TransportationStatus



Train Status (Last updated March 14 2014)


Important:

Train schedules are subject to abrupt changes.

Information here is not updated in real-time. Temporary (additional) service curtailments can happen due to earthquakes, power shortages and safety reasons.

As of March 14 2013, several rail lines along the Pacific coast in Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate are still closed. JR East is considering the cancellation of low-traffic lines, and rebuilding others along new inland courses; the process will take years. Negotiations with local communities have just begun,

The Shinkansen and rail lines in the inland Tohoku area are operating along normal schedules. Heavy rains in late July 2011 damaged some local lines in the Niigata area; one local line is still closed.

The largest threat to rail services is earthquakes. Scholars agree that Japan has entered a period of increased seismic activity. A large quake can stop rail services for hours. The Shinkansen has proved its safety but it is also highly sensitive.

The power situation is improving. Railways in the east Japan area got through Summer 2013 without canceling runs. Lights were dimmer, air conditioners were weaker to save energy, but this was the extent of the inconveniences. In fact there was enough power to operate seasonal extra trains. In west Japan, power margins were slimmer: JR Kyushu canceled some runs during daytime hours till September 7 2012. During Summer 2013 only JR Shikoku canceled services for power conservation - and only a little.

The whole nation got through 2013 without any blackouts. Conservation is on everyone's mind. Factories adjusted shifts to reduce peak power usage. Solar panels are being installed at a rapid pace. It seems also that predictions from the utility companies were too pessimistic. Major railways are cutting down on electricity usage by installing efficient vehicles.

Official websites may have pages that are not up to date, even in the Japanese pages. In one occasion the maintainer of this page has contacted a rail company to point out a timetable error on their official website. (It was promptly corrected.) Information available from foreign language pages is sketchy at best.

Sources: official websites of railway companies.

JR Lines


Shinkansen

Updated: 10:50 March 8 2013


 All Shinkansen sections are open.
 Operations normal on all lines from September 23 2011.
 JR East Shinkansen timetables will change March 16 2013.

Shinkansen timetables and some messages from JR East (in English):
EN:http://jreast-shinkansen-reservation.eki-net.com/pc/english/common/timetable/index.html


JR East Tohoku area trunk lines (non-Shinkansen)

Updated: 13:50 March 14 2014

 Lines west of the Tohoku Shinkasen are open.
 Timetables will change slightly on March 15 2014.


Line Section Status
Tohoku Fukushima - Sendai Some through runs to/from Joban Line canceled, otherwise normal. Sendai Airport Transit service to the airport terminal resumed October 1 2013.
Tohoku Sendai - Ichinoseki Near normal. Rapid Minami Sanriku (through train to Sanriku area) canceled: 2 runs each way.
Tohoku Ichinoseki - Morioka Normal. Hiraizumi Station is in this section.
Joban Iwaki - Hirono Reopened October 10.
Joban Hirono - Haranomachi Closed. Section near damaged nuclear power plant. Recovery not in sight. Substitute bus to Haranomachi available from Watari.
Joban Haranomachi - Souma Isolated section reopened December 21 2011.
Joban Souma - Watari Watari - Hamayoshida reopened March 16 2013. Work in progress for the remaining section.
Joban Watari - Iwanuma - (Sendai) Special timetable.
Banetsu West Kouriyama - Aizu-Wakamatsu Normal
Banetsu West Aizu-Wakamatsu - Niitsu - (Niigata) Suffered damage from heavy rains in late July 2011. Reopened October 14 2011.

Normal services on lines not listed above.


JR East Tohoku area local lines

Updated: 13:50 March 14 2014

JP:http://www.jreast.co.jp/pdf/saikaijoukyou.pdf (Map, Recovery schedules)

JP:http://www.jr-sendai.com/eq.html (JR East Sendai: provisional timetables)
JP:http://www.jr-morioka.com/ (JR East Morioka: provisional timetables)
JP:http://www.jreast.co.jp/akita/ (JR East Akita)

 Lines on the Miyagi, Iwate coast are closed and recovery is not in sight.
 Joban Line is closed near the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant.
 Tadami Line is closed due to damage from heavy rains in late July 2011.
 These are the only closed sections.

