TRANSPORTATION

Here's some useful links especially while you are traveling inside Japan. Below has just some example from downtown Tokyo, you may enjoy 2 locations within one day, you may need 1.5 days to complete 1 location.

Platt Kodama

Car #16 front of the train bound for Tokyo (to the right, to the east)

Shinkansen has 9 lines in Japan. Asakusa has no Shinkansen nor any JR station but JR Ueno station (both local trains and Shinkansens) is within 15 - 20 minutes walk or Tokyo Metro short rides away.

Hokkaido Shinkansen : (Tokyo - Ueno - Omiya - Sendai - Morioka - ShinAomori - ShinHakodateHokuto)
Tohoku Shinkansen : (Tokyo - Ueno - Omiya - Fukushima - Sendai - Morioka - Hachinohe - ShinAomori)
Akita Shinkansen : (Tokyo - Ueno - Omiya - Fukushima - Sendai - Morioka - Tazawako - Akita)
Yamagata Shinkansen : (Tokyo - Ueno - Omiya - Fukushima - Yamagata - Shinjo)
Joetsu (Jouetsu) Shinkansen : (Tokyo - Ueno - Omiya - Takasaki - EchigoYuzawa - Nagaoka - Niigata)
Hokuriku Shinkansen : (Tokyo - Ueno - Omiya - Takasaki - Karuizawa - Nagano - Kanazawa)
Tokaido Shinkansen : (Tokyo - Shizuoka - Nagoya - Kyoto - ShinOsaka)
Sanyo Shinkansen : (ShinOsaka - Kobe - Himeji - Okayama - Hiroshima - Kokura - Hakata)
Kyushu Shinkansen : (Hakata - Kumamoto - KagoshimaChuo)

Platt Kodama is discount ticket available between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka (on Tokaido Shinkansen). It is slower than Hikari, and much slower than Nozomi. Price on the link includes one drink on-board. Tempting to one-hand-with-beer and other-hand-Mt.Fuji experience here in Japan? There is also Green Car (1st class) Platt Kodama discount ticket available. Would you prefer Slow Kodama 1st Class? or Fast Nozomi/Hikari 2nd Class?

Fare : Kodama < Hikari < Nozomi
Speed : Kodama < Hikari < Nozomi


On the other hand, there is two-seater (1-aisle-1) in compartment private room, special luxury highway bus between Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka. It is called DREAM SLEEPER on which you may get nice sleep in the night bus.

More information for Budget Cheap Airlines. Bus? or Train? or Airplane?

LCC (Low Cost Carrier)

It is not always cheap nor convenient to purchase JR PASS anymore, but combination of JR train, Highway Bus (for example, Willer Express) and Low Cost Carriers (for example, PEACH) are all options in your hands. Below in this column has a good comparison chart that you may refer to. Japan Bus Pass and Japan Ferry Pass are available for cheapo-fun-trip (^^) If you are comfort rider, how about 12-seater-highway-bus, yes only 12 individual semi-compartment-seats in big highway bus, 6 seats along with right window, another 6 seats along with left window, 12 people in your group can hire whole bus! => Kaifu Kanko Bus . 14-seater-highway-bus (7 seats + aisle + 7 seats) is available on Dream Sleeper Gussuri between Hiroshima and Yokohama, also on Kanto Bus Dream Sleeper between Tokyo and Osaka.

JR 1st class seat and 2nd class seat&sleeper for unlimited rides, please refer to Fullmoon Fuufu Green Pass, for example, JPY130,320 for 12 days unlimited 1st class seat and 2nd class seat&sleeper, the price is for 2 people! Here's the timetable of the northern most (Wakkanai 1559.5km from Tokyo, JPY48,000ish one way on green car) and the southern most (Kagoshima-Chuo 1463.8km from Tokyo, JPY40,000ish one way on green car) as farthest JR can get you.

Tokyo => Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto => Sapporo => Wakkanai
06:32 => 10:58 / 12:34 => 16:04 / 17:48 => 22:58
08:20 => 12:22 / 13:08 => 16:56 / 17:48 => 22:58
09:36 => 13:38 / 14:11 => 17:41 / 17:48 => 22:58

Tokyo => Shin-Osaka => Kagoshima-Chuo
06:26 => 09:30 / 09:59 => 14:01

Shin-Yokohama => Kobe => Kagoshima-Chuo
06:00 => 08:28 / 09:31 => 13:31

Not only Japan domestic, but new era had just begun in early 2000 for whole Asian countries to hop around with non-expensive LCC (Low Cost Carrier). Let's grab promotion rate and make your Japan journey together with South Korea, mainland China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and more.

Something new are you looking for? How about Honda Jet and Mitsubishi SpaceJet.

Compare JR ride/s (reserved or unreserved) with Highway Bus and Air

Sapporo (Hokkaido)
26,820yen 7hr 44min JR
4,080yen 1hr 30min Peach
9,990yen 26hr Sunflower Ferry

Sendai
11,400yen 1hr 34min JR
2,800yen 5hr 45min Willer Express

Narita Airport
3,220yen 54min JR
1,050yen 1hr 15min Keisei
1,000yen 1hr 30min Tokyo Shuttle

Nagano
8,400yen 1hr 26min JR
4,000yen 3hr 30min Keio Bus

Kanazawa
14,120yen 2hr 28min JR
4,120yen 8hr 30min Willer Express

Komatsu (Kanazawa)
7,690yen 1hr ANA

Odawara 3,940yen 35min JR
1,080yen 1hr 55min Odakyu Railway

Shizuoka
6,550yen 1hr 03min JR
2,930yen 2hr 37min JR Bus Kanto

Nagoya
11,290yen 1hr 41min JR
2,400yen 5hr 40min Kakuyasu Bus
7,000yen 1hr ANA

Takayama
15,220yen 4hr 06min JR
6,690yen 5hr 30min Keio Bus

Kyoto
14,110yen 2hr 17min JR
3,540yen 7hr Willer Express

Shin-Osaka
14,450yen 2hr 33min JR
3,540yen 8hr Willer Express

Osaka (itami = ITM)
14,660yen 3hr 08min JR+Monorail
7,290yen 1hr 10min ANA

Osaka (kansai = KIX)
16,270yen 3hr 34min JR
3,690yen 1hr 30min Peach

Tokushima
20,130yen 5hr 45min JR
9,720yen 18hr Ocean Trans

Takamatsu
18,720yen 4hr 33min JR
4,990yen 1hr 25min Jetstar Japan

Hiroshima
19,280yen 3hr 56min JR
6,250yen 13hr Willer Express
6,250yen 1hr 40min SPRING

Iwakuni (Miyajima)
19,610yen 4hr 30min JR
11,190yen 1hr 40min ANA

Hakata/Fukuoka
23,150yen 5hr 04min JR
4,790yen 1hr 55min Jetstar Japan

Saga (near Fukuoka)
24,750yen 6hr 02min JR
6,760yen 2hr SPRING

Kagoshima
30,480yen 6hr 29min JR
5,990yen 1hr 55min Jetstar Japan

JR PASS

Japan Rail Pass is the best deal for you to travel around 4 main islands of Japan (not for Working Visa holders nor Working Holiday Visa holders). It was not able to purchase inside Japan ....... but now you can! If you did Tokyo - Kyoto - Tokyo with normal tickets, it is almost equivalent to the Japan Rail Pass (7 days pass). For Narita - Tokyo - Kanazawa - Kyoto/Nara - Tokyo - Narita, it is definitely cheaper to use JR Pass (7 days pass). For Narita - Tokyo - Nagano - Kyoto - Tokyo - Narita, it is not wise to purchase 14 days pass, but 7 days pass would pay it off. Although, it feels like bit of hassle in rush to do the itinerary within a week. Major Shinkansen routes are listed at this page (completed, under construction, and being dreamed of). Yes, 2027 starts SuperConducting-Mag-Lev or Chuo-Shinkansen between Tokyo and Nagoya at 505km/hour.

Better NOT to cover Tokyo city itself by this Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) because there are cheaper pass options for the downtown. For detail of inside-city-pass and one-day-trip-pass, please refer to this transportation2 page.

For all links of AIR and JR, please refer to this transportation1 page.

You may book your reserved seat/s for major trains on JR East service area on-line through this page (with or without pass).

USEFUL WORDS
Jiyuu-seki : Unreserved seat
Shitei-seki : Reserved seat
Gran-class : Gran-class (JR Pass not available)
Green-sha : Green car (1st class car)
Futsuu-sha : Ordinary car (2nd class car)
Ou-fu-ku : Round trip
Katamichi : One way
Kin-en-sha : Non-smoking car
Kitsu-en-sha : Smoking car

HIGH SEASON
March 20ish - April 5ish : Spring Vacation
April 28ish - May 6ish : Golden Week Holiday
July 20ish - August 31 : Summer Vacation
December 23ish - January 5ish : Winter Vacation

TRAIN TYPES
Shinkansen : High Speed Train
Tokkyu : Limited Express
Kyuko : Express
Shin-Kaisoku : Special Rapid Train
Kaisoku : Rapid Train
Futsu : Local Train
Kakuekiteisha : Local Train
Kakutei : Local Train
Donkou : Local Train

NIGHT TRAIN
The Pass cannot be used for the sleeper (berth) class, although, following Limited Express (Tokkyu) have full-flat carpet, and they are recognized/treated as reserved seats, but they should not be called "seats" because they are always fixed as full-flat carpet floor. Seasonal Rapid Train (Kaisoku) has only normal seats.

