Ride the Pikachu Train!
Earlier in the year, we traveled to Iwate Prefecture to ride the “Pokemon With You” train, which runs on the Ofunato Line between Ichinoseki Station in Iwate, to Kesennuma Station in Miyagi Prefecture. Since then the Pokemon train has been supplanted by a new Pikachu themed train
The new train is still based on the Fuji Heavy Industries KiHa 100 series, a diesel train often used within the mountainous areas of Tohoku and usually painted white and green. Instead of re-designing it to include a variety of Pokemon that includes Snorlax, Charziard, Pikachu and many others, this new redesign is primarily focused on Pikachu!
As a result, the train’s motif is predominantly yellow and brown. Pikachus are everywhere! Even in the train’s bathroom!
What’s The Same?
Beyond the new design, the train still has the same two car layout. The main car is the seating area with a capacity between 20-30 passengers (depending if they are adults or children). The second car is the playroom car, featuring a giant Pikachu on the floor, many sofas, and toys for children. Adults also can enjoy this area, as we noticed adults playing after the children tired themselves out. However as seating capacity is limited, you must reserve a ticket in JR East’s View Plaza, located in select stations (i.e. Sendai Station, Tokyo Station, and many other large stations).
What To Do?
The train goes through seven stations including the entry point. At each station there is a short 10 minute break to allow passengers to view Pokemon themed exhibits. Children, especially, are encouraged to collect stamps of each station. At each terminus there are a variety of things to do.
At Ichinoseki, while the station itself does not contain much, it is often a major transportation hub to other key areas of Iwate. For example, the next stop after Ichinoseki is Hiraizumi, a UNESCO World Heritage famous for its temples and architecture that rivals Kyoto. The Geibikei Gorge, which is also one station over, offers a scenic boat ride down the Gebikei Gorge.
At the other end is Kesennuma, a coastal town renown for its large bay. As a fishing town, there are a plethora of delicious seafood available, the most famous being Hoya (Japanese Sea-Pineapple). For those who are looking for beautiful scenery, Oshima Island can be accessed, where you can enjoy beautiful beaches and resorts. Check out our links below for our detailed reviews on Hiraizumi and Kesennuma!
Tohoku’s Special Trains – Check out this link for all of the special JR East trains that run only in Tohoku
Visiting Kesennuma Oshima
Visiting Gebikei Gorge
Japanican – The site I use to reserve hotel rooms
Hyperdia – A great site to search which trains to utilize during your travels in Japan
JR East’s Official Site – Go here to check for the train’s timetable