The Akita and the Yamagata Shinkansen are known as mini-shinkansen. It started in 1997, going from Morioka station to Akita station, making over half of its stops in Akita prefecture. Between Tokyo and Morika, it operates on the Tohoku Shinkansen tracks. One of the trains that operates on the Akita line (as well as other lines) is the Hayabusa, which can reach speeds of up to 320km per hour, the fastest in Japan. Many train geeks come out to see the work on the trains at Morioka station, or to see the train make a "switchback" at Omagari station, the only shinkansen line that does so. The Komachi service trains are distinguished by their red color.
Places to see
The Akita line goes through 7 prefectures: Tokyo, Saitama, Tochigi, Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, and Akita. This means of course that there are many different things to see. Tokyo station is home to many shopping centers, and Ueno has the Ueno zoo with its famous pandas. Omiya station is near Saitama Super Arena and the Railway museum. At Sendai station, you can eat local specialties zunda-mochi, beef tongue, and kamaboko, as well as Sanriku seafood. In Iwate, try wanko-soba, Morioka cold noodles, jaja noodles, Maezawa beef, and many other gourmet foods. Akita prefecture is home to the deepest lake in Japan, lake Tazawa, which is home to the lake Tazawa hot springs. You can see an old samurai residents in Kakunodate. Around Akita station you can also see the ruins of Akita castle, or Chiaki park, as well as the Akita museum.
Like other shinkansen lines, the Akita line stations have much distance between them, and they are mainly large terminal stations. They serve many riders, and thus the areas are surrounded by many kinds of stores, convenient for daily shopping. Rent prices and availability will differ depending on the area, with especially prefectural capitals like Tokyo and Omiya being pricier. Also, the Komachi service on the Akita line doesn't stop until Sendai station once it leaves Omiya, so it is not really used for commutes by people living in northern Kanto.