Transportation1

And hereunder has some more information.

Platt Kodama

Car #16 is front of the train bound for Tokyo (from west to east). Car#1 is front of the train bound for west from Tokyo.

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 - Toyama - 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 coupon 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.

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.

BELOW shows to 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 (till March 2023)! 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, 2030s 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.

You may book your reserved seat/s 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.

West Express Ginga (till September 2022) : www.jr-odekake.net/railroad/westexginga
Kyoto, ShinOsaka, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, BitchuTakahashi, Yonago, Matsue, IzumoShi
West Express Ginga (from October 2022 till April 2023) : www.jr-odekake.net/railroad/westexginga
Kyoto, ShinOsaka, Wakayama, Kushimoto, KiiKatsuura, Shingu
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

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 JapanRouteFinder, 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

West Express Ginga by JR West

Joyful Trains by JR East

The Royal Express by Izukyu

Saphir Odoriko by JR East

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.

ANA (All Nippon Airways)

Welcome to Japan with JAPAN Fare. One price for any distance, therefore longer haul the best cost affective (^^) Below shows some example.

Osaka - Matsuyama is only 159 miles, JR Shikoku is worth riding off beaten railways.
Haneda - Toyama (for Takayama) is only 176 miles, JR Hokuriku Shinkansen runs more frequently.
Haneda - Miyako(jima) is 1,158 miles, you may still want to compare budget Jetstar fare for Shimojishima.
Sapporo - Okinawa is 1,397 miles, no low-cost-carrier can do direct.

If you'd fly into Japan on Star Alliance, for example, ANA, Swiss, Lufthansa, SAS, UA, Air Canada, Singapore, Thai, NZ, Air China, etc. you may receive at least 3,000 ANA miles which is enough to redeem free mileage flight ticket, for example, Haneda - Kobe, Haneda - Toyama, and more (seasonal special rate).

Or, all year around free mileage flight ticket would be as low as 17,000 ANA miles - 23,000 ANA miles for these 6 legs of Sapporo - Okinawa - Tokyo - Shanghai - Osaka - Matsuyama - Tokyo, another good example for your next time Far East Asian trip would be Tokyo - Sapporo - Osaka - Beijing - Osaka - Ishigaki - Tokyo (^^)

Now ANA is flying rare bird as turtle (^^)

コラム