Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 62 (Back cover)

New Japanese Railway Scenery 22
JR East Tohoku Main Line

535.5-km Tohoku main line connects Tokyo and Morioka in Iwate Prefecture, northeast Japan. The line was built by Nippon Railway, a private company strongly supported by the Meiji government. The first section between Ueno (in Tokyo) and Kumagaya (now on the Takasaki Line) opened to Aomori in 1883, and the line was fully opened in 1891 before it was nationalized in 1906. The line continues playing a pivotal role as the main route connecting Tokyo and northeast Japan although the section between Morioka and Aomori was transferred to local governments-affiliated railways after the completion of Tohoku Shinkansen.


Hiraizumi is in Iwate Prefecture, northeast Japan. It was the capital of the Oshu Fujiwara family, the ancient clan who governed most of northeast Japan and was at the height of its prosperity in the 11th to 12th centuries. There are various temples and gardens representing the idea of ‘Pure Land Buddhism’ in Hiraizumi. These historic sites were listed as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites in June 2011. Hiraizumi Station on the JR East Tohoku main line, the gateway to this historic area, was renovated following the ‘Zero Emission Station’ concept in June 2012.

Photo: Tohoku main line bound for Sendai (JR East)
The main hall of Chuson-ji, one of the major temples in Hiraizumi (Chuson-ji)