Japan by Train

Trains - Tickets - Tours

A Travel Guide For Train Travel In Japan.

Here you will find information for Japan about trains, routes, tours, connections, where to buy train tickets, and more.

Useful Information

Population: 126.8 million

Currency: Yen

Language: Japanese

Capital: Tokyo

Country Code: +81

Time Zone: Japan Standard Time

Train Companies

Most of the country’s trains are operated by JR Group; however, there is an abundance of private train operators around Japan.

Train Tickets

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Buy your Japan Rail Pass online at JRAILPASS.

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Buy your train tickets online at OMIO and compare trains, buses & flights.

Rail Passes

Japan Rail Pass

Traveling with high speeds throughout Japan, with the Japan Rail Pass you can use almost all trains in the country. You can choose between a 7, 14, or 21-day pass. You are also able to ride the Shinkansen high-speed train.

TrAIN tYPES

National trains in Japan

Local Trains (futsū or kaku-eki-teisha) stop at every train station.

  • No reservations required, no surcharge
  • Busy at peak hours 

Express/Rapid Trains (kyūkō or kaisoku)

  • No reservations required, no surcharge

Limited Express Trains (tokkyū) stop at busy and major train stations.

  • 1st Class (green car): Rows of three seats (2+1), spacious and quiet
  • 2nd Class: Rows of four seats (2+2)
  • Reservations required; surcharge applied

Bullet Trains (shinkansen): connects large cities together throughout the country.

  • 1st Class (green car): Rows of four seats (2+2) or rows of three seats (2+1) spacious and quiet
  • 2nd Class (reserved and non-reserved* supplement): Rows of five seats (2+3) or rows of four seats (2+2)
  • Trains are equipped with a refreshment trolley, toilets, and air-conditioning
  • * Non-reserved seats could be all full upon boarding, which means you must stand for the entirety of the journey or until a seat opens up.

There are no international trains in Japan. You can take a plane or a ferry to visit other countries.

Sunrise Seto/ Sunrise Izumo

Routes:

    • Sunrise Seto: Tokyo – Osaka – Okayama – Takamatsu
    • Sunrise Izumo: Tokyo – Osaka – Okayama – Matsue – Izumo
  • Reservations necessary, surcharge applied (unless you have a Japan Rail Pass) book as soon as possible; without a pass, a basic fare, Limited Express train surcharge, and bed reservation (if applicable) are all charged
  • Shared Sleeping Accommodation:
    • Nobinobi berths are open plan bunk beds/ allocated pieces of carpet; no extra charge to Japan Rail Pass holders
  • Private Sleeping Accommodation:
    • “A-Type deluxe”: 1 person, single deluxe, inclusive of bedding, a desk, power outlets, and washbasin
    • “B-Type single/solo”: 1 person, single, inclusive of bedding, and power outlets
    • “B- Type single-twin”: 2 people, upper and lower berths, inclusive of bedding, and power outlets
    • “B- Type sunrise twin”: 2 people, 2 lower berths, inclusive of bedding, and power outlets
  • Trains are equipped with a lounge car

Shiki-Shima
Seven Stars
Royal Express Luxury Train

Coto Coto train
Tango Aomatsu
Tango Akamatsu
Den – en Synphony Happiness Train
Furano Bei Norokko
SL Fuyu-no-Shitsugen Train
Toreiyu Tsubasa
Shimatetsu Café Train
SL Ginga
Koshino Shu*Kura
Fruitea Fukushima
Resort Minori
High Rail 1375
Tohoku Emotion
Genbi Shinkansen
Okyot
Resort Shirakami

Routes

Frequently Travelled Routes In Japan

National

From > To
Duration (h)
ChangesTransport
Tokyo to Kyoto2:12DirectShinkansen
Tokyo to Osaka2:27DirectShinkansen
Tokyo to Nagoya1:37DirectShinkansen
Tokyo to Kanazawa2:30DirectShinkansen
Tokyo to Yokohama0:50DirectTrain
Tokyo to Chiba0:41DirectTrain
Kyoto to Osaka0:14DirectShinkansen
Osaka to Kobe0:19DirectTrain
Osaka to Hiroshima1:25DirectShinkansen

 

International

From > To
Duration (h)ChangesTransport
Osaka to Busan, South Korea18:30DirectFerry
Fukoka to Busan, South Korea3:05DirectFerry

 

Japan travel routes

Japan’s Culinary Delights

Japan’s Culinary Delights

Main Train Stations

  • Tokyo
  • Osaka
  • Kyoto
  • Horoshima
  • Nagoya
  • Yokohama
  • Chiba
  • Kanazawa
  • Kawasaki
  • Nagasaki
  • Kobe
  • Sapporo
  • Fukuoka

Good to know

Best Time To Travel To Japan

It’s hard to say when the best time to travel to Japan is as each season had its perks. In the winter you will have your best chance of seeing Mount Fuji without cloud cover, New Years celebrations are in full swing, there is the perfect powder for snow activities and the Sapporo Snow Festival is worth a visit.

In spring you have the chance to see the cherry blossoms in bloom. In early summer is the rainy season, late summer is typhoon season; however, summer offers the best festivals, great opportunities to hike in the Japanese Alps, and many options for scuba diving.

In fall is when the foliage changes fiery colors all over the countryside. Depending on your interests, Japan has options for you year-round.

 

  • High Season: late March-early April (cherry blossom season), late April – early May (Golden Week), August (summer school holidays), late December – early January (New Years)
  • Low Season: November – March
  • Wet Season: May – July (region dependent)

 

Accommodation In Japan

Booking

The best place to find cheap hotels for is to book by www.booking.com. There you will find a large selection of cheap hotels, hostels, and apartments. > BOOK HERE

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Hostelworld

If you are looking for a low budget accommodation, then go on www.hostelworld.com. They have the best choice of cheap hostels for backpackers and low budget travelers. > BOOK HERE

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Guidebooks For Japan

Travel with a guidebook ease your journey to find best sights and things to do. Buy it on Amazon.

Travel Insurance

We highly recommend not to travel without insurance. Don’t fret! World Nomads offers many different travel insurance coverage plans to suit your trip best. > BUY HERE

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