The Red List of Trains in Japan

JR Hokkaido 789 series

Limited Express Super Kamui (variant 1000)

Data (as of 6 Jul 2024)

Status:  Least Concern 
Constructed in: 2002-11
Number built: 75
Registered: 70


The 789 series is the latest EMU type for limited express services in Hokkaido. There are two subseries: variant 0 and variant 1000.

The variant 0 was developed for Seikan Tunnel, and 40 carriages were introduced to Limited Express Super Hakucho (Hachinohe - Hakodate via Aomori) in 2002-11. Traction is based on that of 731 series, but the 789-0 series trains are compatible with extraordinarily long gradients and humidity inside the Tunnel. There are six coaches per unit, but they could add two spare carriages to form eight coaches. As the bullet train was extended to Hakodate, all 789-0 series units were transferred to Sapporo area in 2016-17, replacing 785 series.

On the other hand, the variant 1000 was introduced in 2007 to Sapporo area, replacing JNR 781 series (in service: 1979-2007). They form five coaches, and have been used on Limited Express Super Kamui (Sapporo - Asahikawa, later renamed Kamui) and Suzuran (Sapporo - Muroran).

Current Operations & Future Prospects

Both variants are now allocated to Sapporo area, but their services are separated. The variant 0 are used for Limited Express Lilac (Sapporo - Asahikawa). They are still formed of six coaches, but two two-car spare units have been taken out of service and stored at Hakodate Depot since 2016. The variant 1000 are used for Kamui and Suzuran.

Lilac and Kamui serve the same stations, and journey times are almost the same. However, Lilac is formed of six coaches with Green Car (first class), while Kamui is formed of five coaches with "u Seat" (reserved standard-class with a little better seating).


The 789-0 series units are painted green.

(Updated: 6 Jul 2024)

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