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Japan Travel Information


Japanese public transportation system is efficient and accurate, but might be a little costly and complicated for foreigners. This site introduces Shinkansen, JR Pass, metropolitan railway network and highway bus.
  • Shinkansen
Shinkansen is a network of bullet trains in Japan operated by five Japan Railways Group companies. Most of the lines are served by multiple train categories with different train names. The fastest one stops only at major stations, while the slowest one stops at every station along the way.
For more info. --> Shinkansen
Map of Shinkansen

Name of Line Start to terminal
Name of train (Time & Fee*
from start to terminal)
(148.8 km)
Hayabusa (1h01m, 7,260 JPY)
Hayate (1h06m, 7,260 JPY)
Yamabiko (**)
(713.7 km)
Hayabusa (2h59m, 17,350 JPY)
Hayate (3h30m,16,840 JPY)
Yamabiko (**)
(662.6 km)
Komachi (3h37m, 17,800 JPY)
(421.4 km)
Tsubasa (3h11m, 12,870 JPY)
(333.9 km)
Toki (1h37m, 10,570 JPY)
Tanigawa (**)
(450.5 km)
Kagayaki (2h28m, 14,120 JPY)
Hakutaka (3h, 14,120 JPY)
Asama (**)
Tsurugi (**)
(552.6 km)
Nozomi (2h22m, 14,450 JPY)
Hikari (3h, 14,140 JPY)
Kodama (4h, 14,140 JPY)
(664.0 km)
Mizuho (2h23m, 15,510 JPY)
Sakura (2h35m, 15,200 JPY)
(288.9 km)
Mizuho (1h17m, 10,450 JPY)
Sakura (1h30m, 10,450 JPY)
Tsubame (1h48m, 10,450 JPY)
 * Basic fare + express & reservation fares.
   Reservation fare change a little depending on the season.
** Operated only between local stations
  • JR Pass
[What is JR Pass]
Japan Railway Pass (JR Pass) is only available for short stay foreign tourists, and comprises the ordinary type and the green (first class) car type with 3 effective periods. Reduced rates (50% off) apply to children aged 6-11.
Type Ordinary Green Car
  7 days
29,110 JPY 38,880 JPY
14 days
46,390 JPY 62,950 JPY
21 days
59,350 JPY 81,870 JPY
JR Pass is valid on almost all JR trains including shinkansen, regular express trains, local trains, and local JR buses, except for Nozomi trains along the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen, Mizuho trains along the Sanyo/Kyushu Shinkansen and JR highway buses. So pass holders have to use a little slower and less frequent Hikari and Sakura instead of Nozomi and Mizuho (See the Shinkansen map and table).

[How to buy]
You can purchase JR Pass and get the voucher via the internet or through travel agencies across the world. On a trial basis, the pass will also be sold at Narita, Haneda and Kansai Airports, starting sometime in 2016. The voucher can be exchanged at designated major JR stations across Japan. When you hand your voucher and passport (photocopy not accepted) to the ticket counter staff with designating the starting date within a month, you can receive your JR Pass after some processing. For more info. --> JR Pass

[Fare comparison]
The following table shows the comparison of ticket prices in the case of the arrival at Chube Centrair International Airport, visit Tokyo, Desney Sea and Kyoto then depart from Kansai Airport.
Day Section JR Tickets JR Pass
Nagoya --> Tokyo 6,260+5,030 JPY 29,110 JPY
Around Tokyo 1,000 JPY
Around Tokyo 1,000 JPY
Tokyo <--> Maihama 216 X 2 JPY
Tokyo --> Kyoto 8,210+5,900 JPY
Kyoto -
Kyoto --> Kansai Airport 1,880+1,690 JPY
- 29,902 JPY
  *Unless a JR heavy user, it is not easy to break even with JR Pass.
  • Metropolitan Railway System
Tokyo metropolitan railway system comprises 14 JR lines, 38 private or half-private lines, 13 subway lines, 3 AGT(Automated Guideway Transit)s, 3 mono-rail lines, and one streetcar line except for long distance lines. Even though it seems to be a railway jungle, you can find a appropriate route and fare to get to your destination when you use a Internet navigation system such as TrainRouteFinder or HyperDia. Transfer guide is also available via smart phone at NAVITIME for Japan Travel that is an application prepared for iPhone/Android.

You should look into structure drawings of stations in advance when you make transit at a major station such as Shinjuku, Tokyo or Ueno. The next figure is the map of railway connections at Shinjuku and adjacent stations, where 5 JR lines, 3 private railway lines and 3 subway lines are connected. Even Japanese people take Shinjuku Station and its underground passage as a labyrinth with totally 63 exits. If you can catch a train to your destination without any difficulty in Shinjuku Station, you can do it easily anywhere on this planet.
Railway Lines crossing at Shinjuku Station
  • Highway Bus
[Fare comparison]
Highway buses are an inexpensive alternative to trains for long and medium distance travel. Even though buses are much slower than bullet trains, you can save time and hotel fee by using overnight buses. The following table shows examples of lowest prices of bus tickets from Tokyo to several cities in August and September of 2016.
Section August September
3,400 JPY 2,800 JPY
3,500 JPY 2,800 JPY
2,400 JPY 2,370 JPY
3,500 JPY 3,200 JPY
8,200 JPY 8,200 JPY
2,700 JPY 2,580 JPY
2,650 JPY 2,120 JPY

[Search Sites]
Ticket prices widely vary depending on the season, the day of week, seat grade, mix or ladies seat, etc. You should carefully see the seat condition of overnight buses as the lowest price is not necessarily best for you.
Japan Bus Online is the online bus booking website that offers airport shuttle bus, sightseeing bus, expressway bus all across Japan.
JAPAN BUS LINES is the team of 60 bus companies from every region of Japan to make it easy to find a bus line to your destination and convenient to book a reservation. They are planning to issue JBL Pass in the autumn of 2016 that allows for 7 days and 14 days free bus pass effective across Japan.
Willer Express is operated by a Willer Alliance group and is creating links with more than 70 highway bus routes throughout Japan. Willer issues The Japan Bus Pass that allows for low price bus travel on three, five or seven days of your choice within two months from purchase. The pass can only be used by holders of non-Japanese passports.

[The Japan Bus Pass]
Type 3 days 5 days 7 days
Monday to Thursday
10,000 JPY 12,500 JPY 15,000 JPY
All day
12,500 JPY 15,000 JPY N/A

[Busta Shinjuku]
The Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal, called Busta Shinjuku, opened for business on April 4, 2016 at the Shinjuku Station's south end. Busta Shinjuku is operated as a hub station of 118 bus companies with up to 1,625 arrivals and departures of long-distance buses per day involving roughly 40,000 passengers. The new terminal provides direct access to the train platforms on the first floor, access to Shinjuku Station from the second floor, equipped with the taxi stands on the third floor and the bus stops on the fourth floor. The third floor also has a tourist information center, where tourists can make ticket reservation and take foreign exchange services from JTB, and delivery and baggage storage services from Sagawa Express. If you need, multi-lingual staffs in traditional Japanese Kimonos will give you guidance from 6:30 am to 11 pm every day of the year.
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