The Red List of Trains in Japan

JR East E653 series

Limited Express Inaho

Data (as of 6 Jul 2024)

Status:  Least Concern 
Constructed in: 1997-2005
Number built: 72
Registered: 72


The E653 series is a type of dual-voltage limited express train for Joban Line, which replaced all 485 series on the Line. Unlike 651 series, the E653 series was designed for shorter-distance journeys. There are four and seven-car units, and could be formed of up to eleven coaches.

The E653 series trains had been used for Limited Express Fresh Hitachi (Ueno - Katsuta) until when E657 series was introduced. There were five liveries: Scarlet Blossom, Blue Ocean, Yellow Jonquil, Green Lake and Orange Persimmon, and all of them were modelled after sightseeing spots in Ibaraki Prefecture as described further below. Since Fresh Hitachi was for businessperson rather than tourists, there were standard seating only.

JR East initially planned to reallocate them to northern part of Joban Line, but they gave up following the triple disasters in 2011 that struck the region (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis). The company refurbished and reallocated them to Niigata in 2013, replacing the 485 series in the area. Seven-car units were rearranged to eight-car units and introduced to Limited Express Inaho (Niigata - Akita), and four-car units were introduced to Limited Express Shirayuki (Niigata - Arai). A seven-car unit was later repainted beige with dark red stripes (just like the 485 series in the original livery), and another one was repainted light blue. They are now mainly used for group rail tours in Greater Tokyo.

The E653 series trains are compatible with DC 1.5 kV and AC 20 kV (both 50 and 60 Hz), meaning that they can also run in the western part of the country. However, none of them has been to the west.

Current Operations & Future Prospects

The E653 series are currently used for Limited Express Inaho (Niigata - Akita) and Shirayuki (Niigata - Arai). The beige-and-red unit and the light-blue one are allocated to Katsuta Depot in Ibaraki Prefecture.


Limited Express Shirayuki.

Scarlet Blossom Livery, inspired by Kairakuen Garden.

Blue Ocean Livery, inspired by the Pacific Ocean.

Yellow Jonquil Livery, inspired by flowers at Hitachi Seaside Park.

Green Lake Livery, inspired by Lake Kasumigaura.

Orange Persimmon Livery, inspired by autumn leaves around Fukuroda Waterfall.

(Updated: 6 Jul 2024)

←The List of JR Trains