Sunrise Izumo : www.jr-odekake.net/train/sunriseseto_izumo/index.html
Tokyo, Atami, Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Himeji, Okayama, Kurashiki, Matsue, Izumoshi
Sunrise Seto : http://hodo.blue.coocan.jp/s/burutore/s_izumo/solo2/index.htm
Tokyo, Atami, Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Himeji, Okayama, Takamatsu
Moonlight Nagara : Tokyo, Shinagawa, Yokohama, Odawara, Atami, Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Nagoya, Gifu, Ogaki (connects to Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe)

Seishun 18 Kippu

This column explains basic rule of the special discount tickets for EVERYONE and some additional hints. This is the cheapest bet transportation next to hitch hike.

Valid from July 20th to September 10th
Valid from December 10th to January 10th
Valid from March 1st to April 10th

Low Cost Carrier (budget airlines, cheap airlines) and JR Pass for JR East and JR Hokkaido can be a good alternative, but if you are bottom tight budget traveler and have months to explore, Seishun 18 Kippu is the ideal. This pass is available for only JR local train/s and JR rapid train/s, no bus available, no ferry available except Miyajima, no express available, no limited express available, no shinkansen available. It is JPY12,050 for 5 flex-days (for 1 person) during the validity, or 5 of you can use it in 1 specific day (00:00 - 24:00) during the validity (all 5 people have to take exactly same route since the ticket is only 1 piece of paper, physically not able to hold separately by 5 people). Also, the following option is available.

Example 1
2 people use it on August 18th, 3 people use it on September 3rd

Example 2
2 people use it on August 22nd, 2 people use it on September 2nd, give it away to your friend who can use it until September 10th (inclusive)

Example 3
1 person use it on July 20th, July 21st, August 30th, August 31st and September 9th

Example 4
4 people use it on September 5th, 1 person use it on September 6th

Example 5
5 people use it on August 15th

JPY12,050 = JPY2,410 x 5. Yes, calculation goes one-person-one-day as JPY2,410 which is equivalent fare of between 121km-140km ride (JPY2,310 in main island, Honshu which is run by JR East, JR Tokai and JR West) and 141km-160km (JPY2,640 in main island, Honshu which is run by JR East, JR Tokai and JR West). If you were planning to ride the routes mentioned below (one way distance more than 141km, one way one adult tariff fare for local train and/or for rapid train), it is worth purchasing the Seishun 18 Kippu.

Note : JR Hokkaido, JR Shikoku, JR Kyushu are running in red figure, which means that you pay more for less kilometers. It is because their price tariff per kilometer is rather expensive compare to the main island JR companies (JR East, JR Tokai, JR West).

Sapporo - Asahikawa : 136.8km, JPY2,860
Nemuro - Kushiro : 135.4km, JPY2,860
Sendai - Utsunomiya (transfer for Nikko) : 242.3km, JPY4,510
Tokyo - Minakami (for Takaragawa Onsen) : 164.1km, JPY3,080
Tokyo - Matsumoto (in Nagano) : 235.4km, JPY4,070
Tokyo - Fuji : 146.2km, JPY2,640
Nagoya - Nagano (via Matsumoto) : 250.8km, JPY4,510
Nagoya - Takayama : 166.7km, JPY3,410
Kyoto - Kanazawa : 224.8km, JPY4,070
Kobe - Hiroshima : 304.7km, JPY5,500
Kobe - Kochi : 328.7km, JPY5,980
Hakata - Nagasaki : 153.9km, JPY2,860
Miyazaki - Kagoshima : 122.7km, JPY2,530

It is convenient to make your individual journey at HyperDia and more, please.

Possible long train trips (needs several transfer) are available as below. Please expect your butt will be hurt like rock :3

Long journey 1 (originally JPY9,350 but JPY2,410 with Seishun 18 Kippu)
Sapporo 07:00 => 08:36 Takikawa 09:42 => 18:01 Kushiro 18:56 => 21:39 Nemuro

Long journey 2 (originally JPY9,790 but JPY2,410 with Seishun 18 Kippu)
Ueno 05:46 => 07:29 Utsunomiya 07:37 => 08:28 Kuroiso 08:39 => 09:58 Koriyama 10:08 => 10:54 Fukushima 11:00 => 12:16 Sendai 12:45 => 13:30 Kogota 13:46 => 14:32 Ichinoseki 14:43 => 15:21 Kitakami 16:24 => 17:39 Yokote 17:52 => 19:08 Akita

Long journey 3-a (originally JPY8,360 but JPY2,410 with Seishun 18 Kippu)
Tokyo 05:20 => 07:27 Numazu 07:31 => 08:29 Shizuoka 08:30 => 09:42 Hamamatsu 09:44 => 11:46 Ogaki 12:12 => 12:46 Maibara 12:50 => 13:43 Kyoto (this train actually goes all the way to Himeji at 15:16)

Long journey 3-b (this is the "least" transfer/change, only 4 times, from Ueno to Kyoto)
Ueno 10:50 => 12:54 Atami 12:56 => 15:33 Hamamatsu 15:43 => 16:16 Toyohashi 16:32 => 18:41 Maibara 18:48 => 19:42 Kyoto

Long journey 4 (originally JPY6,660 but JPY2,410 with Seishun 18 Kippu)
Kyoto 05:21 => 07:28 Himeji 07:31 => 09:08 Okayama 09:13 => 10:42 Itozaki 10:54 => 12:13 Hiroshima

"Mild" journey 5 (originally JPY4,330 but JPY2,410 with Seishun 18 Kippu)
Kurashiki 06:13 => 06:29 Okayama 06:37 => 07:17 Sakaide 07:26 => 07:41 Tadotsu 07:44 => 08:15 Kan-on-ji 08:59 => 10:06 Iyo-Saijo 10:29 => 12:17 Matsuyama

Long journey 6 (originally JPY8,140 but JPY2,410 with Seishun 18 Kippu)
Hiroshima 07:05 => 08:00 Iwakuni 08:09 => 11:13 Shimonoseki 11:16 => 11:29 Kokura 11:33 => 13:12 Tosu 13:50 => 16:57 Nagasaki

Long journey 7 (originally JPY6,820 but JPY2,410 with Seishun 18 Kippu)
Miyazaki 05:38 => 06:33 Miyakonojo 06:37 => 08:13 Yoshimatsu 08:46 => 09:44 Hitoyoshi 10:14 => 11:32 Yatsushiro 11:36 => 13:35 Araki 13:45 => 14:27 Hakata

By the way, the number eighteen (18) is pronounced as Juu-hachi (or Jyu-hachi), Juu (or Jyu) is 10 (ten) in Japanese language which sounds like Jui of "Apple Juice". Seishun-18 is the spirit of 18 years old. Isn't it high time to travel again? and more!

Small tip is that you may get your seat upgraded (unreserved green car = 1st class) if your local train or rapid train had the wagon/facility/service. It is always cheaper to buy the upgrade (unreserved green car = 1st class) before boarding on train. Purchasing the green car surcharge (1st class surcharge) is more expensive if you did so on the train.

Trains in Japan

Considering train journey throughout Japan? you may please find railway network map at this page, and hereunder has some trains that you shouldn't miss!

Shiki-Shima by JR East
Seven Stars by JR Kyushu
Mizukaze by JR West
Joyful Trains by JR East
The Royal Express by Izukyu

Chuo Shinkansen (Magnetic Levitation) is now under construction by JR Tokai (JR Central). Liner motor car or Maglev opens 2027 between Shinagawa (in Tokyo) and Nagoya. 505km/h cannot wait if you are late (>_<)

The railway museum (in Omiya, 30km north of Tokyo) is operated by JR East, it is the heaven for train fans (^_^) also for bonsai fans.

SCMAGLEV and railway park (in Nagoya) is operated by JR Tokai (JR Central), it is another heaven for train fans (^_^) also for Totoro fans to visit the house of Satsuki and Mei (May) ....... by the way, Satsuki is the month of May in Japanese language.

Hokkaido Shinkansen
Similar to Euro Star, this bullet train goes through long tunnel under the channel called Tsugaru Kaikyo. It is 53km long, maximum speed is only 160km/h because slow freight train also uses this tunnel. Full speed and full length (up to Sapporo) will be available soon!

