3-2000 Series. Two different seating classes are offered on most trains: “Ordinary Car” (essentially Standard Class) and “Green Car” (comparable to First or Business Class).

Travel by Yamagata Shinkansen train by purchasing a JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) e-ticket. This pass provides unlimited travel between Tokyo and the northeast region of the main island, and includes travel aboard the Tohoku, Akita, Joetsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen trains. 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 throughout Japan’s Tohoku area!

Why choose travel on Yamagata Shinkansen trains?

  • Yamagata Shinkansen trains are efficient and powerful, providing a reliable and comfortable high-speed commute from city to city along the Tokyo to Shinjo route.
  • An established record of reliable railway travel at speeds of up to 130 km/h.
  • Frequent and punctual daily departures.
  • Your JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) can save you money while offering travel flexibility not only on the Yamagata, but 4 other Shinkansen Super Express Line trains as well.

Types of Yamagata Shinkansen trains

  • E3-1000 Series
    • first introduced: 1999
    • maximum operating speed: 130km/h
    • llayout: 7-car trains
  • E3-2000 Series
    • first introduced: 2008
    • maximum operating speed: 130km/h
    • layout: 7-car trains

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
  • 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 Shinjo
Train stations: Tokyo and Shinjo
Popular stops: Fukushima, Yonezawa, Kaminoyama, Yamagata
Estimated travel time: 3h30
Travel included with a: JR EAST PASS (Tohoku 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 Yamagata Shinkansen trains in Japan

JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)

Some top attractions along the Yamagata Shinkansen train route

Yoyogi Park (Tokyo)
The 4th largest park in Tokyo, Yoyogi Park is located next to the Meiji Shrine, one of the country’s most notable temples. The site itself has an impressive history dating back to 1910. Today, the park is famous for its lively atmosphere that draws sports enthusiasts, musicians, painters, cosplay fans and curious onlookers alike.

Shinjo Castle (Shinjo)
Built in 1622, Shinjo Castle was the home and headquarters for the Tozawa clan, a group of powerful feudal lords of Shinjo Domain during most of the Edo Period. The remains of this once-prestigious castle can be found in Mogami Park, just a 15-minute walk from the Shinjo train station and about an hour’s drive from the city of Yamagata.

Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art (Fukushima)
Housing more than 2000 individual exhibits, the museum offers visitors a look into a wide array of artistic styles, including Japanese modern art, 20th Century American Realism and French Impressionism. It’s a collection destined to captivate the art aficionado as well as the casual observer.

Namekawa Great Falls (Yonezawa)
The Namekawa Great Falls is a scenic waterfall off the Abukuma River in Yonezawa. Recognized as one of the country’s top 100 waterfalls by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, the “fanning horsetail”-style cascade delivers several streams of water over a massive 330-foot outcrop of rhyolite rock.

Tsukioka Park (Kaminoyama)
Tsukioka Park is a popular site used by locals for practicing “hanami” - the traditional Japanese custom of watching flowers and appreciating their fleeting beauty. The park is home to approximately 100 Japanese cherry blossom trees and offers a fantastic view of the city’s historic Kaminoyama Castle.

Zao Onsen Ski Resort (Yamagata)
Zao Onsen is one of the best-known skiing and snowboarding destinations in Japan and the site of a year-round natural hot springs resort village. Located more than 2600 feet above sea level amongst scenic mountains, the village includes a range of hotels, restaurants and souvenir boutiques, plus a family snow park for children.

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