Morioka is a major station located in Iwate Prefecture. A stop on the Tohoku Shinkansen line running from Tokyo Station to Shin-Aomori Station, Morioka is the nearest major station to the increasingly popular Appi Kogen Ski Resort. On this page you will find the following information:
Although located at significant distance from Tokyo – around 530KM to the north-east of the capital – Morioka is quick and easy to reach thanks to services on Tohoku Shinkansen line running to and from Tokyo Station. The Akita Shinkansen branch line also operates to and from Morioka while some services along the main Tohoku Shinkansen line then continue onto the Hokkaido line . In addition, local lines also operate to and from the station with bus services heading to regional destinations including the Appi Kogen Ski Resort – see below for details.
It is important to note that this page is intended for international visitors who will primarily be interested in using the shinkansen and does not include complete information about all services and facilities at the station.
TRAIN LINES / SERVICES TO MORIOKA STATION
Morioka is serviced by multiple lines of which the Tohoku Shinkansen and Akita Shinkansen will be of most interest to international visitors:
Running from Tokyo Station to Shin-Aomori Station, the Tohoku Shinkansen is the longest line of Japan’s legendary ‘Bullet Train’ network. Multiple services run along the line, of which the ‘Hayabusa’, ‘Yamabiko’ and ‘Komachi’ services stop at Morioka – making it easy to get to. Stops on the line include:
Tokyo / Ueno / Omiya / Oyama / Utsunomiya / Nasu-Shiobara / Shin-Shirakawa / Koriyama / Fukushima / Shiroishi-Zao / Sendai / Furukawa / Kurikoma-Kogen / Ichinoseki / Mizusawa-Esashi / Kitakami / Shin-Hanamaki / Morioka / Iwate-Numakunai / Ninohe / Hachinohe / Shichinohe-Towada / Shin-Aomori
The earliest service bound for Koriyama departs Tokyo just after 06:30 with the latest service relatively early around 20:30. Shinkansen services operate from Platform 11 to 14 at Morioka Station. Travelling from Tokyo to Morioka takes between 130 to 215 minutes (depending on which service you choose) and costs: non-reserved JPY13,960 / reserved JPY15,010 / Green Car JPY12,000 / Gran Class JPY22,510*. For more detailed information about using the Tohoku Shinkansen including explanation of the services, fares and timetables, please use the link above.
The Akita Shinkansen is a regional line branching-off from the main Tohoku Shinkansen line at Morioka, running onto Akita Station. It includes stops at:
Morioka / Shizukuishi / Tazawako / Kakunodate / Omagari / Akita
Services run on a standard gauge track and therefore do not reach the speed of a true shinkansen but nevertheless it’s fast and is the quickest way to move to and from Akita. Some services originate at Tokyo Station while others start at Morioka Station with the ‘Komachi’ service being the fastest option from Tokyo and not requiring a transfer at Morioka. Shinkansen services operate from Platforms 11 to 14 at Morioka Station. Travelling from Tokyo to Akita takes around 230 minutes and costs: reserved JPY18,020 / Green Car JPY23,090*. Please note, all carriages on Komachi services are reserved seating only, meaning you must have booking before boarding the train. Morioka to Akita takes between 85 to 95 minutes and costs: : reserved JPY4420 / Green Car JPY6690*. For more detailed information about using the Tohoku Shinkansen including explanation of the services, fares and timetables, please use the link above.
The Hokkaido Shinkansen is another regional line continuing on from the main Tohoku Shinkansen line at Shin-Aomori Station, running onto Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station in Hokkaido. ‘Hayabusa’ services run from / to Tokyo, with some continuing on from Shin-Aomori onto the Hokkaido Shinkansen line. All of these services stop at Morioka Station, effectively connecting it to the Hokkaido Shinkansen. There many services each day taking between 105 to 130 minutes (depending on which service you choose) and costs: reserved JPY13,440 / Green Car JPY18,510 / Gran Class JPY26,890*. All seating on these services is reservation only.
OTHER TRAIN LINES
A number of smaller, local lines run to and from the station providing access to regional destinations including the:
Hanawa Line bound for Araya-Shinmachi and Kazuno-Hanawa including a stop at the small Appi-Kogen Station, the nearest train station to Appi Kogen Ski Resort. For anyone wanting to head to the ski resort via Appi-Kogen Station, services depart Morioka at Services are infrequent with only around seven trains operating each day at 05:00, 06:55, 09:31, 12:35, 16:39, 18:06 and 20:02**. It takes around 60 minutes and costs JPY1170 one-way. Please note that Appi-Kogen Station is located around 3.5KM from the ski resort and you must arrange your pickup and transfer to the resort / your accommodation before your arrive there. Unless you have a reason to head to the resort via Appi-Kogen Station, we recommend using the bus from Morioka Station directly to the resort – see directly below for details.
Iwate Ginga Railway Line bound for Iwate-Numakunai and Ninohe.
Tohoku Main Line bound for Hanamaki, Kitakami and Ichinoseki.
Yamada Line bound for Moichi and Miyako.
Tazawako Line bound for Shizukuishi and Omagari.
As noted above, Appi-Kogen Station is the nearest station to Appi Kogen Ski Resort however unless you have a reason to head there, it will be more convenient to use bus services running from Morioka Station to the resort.