Tohoku Shinkansen
The fastest train in Japan at 320km/h. Hayabusa is faster than Nozomi and than Mizuho. JR Pass holders cannot ride Nozomi nor Mizuho, but you may enjoy the fastest Hayabusa on Tohoku Shinkansen....... and all the way to Hokkaido at reduced speed.
(T_T)

Joetsu Shinkansen
Last double-deck Shinkansen runs this route.

Hokuriku Shinkansen
Old name is Nagano Shinkansen, finally connects one of the biggest city in Hokuriku area, so they changed the name. It will be extended to Tsuruga and Kyoto soon!

Tokaido Shinkansen
Oldest Shinkansen in Japan, born in 1964. There were only Hikari and Kodama, but now Nozomi (the fastest one at 285km/h) joined. JR Pass holders cannot take Nozomi.

Sanyo Shinkansen
San = mountain (shan) + Yo = sun (yang). Second fastest Shinkansen. Both Nozomi and Mizuho goes speed of 300km/h.

Kyushu Shinkansen
First opened only between Kumamoto and Kagoshima-chuo, but now connected through Sanyo Shinkansen at Hakata. JR Pass holders can enjoy Sakura (train with green car) and Tsubame (train without green car) but not Mizuho. Nagasaki will be connected in near future via Saga.

From/To Hokkaido

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, No3 and No4) from Tokyo to northern island, Hokkaido. Please note that Asakusa is easy access to Ueno compare to Tokyo. It is 5 minutes metro from Asakusa to Ueno, and 7 minutes train from Ueno to Tokyo.

No.1. FOR JAPAN RAIL PASS HOLDERS
The Shinkansen called Hayabusa and Hayate both run up north to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto from downtown Tokyo. It takes much longer with the Shinkansen called Komachi, Tsubasa and Toki via detour routes with more hours required.

Tokyo/Ueno => (Hayabusa or Hayate) => Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Tokyo/Ueno => (Komachi) => Akita => Shin-Aomori - Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Tokyo/Ueno => (Tsubasa) => Shinjo => Akita => Shin-Aomori => Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Tokyo/Ueno => (Toki) => Niigata => Akita => Shin-Aomori => Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto

Limited Express (Tokkyu in Japanese) called Super-Hokuto or Hokuto links between Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto and Sapporo.

Hakodate <= > Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto <=> Sapporo

Some timetable example can be referred below, but please study JR East and HyperDia for daily departure precise timetable.

Tokyo 06:32 => (Hayabusa) => 10:58 Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto 11:09 => (Super-Hokuto) => 14:41 Sapporo
Tokyo 08:20 => (Hayabusa) => 12:20 Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto 12:34 => (Super-Hokuto) => 16:04 Sapporo

About 6 hours with 1 transfer, normal fare would be JPY27,760 without the JR Pass.

No.2. AIR
Skymark? or Peach? or JetStar? or SPRING? AirAsia Japan?
For those who would like to enjoy over-sky-Japan trip, especially the wonderful departure moment from Haneda Airport (as well as landing onto this Tokyo bay airport = HND), such great view over Tokyo downtown (both night and day). Mt.Fuji could be caught in your bird eyes as well.

If you were purchasing international flight together with JAL (and partner of ONE WORLD, American, British, Cathay, Finnair, Qantas and more) or ANA (and partner of STAR ALLIANACE, Austrian, Air Canada, LOT, Lufthansa, NZ, SAS, Singapore, Swiss, Thai, United and more), there are also special fare for inner-Japan travel (about JPY10,000 one way direct). If you'd fly from Hokkaido (Sapporo) to Okinawa (Naha), it is great fare per mile especially for Frequent Flyers. CTS - OKA is 1,397 miles (100% basic mile). For such domestic long distance, Premium Class is highly recommended.

Peach, SPRING and Jetstar also fly to Hokkaido from Narita Airport (not Haneda Airport) which is convenient if your previous international flight landed onto Narita, and actually much cheaper than Skymark, around JPY3,000 - JPY6,000 one way for hand luggage travelers.

No.3. FERRY
(Tokyo =>) Ooarai => Tomakomai (=> Sapporo)
This is the major Pacific Ocean route for truck drivers, and for students especially for summer holiday (late July and whole August). Certain month has special discount fare as low as JPY10,260 one way including both bus rides from downtown Tokyo to Ooarai port as well as from Tomakomai port to Sapporo.

(Osaka/Kyoto/Tsuruga =>) Niigata => Akita => Tomakomai (=> Sapporo)
This is the major Japan Sea (East Sea) route for truck drivers, and also for students. Tsuruga (north of Kyoto) - Tomakomai (Hokkaido) one way could be as low as JPY9,970 (seasonal special discount ticket).

Niigata => Otaru (=> Sapporo)
Japan Sea (East Sea) side has also Otaru based (much closer/nearer to Sapporo compare to Tomakomai). This over night ferry costs only JPY6,680 one way. Both ports are accessible to respective JR station by connecting local bus.

No.4. BUS and FERRY (combination tickets)
BUS (Ueno => Aomori) then FERRY (Aomori => Hakodate)
Tsugaru Kaikyo is the straight between main island (Honshu) and Hokkaido. There used to be a ferry service operated by Japan National Railway (JNR, former JR). Since JR opened rail-under-the-sea in 1988, private ferry companies took place for the on-wave-transportation. On March 26th 2016, Hokkaido Shinkansen started up for Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, very first Shinkansen system in the northern island history. Tokyo - Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto takes about 4 hours direct. Otaru - Niseko (Kutchan) - Sapporo have to wait until 2030. By the same time most probably even earlier year around 2027, Tokyo - Nagoya will run Mag-Lev, the floating train at 505km/hr.

Anyway, if you love being on long (and cheap) rides, JPY6,500 is the hot deal from Ueno to Hakodate via Aomori. Ueno is 2km west of Asakusa, 3km north of Tokyo. How would you like to enjoy the Ainu island?


Japan's northern island Hokkaido, is nature's paradise, used to be the Ainu land. Sapporo attracts many winter visitors for the February Snow Festival, when snow figures some famous constructions and cartoon characters. Otaru is famous for Otaru Canal reminds us the pioneer days, and for the 'Sushi Restaurant Street' offers us the freshest sushi in the world. The largest ski slopes in the area, the Niseko Hirafu Ski Resort, is situated not far from Otaru. Hakodate has Japan's best night landscapes from nearby mountain sticking to the sea. Furano is famous for its beautiful lavender fields, which blooms in full color from June to July. Mt. Taisetsu is the center of Hokkaido island surrounded by many hot-springs. Biei has what you cannot see in other part of Japan. In the eastern and northern Hokkaido, The Kushiro Shitsugen is an extensive national park with its beautiful lakes, such as Lake Mashu, Lake Akan and Lake Kussharo are spread around the outskirts of Kushiro. Shiretoko Peninsula has the best primitive landscape covered with ice cube from the Sea of Okhotsk in winter time.

From/To Kanazawa

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, and No3) between beautiful traditional million-rice-town Kanazawa and one of the biggest city in the world, Tokyo.

No.1. FOR JAPAN RAIL PASS HOLDERS
a: The Shinkansen called Kagayaki (two meanings in Japanese, Shining as well as Ceramic of Kaga = Kanazawa's prefecture name before) and Asama both run up to Kanazawa, and soon to Tsuruga and Kyoto. Much convenient rather than ANA flight for Komatsu which takes 40 minutes to Kanazawa station.

b: Limited Express (Wide View Hida) via Nagoya Tokaido Shinkansen
For JR PASS holders, this is by all means the most picturesque major line via Takayama
Kanazawa => Toyama => Takayama => Nagoya => Tokyo
This Limited Express called Wide View Hida has, as you assumed, has such a great view along Hida River between Mino-Oota and almost all the way to Takayama (precisely, the river goes through Takayama is called Miyagawa which joins to Jintsuu River and finally to the bay of Toyama). Especially those who can reserve the most front seat, wish you enjoy the train driver's view. There are 10 train service everyday between Nagoya and Takayama, but only 4 trains between Takayama and Toyama.

Shinkansen from Nagoya to Tokyo has every 6 minutes freaquent train (all 16 cars with capacity 1,323 seats). Nozomi is the fastest takes 1hour and 45 minutes, Hikari is a bit slow takes 2 hours, and Kodama is the slowest Shinkansen takes 2 hour and 50 minutes between Nagoya and Tokyo.

Nozomi (Hope) : What goes/runs/travels faster than Hikari (light). We shall better to have Nozomi to live, especially after the hopeless events/news around the world. 1 hours and 45 minutes. JPY10,560 (unreserved). Every 5 minutes, which means that how many passengers travel between Nagoya and Tokyo? No wonder JR Central is making maglev train.

Hikari (Light) : The fastest object runs in the universe. 2 hours. JPY10,560 (unreserved). There are 2 trains every 1 hour. Not JR but discount ticket shop like Access Ticket in Yaesu exit of Tokyo main station sells good price at around JPY10,000 for Tokyo => Nagoya.

