Japan Train Travel Tips

Read all of our tips to travel by train in Japan!

Japan's railway system is widely considered to be one of the most efficient, reliable, and convenient in the world. With over 27,000 kilometers of train tracks spanning the length and breadth of the Japanese archipelago, train travel is not only a convenient mode of transportation but also an experience in and of itself. Whether you're planning a day trip to the bustling city of Tokyo, the historic cities of Kyoto and Hiroshima, or the gastronomic city of Osaka, train travel is undoubtedly the best way to get around and explore all that Japan has to offer.

However, for those unfamiliar with the Japanese railway system, it can be overwhelming to navigate the different types of trains, buy train tickets, and understand train etiquette. That's why our team has compiled insider tips that cover everything you need to know about traveling by train in Japan, from the different types of trains to the most convenient ways to purchase tickets.

Whether you're a first-time traveler or a seasoned veteran, our extensive guide will help you make the most of your train trips. Included is information on the different types of trains (Shinkansen, Express, Semi-Express, Local) and classes (Ordinary, Green, Gran), how to make a seat reservation, and how to navigate train stations. We also provide tips on train etiquette and what to expect during your journey.

If you're in the middle of planning your trip to Japan and want to explore the country by train, we hope our guide will help you navigate Japan's railway system with ease, giving you more time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the stunning scenery that train travel has to offer in Japan.

For maximum convenience in your train journeys, we recommend you buy one of the many train passes available. The National Japan Rail Pass is available for a duration of 7 days, 14 days or 21 days, and enables unlimited travel on all Japan Railway lines - the main train operator in Japan. Alternatively, a Regional Pass can help you cover the cost of your local train travel.

 

Taking the Train in Japan

shinkansen 700s nozomi eco friendly green

Japan Rail Pass or Train Tickets: what to choose when traveling in Japan?

When traveling in Japan, if your itinerary takes you beyond Tokyo, for example into the Kansai (Kyoto & Osaka) region, a primordial question awaits: how to get around Japan and naviga

Golden week

Golden Week Travel Advice

Japan will celebrate Golden Week from April 29 to May 6, 2024, which comprises four national holidays: Showa Day on April 29, Constitutional Memorial Day on May 3

Train at Shin-Osaka Station

Midosuji Line Osaka: The key north-south subway route through central Osaka

The Midosuji Line is the oldest and one of the most important subway lines in Osaka, Japan.

Shibuya

Train symbols in Japan: Understanding the complex naming and numbering schemes

Japan's extensive and efficient train network can be overwhelming for visitors at first glance.

Shinkansen Travel Tips

The Shinkansen network

The Shinkansen Bullet Train Network

The first Shinkansen was issued for public use in 1964, right before the Summer Olympics held in Tokyo that same year.

Tokaido Shinkansen

Tokaido Shinkansen - The Bullet Train Connecting Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka

The bullet train going from Tokyo to Osaka has three different lines. What's the difference? Read more to find out.

Shinkansen

Can I ride the Nozomi & Mizuho Shinkansen with the Japan Rail Pass?

The Shinkansen bullet train is hailed as one of the most premium and efficient means of rail travel in the entire world, making it a popular choice for visitors to Japan who are engaging in

Un voyageur dans un Shinkansen regarde le Mont Fuji

Shinkansen Bullet Trains in Japan

The best way to travel around Japan is on a high speed Bullet Train. Order your Japan Rail Pass today online!

Unique Trains in Japan

Twilight Express Mizukaze

The Twilight Express Mizukaze is a super luxury sleeper train in Japan.

Umisachi 1

Umisachi Yamasachi Limited Express

The Umisachi Yamasachi Limited Express sightseeing train runs along the scenic Nichinan Coast from Miyazaki Station to Nango.

Anpanman Train

The Anpanman train is a special train operating in Shikoku, with lively interior decoration based on the popular Anpanman manga and anime series for children.

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Okuizumo Orochi Train

The Okuizumo Orochi train offers a relaxed and scenic train ride through remote mountains and valleys in an open car through Shimane and Hiroshima prefectures.

Japanese Stations

Kinosaki Onsen Station exterior

Kinosaki Onsen Station

Make your way out to Kinosaki Onsen to relax amongst one of the most stunning hot spring towns in Japan! Kinosaki Onsen Station will be the primary gateway!

Himeji Station

Himeji Station

Access Himeji Station to see one of the most well-known destinations in the Kansai area, notable for its iconic castle and picturesque Mount Shosa!

Lockers in Station in Japan

Station Lockers in Japan: A Comprehensive Guide for Travelers

Traveling around Japan is an incredible experience, but hauling heavy luggage can quickly put a damper on your adventures.

Takayama Station

Takayama Station

Takayama City is located in northern Gifu, one of the few fully inland prefectures in Japan with no seacoast.

Getting Around Kyoto

Kinkakuji

Discover the JR Sagano Line: Your gateway to Kyoto's top attractions

The JR Sagano Line is a popular railway for tourists visiting Kyoto, as it connects Kyoto Station to important stops like Nijo, Uzumasa and Saga-Arashiyama.

Marutamachi Platform Sign

Marutamachi Station Kyoto

Marutamachi Station is a station on the Karasuma Line of the Kyoto subway one stop north of Karasuma Oike (the interchange station with the Tozai Line).

Imadegawa Station, Kyoto.

Imadegawa Station Karasuma Line Kyoto Subway

Imadegawa Station is a subway stop on the Karasuma Line of the Kyoto subway one stop north of Marutamachi Station and one stop south of Kuramaguchi Station.

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Nijo Station

Nijo Station Kyoto: find information on Kyoto's JR Nijo Station including train and subway services and nearby attractions including Nijo Castle.

Getting Around Tokyo

The Shōnan-Shinjuku Line connects Tokyo to the Shōnan coast

Shonan Shinjuku Line: A Direct Connection Through the Heart of Tokyo

The Shonan Shinjuku Line connects the major metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Yokohama with the beach resorts of the Shonan region in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Kawaguchiko

How to Get from Shinjuku to Mount Fuji and Kawaguchiko

Many visitors to Japan dream of seeing the iconic Mount Fuji up close and exploring the scenic Kawaguchiko area at the base of the mountain.

JR Yokosuka

Discovering the JR Yokosuka Line: Your gateway to Tokyo and beyond

The JR Yokosuka Line is a major railway line connecting central Tokyo to popular destinations in Kanagawa prefecture, making it an ideal choice for tourists looking to explore the Tokyo metropolita

Asakusa Line Trains, Tokyo

Asakusa Line Tokyo - Discover the Toei Subway Line Connecting Key Areas of the City

The Asakusa Line is a vital subway line in Tokyo, forming part of the Toei Subway network operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation.

Itineraries for Japan

Shirakawago, Takayama

How to get from Kanazawa to Takayama

Go from Kanazawa to Takayama with the Hokuriku Shinkansen and the Hida Express Train!

Matsumoto Castle in Nagano

How to get from Tokyo to Matsumoto

Use the Azusa Limited Express Train to get from the metropolitan capital of Japan, Tokyo, to the historically rich but modest town of Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture!

Kyoto

How to get from Kyoto to Osaka

No two cities are said to represent the Kansai Region more than Kyoto and Osaka, and getting from one to the other is made easy with the popular limited express trains that service the area!

Sanno Festival in Takayama

How to get from Nagoya to Takayama

The terminal station of the Hida Limited Express, Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture, goes out to the other side of Honshu Island to the Japan Sea Coast, and halfway through, it stops at Takayama, a nature