Line Section Status
Senseki Aoba-dori - Takagimachi Reopened May 28 2011. Near normal.
Matsushima-Kaigan Station is in this section.
Senseki Takagimachi - Rikuzen-Ono Closed. Rikuzen-Ono - Yamoto reopened March 17 2013. Remaining section to reopen by Spring 2016. Substitute buses running between Matsushima-Kaigan - Yamoto.
(Transfer at these stops, rather than Takagimachi, Rikuzen-Ono)
Sendai - Ishinomaki is 2 hours by train - bus - train.
Ishinomaki Line is open to Ishinomaki. See below for substitute rapid service via Ishinomaki Line.
Senseki Yamoto - Ishinomaki About one run per hour.
Ohfunato Ichinoseki - Kesennuma Reopened April 18 2011
Ohfunato Kesennuma - Sakari Closed. Recovery not in sight. JR East wants to convert this line to bus.
Kamaishi Hanamaki - Kamaishi Normal
Yamada Morioka - Miyako Near normal from April 29 2011
Yamada Miyako - Kamaishi Closed. Damage severe.
Iwaizumi (bus) Iwaizumi - Miyako Buses resumed April 11 2011. Abolished as a rail line.
Hachinohe Hachinohe - Kuji Open. Remaining closed section reopened March 17 2012.
Tadami Aizu-Wakamatsu - Tadami Bridge destroyed by flood late July 2011. Aizu-Wakamatsu - Aizu-Kawaguchi open. Recovery not in sight for Aizu-Kawaguchi - Tadami. Substitute bus running.
Tadami Tadami - Koide Open. Tagokura Station closed permanently.
Banetsu East Kouriyama - Iwaki Normal
Ishinomaki Kogota - Maeyachi Open.
Ishinomaki Maeyachi - Ishinomaki Reopened May 19 2011.
Ishinomaki Ishinomaki - Onagawa Ishinomaki - Watanoha reopened March 17 2012. Watanoha - Urashuku reopened March 16 2013. Urashuku to Onagawa is 2.5 km.
Kesennuma Maeyachi - Yanaizu Reopened April 29 2011.
Kesennuma Yanaizu - Kesennuma Work in progress to convert the right of way to a dedicated bus lane. Bus service between Yanaizu and Kesennuma started August 20 2012. Travel time: 2 hours between Yanaizu and Kesennuma. May never reopen as a rail line.

Substitute bus services, Miyagi coast area:
JP:http://jr-sendai.com/operation

Provisional timetables, substitute bus services, Iwate coast area:
JP:http://www.jr-morioka.com/news/


Sendai - Ishinomaki direct trains
Updated: 9:26 March 19 2013

Direct rapid service between Sendai and Ishinomaki.

Depart Sendai Arrive Ishinomaki status
6:23AM 7:31 Weekday only, to June 28 2013.
17:58 19:02 Daily
Depart Ishinomaki Arrive Sendai status
6:27AM 7:35 Daily
18:17 19:38 Weekday only, to June 28 2013.

Via Tohoku Line, Kogota Station, Ishinomaki Line. Non-stop between Sendai and Ishinomaki.
Weekday only runs are provisional, but JR keeps extending the period.
Ishinomaki - Sendai through fare : 820 yen.
Senseki Line fare in effect. No express charge.


The through train departs from the ground level Tohoku Line platform at Sendai Terminal, not the underground Senseki Line platform.

Sendai - Ishinomaki by Senseki Line and substitute bus is about 2 hours. One run each way during daytime hours, more during peak hours.

Shinkansen (via Furukawa) is not practical, for the local line between Furukawa and Ishinomaki is slow. Ishinomaki -> Furukawa is roughly one hour. Furukawa -> Ishinomaki takes two hours, including waiting time at Furukawa.

Currently bus is most convenient between Sendai and Ishinomaki.
Miyagi Koutsuu Bus:
JP:http://www.miyakou.co.jp/cms/express/desc/34/
Fare: 800 yen one way, 1500 yen round trip
There are reports that this bus is crowded during some hours.

JR East Kanto area (Tokyo and around Tokyo)



JR East Nagano, Niigata area

Updated: 6:25 September 11 2012

Due to the heavy rains of late July 2011, several sections closed. As of September 2012, the Tadami Line is still closed.

The Joetsu Local Line reopened August 13 2011. Iiyama Line reopened mid September. Ban'etsu West Line reopened October 14 2011.

Tadami - Oshirakawa will reopen October 1 2012. Tadami will become accessible from the Niigata side by train. Recovery is not in sight for Aizu-Kawaguchi - Tadami on the Fukushima side. Substitute buses are available but they do not connect to services on the Niigata side.



JR Central (Shizuoka, local trains)



JR Hokkaido

Updated: 13:50 March 14 2014


JR Hakodate Station and nearby service facilities were hit by the tsunami on March 11. Regular services have resumed by late May 2011.