Kodama (Sound) : Speed of sound is used to be representative of fastness. 2 hours and 50 minutes. JPY8,500 on Ordinary Car (2nd class, three-seats-aisle-two-seats) or JPY9,500 on Green Car (1st class, two-seats-aisle-two-seats). Platt Kodama is discounted coupon ticket.

No.2. HIGHWAY BUS
Highway Bus direct between Kanazawa and Shinjuku, and this www.highway-buses.jp recommends all in one including Shirakawago, Takayama, Matsumoto.

www.kousokubus.net/JpnBus/en
www.alpico.co.jp/access/english/

No.3. SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Kanazawa and Tokyo with best minimum 8 changes as shown below. HyperDia would support finding your best time tables.

Kanazawa 06:52 - 07:55 Toyama 08:18 - 10:14 Takayama 10:24 - 14:02 Gifu 14:08 - 15:27 Toyohashi 15:41 - 16:15 Hamamatsu 16:21 - 19:04 Atami 19:09 - 20:58


The Chubu and Hokuriku regions have the backbone of Japan, the Northen Japan Alps and the Southern Japan Alps, which rise to 3,000m and more. Mt. Fuji is one of the most famous mountain throughout the world, and is the symbol of Japan. Izu Peninsula is a popular resort area for Tokyo people. There are open-air hot-springs that view Mt. Fuji and/or Pacific Ocean. Nagoya is the largest city in the Chubu region holds the Expo 2005, recently opened unique airport called Centrair with hot-spting inside the terminal. Nagoya Castle, originally a residence and military headquarters for Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ise and Shima National Park harbors the most quintessential Ise Shrine as well as numerous pearl fisheries along its magnificent seacoast. Hida-Takayama where you feel the best of traditional Japan. Shirakawago is an intermountain village registered as a world heritage site. Old wooden houses called 'Gassho-Zukuri', constructed with thatch, remains as it used to be for hundreds years. Tateyama mountains and Kurobe canyon are knows as a cool point of summer time. Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is not JR, but very recommended for the scenic route. The Kenrokuen in Kanazawa is one of Japan's three most beautiful gardens. Kanazawa has 21st Century Museum as well. The Noto Peninsula has unique atomosphere stick into the Japan Sea. A 90 minutes train ride from Kanazawa via Fukui takes you to Eiheiji Temple, celebrated as one of the headquarters of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism. Niigata, about 90 minutes from Tokyo, is one of the world's snowiest areas and, as such, attracts large numbers of skiers throughout the winter. Sado Island in Niigata is the fifth largest of Japan's islands on the way to Russia. Nagano became world-famous as the host for the 1998 Winter Olymoics. The Zenkoji Temple is a representative old temple of Nagano. The main tower of Matsumoto Castle in the city of Matsumoto is nicknamed as 'Crow Castle' because of its black walls.

From/To Kamikochi, Matsumoto

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, and No3) between Japan Alps and Tokyo

No.1. FOR JAPAN RAIL PASS HOLDERS
a: JR Chuo Line has picturesque view both sides as it runs through mountains.

b: One of the best view with switch-back style railways? Tokyo/Ueno => Nagano => Matsumoto has the route where Shiki-Shima also runs (between Nagano and Matsumoto). If you are interested in back-and-forth experience while you are onboard, please purposely take local train, but not limited express which goes passing through the zig-zag.

No.2. HIGHWAY BUS
Highway Bus runs not only Matsumoto but Kamikochi which is very useful for hiking and climbing. Indeed, Kamikochi is the entrance of Japan Alps.

https://highway-buses.jp/
www.alpico.co.jp/en/timetable/kamikochi/r-tokyo-kamikochi/

No.3. SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Matsumoto and Shinjuku/Tokyo/Ueno with best minimum ONLY 1 time change as shown below. HyperDia would support finding your best timetable.

Matsumoto 05:43 - 09:24 Takao (rapid train goes to Shinjuku and Tokyo every 10 minutes)
Matsumoto 06:32 - 10:03 Takao (rapid train goes to Shinjuku and Tokyo every 10 minutes)

The Chubu and Hokuriku regions have the backbone of Japan, the Northen Japan Alps and the Southern Japan Alps, which rise to 3,000m and more. Mt. Fuji is one of the most famous mountain throughout the world, and is the symbol of Japan. Izu Peninsula is a popular resort area for Tokyo people. There are open-air hot-springs that view Mt. Fuji and/or Pacific Ocean. Nagoya is the largest city in the Chubu region holds the Expo 2005, recently opened unique airport called Centrair with hot-spting inside the terminal. Nagoya Castle, originally a residence and military headquarters for Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ise and Shima National Park harbors the most quintessential Ise Shrine as well as numerous pearl fisheries along its magnificent seacoast. Hida-Takayama where you feel the best of traditional Japan. Shirakawago is an intermountain village registered as a world heritage site. Old wooden houses called 'Gassho-Zukuri', constructed with thatch, remains as it used to be for hundreds years. Tateyama mountains and Kurobe canyon are knows as a cool point of summer time. Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is not JR, but very recommended for the scenic route. The Kenrokuen in Kanazawa is one of Japan's three most beautiful gardens. Kanazawa has 21st Century Museum as well. The Noto Peninsula has unique atomosphere stick into the Japan Sea. A 90 minutes train ride from Kanazawa via Fukui takes you to Eiheiji Temple, celebrated as one of the headquarters of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism. Niigata, about 90 minutes from Tokyo, is one of the world's snowiest areas and, as such, attracts large numbers of skiers throughout the winter. Sado Island in Niigata is the fifth largest of Japan's islands on the way to Russia. Nagano became world-famous as the host for the 1998 Winter Olymoics. The Zenkoji Temple is a representative old temple of Nagano. The main tower of Matsumoto Castle in the city of Matsumoto is nicknamed as 'Crow Castle' because of its black walls.

From/To Tsumago, Magome, Narai

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, and No3) between beautiful traditional walk Nakasendo and Tokyo.

No.1. FOR JAPAN RAIL PASS HOLDERS
a: Two mountain lines, Limited Express Shinano on Chuo-West-Line and Limited Express Azusa on Chuo-East-Line are recommended. For JR PASS holders, this is by all means the most picturesque major lines via Shiojiri (or Matsumoto)
Nakatsugawa => Nagiso => Narai => Shiojiri (=> Matsumoto) => Kofu => Shinjuku/Tokyo
You'd understand why Kisoji is among mountains!

b: The Shinkansen via Nagoya is the fastest and convenience.
Narai => Nagiso => Nakatsugawa => Nagoya => Tokyo

Shinkansen from Nagoya to Tokyo has every 6 minutes freaquent train (all 16 cars with capacity 1,323 seats). Nozomi is the fastest takes 1hour and 45 minutes, Hikari is a bit slow takes 2 hours, and Kodama is the slowest Shinkansen takes 2 hour and 50 minutes between Nagoya and Tokyo.

Nozomi (Hope) : What goes/runs/travels faster than Hikari (light). We shall better to have Nozomi to live, especially after the hopeless events/news around the world. 1 hours and 45 minutes. JPY10,560 (unreserved). Every 5 minutes, which means that how many passengers travel between Nagoya and Tokyo? No wonder JR Central is making maglev train.

Hikari (Light) : The fastest object runs in the universe. 2 hours. JPY10,560 (unreserved). There are 2 trains every 1 hour. Not JR but discount ticket shop like Access Ticket in Yaesu exit of Tokyo main station sells good price at around JPY10,000 for Tokyo => Nagoya.

Kodama (Sound) : Speed of sound is used to be representative of fastness. 2 hours and 50 minutes. JPY8,500 on Ordinary Car (2nd class, three-seats-aisle-two-seats) or JPY9,500 on Green Car (1st class, two-seats-aisle-two-seats). Platt Kodama is discounted coupon ticket.

No.2. HIGHWAY BUS
Highway Bus direct between Magome and Shinjuku, and this http://time.jrbuskanto.co.jp.e.wn.hp.transer.com/bk06020.html has timetable. 288km post is Chuodo Magome bus stop which is only 2km nice walk already started to MagomeJuku.

No.3. SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Nakatsugawa, Nagiso, Narai to Tokyo. HyperDia would support finding your best time tables.