*Prices are valid as of March 2022 but subject to change.
**Times are valid as of March 2022 but subject to change.
GETTING FROM MORIOKA STATION TO APPI KOGEN SKI RESORT
Morioka is the nearest major station to Appi Kogen Ski Resort and given its function as a shinkansen station, heading to Appi via Morioka is the easiest way to reach the resort. Shuttle buses operate from the station to major hotels located around the base of the ski resort. Timetables vary between seasons and it is important to note that outside of winter – from around March 22 until December 23 – there is only one bus each day, departing the station at 10:05.
However, most visitors will be heading to Appi Kogen during the official ski season – between December 24 and March 21 – at which time there are multiple services each day departing the station at 07:40, 09:00, 10:05, 11:15, 12:45, 13:45 and 21:50*. The journey takes between 45 to 60 minutes (depending on which stop you disembark at) and stops at major hotels including ANA Crowne Plaza, Appi Plaza (at the ski resort) and ANA Holiday Inn. Buses depart from Bus Stop No.28 outside the station’s West Exit. A one-way journey costs: adults JPY1150 and children JPY580. No advanced booking is required and you pay the driver when on the bus – cash only.
For visitors returning to the station from the resort, buses depart at 09:20, 11:10, 13:00, 14:00. 15:00, 16:00 and 17:05. Starting from ANA Holiday Inn they stop at the same points as they depart the resort and take 45 to 60 minutes to reach Morioka.
*Please note, this service has a surcharge and costs: adults JPY1350 and children JPY680 one-way.
RAIL PASSES COVERING TRAVEL TO MORIOKA
There is no escaping the fact that travel using the shinkansen and other rapid services is expensive. Given the speed and distances covered by these trains, travellers should think of them much like taking a flight, with tickets accordingly priced. International visitors to Japan have the option of purchasing one of several passes which allow for unlimited use of both the Tohoku and Akita Shinkansen along with numerous other services around Japan, including the:
JAPAN RAIL (JR) PASS
Covering all 9 shinkansen lines in Japan and many other train services, the JR Pass is a great option for visitors planning to use the shinkansen more than a handful of times and/or travel large distances. Travelers have the option of 7, 14 and 21-day passes covering either Ordinary or Ordinary and Green Cars. The JR Pass allows for use of any service on the Tohoku / Akita Shinkansen line at no additional cost but noting that should holders wish to have a reserved seat, they are still required to book a seat at the ticket office (at no additional cost).
PURCHASING & ACTIVATING A JR PASS
Passes can be purchased via the official website or via a JR-affiliated sales office. Once you completed payment, you will receive an exchange order. This is a proof of payment and looks almost like a flight ticket with your personal details, type of Pass, and validity (three months from the date of issue). It is important to note that the exchange order is not your actual pass and will need to be exchanged for your pass once in Japan. Whatever you do, do not lose the exchange order and prioritise exchanging it for your pass when you arrive.
The pass listed above is valid for travel to and from this station. Before using a pass, it must first be exchanged/activated. Exchanging/activating the pass can however be done at numerous offices located at airports – including Narita Airport and Haneda Airport in Tokyo – and major train stations throughout Japan. If you have the time, we recommend activating your pass while at the airport. If you’re planning to do so at Morioka Station, you can do so at the: JR EAST Travel Service Center: open daily from 10:00 to 17:30.
Passes can also be activated at these stations on the Tohoku Shinkansen line: Tokyo Station / Fukushima Station / Sendai Station / Shin-Aomori Station. Passes can also be exchanged and activated at Akita Station on the Akita Shinkansen line.
To exchange/activate your pass you will need your exchange order and passport. Make sure you allow adequate time to exchange and activate your pass if you are intending to use it on the same day or do so a day or two before you plan to start using it (you can always nominate a later activation date). Once you have your activated pass you are free to ride however you can’t insert your pass into the ticket gates. Simply walk through the side booth (permanently attended by station staff) and show your pass. You will be waved through and you can make your way to the platform.
MORIOKA TOURIST INFORMATION
Open daily from 09:00 to 17:30, Iwate Morioka Regional Tourist Information Center is located on the second-floor of the station and has English-speaking staff on-hand to assist with any transport, sightseeing and accommodation enquiries. Other languages such as Chinese and Korean are not provided at this time. Free WiFi is available inside.
TOHOKU SKI RESORTS
Though they might not be as well-known as the resorts of Nagano, Niigata and Hokkaido, the ski resorts of Tohoku offer some excellent skiing and snowboarding and a different atmosphere to the more developed and international resorts of Japan. Our ‘Tohoku Ski Resorts’ page has everything you need to know including all the stats, facts, highlights and accommodation for Hoshino Resorts Alts Bandai, Zao Onsen Ski Resort and Appi Kogen Ski Resort.
PLAN YOUR VISIT TO JAPAN
Morioka Station and the shinkansen lines running to it, are just two parts of Japan’s fantastic rail network. Unfathomable in its size and efficiency, moving around the country by train is easy and comfortable opening-up all regions of Japan for exploration. Our ‘Plan Your Visit’ page has everything you need to know about visiting Japan – from tips on the best time to travel, times to avoid, entering and exiting the country, money matters, staying connected, accommodation, staying safe and healthy and plenty more to ensure that you get the most out of your time here.