Like any other red-blooded American millennial, my first real foray into Japanese culture was with the Pokémon games that were released in the late 90’s. Ever since, I ventured out to other anime and games, but always kept a soft spot in my heart for those little creatures. After joining the real world, my work brought me to Iwate Prefecture, where I’ve stayed for many years, working on the International Linear Collider project – a huge particle physics research facility that the science community is trying to build in the Kitakami mountains of the south of the prefecture.

Well, here’s a link between those two worlds: in 2012, the Pokémon Company and JR (Japan Railway) teamed up to create the Pokémon With You Train as part of its support of the areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. And this Pikachu-themed train runs from Ichinoseki to Kesennuma, right in the heart of the candidate site for the ILC! Could it be fate?

I knew I had to try it one of these days, so I joined up with fellow Triple-A members Anna and Aimi (ie, my fellow Kitakami Times reporters) to check it out.

About the Pokémon With You Train

A Pikachu-themed train that runs on the JR Ofunato Line between Ichinoseki Station and Kesennuma Station. A one way trip lasts 2 hours, and you stop at different stations with enough time to take pictures and collect stamps for your stamp book.


Official website (English):

Schedule: The train doesn’t run every day, but does one round-trip per day during weekends and holidays. A more detailed schedule can be found here.

Time table:
From Ichinoseki to Kesennuma:
Leaves at 11:01, arrives at 12:51

From Kesennuma to Ichinoseki:
Leaves at 14:37, arrives at 16:35

You can choose to take one leg or the whole round-trip, and even get off at other stops in between.

A more detailed time table can be found here.

You’ll have to pay the normal fare for your journey (ex: Ichinoseki Station to Kesennuma Station is 1,140 yen), plus a special train fare on top of that: 520 yen for adults, and 260 yen for children. Tickets can be bought through JR’s Ekinet service online, or you can inquire at your local JR train station or travel agency (Please understand that not every place will carry Pokémon train tickets)

Map of the journey:

* You can take a Shinkansen train up from Tokyo Station to Ichinoseki Station in about 2 and a half hours.

What’s the train like?

The train has two cars: one with seats and one that serves as a play room for the kids. The play room is filled with Pikachu plushies in a number of different sizes, some games, and a few props for taking photos (fantastic for you influencers out there). There are a few stops where you can get off to take pictures with Pokémon statues and collect stamps as well. Periodically, Pikachu jumps on the intercom to chirp its name a few times in greeting.

If you’re a Pokémon fan, this would be a fun afternoon for sure! There are lots of small details around the train that were especially interesting to someone who’s been a fan of the franchise for two decades. Fair warning though: the train is made for kids, so you’ll probably be the only adult on there. I was pretty relieved I had brought my fellow reporters along with me, hah!

It’s just a train though…

Yeah, but the train takes you to Kesennuma and Ichinoseki; both gorgeous spots with plenty of places to explore! Kesennuma is right on the coast, which means there’s a ton of places to have a great seafood lunch.

More info on Kesennuma (Japan Guide)

Ichinoseki is a great hub to southern Iwate, and you can easily travel to Geibikei Gorge to ride the river boats, enjoy mochi at Genbikei Gorge, or head up to Hiraizumi to check out our World Heritage Sites in Chuson-ji and Motsu-ji Temples.

More info on Ichinoseki (Trip Advisor)

If you’re a Pokémon fan and you’re in the area, or if you have your kids with you, I totally recommend trying out this train. There isn’t anything like it in the rest of Japan, or the world!

By the way…

Did you know that Iwate has its own Pokémon Tourism Ambassador?

Who’s that Pokémon? Take a look here.


ポケモン・ウィズユー・トレイン in いわて!



せっかくだから私も乗らなきゃ!と思い、トリプルA(KITAKAMI TIMESのレポーター3名)の私(アマンダ)、アンナさん、とあいみさんが一緒に旅に出ました。










※ 東京駅~一ノ関駅は、新幹線で約2時間半かかります。





気仙沼について (ジャパン・ガイド) 


一関の詳しく (トリップ・アドバイザー)