Nakatsugawa => Nagiso => Narai => Shiojiri => Kofu => Takao => Shinjuku/Tokyo
Narai => Nagiso => Nakatsugawa => Nagoya => Hamamatsu => Atami => Tokyo

The Chubu and Hokuriku regions have the backbone of Japan, the Northen Japan Alps and the Southern Japan Alps, which rise to 3,000m and more. Mt. Fuji is one of the most famous mountain throughout the world, and is the symbol of Japan. Izu Peninsula is a popular resort area for Tokyo people. There are open-air hot-springs that view Mt. Fuji and/or Pacific Ocean. Nagoya is the largest city in the Chubu region holds the Expo 2005, recently opened unique airport called Centrair with hot-spting inside the terminal. Nagoya Castle, originally a residence and military headquarters for Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ise and Shima National Park harbors the most quintessential Ise Shrine as well as numerous pearl fisheries along its magnificent seacoast. Hida-Takayama where you feel the best of traditional Japan. Shirakawago is an intermountain village registered as a world heritage site. Old wooden houses called 'Gassho-Zukuri', constructed with thatch, remains as it used to be for hundreds years. Tateyama mountains and Kurobe canyon are knows as a cool point of summer time. Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is not JR, but very recommended for the scenic route. The Kenrokuen in Kanazawa is one of Japan's three most beautiful gardens. Kanazawa has 21st Century Museum as well. The Noto Peninsula has unique atomosphere stick into the Japan Sea. A 90 minutes train ride from Kanazawa via Fukui takes you to Eiheiji Temple, celebrated as one of the headquarters of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism. Niigata, about 90 minutes from Tokyo, is one of the world's snowiest areas and, as such, attracts large numbers of skiers throughout the winter. Sado Island in Niigata is the fifth largest of Japan's islands on the way to Russia. Nagano became world-famous as the host for the 1998 Winter Olymoics. The Zenkoji Temple is a representative old temple of Nagano. The main tower of Matsumoto Castle in the city of Matsumoto is nicknamed as 'Crow Castle' because of its black walls.

From/To Takayama

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, and No3) between beautiful mountain town Takayama and Tokyo downtown.

No.1. FOR JAPAN RAIL PASS HOLDERS
a: Limited Express (Wide View Hida) via Toyama Hokuriku Shinkansen
For JR PASS holders, this is by all means the easiest and the fastest way to travel between two places (Takayama and Ueno/Tokyo).
Takayama => Toyama => Ueno/Tokyo
11:00 => 12:26 / 12:58 => 15:22/15:28
13:15 => 14:44 / 15:11 => 17:22/17:28

b: Limited Express (Wide View Hida) via Nagoya Tokaido Shinkansen
For JR PASS holders, this is by all means the easiest and the fastest way to travel between two places (Takayama and Shinagawa/Tokyo).
Takayama => Nagoya => Shinagawa/Tokyo
09:38 => 12:04 / 12:37 => 14:33/14:40
12:33 => 15:04 / 15:37 => 17:33/17:40

The Limited Express called Wide View Hida has, as you assumed, has such a great view along Hida River between Mino-Oota and almost all the way to Takayama (precisely, the river goes through Takayama is called Miyagawa which joins to Jintsuu River and finally to the bay of Toyama). Especially those who can reserve the most front seat, wish you enjoy the train driver's view. There are 10 train service everyday between Nagoya and Takayama, but only 4 trains between Takayama and Toyama.

Shinkansen from Nagoya to Tokyo has every 6 minutes freaquent train (all 16 cars with capacity 1,323 seats). Nozomi is the fastest takes 1hour and 45 minutes, Hikari is a bit slow takes 2 hours, and Kodama is the slowest Shinkansen takes 2 hour and 50 minutes between Nagoya and Tokyo.

Nozomi (Hope) : What goes/runs/travels faster than Hikari (light). We shall better to have Nozomi to live, especially after the hopeless events/news around the world. 1 hours and 45 minutes. JPY10,560 (unreserved). Every 10 minutes or less, which means that there are 6 or more trains every 1 hour.

Hikari (Light) : The fastest object runs in the universe. 2 hours. JPY10,560 (unreserved). There are 2 trains every 1 hour. Not JR but discount ticket shop like Access Ticket in Yaesu exit of Tokyo main station sells good price at around JPY10,000 for Tokyo => Nagoya.

Kodama (Sound) : Speed of sound is used to be representative of fastness. 2 hours and 50 minutes. JPY8,500 on Ordinary Car (2nd class, three-seats-aisle-two-seats) or JPY9,500 on Green Car (1st class, two-seats-aisle-two-seats). Platt Kodama is discount coupon ticket.

No.2. HIGHWAY BUS
Highway Bus direct from Takayama to Shinjuku has 5 buses a day. All day bus, but summer time has night bus. JPY6,500 one way, takes 5 hours and 30 minutes.
Bus from Takayama to Matsumoto is for those who would like to enjoy stopping over at Matsumoto (and Kita-Alps, North-Alps, for example, Kamikochi), you may take one of 4 buses a day from Takayama to Matsumoto (JPY3,250 one way). Matsumoto is directly connected by JR trains to Shinjuku (and some all the way to Tokyo).

No.3. SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Takayama and Tokyo with best minimum 5 changes as shown below (please note that usually needed 6 - 7 times transfers). HyperDia would support finding your best time tables.

Takayama 04:44 - 07:31 Gifu 07:37 - 09:02 Toyohashi 09:13 - 09:48 Hamamatsu 09:52 - 11:02 Shizuoka 11:13 - 12:41 Atami 12:49 - 14:44 Ueno

The Chubu and Hokuriku regions have the backbone of Japan, the Northen Japan Alps and the Southern Japan Alps, which rise to 3,000m and more. Mt. Fuji is one of the most famous mountain throughout the world, and is the symbol of Japan. Izu Peninsula is a popular resort area for Tokyo people. There are open-air hot-springs that view Mt. Fuji and/or Pacific Ocean. Nagoya is the largest city in the Chubu region holds the Expo 2005, recently opened unique airport called Centrair with hot-spting inside the terminal. Nagoya Castle, originally a residence and military headquarters for Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ise and Shima National Park harbors the most quintessential Ise Shrine as well as numerous pearl fisheries along its magnificent seacoast. Hida-Takayama where you feel the best of traditional Japan. Shirakawago is an intermountain village registered as a world heritage site. Old wooden houses called 'Gassho-Zukuri', constructed with thatch, remains as it used to be for hundreds years. Tateyama mountains and Kurobe canyon are knows as a cool point of summer time. Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is not JR, but very recommended for the scenic route. The Kenrokuen in Kanazawa is one of Japan's three most beautiful gardens. Kanazawa has 21st Century Museum as well. The Noto Peninsula has unique atomosphere stick into the Japan Sea. A 90 minutes train ride from Kanazawa via Fukui takes you to Eiheiji Temple, celebrated as one of the headquarters of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism. Niigata, about 90 minutes from Tokyo, is one of the world's snowiest areas and, as such, attracts large numbers of skiers throughout the winter. Sado Island in Niigata is the fifth largest of Japan's islands on the way to Russia. Nagano became world-famous as the host for the 1998 Winter Olymoics. The Zenkoji Temple is a representative old temple of Nagano. The main tower of Matsumoto Castle in the city of Matsumoto is nicknamed as 'Crow Castle' because of its black walls.

From/To Kyoto, Nara, Himeji, Kobe, Osaka, KIX, Koyasan

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, No3, No4 and No5) between two most major cities of Japan.

Actually, apart from following 5 options, you may also be interested in JTB Japanican Tours . It is package deal including Nozomi round trips plus Sheraton Miyako Hotel (for example) starting JPY24,800 per person for two ways Shinkansen + 3 nights at the Sheraton without meal, based on two people on same itinerary with two-person-room. You would like to make self-organized-tour? Then, below shows the way to make your journey wonderful and personal and traditional, what's the reason to stay Sheraton while you visit far east Asia, Japan (^_^)

No1. SHINKANSEN (bullet train, super express)
In Japanese language, it is directly translated as New-Main-Line (Shin-Kan-Sen). There are 9 lines operated by 5 JR companies throughout Japan, and one of which is called Tokaido Shinkansen connecting Tokyo and Shin-Osaka via Kyoto since 1964. The year 2027 will start CHUO LINEAR Shinkansen or SuperConducting Mag-Lev (Magnetic Levitation) between Shinagawa (Tokyo) and Nagoya, then will be extended to Shin-Osaka (Osaka) possibly not via Kyoto but only via Nara.

Nozomi (Hope) : What goes/runs/travels faster than Hikari (light). We shall better to have Nozomi to live, especially after the hopeless events/news around the world. 2 hours and 30 minutes. JPY13,870 (unreserved). Every 10 minutes can travel 1,323 people (200 green seats + 1,123 2nd class seats) to west, which means that there are 6 or more trains every 1 hour.

Hikari (Light) : The fastest object runs in the universe. 3 hours. JPY13,870 (unreserved). There are 2 trains every 1 hour. Not JR but discount ticket shop like Access Ticket in Yaesu exit of Tokyo main station sells good price! For example, Kobe for JPY14,000, Osaka for JPY13,000, Kyoto for JPY12,600, Nagoya for JPY10,000.

Kodama (Sound) : Speed of sound is used to be representative of fastness. 4 hours. JPY10,500 (Platt Kodama).

No2. HIGHWAY BUS by JR
There are more than 10 buses a night and a day each direction. Some of the buses are Josei-Sen-Yo which is female only bus. 8 - 9 hours. Price ranges JPY3,500 (four seaters, two-aisle-two) - JPY10,800 (two seaters, one-aisle-one).

