How to come to Yamagata from Haneda Airport
1. Haneda Airport to Shinagawa
See the website of Haneda airport:
(click here) to get the general idea.
One can go to Shinagawa with just one ride. The red line on the above webpage, which stands for KEIKYU line, is the one for you.
It takes less than 20 minutes. Despite how the picture seems, Shinagawa station is not a terminal.
See also the website of the train company:
Some tips for local trains
You can buy an IC card for trains. If you are taking KEIKYU line you will buy PASMO
You can get through station gates easily with this card and it comes with some discount too.
Different train companies sell different cards, but conveniently enough they actually work same.
This means that the above PASMO from KEIKYU line also works for Japan Rail.
Just in case, the card by Japan Rail is called SUICA:
2. Shinagawa to Tokyo
Just take Yamanote line (or Keihin-Tohoku line) and it takes a bit more than 10 mins. Yamanote line is very useful because it runs circularity in Tokyo. One can go to important places with it:
3. Tokyo to Yamagata with SHINKANSEN (high-speed train)
First, you should look into the following page:
Importantly, notice that the carriage number runs from 11 to 17. This is because the 1-10 carriages have another final distination. All of the carriages go to Fukushima together, but they split into two groups there, and one goes to Yamagata and the other Sendai. So, be careful when you get onto the train because you cannot transfer between the 10th and the 11th inside the train.
Second, the timetable is found here:
You will take "TSUBASA", which is the nickname for SHINKANSEN for Yamagata. Despite its meaning being "wing" it slows down after Yenezawa, and becomes like a local train. By the way, although the official timetable says (as of December 2016) that the one at 10:00 is not regular, I believe that it is, judging from the Japanese page:
Some tips for SHINKANSEN
It is a bit tricky but one buys two different kinds of tickets for SHINKANSEN. One is a normal train ticket to Yamagata via Japan Rail, and the other is a special addition for SHINKANSEN. However, you may get just one ticket, which is technically equivalent to the above two tickets, depending on how you take trains. One can buy such tickets at the counter or via vending machines with English instructions. Those vending machines usually accept credit cards, but otherwise you can pay by card at the counter.
The above idea of having two different tickets does not conflict with that of going through two different gates before stepping onto SHINKANSEN.
One is to enter the network of Japan Rail (not only SHINKANSEN but also other trains, for example Yamanote line, mentioned above) and the other that of SHINKANSEN.
Each gate has machines processing your tickets; even if you have two tickets you can let a machine take those two at the same time.
When you get off SHINKANSEN you also have to go through two gates again. This time two gates swallow your two tickets one by one,
otherwise the second gate will swallow your only one ticket.
It is now not difficult to imagine the following situation:
if you go to Tokyo station taking another Japan Rail train, for example Yamanote line,
and buy tickets for SHINKANSEN, you will be asked to show your previous ticket.
This is not the case if you get out of Tokyo staion once, but you would waste a bit of money...
- There is no restaurant in the train. Some attendances may come to sell something to drink or eat, but I suggest that you buy some water before getting on the train. They pass by very quickly and I am not sure if they speak English. One can find many vending machines at stations.