(Note: This edition of the ILC Relay was written by Kazunori Oikawa of Ichinoseki City, and translated by Amanda Wayama) 

Welcome to the next edition of the ILC Relay, where we interview local Iwate residents who support the ILC in order to show you just how excited all of Iwate is for the project. Around two hours away from Tokyo Station on the Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train is the entrance to Iwate Prefecture: Ichinoseki Station. Many people use this station as a waypoint to our World Heritage Site, historic Hiraizumi in southern Iwate. (Read more about Hiraizumi in this guide to southern Iwate)

Ichinoseki Station has given us a lot of support for the ILC: there are banners, dioramas, posters, and flags for the ILC set up throughout the station. For this ILC Relay, we interviewed the Station Master of Ichinoseki Station, Mr. Hitoshi Hosokawa.


Mr. Hitoshi Hosokawa
Station Master
Ichinoseki Station (JR East)
Favorite word: Ciao!!

The ILC Diorama set up at Ichinoseki Station

Ichinoseki Station – From a regional waypoint to an international waypoint

Ichinoseki City is located roughly in the middle of the entire Tohoku region, so I feel it plays an important role in strategic transportation development. Ichinoseki Station is used by many as a waypoint for the World Heritage Site, Hiraizumi, located in southern Iwate. Plus, the trains that arrive and depart from Ichinoseki Station are used by many of the local city residents for commuting to work and school. JR Ichinoseki Station would like to join together with the people of this region to help develop it further.

Tohoku is suffering from a decreasing population, which has become a huge societal issue for Japan. Because we are facing this issue, it means that if this international facility of science and research – the ILC – is realized, many visitors from not only Japan but the rest of the world will come here. Tohoku’s tourism will boom, and this region will further develop.

After the ILC is realized, we are hoping that Ichinoseki Station will become a transport hub that will connect the ILC with the rest of the world for foreign researchers and tourists. We will continue to brainstorm about ways to improve the station so that it will be welcoming and easy-to-use for people from around the world.


Mr. Hosokawa with ILC mascot Higgs-kun at the Ichinoseki Summer Festival

The world’s eyes on our trains

The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami happened in 2011, but JR East (the rail company that oversees Tokyo, Tohoku, and Hokkaido) has been running some unique trains in order to help with the reconstruction from the disaster.

One of those is the “Pokemon With You” train that runs on the JR Ofunato Line between Ichinoseki Station and Kesennuma Station (both incidentally part of the ILC candidate site). The world-famous Pikachu graces the design of this train, which is also popular with our foreign guests.

Another of those unique trains is the “SL Ginga” that runs on the JR Kamaishi Line between Hanamaki Station and Kamaishi Station. This steam locomotive is designed with galaxy-themed guest rooms, and also has a planetarium you can enjoy. Recently, we worked with Iwate Prefecture and other local governments to host guests from Vietnam and Thailand, who had a great time. We would like to continue to share information throughout the world so that many people can enjoy our trains.

In 2017, a new train was born, called “TRAIN SUITE Shiki-shima.” Up until now, trains have just been stolid affairs where you travel from point A to point B. But this train is different. Shiki-shima is the first “cruising train” in Japan, where guests can ride to enjoy seeing the sights of the country. The train leaves from Ueno Station in Tokyo, and spend a few days touring Japan before returning to Ueno. The route changes every season, and with this train you can enjoy the beautiful four seasons of Japan.

JR East has been working its utmost to bring our guests amazing and unique tours.

For the winter route, the Shiki-shima will stop in Iwate at Ichinoseki Station. We at Ichinoseki Station would like to work with the people of the area to show our guests a great time. The Shiki-shima has been advertised in London, Paris, and New York, where we have had great reception.

We aim for the TRAIN SUITE Shiki-shima to be the best cruising train in the world.


Giving the order to depart, Mr. Hosokawa stands with Pikachu




一ノ関駅では、ILC実現に向けた活動を応援するため、駅舎への横断幕設置や駅構内へのジオラマ設置やポスター・のぼり旗の掲出にご協力いただいております。今回はJR東日本一ノ関駅の細川斉(ほそかわ ひとし)駅長にインタビューしました。

プロフィール:JR東日本 一ノ関駅長 細川 斉(ほそかわ ひとし) さん







ひとつは、JR大船渡線(一ノ関駅~気仙沼駅)で運行している「ポケモン ウィズ ユー トレイン」です。世界的にも有名なポケモンのピカチュウをデザインした列車であるため、海外のお客様からも人気です。


2017年、新たな列車が誕生しました。「TRAIN SUITE 四季島」です。目的地から目的地へ移動するためのこれまでの列車とは異なり、列車に乗って観光を楽しむことを目的に運行する日本初のクルージングトレインです。首都東京の上野駅を出発し、数日間日本を周遊して、上野駅に戻ってくるコースは、季節によって異なり、日本の素晴らしい四季を満喫できます。


「TRAIN SUITE 四季島」は、世界一のクルージングトレインを目指しております。