Line/Service type Section Status
Hakucho, Super Hakucho intercity day Hakodate - Aomori Normal. Seasonal extras running in Summer 2012.
Express Hamanasu budget night Sapporo - Aomori Normal
Hokutosei luxury night Sapporo - Tokyo (Ueno) Resumed May 20 2011.
Cassiopeia luxury night Sapporo - Tokyo (Ueno) Resumed May 20 2011.
Twilight Express luxury night Sapporo - Osaka Normal.


In early 2016 the Shinankansen will open between Shin-Aomori and Hakodate. The night trains listed above are likely to be canceled by then. These trains are popular and the sayonara element will make them even more so: they will be difficult to book during holidays.

Several serious accidents happened during April - July 2013. Due to the need to diagnose mechanical problems and implement remedies, intercity limited express services will be partially canceled to end of September at least. The official timetable changed in November 2013; service curtailments became permanent.

The railway is not in its best possible condition and will be challenged if a major earthquake hits the area.

JR West

Updated: 13:28 April 3 2012


Long-distance trains between Osaka and northern Japan have resumed by April 2 2011.

Night train Nihonkai (Osaka - Aomori 1 run daily) resumed March 18 2011. Peak-only service from March 2011.
Twilight Express resumed April 2 2011.

Due to shortages in replacement parts, frequency was reduced for a short while on some lines that use older electric cars. JR West has secured supply and operations have resumed to normal.


Detours to major Tohoku cities


The rail routes listed here are wide, time-consuming detours. However they have the advantage that they avoid the Fukushima area.

Tokyo - Akita, Morioka and Aomori via Niigata

Updated: 14:00 March 14 2013

 This route avoids Fukushima altogether.
 
By Joetsu Shinkansen and Uetsu Line Tokyo - Akita is about 6 hours.

There are 3 Inaho between Niigata - Akita in each direction per day. At Akita connections to/from Morioka and Aomori are available. The Akita - Aomori train is called Tsugaru. To Akita the Akita Shinkansen is faster (by one hour and a half), to Aomori and Morioka the Tohoku Shinkansen is much faster, but this course avoids the risks of travel through Fuksuhima. The scenery is better too.

Night train Akebono (Ueno - Aomori) though quite popular, made the last regular run March 14. It will continue running as a seasonal service for some time.

Tokyo - Yonezawa via Niigata

Updated: 13:27 April 29 2011

 Yamagata Shinkansen opened April 12.
 This section retained for those who want to avoid trips through Fukushima.

Tokyo - Yamagata is about 5.5 hours by this route. (By Shinkansen it is 3 hours.) Connections to Fukushima and Yamagata are available at Yonezawa.



Tokyo - Aizu-Wakamatsu and Kouriyama by inland route

Updated: 6:48 March 17 2012






Tobu section-rapid (kukan-kaisoku) trains do not require extra fare. They are commuter type trains with toilets and fixed "box" style seats. See interior photos Tobu Ltd. Express require extra fare. For Tobu connection train stops and fare see: Tobu Line Guide

No extra fare required for the fast trains of Aizu Railway: Aizu Mount Express and Aiu Ose Express.

Tokyo - Aizu-Wakamatsu is faster via Kouriyama by Shinkansen. However the Shinkansen tends to stop running after earthquakes and runs closer to the damaged nuclear power plant.

Aizu-Wakamatsu to Kouriyama is about 70 minutes by train. Operations are normal.

Aizu Bus runs from Aizu-Wakamatsu to Kouriyama, Fukushima and Sendai. Kouriyama is 90 minutes, Fukushima 100 minutes, Sendai 2.5 hours from Aizu-Wakamatsu. JP:http://www.aizubus.com/

Aizu London Taxi is a taxi and tour bus operator which runs buses from Aizu-Wakamatsu to Yonezawa:
JP:http://www.london-taxi.jp/t_masukoto/



Tokyo - Ishinomaki via Kogota

Updated: 10:47 August 1 2012

The usual route between Tokyo and Ishinomaki is Shinkansen to Sendai and Senseki Line onward. This is not possible for the Senseki Line is partially closed due to tsunami damage.

An alternate route is to take the Shinkansen one stop further to Furukawa and then take the Rikuu East Line to Kogota, and from there the Ishinomaki Line to Ishinomaki. In most cases two transfers are required.

In many cases connections at Furukawa are poor. In such cases it is cheaper to get off the Shinkansen at Sendai and use the Tohoku Local Line to Kogota.

If using an automated pathfinder specify Kogota as a stopover point . (With Hyperdia enter "KOGOTA" in the field PASS1 in the details page.) Also enter the date of the trip, for Tohoku Shinkansen seasonal runs often provide better connections.



