The train fare varies naturally depending on the distance you travel as well as the type of train you wish to catch: Limited Express, Express etc. and the type of reserved seat: Green Car (first class), Sleeper etc., for each of which an extra charge is required.
Tickets for short distances are available from ticket machines that are installed at each train station whereas tickets for long distances and reservations are dealt with at ticket offices at major stations.
To use the train, first purchase a ticket at a vending machine or ticket window. Your ticket is punched by hand at the wicket or inserted in a punching machine. Please keep the ticket since it must be returned at your destination.
If there is no fare chart in English, buy the cheapest ticket indicated on the vending machine and pay the difference due at the fare adjustment office at your destination station before you go through the exit wicket.
Most stations display station names in both Japanese and alphabet lettering on platform signboards. The name of the station is in large letters in the center of the sign; names of adjacent stations appear below or to either side.
Most if not all trains stop operating around midnight.
Japan Railways (JR)
Japan’s leading railway company, Japan Railways (JR), has an elaborate and well-established system of trains throughout the country.
The Shinkansen (bullet train) is the world famous super express train, which fascinates Japanese and foreign visitors alike with its high speed and comfort. It is operated from Tokyo to major cities at intervals of approximately 15 minutes.
Long-distance trains provide convenient access to all parts of Japan.
To book tickets for long-distance trains follow either one of two different procedures:
- If you did not validate your Japan Rail Pass at the airport, or did not make seat reservations at the airport JR Travel Service Center, you can go to the JR Travel Center downtown. The one in Tokyo is located at the Yaesu north-exist concourse of Tokyo Station, and is open 10:00 am to 6:00 pm daily. If you have already validated your pass and need only to make seat reservations, go to any Reservation Ticket Office (Midori-no-Madoguchi) counter at major JR stations.
- If you don’t have a JR Pass, visit the JR Travel Service Center or one of the major travel agents.
Shinkansen (Bullet train)
Types of Shinkansen
Types of seats
Travel time and fares (per one adult) on main lines
- Between Tokyo and Sendai: Approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes
- Between Tokyo and Niigata: Approximately 2 hours and 3 minutes
- Between Tokyo and Nagoya: Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes
Fare: ¥6,090 + express fare of ¥4,690 (Reserved seat) or ¥3,980 (Non-reserved seat)
- Between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka: Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes
Fare: ¥8,510 + express fare of ¥5,540 (Reserved seat) or ¥4,730 (Non-reserved seat)
- Between Tokyo and Hakata: Approximately 5 hours and 15 minutes
Fare: ¥13,440 + express fare of ¥8,880 (Reserved seat) or ¥7,770 (Non-reserved seat)
- Between Shin-Osaka and Nagoya: Approximately 50 minutes
Fare: ¥3,260 + express fare of ¥3,120 (Reserved seat) or ¥2,410 (Non-reserved seat)
- Between Shin-Osaka and Hakata: Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes
Fare: ¥9,350 + express fare of ¥5,540 (Reserved seat) or ¥4,730 (Non-reserved seat)
※ Express fares are ¥200 cheaper during non-busy days and an additional ¥200 during busy days.
Q & A for using trains
Q: It is inconvenient if I have to purchase a ticket every time I ride a train. Is there any better way?
A: There are some convenient card ticketing systems such as a prepaid card or an IC card.
Q: What are “Women-only passenger cars”?
A:“Railway or subway cars that are prioritized for use by women as well as elementary school students, younger children, customers with disabilities and their caregivers.”
Q: How do I pay the extra fare if I ride farther than the ticket value?
A:When you exit the station after getting off the train, you can pay the extra amount.
Q: What do I do if I left my belongings on the train?
A: You can ask station staff to find them.
Q: What if I get hungry on the train?
A: Food and drink is sold on the train.
Q: How do I check timetables and fares nationwide?
A: There is “JNTO Travel Planner” on this website.
Furthermore, timetable books available at ticket offices show all kinds of information regarding nationwide public transportation systems, such as railways, airplanes, express buses, ferries, and tour buses. These books will be a great help to you if you move around in Japan. Compact size books are sold at places like bookstores and station kiosks.
Q: Are there any stations at which trains won’t stop?
A: Yes, make sure of the line, your destination, and the kind of train (stations at which the train stops).
Q: How do I purchase and use a Japan railway pass?
A: You can purchase a voucher for a railway pass at travel agencies
|Railway companies in and around the Tokyo area|
|Hakone||Odakyu Electric Railway|
|New Tokyo International (Narita) Airport||Keisei Electric Railway|
|Tokyo International (Haneda) Airport||Keihin Electric Express Railway (Keikyu)|
|Tokyo District (Central part of Tokyo)||Tokyo Metro|
|Tokyo District||Toei Subway|
|Tokyo District/Yokohama||Tokyu Corporation|
|Mt. Takao||Keio Corporation|
|Mt. Fuji||Fujikyuko Co.|
|Ebina||Sagami Railway train (Sotetsu)|
|Railway companies in and around the Nagoya area|
|Nagoya district||Meitetsu (Nagoya Railroad)|
|Railway companies in and around the Osaka area|
|Kobe/Osaka/Kyoto||Hankyu Electric Railway|
|Kobe/Osaka/Nara||Hanshin Electric Railway|
|Kansai International Airport||Nankai Electric Railway|
|Railway companies in and around the Hiroshima area|
|Hiroshima district||Hiroshima Electric Railway|
|Railway companies in and around the Fukuoka area|
|Fukuoka district||Nishi-Nippon Railroad (Nishitetsu)|
Metropolitan area: IC card “SUICA” charge type (JR East Japan)
IC card “PASMO” charge type