Night bus : Starts JPY3,500 one way which is tight and not that comfortable. Comfortable seat on highway bus can be experienced with Gran Dream and Premium Seat (as low as JPY10,000 purchased on-line with credit card) with one-aisle-one configuration, you will love this privacy and semi-compartment international business class experience!

Day bus : Starts JPY3,600 or JPY5,000 or JPY7,300 (discount applied if purchased on-line with credit card).

No.3 HIGHWAY BUS by PRIVATE BUS COMPANIES
Other than JR bus mentioned above (No2), there are several private bus operators including Willer Express. 8 - 9 hours. Price varies from JPY3,000 to JPY11,800 one way.

No.4 SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Kyoto and Tokyo with minimum 5 transfers. HyperDia would support finding your best time tables.

Example-1

Tokyo 05:20 => 07:27 Numazu 07:31 => 08:29 Shizuoka 08:30 => 09:42 Hamamatsu 09:44 => 11:46 Ogaki 12:12 => 12:46 Maibara 12:50 => 13:43 Kyoto (and to Osaka, Kobe, Nara, Himeji and more)

Example-2

Tokyo 08:38 - 10:29 Atami 10:35 - 11:50 Shizuoka 12:03 - 13:15 Hamamatsu 13:21 - 13:55 Toyohashi 14:03 - 15:32 Ogaki 15:37 - 16:12 Maibara 16:18 - 17:12 Kyoto (and to Osaka, Kobe, Nara, Himeji and more)

Example-3

Tokyo 10:37 - 12:15 Atami 12:35 - 13:48 Shizuoka 14:01 - 15:15 Hamamatsu 15:20 - 15:54 Toyohashi 16:02 - 18:11 Maibara 18:18 - 19:12 Kyoto (and to Osaka, Kobe, Nara, Himeji and more)

No.5 See Mt.Fuji from sky above (via airplane window)
This short flight route can be done under JPY8,000 even with B787-900. LCC flies much cheaper from/to Narita Airport (as low as JPY4,000!). As title says, the most spectacular benefit of flying this route is to capture the crater top of Mt.Fuji from the sky. Even airport is raining wet, you may be able to see it above cloud when flying over, yes, the mountain with ocean of clouds. When sunrises/sunsets, it would add the wonderful color into your vision of life. Let's aim high (^_^) For KIX (Kansai Airport) user, you may consider several useful discount passes at www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/otoku-access/. For NRT (Narita Airport) please hit www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/skyliner/us/tickets/subway.php or www.jreast.co.jp/e/tokyowidepass/.

Kyoto had been Japan's capital for over 1,000 years (from AD794), and during that time, the best of Japanese art, culture, religion, and thought were brewed. Located some 500km west of Tokyo, Kyoto can be reached in 2 hrs. 50 min. by Shinkansen super express from the eastern capital. Nara was also a major center of Japan's arts, crafts, literature, and industries. The most famous and national treasured class attraction is Todaiji Temple, where the Great Buddha sits under the wooden roof. And Horyuji Temple is the oldest temple complex in Japan. Osaka is the central city of west Japan with a population of 3 million. The Osaka castle is the symbol of their heart and spirt, although they lost their originality by adding the Universal Studio (^^) Kobe is the one of Japan's main ports as well as the Japan's main China Town, along with Yokohama, Nearby Akashi has national longest bridge connects Awaji Island. Mt. Rokko, located near Kobe city, has one of the spectacular night view over the port. Himeji Castle is registered as a world cultural heritage site. Mt. Koya was founded in 816 by Kobo Daishi Kukai, the great Shingon sect of Buddhism, the monastery is consist of over 120 temples. Kumano Kodo, which is an old religious pilgrimage path, has just achieved world heritage registration in 2004. People come to this path after the Shikoku88 temples. Lake Biwa with its small sacred island inside is the largest lake in Japan and it offers various chances like fishing, swimming, boating and camping.

From/To Kumano Kodo

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, No3, No4 and No5) between the World Heritage Trail and the capital city. Here's also got useful Map1 and Map2.

No1. SHINKANSEN (bullet train, super express)
In Japanese language, it is directly translated as New-Main-Line (Shin-Kan-Sen). There are 9 lines operated by 5 JR companies throughout Japan, and one of which is called Tokaido Shinkansen connecting Tokyo and Shin-Osaka since 1964. The year 2027 will start CHUO LINEAR Shinkansen or SuperConducting Mag-Lev (Magnetic Levitation) between Shinagawa (Tokyo) and Nagoya, the floating train similar to Shanghai Pudong Airport Access (made in Germany).

Tokyo <=> Shin-Osaka <=> KiiTanabe (or Kii-Tanabe)
Limited Express Kuroshio (green car has 2-aisle-1 with 1 facing ocean)
Tokyo <=> Nagoya <=> Shingu
Limited Express Nanki

Regardless Shin-Osaka or Nagoya which station you'd transit, all three types of Shinkansen (Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama) links Tokyo direct.

Nozomi (Hope) : What goes/runs/travels faster than Hikari (light). We shall better to have Nozomi to live, especially after the hopeless events/news around the world. Every 6 minutes can travel 1,323 people (200 green seats + 1,123 2nd class seats), which means that there are 6 or more trains every 1 hour.

Hikari (Light) : The fastest object runs in the universe. There are 2 trains every 1 hour. Not JR but discount ticket shop like Access Ticket in Yaesu exit of Tokyo main station sells good price! For example, Shin-Osaka for JPY13,000, Nagoya for JPY10,000.

Kodama (Sound) : Speed of sound is used to be representative of fastness. 4 hours to Shin-Osaka for JPY10,700 or 2 hours 50 minutes to Nagoya for JPY8,500 (Platt Kodama).

No2. HIGHWAY BUS by JR
There are more than 10 buses a night and a day each direction (for each route of Osaka and of Nagoya). Some of the buses are Josei-Sen-Yo which is female only bus. 8 - 9 hours to Osaka. Price ranges JPY3,500 (four seaters, two-aisle-two) - JPY11,000 (two seaters, one-aisle-one). Or 6 - 7 hours to Nagoya. Price ranges JPY2,500 (four seaters, two-aisle-two) - JPY7,500 (two seaters, one-aisle-one).

Daytime bus between Tokyo and Nagoya takes "only" 5 hours via New ToMei Highway with great view ahead of you including Mt.Fuji. One way could be as low as JPY2,500.

No.3 HIGHWAY BUS by PRIVATE BUS COMPANIES
Other than JR bus mentioned above (No2), there are several private bus operators including Willer Express. Price varies and about the same as JR Highway Bus.

No.4 SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Tokyo and Nanki area (south side of Kii Peninsula) with usually needed 9 - 10 times transfers via Osaka or 5 - 6 times transfers via Nagoya, let's enjoy local atomosphere in each station (^^) HyperDia would support finding your best time tables.

Tokyo 05:20 - 07:27 Numazu 07:31 - 08:29 Shizuoka 08:30 - 09:42 Hamamatsu 09:44 - 11:46 Ogaki 12:12 - 12:46 Maibara 12:50 - 14:13 Osaka 14:23 - 15:51 Wakayama 16:15 - 17:18 Gobo 17:20 - 18:02 KiiTanabe 18:45 - 21:32 Shingu

Tokyo 05:20 - 07:27 Numazu 07:31 - 08:29 Shizuoka 08:30 - 09:42 Hamamatsu 09:44 - 11:11 Nagoya 11:37 - (extra 510yen has to be paid on train) 12:54 Taki 13:16 - 17:04 Shingu 17:13 - 20:02 KiiTanabe

No.5 See Mt.Fuji from sky above (through airplane window)
This short flight route can be done as low as JPY11,000 one way with Embraer regional jet. Haneda <=> Nanki Shirahama has daily flights to grasp the great shinto forest view from JAL windows, plus Mt.Fuji of course! Even airport is raining wet, you may be able to see it above cloud when flying over, yes, the mountain with ocean of clouds. When sunrises/sunsets, it would add the wonderful color into your vision of life. Let's aim high (^_^)

It is around 20 minutes bus ride between Nanki Shirahama airport and JR Shirahama station.

Kyoto had been Japan's capital for over 1,000 years (from AD794), and during that time, the best of Japanese art, culture, religion, and thought were brewed. Located some 500km west of Tokyo, Kyoto can be reached in 2 hrs. 50 min. by Shinkansen super express from the eastern capital. Nara was also a major center of Japan's arts, crafts, literature, and industries. The most famous and national treasured class attraction is Todaiji Temple, where the Great Buddha sits under the wooden roof. And Horyuji Temple is the oldest temple complex in Japan. Osaka is the central city of west Japan with a population of 3 million. The Osaka castle is the symbol of their heart and spirt, although they lost their originality by adding the Universal Studio (^^) Kobe is the one of Japan's main ports as well as the Japan's main China Town, along with Yokohama, Nearby Akashi has national longest bridge connects Awaji Island. Mt. Rokko, located near Kobe city, has one of the spectacular night view over the port. Himeji Castle is registered as a world cultural heritage site. Mt. Koya was founded in 816 by Kobo Daishi Kukai, the great Shingon sect of Buddhism, the monastery is consist of over 120 temples. Kumano Kodo, which is an old religious pilgrimage path, has just achieved world heritage registration in 2004. People come to this path after the Shikoku88 temples. Lake Biwa with its small sacred island inside is the largest lake in Japan and it offers various chances like fishing, swimming, boating and camping.

