The Tohoku region is located in the northern part of Japan’s main island of Honshu. It can be reached from the capital (Tokyo) through various means of transportation, such as the bullet train (shinkansen), by air, or by express bus. If your base of travel will be Tohoku, note that the bullet train stops at virtually every city in the region, making it possible for flexible use and scheduling when planning your trip. Furthermore, every prefecture in the Tohoku region has airports with direct flights from other major cities in Japan, such as Sapporo, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka, and many more.
Access from Japan’s major cities:
- Tokyo to Sendai
- 90 minutes by bullet train (Shinkansen)
- Sapporo to Sendai
- 75 minutes by air
- Nagoya to Sendai
- 65 minutes by air
- Osaka to Sendai
- 70 minutes by air
- Fukuoka to Sendai
- 100 minutes by air
From other parts of Japan
The Shinkansen (bullet train), operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR-East), is a convenient way of travelling from Tokyo. JR-East offers discounted tickets that can be used by tourists for unlimited rides, so do make use of these if you plan to travel by rail.
The Japan Rail Pass is a ticket that offers unlimited rides on JR buses and trains traveling on the JR lines in all parts of Japan (with some exceptions), including the Tohoku Shinkansen. The JR East Pass (Tohoku Area) allows for unlimited rides on the JR lines in the eastern part of Honshu, including the Tohoku Shinkansen that connects Tokyo with the Tohoku region, as well as on trains operated by JR’s partner companies. The JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass allows for unlimited rides on the same lines as the JR East Pass, with the addition of some JR lines in Hokkaido including Sapporo.
Depending on where you will be traveling during your trip, you can select the rail pass that best suits your needs.
For further details:
By Air (Domestic flights)
There are seven airports in the Tohoku region, with one in each prefecture and two in Yamagata Prefecture. You can fly to these airports from Haneda Airport, Narita International Airport, New Chitose Airport, Nagoya Airport (Chubu Centrair International Airport), Osaka International Airport, or Fukuoka Airport.
Domestic airlines withdirect flights to airports in the Tohoku region:
By Express Bus
Express buses depart from the cities around Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Chiba. These buses can take you directly into major cities in Tohoku such as Sendai and Koriyama, as well as to areas the shinkansen (bullet train) does not pass through. Although the travel time takes longer than the bullet train, a bus ticket can cost about 5,000 – 10,000 yen less than a train ticket. The Japan Bus-Gateway provides links to websites that allows users to search for the bus routes and fares of the respective bus operators, as well as make ticket bookings. The TOHOKU HIGHWAY BUS TICKET offers two-day or three-day unlimited rides on express buses bound for the Tohoku region.
For more detailed information on transportation within the Tohoku region:
From the United States
Since there are no direct flights from the United States to the Tohoku region, you would need to transfer to a domestic flight either at Haneda Airport or Narita International Airport in Tokyo. A direct flight from the U.S. West Coast to Tokyo takes about 11 hours, while a direct flight from the U.S. East Coast to Tokyo takes about 14 hours.
・About 12 hours from Los Angeles
・About 14 hours from New York
From the United Kingdom
Since there are no direct flights from the United Kingdom to the Tohoku region, you would need to transfer to a domestic flight either at Haneda Airport or Narita International Airport in Tokyo. A direct flight from London to Tokyo takes about 13 hours.
Since there are no direct flights from Australia to the Tohoku region, you would need to transfer to a domestic flight either at Haneda Airport or Narita International Airport in Tokyo. A direct flight from the major cities of Australia to Tokyo takes about 9 to 11 hours.
・About 10 hours from Sydney
・About 11 hours from Melbourne