Japon

How to plan your itinerary

Tools and tips

travel in japan

In Japan, the railway network is as efficient as it is complicated. If it is the best way to get around in Japan, it can also sometimes be difficult to find the right way to reach your destination.

Here are some explications, tools and tips to help you plan your itineraries within Japan quickly and easily.

THE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM IN JAPAN

About transportation system in Japan
The specificity of the railway network resides mainly in the number of companies operating on it. Of course, the train system is different from the subway, but the subway itself is operated by several different companies. The train system is also unique and is composed of both JR lines (Japan Rail, the main rail company in Japan covered by the Japan Rail Pass) and private lines.

Buses and boats are an efficient addition to the rail network.
 

HYPERDIA, A GREAT TOOL

Hyperdia : a great tool
Easier to handle and more precise than a map, this website is a must when it comes to organizing your itinerary.

Hyperdia, twhich allows you to search for train stations in roman characters, is a trustworthy travel companion.

Just enter the name of the departure and arrival train station, as well as the date and hour you wish to travel, and the website will give you different options (including times, prices, transfers, track number...) : 
Hyperdia website

TIPS AND PRECAUTIONS

Tips and precautions in Japanese train
Here are some points and a few tips to keep in mind when using Hyperdia:

Many trains have specific wagons with non-numbered seats that don't need a reservation. However, some trains require booking. You will find out by scrolling down the menu in the 'seat fee' column.

The 'sleeper' night trains require an extra couchette fee. If you don't want to pay it, just uncheck the option in the search details.

Also, be careful when entering the train station's name as entering the city name is not sufficient. For example, the Shinkansen train stations of Osaka and Aomori are called Shin-Osaka and Shin-Aomori. There is not only one 'Hakone' train station but several different ones. Therefore, make sure you know which station you need to get off at before using the search engine.

See our Japan train Schedule and price table.

SOME POPULAR ITINERARIES

Popular itineraries with a japan Rail Pass
The following regional itineraries are popular.

In Kansai :
Osaka-Yamaguchi - Masuda - Matsue - return trip to Osaka
In  Nagano : Tokyo - Nagano - Matsumoto - Nagoya
In Tohoku : Tokyo - Hachinohe - Aomori - Akita - Niigata
In Hokkaido : Hakodate - Sapporo - Asahikawa - Abashiri - Kushiro - Asahikawa
In Kyushu : Yamaguchi - Fukuoka / Hakata - Nagasaki - Kumamoto - Oita
In Shikoku : Okayama - Takamatsu - Kochi - Uwajma - Matsuyama - Okayama

You can also explore Japan with one of our individual tours.
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