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JR News: Say hello to the new E8 Series Yamagata Shinkansen

JR News: Say hello to the new E8 Series Yamagata Shinkansen

Do you love travelling around Japan by train, especially the Shinkansen (新幹線)? The bullet train is one of the most convenient ways of getting around different areas of Japan, and in Yamagata Prefecture (山形県), one of the best ways is by the Yamagata Shinkansen (山形新幹線). 

 

The train stations along the Yamagata Shinkansen. (Image credit: Google Maps)

 

Opened on 1 July 1992, the Yamagata Shinkansen provides travellers with a direct Shinkansen access from Tōkyō Station (東京駅) to Yamagata Station (山形駅) via Fukushima Station (福島駅), and in 1999, the route was extended to Shinjо̄ Station (新庄駅). On 1 July 2022, the Yamagata Shinkansen also celebrated its 30th anniversary.

 

The E3 series on the Yamagata Shinkansen. (Image credit: JR East)

 

The Yamagata Shinkansen is operated by the E3 Series train, which is also known as Tsubasa (つばさ Wings). The train is easily recognised by its iconic purple head, and it has been navigating the mountainous terrain of Yamagata for years, but now, there is another train travelling along the Yamagata Shinkansen as well.

 

Behold, the new E8 Series

The new E8 Series. (Image credit: JR East)

 

On 16 March this year, the new E8 Series Shinkansen made its debut and began operation on the Yamagata Shinkansen. It is the latest addition to JR East’s current rolling stock, and travellers can now enjoy heading to Yamagata on this brand-new train.

 

The E8 Series’ outstanding colour scheme. (Image credit: JR East)

 

Travellers on the E8 Series will notice the train’s striking colour scheme the first time they lay eyes on it. The train features a yellow gradient that symbolises safflower, the prefectural flower of Yamagata, and the overall concept of the design is to conceive a “train that weaves a rich climate and heart”.

 

A peek inside the train

The Ordinary Car on the E8 series. (Image credit: JR East)

 

The E8 series is similar to the E3 series in terms of formation: it has 7 cars altogether, including 1 Green Car, and all the cars feature a 2+2 seat configuration. But first-time passengers will be in for a surprise, as the new train features new designs that capture the essence of Yamagata. For instance, the seats in the Ordinary Cars are covered in vivid hues of yellow and red to symbolise Yamagata’s safflowers contrasting against the sunset.

 

The Green Car on the E8 series. (Image credit: JR East)

 

As for the Green Car, the seats are covered by dark green upholstery that expresses the greenery of Mount Gassan (月山), a sacred mountain in Yamagata and one of the Three Mountains of Dewa (出羽三山 Dewa Sanzan), and the coniferous trees surrounding the mountain. Also, laid along the centre aisle of the train car is a carpet whose pattern embodies the flowing waters of the Mogamigawa River (最上川 Mogami-gawa).

 

Exquisite cherry wood armrests on the Green Car. (Image credit: JR East)

 

As the final finishing touches, the seats on the Green Car also feature cherry wood furnishing. What is intriguing is the texture, which is reminiscent of Shinjō twill weaving. Pretty cool, don’t you think?

 

E8 series train schedule

The E8 series train in operation. (Image credit: photoAC)

 

The E8 series train has been operating since mid-March, and it makes three round trips daily, departing from Tokyo Station (for outbound) and Shinjo Station (for inbound). Do note that the departure and arrival times are subject to change, and train operation may be affected during peak travel periods e.g. Golden Week.

 

Closing

The Yamagata Shinkansen has been in service for more than 30 years, enabling travellers to visit and explore Yamagata directly from Tokyo. As time flies, we get to see new train cars plying the railway tracks, each showcasing new designs incorporated with newer technologies for faster and more comfortable rides.

 

Although this is the latest addition to JR East's rolling stock, it is certainly not the last and we can expect more new trains plying the railway tracks in the future! 

 

JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)

The JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) and where you can use it. (Image credit: JR East)

 

Eager to experience the E8 series train? Then check out the JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area), an affordable pass that offers unlimited train rides on JR East lines, including bullet trains, within the valid area for 5 consecutive days. It is only ¥30,000 and it makes for a great companion for your railway trip.

 

Pass holders can also reserve seats online for up to a month in advance for free on the JR-EAST Train Reservation.


The JR-EAST Train Reservation. (Image credit: JR East)

 

Header image credit: JR East

 

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