From/To Naoshima

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, No3, No4 and No5) between modern architect city of Tokyo and the art island of Naoshima in Kagawa (although, Okayama is rather easy to access).

No1. SHINKANSEN (bullet train, super express)
In Japanese language, it is directly translated as New-Main-Line (Shin-Kan-Sen). There are 9 lines operated by 5 JR companies throughout Japan, and one of which is called Tokaido Shinkansen connecting Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, and called Sanyo Shinkansen connecting Shin-Osaka and Hakata (Fukuoka). Through trains go beyond both lines, actually it is as seen as one consecutive line from Tokyo all the way to Hakata (via Shin-Osaka). Naoshima is nearby Okayama which is between Shin-Osaka and Hiroshima.

Hakata <=> Hiroshima <=> Okayama <=> Shin-Osaka <=> Kyoto <=> Tokyo

Okayama station is the terminal for the bridge line called Seto-Ohashi-Line (gateway for Shikoku island for the 88 pilgrimage). There are Hikari Shinkansen trains every hour from Tokyo to Okayama which takes about 4 hours. The fery port is called Uno (not Ueno), sometime there are direct trains from Okayama, but sometime has to change a train at Chaya-machi.

Okayama => Chaya-machi => Uno
Okayama => Chaya-machi => (through the bridge) => Shikoku island

And here's the ferry information between Uno and Naoshima. There is also a ferry service between Kobe and Takamatsu via Shodoshima.

No2. NIGHT TRAIN SUNRISE
The JR Pass cannot be used for the sleeper (berth) class, but this night train SUNRISE connects Tokyo and Takamatsu via Okayama has some "normal" seats (carpet floor) which JR Pass holders can take without surcharge. They should not be called "seats" but anyway, it is worth to check your itinerary so that you can maximize your time in Japan. Good thing about the SUNRISE bound for Tokyo is that you will see beautiful sunrise over Pacific Ocean between Atami and Yokohama.

Takamatsu, (no, Chaya-machi does not stop), Okayama, Atami, Yokohama, Tokyo

And here's the ferry information between Takamatsu and Naoshima (Miyanoura). There are both slow ferry and fast boat.

One thing you should dare not to miss is the park, Ritsurin Koen in Takamatsu, perhaps the 2nd best Japanese garden park in Japan, yes, some even says that the Yugen and Miyabi style is beyond the 3 major famous parks (Kairakuen, Kenrokuen, Korakuen). Now you asked "so, whichi is the best?" the answer might be Adachi Museum Garden in Yonago, actually the night train SUNRISE stops.

No.3 JETSTAR (GK JJP)
Other than JR trains mentioned above, there is the LCC connects directly between Tokyo (Narita) and Takamatsu. Usually JPY4,990 one way can be booked very easily, but watch out for the holiday season, well, still far less expensive than JAL and ANA. Now, LCC called Spring Airlines (9C) has direct flights between Takamatsu(Gaosong) and Shanghai.

No.4 SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Simply saying, this ticket is only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Tokyo and Takamatsu (more or less 13 hours), as well as Tokyo and Uno (more or less 13 hours).

Tokyo 05:20 - 07:27 Numazu 07:31 - 08:29 Shizuoka 08:30 - 09:42 Hamamatsu 09:44 - 11:46 Ogaki 12:12 - 12:46 Maibara 12:50 - 15:16 Himeji 15:34 - 15:53 Aioi 15:56 - 17:02 Okayama 17:15 - 18:12 Uno => Ferry to Naoshima

Tokyo 05:20 - 07:27 Numazu 07:31 - 08:29 Shizuoka 08:30 - 09:42 Hamamatsu 09:44 - 11:46 Ogaki 12:12 - 12:46 Maibara 12:50 - 15:16 Himeji 15:34 - 15:53 Aioi 15:56 - 17:02 Okayama 17:12 - 18:05 Takamatsu => Ferry to Naoshima

No.5 Ferry between Tokyo and Tokushima (south of Takamatsu in Shikoku island)
This overnight ferry actually goes beyond Shikoku from/to Kyushu island (Kita-Kyushu).

Kita-Kyushu <= (JPY6,900) => Tokushima <= (JPY9,720) => Tokyo
Kita-Kyushu <= <= <= <= <= <= (JPY14,260) => => => => => => Tokyo

It is JPY1,460 about 2 hours JR local train ride between Tokushima and Takamatsu.

The Japan's Mediterranean Sea, Seto-Naikai, is surrounded by the three main islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Because of the strategic reason, during World War, Japan made her best battleships in this area, Yamato and Musashi. Chugoku locates in the far west of Honshu, main island. Shikoku (literally four countries), Japan's fouth largest island, can be reached via the Seto Ohashi Bridge. Tottori Sand Dunes lasts 5km along the Japan Sea where you can ride 'imported' camel. Izumo Shrine, which origins go back to the times of Japanese myth, is situated in the eastern part of Shimane Prefecture known as the Izumo region. The atmosphere of a historical castle town can be felt in Matsue, which is referred to as the 'Water Capital' because of her bordering to lakes, seas and rivers. The higest peak of the Chugoku region is Mt. Daisen where cows are milking. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial and The Dome are symbols of everlasting peace, portraying the horror of atom bombs which we don't want to see anymore anywhere in our universe. Warehouses with white colored wall stand in calm town Kurashiki. Miyajima is one of the Three Views of Japan, is an island in the Seto Inland Sea, also called as floating shrine. The Itsukushima Shrine is located on the island and is known as the center of the island's belief. Shikoku has 88 Temples which attract young and old for their enlightment and impermanence of life and death. Matsuyama holds the oldest hot-spring in Japan called Dogo Onsen. The Shimanto River is one of the clearest streams in Japan (no damn dams!).

From/To Shimanami Kaido

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, No3, No4 and No5) between Tokyo and the mecca of bicycle.

No1. SHINKANSEN (bullet train, super express)
In Japanese language, it is directly translated as New-Main-Line (Shin-Kan-Sen). There are 9 lines operated by 5 JR companies throughout Japan, and one of which is called Tokaido Shinkansen connecting Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, and called Sanyo Shinkansen connecting Shin-Osaka and Hakata (Fukuoka). Through trains go beyond both lines, actually it is as seen as one consecutive line from Tokyo all the way to Hakata (via Shin-Osaka). ShimanamiKaido is right at Shin-Onomichi (Shinkansen station) or much closer to Onomichi (local line station) between Okayama and Hiroshima.

Hakata <=> Hiroshima <=> Shin-Onomichi <=> Fukuyama <=> Okayama <=> Shin-Osaka <=> Kyoto <=> Tokyo
Onomichi station and Shin-Onomichi station is connected by local bus.

There are only 2 Hikari Shinkansen a day which connects DIRECT between Fukuyama and Tokyo area including Shin-Yokohama. And hereunder has some useful links to make your bicycle trip

No2. NIGHT TRAIN SUNRISE
The JR Pass cannot be used for the sleeper (berth) class, but this night train SUNRISE connects Tokyo and Okayama which has connecting trains to Fukuyama and Shin-Onomichi as well as to Fukuyama and Onomichi. SUNRISE has some "normal" seats (carpet floor) which JR Pass holders can take without surcharge. They should not be called "seats" but anyway, it is worth to check your itinerary so that you can maximize your time in Japan. Good thing about the SUNRISE bound for Tokyo is that you will see beautiful sunrise over Pacific Ocean between Atami and Yokohama.

No.3 JETSTAR (GK JJP)
Other than JR trains mentioned above, there is the LCC connects directly between Tokyo (Narita) and Matsuyama. Usually JPY4,990 one way can be booked very easily, but watch out for the holiday season, well, still far less expensive than JAL and ANA.

No.4 SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Simply saying, this ticket is only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Tokyo and Onomichi (more or less 13 hours)

Shinagawa 05:50 - 06:45 Atami 06:49 - 09:18 Hamamatsu 09:24 - 11:32 Ogaki 11:42 - 12:17 Maibara 12:20 - 14:47 Himeji 15:03 - 15:23 Aioi 15:25 - 17:56 Onomichi

No.5 Ferry between Osaka and Toyo in Ehime (where free shuttle bus connects Imabari in Ehime)
New ferry just installed in 2018. Comfortable room with shared bath or private bath. English page has it all here at this page.