Tokyo - Aizu-Wakamatsu via Niigata

Updated: 6:12 October 17 2011

Tokyo - Niigata is about 2 hours by Shinkansen.
Niigata - Aizu-Wakamatsu is about 3 hours by Ban'etsu Line local/rapid train. Closed due to heavy rains in late July 2011. Reopened October 14.

The Tadami Line is closed. Recovery not in sight.



Non-JR Lines Tohoku area

Updated: 10:19 March 15 2013

 Sanriku Railway will be completely open by April 6 2014.

Operator Section Status
Aoimori
IGR
Morioka - Aomori Normal
Tsugaru All Normal
Kounan All Normal
Akita Nairiku Juukan All Normal including Express Moriyoshi
Yuri Kougen All Normal
Towada Kankou All Line closed end of March 2012.
Sanriku (north) Miyako - Kuji Kuji - Tanohata and Miyako - Omoto open. The rest to reopen April 6 2014.
Sanriku (south) All (Kamaishi - Sakari) Sakari - Yoshihama reopened April 3 2013. Remaining Yoshihama - Kamaishi to reopen April 5 2014.
Sendai Subway All Normal
Sendai Airport Transit All Reopened October 1 2011.
Yamagata (Flower Nagai) Akayu - Arato Normal
Abukuma Express Fukushima - Tsuchinoki All sections open from May 16 2011. Normal timetable from December 2011.
Fukushima Koutsuu Fukushima - Iizaka-Onsen Normal
Aizu Aizu-kougen-Oseguchi - Nishi-Wakamatsu (- Aizu-Wakamatsu) Normal.

Akita Nairiku Line timetable:
JP:http://www.akita-nairiku.com/info/timetable/


Sendai Airport Rapid Transit:
JP:http://www.senat.co.jp/

Abukuma Express timetable:
JP:http://www.abukyu.co.jp/jikokuhyo/index.html

Aizu Railway:
JP:http://www.aizutetsudo.jp/


Non-JR Lines northern Kanto Area (Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma)

Updated: 17:39 July 24 2011

Operator Section Status
Kanto All Normal
Kashima Rinkai Mito - Shin-Hokota Closed section reopened July 12 2011. Normal timetable.
Hitachinaka Kaihin All Reopened July 23 2011. Normal timetable
Yagan All (Shin-Fujiwara - Aizu-Kougen-Oseguchi) Near normal
Mooka All Normal from April 6 2011
Joumou All Normal from April 4 2011
Joushin All Normal from April 8 2011

Kashima Rinkai Railway:
JP:http://www.rintetsu.co.jp/



Non-JR Lines Tokyo area



Downtown Tokyo to Narita Airport



JR East Narita Express is normal from September 3 2011. Timetable changed March 17 2012.
Keisei Skyliner is normal from September 10 2011.

Downtown Tokyo to Haneda Airport




Refunds of unused tickets and passes, reservations, etc.

Updated 7:07 March 17 2012

JR East offered free refunds for tickets purchased before the earthquake free of charge. The limit was March 11 2012.

The following page has details on restrictions concerning reservations:
EN:http://jreast-shinkansen-reservation.eki-net.com/pc/english/common/timetable/index.html






Airport Information


Sendai Airport

Updated: 11:18 July 24 2012

Flooded by Tsunami, this airport suffered the most physical damage.
Reopened April 13. Facilities recovered end of September 2012.


Regular flights to Narita and major Asian cities have resumed.

Sendai Airport Rapid Transit line fully recovered October 1 2012.
JP:http://www.senat.co.jp/

Fukushima Airport

Updated: 6:34 September 12 2012


Airport closest to crippled reactors.

Regular international flights to Seoul and Shanghai are suspended as of September 2012. The status of international flights is not immediately apparent from the official website. To confirm visit the flight information page and download the PDF timetable:
http://www.fks-ab.co.jp/flight/

The first chartered international flight after the earthquake took off on September 11 2012. (Fukushima - Shanghai)

Other Tohoku area airports



Airlines


Korean Air serves several Japanese cities including Hakodate, Aomori, Akita and Niigata.

Asiana Airline flights to Sendai have resumed. Seoul - Asahikawa is operating on a limited basis. Flights to Ibaraki and Fukushima remain suspended as of July 24 2012.


Bus


IMPORTANT:
Websites and call centers for reservations might be out of service due to the heavy traffic on their servers or phone lines.
The websites for reservation are currently only available in japanese. If you would like to make a reservation and cannot read Japanese, please ask Japanese or people who can read Japanese for help. You can also try the call centers or JR ticket office at your local JR Station. Fortunately, not all long-distance buses require prior reservation.

In most cases two or more companies run a service together. Pre-purchased tickets are generally valid for either operator.

