Pikachu Themed POKEMON with YOU Train in Tohoku

We have the habit of relying on HyperDia – Japan transportation search engine system (you can learn how to use this superd transportation search engine here) to map out the recommended route for all our travels in Japan. During our recent trip, we were surprised to find “POKEMON TRAIN KESENNUMA” recommended by HyperDia for our returning leg from Gebikei Gorge to Sendai and decided to reserve seats on this Pokemon train. Wow~~ it was an unforgettable joyride on our first themed-train experience and a major highlight of our Tohoku winter vacation!

A little background about the launch of this special Pokemon-Themed train:

In 2011, the Tohoku region in Japan was greatly devastated by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Hence, JR East Japan Railway Company launched the “Pokemon with You” Train in winter 2012 to bring back smiles and happiness to children travelling in the Tohoku region, and to encourage tourism and railway traveling. The train underwent a makeover and was relaunched again in July 2017 with the new concept of “parents and children having fun with Pikachu together”.

Do note that the “Pokemon with You” train does not run daily. When it does, the train runs two trips at  the following timings:

Arrives at JR Ichinoseki (11:01 am) and terminates at JR Kesennuma (12:51 pm):

JR Ichinoseki (11.01 am) – JR Rikuchumasukawa (11:41 am) – JR Geibikei (11:46 am) – JR Surisawa (12.04 pm) – JR Semmaya (12.23 pm) – JR Orikabe (12.37 pm) – JR Kesennuma (12.51 pm).
Arrives at JR Kesennuma (14:37 pm) and terminates at JR Ichinoseki (16:34pm):
JR Kesennuma (14:37 pm) – JR Orikabe (14:56 pm) – JR Semmaya (15:20 pm) – JR Surisawa (15:45 pm) – JR Geibikei (15:57 pm) – JR Rikuchumasukawa (16:03 pm) – JR Ichinoseki (16:34 pm).
As such, do ensure you check the schedule with JR station or via HyperDia. Also note that the ride is fully covered by JR passes and seats on the train must be reserved prior to boarding.

On this occasion, we boarded at JR Geibikei station.

I suspect all stations that the Pokemon train stops at will have similar Pokemon designed signage.

This station is unmanned so we were a little nervous – have we missed the train? What happen if the one that arrives next is not a Pokemon train? Should we still board?

Thank god! The train that arrived next was a bright yellow Pokemon train with Pikachu plastered all over! I was extremely excited at this sight!

When the door opened, you will meet 2 female train conductors giving a warm welcome. It felt like a plane boarding!

The inner decoration of the train is just as amazing and everything screams Pikachu! It is fully decorated in Pikachu’s signature colours of blue, yellow and red. I would say the theme is very successful as I feel Pikachu is with me at every corner of the train! hahaha

The train door.

Luggage area.

We were led to our seats within the cabin. The cabin is relatively small – I guessed that’s the reason for prior seats reservation. The seats are grouped in four with facing position. So when it’s full house, you will have 2 passengers seated facing you. Mmm… this might be a little awkward and cramped though. I was glad our train was not full on that day.

Once seated, the train staff will present to you a set of welcome gift ( it’s like attending a Pikachu party)! The gift consists of a “Pokemon With You” themed clear file, badge, sticker, namecard and stamped card. So kawaii!

Even the stamp chop personalised with Pikachu!

Of course, I couldn’t sit still and had to explore the train!

There are only 2 cabins on the “Pokemon With You” train and the second cabin is an indoor train playground! Wow~ There were happy and excited kids enjoying themselves in this cabin.

You have to remove your shoes before stepping into the playground.

A royal blue jacket for any kid who wants to cosplay as the Train Captain.

Well, I can’t fit into the jacket but I can wear the captain’s cap! hoho~~

The Pikachu hairband fits better! 🙂

Ball throwing station!

Let’s control the train!

Cozy family moment.

Selfie 1 – hey! I was photobombed by another smaller Pikachu!

Selfie 2 – And now another boy joins in and it becomes a wefie!

Wefie 3 – Suddenly I felt someone climbing onto me! LOL! The boys were having fun photobombing me with their Pikachus!

Mummies relaxing while kids are having fun.

There’s even a toilet on the train! Only the toilet door is Pikachu-themed. The rest of the toilet facilities are the usual.

The 37 minutes joyful train ride terminated at JR Ichinoseki, with kids beaming as they alighted from the train. Well, I was beaming too. Lol.

A final shot with Pikachu again after the train ride!

It has been an absolutely delightful joyride on “Pokemon With You” train. Somehow, I also started to develop a deeper liking for Pikachu after the train ride!

Once again, if you are traveling in Tohoku region, do take the opportunity to plan a ride on “Pokemon With You” Train to Geibikei Gorge (you may refer to my previous blog on Geibikei Gorge here) for a fun-filled day!

JR Vacation says:

  • Do remember to reserve seats on the train at JR ticket office prior to boarding. 
  • Parents can be rest assured that the train’s playground is extremely well-maintained and suitable for kids to play. My sensitive nose did not sneeze at all while in carpeted area,  surrounded by all the soft toys.
  • Recommended itinerary: Travel to or return from Geibikei Gorge with the “Pokemon with You” train!