The Japan's Mediterranean Sea, Seto-Naikai, is surrounded by the three main islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Because of the strategic reason, during World War, Japan made her best battleships in this area, Yamato and Musashi. Chugoku locates in the far west of Honshu, main island. Shikoku (literally four countries), Japan's fouth largest island, can be reached via the Seto Ohashi Bridge. Tottori Sand Dunes lasts 5km along the Japan Sea where you can ride 'imported' camel. Izumo Shrine, which origins go back to the times of Japanese myth, is situated in the eastern part of Shimane Prefecture known as the Izumo region. The atmosphere of a historical castle town can be felt in Matsue, which is referred to as the 'Water Capital' because of her bordering to lakes, seas and rivers. The higest peak of the Chugoku region is Mt. Daisen where cows are milking. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial and The Dome are symbols of everlasting peace, portraying the horror of atom bombs which we don't want to see anymore anywhere in our universe. Warehouses with white colored wall stand in calm town Kurashiki. Miyajima is one of the Three Views of Japan, is an island in the Seto Inland Sea, also called as floating shrine. The Itsukushima Shrine is located on the island and is known as the center of the island's belief. Shikoku has 88 Temples which attract young and old for their enlightment and impermanence of life and death. Matsuyama holds the oldest hot-spring in Japan called Dogo Onsen. The Shimanto River is one of the clearest streams in Japan (no damn dams!).

From/To Kyushu

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, No3 and No4) between Tokyo and Kyushu, the entrance for South Korea (to the north) or for Okinawa and Taiwan (to the south).

No1. Easy Comfortable Flight (ANA or JAL) and LCC (Low Cost Carrier)
There are everyday 50 - 60 flights up and down between Fukuoka itself and Haneda Airport. Narita Airport also connects dozens a day!

Fare varies from JPY4,990(LCC) to JPY56,390 (Premium Class) one way. The cheapest must be booked 2 -3 months in advance, and it tends to be sold out within 30 minutes every promotion day. No one pays for the normal fare except government related business trip, but now wise traveler would pay half of the tariff with stock benefit which you may be able to purchase at discount ticket shop in Kanda, Ueno, Asakusa and Shimbashi. It is worth to get the normal fare ticket with stock benefit (50 percent discount) so that your travel can be very flexible (refundable, reroutable, change-reservation-possible, no limitation, no stress).

Unlike NRT, HND, NGO, KIX, ITM, Fukuoka Airport (FUK, oh, did not mean that) is short walk distance from/to Hakata central station, very convenient.

No2. Bus (Nishitetsu Bus, JR Bus Kanto, Willer Express, Nishi Nihon JR Bus, JR Kyushu Bus)
More than 1,000km distance has night bus from/to Shinjuku in Tokyo, yes the longest journey inside Japan is run by Nishitetsu Bus. Bus terminal is right attached to JR Hakata station.

No.3. FERRY (Ocean Trance,Meimon Taiyo,HanKyu,Sunflower)

Welcome to the far east islands, or you may say, far western edge of Pacific Ocean. These casual ferries are the most rich, in a way, of transportation method to fulfill Japan. You may consider taking one of them between JR Pass and Rent-A-Car, please.

No.4 SEISHUN 18 KIPPU (the most cheapest way from Tokyo to northern Kyushu, only JPY2,410)
It takes one full day for Seishun-18-kippu (or 5-6 hours Shinkansen rides). HyperDia shall do, for example, Tokyo 05:00 departure gets you there at Hakata almost 12:00 midnight. You may encounter several local people residing each area with different accent of Japanese language. Slow train is fun which Shinkansen cannot offer.

Located in the north of Kyushu, Fukuoka is the transport hub of the west end Japan, also connected to South Korea by ferry and flight, as well as the center of economy and administration. Dazaifu Temmangu Shrine is the God of education, sister of Yushima Shrine in Ueno, Tokyo. A port town, Nagasaki, developed her ties with foreign countries especially Holland and China in early era. Huis Ten Bosch is a theme park with 17th century Holland. A Nagawaki Peace Park was established at the epi-center of the atom bomb blast to appeal the everlasting peace. The generous nature of Kyushu where Japan Emperor landed from heaven, has stunning hot springs and mountains, can be seen in Takachiho, Kirishima, Aso, Yufuin. The Aso Panorama Line, a large-scale landscape on the plateau access to the active vocano Mt. Aso. Kumamoto Castle, constructed in 1608, is one of Japan's three beautiful castles. Beppu is a hot spring town with one of the greatest quantity water from the earth. Southern Kyushu is pleased with a warm climate throughout the year which has almost a tropical atmosphere. Sakurajima is most active mountains in the island, errupts ashes all over the city, almost every week. The " Sand Bath", where one is buried under heated sand evaporated by underneath hot spring, is a specialty of Ibusuki in southern Kagoshima. One of the largest evergreen forests in Japan can be observed on Yakushima Island, located 4 hours slow ferry ride from Kagoshima port, you can feel the 8,000 years giant trees.

From/To Okinawa

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, No3, No4 and No5) between Tokyo and the south tropical island. No5 has Taiwan route as well.

No1. Easy Comfortable Flight (ANA or JAL) and LCC (Low Cost Carrier)
There are everyday 50 - 60 flights up and down between the capical city and the southern used-to-be kingdom island. Both major companies have both Haneda route and Narita route, but Haneda Airport has more flights compare to Narita Airport.

Fare varies from JPY6,000 (LCC) to JPY61,310 (Premium Class) one way. The cheapest should be booked 2 -3 months in advance, and it tends to be sold out within 30 minutes every promotion day. No one pays for the normal fare except government related business trip, but now wise traveler would pay half of the tariff with stock benefit which you may be able to purchase at discount ticket shop in Kanda, Ueno, Asakusa and Shimbashi. It is worth to get the normal fare ticket with stock benefit (50 percent discount) so that your travel can be very flexible (refundable, reroutable, change-reservation-possible, no limitation, no stress).

If you were connecting to remote islands from the main island (Naha, Okinawa), for example, Yonaguni, Ishigaki, Miyako, both ANA and JAL has connecting-discount-rule as well. You may get special discount (Star Alliance and One World) for those tickets flying all over Japan, too (only about JPY10,000 for any one segment despite distance, from point A to point B as long as there is a direct flight). Now ANA has Sapporo (CTS) - Okinawa (OKA) one shot flight (the longest distance within Japan, 1397 miles) as well as Tokyo (HND) - Ishigaki island (ISG) which is 1228 miles.

No2. Bus (Nishitetsu Bus, JR Bus Kanto, Willer Express, Nishi Nihon JR Bus, JR Kyushu Bus) and ferry
Mostlikely, you may be interested in stopping over Takayama, Nagano, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Kurashiki, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Beppu, Kumamoto and more!? Without JR Pass, slow bus ride would give you many chances to view Japan sceneries along the way. As slow you go, more you can see, in which way, bus is recommended. Love slow but easy also required? The minimum transfer to the southern ferry port Kagoshima from Tokyo, the shortest route would be Tokyo => Hakata => Kagoshima, yes, just two buses with one transfer. From Kagoshima, there is slow ferry with stopping Kikaijima, AmamiOshima, TokunoShima, OkinoerabuJima, YoronTou and Motobu as well as direct ferry to Naha, Okinawa.

No.3. FERRY (A"Line Tokyo on Ro-Ro, A"Line Osaka/Kobe, A"Line Kagoshima, Marix Line)
You may get bored while you are slowly travelling to the west and to the south by bus or by train. How about being part of Pacific Ocean? Not only from Tokyo port, but there are also ferry service from Kansai Area (Osaka and Kobe) and the southern most of Kyushu (Kagoshima). Advantage is to float on the sea all the way, benefit is that you can think about your life, or that you don't need to think about any life (for 72 hours from Tokyo to Okinawa). Japan is consisted of some 3000 islands on the north-eastern-edge of Asia. Without ferry ride, you would not cover the country.

No.4 SEISHUN 18 KIPPU (the most cheapest way from Tokyo to Kagoshima, only JPY6,000-ish) or JR Pass plus ferry
It takes two full days for Seishun-18-kippu (or 8 hours Shinkansen rides) plus ferry, which means that it may cost you one night extra at accommodation. Truly lowest cost with consider of accommodation and three-meals would be, as mentioned above at No.1, Peach or Jetstar for JPY6,000-ish one way from Narita direct to Okinawa (OKA). But for rail fan like you, HyperDia shall do.

No.5 Hopping islands flights
Following airlines have the island hopper routes along the archipelago of Japan, Taiwan, Philippine, Malaysia and Indonesia.

EVA AIR : Star Alliance
CHINA AIRLINES (not Air China) : Sky Team
PEACH : Japanese LCC
Jetstar Japan : Australian/Japanese LCC

Located between Kyushu and Taiwan, once reigned by local Pacific Ryukyu people, after enormous struggling between China and Japan (Shimazu clan at the time in Edo period) as well as USA and Imperial Japan (WW2), America gave whole chains of islands back in 1972. Done Bali? Cebu? Caribbean? Hawaii? New Caledonia? you may be interested in Miyako, Ishigaki, Iriomote, Yonaguni and Hateruma which are not at all far from the Formosa.

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