Long-distance bus companies in the Tohoku area


Runs include those by other (code-sharing) operators.

JR Bus Tohoku

  • Aomori - Tokyo (1 night run, reserved, 9.5 hours)
  • Morioka - Tokyo
  • Akita - Tokyo
  • Sendai - Tokyo Shinjuku (4 runs, reserved, 5.5 hours)
  • Fukushima, Kouriyama - Tokyo (Shinjuku)
  • Sendai - Niigata (8 runs, reserved, 4 hours)
  • Sendai - Morioka
NOTE: JR Bus Tohoku recommends reservations through one of the following reservation websites (Japanese only) and payment by credit card.


  • JR Bus Tohoku Call Center(probably Japanese only)}
  • Bus Information Center at Sendai Sta. East Gate
                    022-256-6646 (8:30 - 18:30)
  • JR Bus Ticket Center at Aomori Sta.
                    017-773-5722 (7:00 - 17:00)
  • JR Bus Ticket Center at Morioka Sta.
                    019-624-4474 (8:00 - 19:30)

  • JR Ticket Office (Midori No Madoguchi)
               Tickets may be available at manned ticket booths of larger JR Stations.

JR Bus Kanto

  • Iwaki - Tokyo
  • Fukushima, Kouriyama - Tokyo (Shinjuku)

Instructions for JR Bus Tohoku probably also apply here.

Konan Bus

  • Aomori, Hirosaki - Tokyo (Total 5 night runs and 1 day run, reserved, 10+ hours)


Iwate-ken Kotsu

  • Morioka - Sendai (15 runs, non-reserved, 2.5 hours)
  • Morioka - Tokyo (2 night runs and 1 night run, reserved, 7.5 hours)
  • Morioka - Yokohama
  • Hanamaki - Ikebukuro


Iwate Kenpoku Bus

  • Miyako, Morioka - Tokyo Shinagawa (1 night run, reserved, 9.5 hours)
  • Morioka-Minami - Tokyo Shinagawa (1 run, reserved, 8 hours)
  • Morioka - Sendai
  • Morioka - Kouriyama (2 runs, non-reserved, 4.5 hours)
  • Morioka - Miyako


Higashi Nippon Express

  • Sendai - Morioka
  • Sendai - Ichinoseki (19 runs, non-reserved 80 minutes)


Miyagi Koutsuu (Miyakou Bus)

  • Sendai - Akita
  • Sendai - Yamagata (76 runs, non-reserved, 70 minutes)
  • Sendai - Fukushima
  • Sendai - Kouriyama
  • Sendai - Ishinomaki

(No service to Miyako City, Iwate ken)

Yamagata Koutsuu (Yamako)

  • Yamagata - Sendai (76 runs, non-reserved, 70 minutes)
  • Yonezawa - Sendai


Fukushima Koutsuu

  • Kouriyama - Nasu-Shiobara
  • Kouriyama - Sendai
  • Kouriyama - Morioka
  • Kouriyama - Iwaki
  • Fukushima - Kouriyama
  • Fukushima - Sendai


Aizu Bus

  • Aizu-Wakamatsu - Tokyo (Shinjuku)
  • Aizu-Wakamatsu - Niigata
  • Aizu-Wakamatsu - Sendai
  • Aizu-Wakamatsu - Fukushima
  • Aizu-Wakamatsu - Kouriyama


Shin-Jouban Koutsuu

  • Iwaki - Tokyo
  • Iwaki - Fukushima Airport
  • Iwaki - Kouriyama





Intercity bus routes


As of September 19, most schedules are back to normal.

Most services between the Tohoku area north of Kouriyama and Tokyo use the Tohoku Expressway, which travels 150 km (nearly 100 miles) inside the 80 km (50 mile) radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant. This highway will be blocked if a major accident happens there. Note that with only a modest event local residents may start evacuating with their cars and create traffic jams.

Sendai - Yamagata Airport direct

Updated: 7:39 May 17 2011

Direct bus service ended May 15 2011.

Yamagata Airport from Sendai:

(1) Sendai - Yamagata bus (following section) + Airport shuttle bus.
Transfer at Yamakou Building.

(2) JR Senzan Line + Airport Shuttle bus.
Transfer at JR Yamagata station.

Sendai - Yamagata

Updated: 14:54 April 19 2011

Operated by Yamagata Koutsuu and Miyagi Koutsuu
http://www.yamakobus.co.jp/kousoku/ya-se2.html

Yamagata stops: Yamakou Bldg, (Yamagata Station), Yamagata Pref Govt Hall
Sendai: Sendai Station, Miyagi Pref Govt Hall/Sendai City Hall
Some runs skip JR Yamagata Station. Sendai Station stop is by Sakurano shopping center.

