I left Yamadera just before 3 on a Sendai bound train. A change for Haranomachi, followed by a change for Iwaki, a change for Mito and a change at Nippori had me home at 11.30 pm - 81/2 hours. The shinkansen from Sendai takes a bit over 2 hours. Changes were tight and there wasn't time to get anything other than chips or chocolate to munch on - after the Odate food fest arguably it was just as well.
All was going smoothly till I saw a super express train at Iwaki that was Ueno (Tokyo) bound.... Resisting temptation I perservered in my quest. And it was worth it;I would use the seishun 18 again in a flash - though two days for the last leg would have made it more relaxed and enjoyable.
Trains from Yamadera to Sendai run roughly every hour
The Yamadera-Sendai train about to return
Countryside south east of Sendai
Haranomachi train about to return to Sendai
The Iwaki bound train.
Iwaki - the train behind was the Ueno bound express....
Iwaki to Mito
Fiiiiiiiiiiiiinally the train from Mito to Ueno which thankfully became an express at Toride, an hour out of Tokyo.