Cassiopeia No1.JPG
A Cassiopeia service hauled by EF510-509 in August 2010
Service typeLimited express
StatusDiscontinued as passengers service still runs as charter service
First serviceJuly 1999
Last serviceMarch 2016
Former operator(s)JR East
Average journey timeApprox. 16½ hours
Service frequency3 times weekly
On-board services
Seating arrangementsLounge car
Sleeping arrangementsCompartments and suites
Catering facilitiesDining car
Observation facilitiesObservation lounge at end of train
Rolling stockE26 series sleeping cars
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification1,500 V DC / 20 kV AC (50 Hz)
Operating speed110 km/h (70 mph)

The Cassiopeia (カシオペア, Kashiopea) is a luxury charter train service in Japan, operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East). It used to operate as a Limited express from July 1999 until March 2016. It ran between Ueno Station in Tokyo and the city of Sapporo in the northern island of Hokkaido. The one-way journey took approximately 1612 hours.


The Cassiopeia ran on the following rail lines:

JR East

IGR Iwate Ginga Railway

Aoimori Railway

JR East

JR Hokkaido

The train changed direction at Aomori and Hakodate.

Northbound trains to Sapporo departed from Ueno after 16:00, and called at Ōmiya, Utsunomiya, Kōriyama, Fukushima, Sendai, Ichinoseki, and Morioka. The first stop in Hokkaido was at Hakodate at 05:00 the following day, with arrival in Sapporo around 09:30. Southbound trains to Ueno departed from Sapporo after 16:00; the first stop after leaving Hokkaido was at Sendai, around 04:30 the following day, and the arrival time at Ueno Station around 09:30.[1]

Trains departed three times per week, with more departures during holiday periods.

Rolling stock

Deluxe suite car at rear of Cassiopeia train (actually being propelled empty into Ueno Station)
Deluxe suite car at rear of Cassiopeia train (actually being propelled empty into Ueno Station)

The train was formed of twelve E26 series sleeping cars, including a lounge car at the Sapporo end and a deluxe suite at the Ueno end. The train was hauled by a JR East Tabata-based Class EF510-500 dual-voltage electric locomotive between Ueno and Aomori, by a JR Hokkaido ED79 AC electric locomotive between Aomori and Hakodate, and by a pair of JR Hokkaido DD51 diesel locomotives between Hakodate and Sapporo.[2] Prior to June 2010, the services were hauled by JR East Class EF81 dual-voltage electric locomotives.[3]


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
SuRoNeFu E26 SuRoNe E26 MaShi E26 SuRoNe E27 SuRoNe E27 SuRoNe E27 SuRoNe E27 SuRoNe E27 SuRoNe E27 SuRoNe E27 SuRoNe E27 KaHaFu E26
Cassiopeia Suite Cassiopeia Suite / Cassiopeia Deluxe Dining car Cassiopeia Twin Cassiopeia Twin / Mini lobby Cassiopeia Twin / Shower room Cassiopeia Twin Cassiopeia Twin Cassiopeia Twin / Mini lobby Cassiopeia Twin / Shower room Cassiopeia Twin Lounge Car/ Generator

Accommodation and fares

Interior of the lounge car looking towards the locomotive
Interior of the lounge car looking towards the locomotive

The Cassiopeia consisted of all type "A" accommodation, all specific to this particular train. A flat fee was charged for all rooms, regardless of starting or ending location. Accommodation rates ranged from about ¥27,000 for a Cassiopeia Twin room to ¥51,000 for a Cassiopeia Suite.

The other fares, the basic fare and limited express fare, were based on distance. For tourists using the Japan Rail Pass, the basic fare did not have to be paid. However, there was a charge of about ¥5,500 each way for travelling on a section of railroad not owned by Japan Railways between Morioka and Aomori.


The Cassiopeia service first ran on 16 July 1999.[4]

From the start of the revised timetable on 17 March 2012, smoking was banned in the restaurant car of Cassiopeia services.[5]

End of scheduled services

The last scheduled Cassiopeia services were discontinued in March 2016 ahead of the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen high-speed line. The last down service departed from Ueno Station in Tokyo on 19 March 2016, and the last up service departed from Sapporo on 20 March, arriving at Ueno on 21 March.[4]

Cruise services

Neither JR East nor JR Hokkaido owns electric locomotives capable of operating through the Seikan Tunnel to and from Hokkaido after the overhead line voltage was raised from 20 kV to 25 kV AC with the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen on 26 March 2016, but JR East leases JR Freight electric locomotives to haul the Cassiopeia trainset on seasonal services through the Seikan Tunnel after the Hokkaido Shinkansen opened.[6] The coaches are also used on cruise train services to other destinations within the JR East region.[6]

See also


  • JR Timetable, March 2008 issue
  1. ^ えきねっと(JR東日本)|寝台特急カシオペア>時刻表・料金表 (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 1 September 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  2. ^ JR新幹線&特急列車ファイル [JR Shinkansen & Limited Express Train File]. Japan: Kotsu Shimbun. 2008. p. 130. ISBN 978-4-330-00608-6.
  3. ^ EF510 500番代による〈カシオペア〉牽引開始 [Start of EF510-500 haulage for Cassiopeia services]. Hobidas (in Japanese). Neko Publishing. 25 June 2010. Archived from the original on 29 June 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  4. ^ a b 寝台特急“カシオペア”運転終了 ["Cassiopeia" sleeper services end]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 21 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  5. ^ 2012年3月ダイヤ改正について [March 2012 Timetable Revision] (PDF) (in Japanese). Japan: East Japan Railway Company. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  6. ^ a b Hosozawa, Ayateru (19 February 2016). "New day dawning for JR East's luxury sleeper train Cassiopeia". Asia & Japan Watch. Japan: The Asahi Shimbun Company. Archived from the original on 19 February 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016.