76 runs each way per day:
Sendai departures 6:10-22:20 Yamagata departures 5:50-21:50

About 70 minutes.
Fare 900 yen. No reservations.

Sendai - Tokyo Shinjuku

Updated: 6:07 September 19 2011

Departure Destination Departure Time Notes
Sendai Sta. Shinjuku Sta. 8:00 11:10 14:10 23:50 Reservation required
Shinjuku Sta. Sendai Sta. 9:00 10:50 14:30 23:59 Reservation required

Reservations through Bus Plaza and payment by credit card recommended. Popular service; difficult to book.


Furukawa, Izumi-chuo, Sendai - JR Tokyo Station and Sendai - Shinagawa, Yokohama resumed July 28.

Sendai - Tsuruoka, Sakata

Updated: 9:36 June 11 2011

Operated by Shounai Koutsuu, Miyagi Koutsuu, Yamagata Koutsuu and Ugo Koutuu
JP:http://www.shonaikotsu.jp/highway/sendai.html

Sendai - Tsuruoka travel time: 1 hour 7 minutes.
Sendai - Tsuruoka fare: 2900 yen adult
13 runs daily.
Departures: Sendai 7:05-20:35. Tsuruoka 6:40-19:50
Reservation required. See above website for numbers.
Some runs continue to Honjou.

Tsuruoka bus stops are Shounai Kankou Bussan-kan and S-Mall. S-Mall is closer to JR Tsuruoka Station, but skipped by some runs.
Sendai departure platform is 40 Hirose-dori (10 minutes from JR Sendai West Exit)

There is also Sakata, Tsuruoka - Yamagata operated by Shounai Koutsuu and Yamagata Koutsuu.

Tsuruoka S-Mall - JR Yamagata Station: about 1 hour
9 runs daily.
No reservation.

As an evacuation route from Sendai this is better than the direct bus to Tokyo and the Sendai - Niigata bus for it uses a road that heads straight west.

Sendai - Niigata

New April 6

Operated by JR Bus Tohoku and Niigata Koutsuu
http://www.jrbustohoku.co.jp/express/detail/?PID=7&RID=22

8 runs each way per day, including one night run.
Departures: Sendai 7:30 - 23:40, Niigata Badai Bus Terminal 7:30 - 23:40
Travel time: 4 hours for day runs, nearly 6 hours night run.
Reservation necessary.

Goes through Fukushima-ken to Kouriyama and turns into Ban'etsu Expressway. Not ideal for evacuation from Sendai. Currently not difficult to book.

Sendai - Fukushima

Updated: 5:47 May 26 2011

Operated by JR Bus Tohoku, Miyagi Koutsuu and Fukushima Koutsuu
http://www.fukushima-koutu.co.jp/highway/pdf/20110327_fssd.pdf

28 runs each way per day.
Departures: Sendai: 7:00-21:00, Fukushima 6:50-20:35
Travel time: 70 minutes.
Fare: 1000 yen adult.
Special discount: two tickets for 1400 yen (June 1 - July 31).
No reservation.

Fukushima, Koriyama - Tokyo Shinjuku

Updated: 11:46 April 6 2011

Operated by Fukushima Koutsuu JR Bus Kanto and JR Bus Tohoku
http://www.fukushima-koutu.co.jp/highway/02_08.html

6 Fukushima - Shinjuku runs, 6 Kouriyama - Shinjuku runs each way per day.
All Fukushima - Shinjuku runs stop at Kouriyama. (12 chances at Kouriyama)
Departures: Fukushima: 6:43-17:08, Kouriyama 5:50-1814, Shinkuku 8:00-21:00
Fukushima - Shinjuku 5 hours, 4800 yen (adult fare).
Kouriyama - Shinjuku 4 hours, 4000 yen.

Please reserve and purchase ticket in advance through the reservation website (Kosoku Bus Net), Fukushima Koutsuu, JR Ticket Center or a convenience store. Currently crowded.

In addition to the above there is one Fukushima, Kouriyama - Tokyo Station, Yokohama night run. Fare is higher than the day runs. Reservation required. JP:http://www.jrbustohoku.co.jp/express/detail/?PID=6&RID=27

Departure times:
Fukushima 22:50, Kouriyama 23:50
Yokohama 23:05, Tokyo Station 23:59

Kouriyama - Fukushima

Updated: 6:55 May 24 2011

Operated by Fukushima Koutsuu
http://www.fukushima-koutu.co.jp/highway/pdf/20110415_fsky.pdf
Travel time: 70 minutes, traffic permitting.
8 runs each way. 5 more weekdays (yellow columns in timetable)
Fare: 800 yen adult, 400 yen child.
No reservation.

