Japon

In Japanese train stations


japan

EXCHANGING YOUR VOUCHER FOR A JAPAN RAIL PASS

Exchange your Japanese rail Pass in Japanese station
To use the trains on the Japan Railways (JR) network, the voucher given to you at the time of purchase must be exchanged at a JR ticket office. The list of stations where you can exchange it is shown on your voucher. All the major stations in Japan and Tokyo in particular have a dedicated ticket office.

USING YOUR JAPAN RAIL PASS

The Japan Rail Pass means you don't need to have a ticket for each journey (except if you want to book a seat on a Shinkansen).

You therefore need to go through the free passage area staffed by the ticket inspector (and not through the gates). It is a good idea to have your passport with you as the ticket inspector may want to check that you are the Rail Pass holder.

USING THE TICKET MACHINES

Using the ticket machine
For the subway (especially in Tokyo), or for some private lines, you will need to buy your tickets at the ticket machine.The idea is to find out the price you need to pay to get to your destination by looking at the boards usually located above the machines. After finding the right price, just pay at the machine and your ticket will be edited.Each of these ticket machines has an English language option.

BOOKING YOUR SHINKANSEN SEAT AT A TICKET OFFICE

Booking your Shinkansen seat
In order to book your seat for Shinkansen trains, you will need to get a numbered ticket at a 'JR Ticket Office' that are indicated by green signs. A reserved seat is called a 'shiteiseki'. Of course, you can also board the train and sit in a non-reserved seat: this system is called 'jiyuseki'

FINDING YOUR TRAIN

Finding your train
The train number and destination are always shown in Japanese and in Latin characters. On many platforms, floor markings show where the train doors are located. The trains stop exactly at the door markings.It is a good idea to queue to access the door as the trains do not stop for long. Additionally, seats are not booked in advance on local trains and the sooner you board, the better your chances of getting a seat.

Don't hesitate to ask a traveller on the platform if the train you are waiting for is going to your destination. Finally, be careful not to take a 'Nozomi' train on the Tokyo-Nagoya-Kyoto-Hiroshima line. You must board the 'Hikari' or 'Kodama' which make a few extra stops.

CARRYING YOUR LUGGAGE

Carrying your luggage
There is no porter service at Japanese stations. The major stations have escalators and lifts but the small stations only have steps. If you are going on a trip lasting one or two days, you can use the Takkyu-bin luggage-sending service for a modest fee to have your luggage delivered to your destination. 

Example: You are departing from Kyoto for Tokyo and want to spend 2 nights in Takayama and Kanazawa. For those 2 nights you can keep a minimum amount in a bag and have your suitcase delivered to your hotel in Tokyo.

WAITING FOR YOUR TRAIN

Waiting for your train
There is a certain discipline involved in waiting for your train on a station platform in Japan: choose a queue (generally indicated by floor markings), and patiently wait behind the other passengers until you can board the car, quietly of course (we are in Japan after all).

USING THE AUTOMATIC LUGGAGE LOCKERS

Using the automatic luggage lockers
With the lockers you can stop for 2 or 3 hours in a town, take a tour and then continue your journey on the next train.For example, departing from Kyoto on the Okayama route: you can only visit Himeji (2 ½ to 4 h) if you leave your luggage behind.Most of the major stations have quite large lockers (sometimes in limited numbers however). It is easier to fit in 2 medium-sized bags than a large suitcase.

Small stations sometimes do not have lockers for large suitcases: it is better to have soft bags that be easily squashed down than rigid suitcases.There are also traditional lockers with a service ending quite early in the evening.

THE TRAIN STATION AS AN INFORMATION CENTER

Information Center in the station
Nearly all stations have a tourist office. There is plenty of literature (unfortunately this is often only available in Japanese) to help you discover places of interest in the town or the region. Employees often speak English and can help you make hotel bookings.

THE TRAIN STATION AS A SHOPPING CENTER

Shopping center in the station
Historically the train companies were big trading companies that built very large commercial areas alongside the train lines. Therefore the stations are often in large shopping centers.

PLACES TO EAT AT A TRAIN STATION

Eating at a train station
The stations contain specialist stalls selling ekiben or station bentos, the contents of which are often influenced by the local specialities. There are also many restaurants which are open non-stop and serve many types of food, with something to suit all tastes.

LEAVING THE TRAIN STATION

Leaving the train station
Stations often have several exits and are often very large. Don't hesitate to ask a ticket inspector what exit to take for the place you want to go to.

In Kyoto, the central station is a complex with a very large luxury hotel (Granvia), a department store (Isetan) and a very big audiovisual store (BicCamera), an underground shopping center, a very large Tourist Office, etc…

STATION guide and maps

Hakata Station
hakata station in fukuoka

Your Pass at the best price

National JR Pass From $ 248
JR Kansai Pass From $ 19
JR Kyushu Pass From $ 132
JR Shikoku Pass From $ 65
JR West Pass From $ 167
JR Hokkaido Pass From $ 145
JR Central Pass From $ 123
JR East Pass From $ 229

Latest Tips

New Japan Luxury Trains in 2017

Combining transportation and tourism
How to go from Hakodate to Sapporo with your Japan Rail Pass ?

The Hakodate Line connects with the Hokkaido Shinkansen in Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Private Lines in Japan

A few popular places do not have any JR lines.

Hyperdia, what is it?

Hyperdia all train timetables in Japan