Kouriyama - Sendai

Updated: 6:44 May 25 2011

Operated by Fukushima Koutsuu, Miyagi Koutsuu and JR Bus Tohoku
JP:http://www.fukushima-koutu.co.jp/highway/02_14.html
Travel time: 120 minutes, traffic permitting. 20 runs each way.
28 runs each way from June 1.
Fare: 2100 yen adult
No reservation.


Kouriyama, Fukushima - Morioka

Updated: 5:26 May 23 2011

Operated by Fukushima Koutstuu and Iwate Kenpoku Bus

New from May 23. Installed as a replacement for separate Kouriyama - Morioka and Fukushima - Morioka runs.

JP:http://www.fukushima-koutu.co.jp/highway/pdf/20110519_fsmo.pdf
Travel time: Kouriyama - Morioka 4 hours 50 minutes.
Travel time: Fukushima - Morioka 3 hours 50 minutes.
2 runs each way.
Fare: Kouriyama - Morioka: 4000 yen adult
Fare: Fukushima - Morioka: 3500 yen adult
No reservation.

Departure times:
Northbound: Kouriyama 8:00, 15:45
Northbound: Fukushima 9:00, 16:45
Southbound: Morioka 7:00, 16:45

Additional stops:
Nihonmatsu (expressway) Bus Stop, JR Kuriyagawa Station.

Fukushima - Morioka

Updated: 4:55 May 23 2011

Independent runs ended May 22. See above for services after May 23.

Sendai - Ishinomaki

New July 8

Operated by Miyagi Koutsuu Bus.
http://www.miyakou.co.jp/cms/express/desc/34/

Travel time: 1 hour 18 minutes, traffic permitting.
27 runs each way.
Fare: 800 yen adult, pack of two tickets 1700 yen.
No reservation.

Departure times:
Eastbound: Sendai 6:47 - 20:47
Westbound: Ishinomaki: 5:30 - 18:30

Departs from stop no. 33, in front of Sendai Sakurano Department Store. (West exit)

Sendai - Ichinoseki

Updated: 16:48 April 8 2011

Operated by Higashi Nippon Express
JP:http://www.higashinippon.co.jp/highway/ichinoseki.html
Travel time 80 minutes. 19 runs each way (1 or 2 runs per hour)
Departures: Sendai 7:00 - 20:00 Ichinoseki 6:30 - 19:00
Fare: 1500 yen adult
No reservation.

Sendai - Hiraizumi, Chusonji


Operated by Miyagi Koutsuu Bus.
http://www.miyakou.co.jp/cms/express/desc/35/

Travel time 90 minutes.
Departures:
Sendai: 9:00 (every day), 10:30 (weekend and holiday only)
Chusonji: 14:00 (weekend and holiday only), 15:00 (every day)
Fare: 1700 yen adult.
No reservation.

Departs from Sendai East Exit stop no. 3.
Discount tickets for Sendai - Ichinoseki are not valid for this run.

Sendai - Morioka

Updated: 5:26 May 21 2011

Operated by Miyagi Koutsuu, JR Bus Tohoku, Iwate-ken Koutsuu, Iwate Kenpoku Bus and Higashi Nippon Express
JP:http://www.miyakou.co.jp/cms/express/desc/10/
Travel time 2 hours 40 minutes. 15 runs each way, 5 more Fri - Sun and Hol.
Departures: Sendai 7:00 - 20:00 Morioka Station 5:55 - 19:10
Fare: 2850 yen adult
No reservation.

Morioka - Akita Airport direct

Updated: 6:22 May 20 2011

Service ended May 18.

Bus services in Miyagi-ken


Information compiled by Miyagi Prefecture:
JP:http://www.pref.miyagi.jp/soukou/jisin.html

Charted buses for volunteers


Humanitarian organizations are working with bus companies to bring volunteers to areas which require manpower. These are like packaged tours, except that participants engage in relief work instead of sightseeing.

  • Peaceboat Japan
      Organization known for its round the world budget cruises.
      Staff competent in English and other foreign languages.
      EN:http://www.peaceboat.org/english/
      EN:http://peaceboat.jp/relief/volunteer/
      Transportation to the disaster area is by bus. Participants are required to attend an orientation session.

  • Nadia
      Organization in Ishinomaki, Miyagi. Organizes trips from Tokyo.
      EN:http://team-nadia.org/



Ferry Status

Updated: 7:20 March 18 2012

The ferry ports of Oarai (Ibaraki-ken), Sendai and Hachinohe were severely damaged by the tsunami of March 11. Aomori was spared due to its location. The damage at Hakodate was minor.

Note that two ferry lines operate between Aomori - Hakodate. Make sure to arrive at the right terminal.

Operator Section Status
MOL Ferry Co. Oarai - Tomakomai Normal from June 6 2011.
Taiheiyo Ferry Sendai - Tomakomai Normal schedule from June 5 2011.
Taiheiyo Ferry Nagoya - Sendai Normal schedule from June 6 2011.
Silver Ferry Line Hachinohe - Tomakomai Hachinohe - Tomakomai service resumed July 10/11 2011. Normal operations.
Seikan Ferry Aomori - Hakodate Normal.
Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry Aomori/Ohma - Hakodate Normal.
Shin Nihonkai Ferry Tsuruga - Niigata - Akita - Tomakomai Normal.

Ferry companies serving the Tohoku area




Silver Ferry (Kawasaki Kinkai)
JP:http://www.silverferry.jp/




Oarai - Tomakomai Ferry

Updated: 7:20 March 18 2012

Oarai is the ferry port in the greater Tokyo area which handles traffic to Hokkaido.


Online reservation page:
JP:http://www.shosenmitsuiferry.jp/web/

Oarai Ferry Port suffered tsunami damage but the official website never gave details.
JP:http://www.oarai-port.com/

Kashima Rinkai Railway is normal from July 12 2011. JR Joban Line Ueno - Mito runs are normal.

Discount packages:
"Pacific Story" Pamphlet in English available from the official MOL Sunflower Ferry website.
Go! Go! Hokkaido Special offer from Oarai Port tourist bureau. Official pamphlet in Japanese only:
http://www.oarai-terminal.jp/

Nagoya - Sendai - Tomakomai Ferry

Updated: 6:59 July 23 2012

Operated by Taiheiyo Ferry:
JP:http://www.taiheiyo-ferry.co.jp/index.html

Normal operations from June 5 2011.


  • JR Senseki Line is operating on a modified timetable and does not go to Ishinomaki.
  • Bus from/to Sendai via Nakano-Sakae Station is operating on schedule.
  • Nagoya - Tomakomai through passengers may not disembark at Sendai. (The vessel has to leave port as soon as possible in case a tsunami warning is issued.)





Road Traffic Status in Tohoku Area

Updated: March 14 2013

All expressways in the Tohoku region have reopened, with the exception of the Joban Expressway which runs near the damaged power plant. This road is blocked north of Iwaki. The government has announced that it wants this route open by May 2015.


Japan Road Traffic Information Center (JARTIC)
Northern Tohoku map:
JP:http://www.jartic.or.jp/traffic/highway/touhoku.html
Southern Tohoku map:
JP:http://www.jartic.or.jp/traffic/highway/touhokunanbu.html

Legend: black: blocked, blue: snow/ice, purple: accident, red: heavy congestion, orange: congestion, green: restrictions in effect

Lost and damaged vehicles

New June 13 2011

The land transportation bureau has compiled a Question and Answer sheet on the official procedures for de-registering lost and damaged vehicles:
JP:http://wwwtb.mlit.go.jp/tohoku/puresu/jg110420.pdf
There is also information on the disposal of ruined cars, tax and insurance issues.

General safety tips

Updated: 8:33 April 15 2011

Civil servants and transportation sector workers are well trained to cope with the risk of earthquakes. If you encounter a strong earthquake during travel, trust these people and follow their orders.

Shinkansen trains slow down before the main shock of an earthquake arrives. A network of sensors comprise an early warning system. Only one formation was knocked off the tracks by the magnitude 9 earthquake of March 11.

Preparations toward nuclear accidents are unfortunately feeble at best. Often they simply don't exist. As of April 13, one month after the first explosion at Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant, Fushima-ken, Fukushima City, Kouriyama City have not announced disaster response plans on their official websites. In case another accident happens at Fukushima Daiichi, the officials will have a hard time coordinating their efforts.

Another problem is interaction between earthquake and nuclear crisis. This has become apparent in many ways. The officials have not yet revised their earthquake crisis management plans. In inland cities fire is considered the greatest danger. Everywhere the manuals say: "Once the shaking is over, everyone should be promptly led outside."

Trips through Fukushima should be avoided whenever possible. Those who decide to do so nevertheless should keep in mind that at least three things are likely to happen if a major accident happens at the nuclear power plant:

1. Orders from officials will not be consistent.
2. Traffic jams will develop as citizens try to escape by car.
3. Phone exchanges will be overloaded and contact by phone will become impossible.
(Online translation services will be out of reach.)

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