The Japan Rail Pass Map: Understanding the Japan Rail Network

The vast network of public transportation operated by the Japan Rail Group (the organization that issues the Japan Rail Pass) traverses the entirety of the country’s mainland.

From the very top of Hokkaido to the most southern part of Kyushu, the JR Group has travel options that visitors to the country can utilize to get around the country in a convenient and efficient manner. These include high-speed Shinkansen trains, overnight trains, local trains, buses, and even ferries, and with the Japan Rail Pass, a vast majority of these facilities are available to pass holders! 

The map to the left gives a general outline of the national Japan Railway network and routes that are accessible with the pass along with a number of noteworthy destinations throughout the country. 

Take the time to see how your desired destinations are connected via these trainlines (be them via Shinkansen, JR Line, or a combination of both), and plan your itinerary with this in mind!

On this map, the green lines represent Shinkansen high-speed bullet train routes and the gray lines are standard JR Routes. Both provide wide-ranging coverage across the Japanese archipelago, though, between major city destinations like Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka, the Shinkansen will be the more convenient choice. Access to Hokkaido can be done via Shinkansen up to Hakodate, and from there, local trains and buses can be ridden with the JR Pass to the capital of Sapporo and the rest of the island. 

Map of the Japan Rail Pass network

Map of the Japan Rail Pass network

@Japan Experience

Itinerary Train Type Duration
Tokyo > Kyoto Hikari Shinkansen ~2h 40m
Kyoto > Hiroshima (via Shin-Osaka) Sakura Shinkansen ~1h 30m
Hiroshima > Fukuoka Sakura Shinkansen/ Kodama Shinkansen ~1h to ~1h 30m
Tokyo > Hakodate Hayabusa Shinkansen ~4h
Hakodate > Sapporo Limited Hokuto Express ~3h 30m

Japan Railway Regional Branches

Japan Railways is divided into a number of different organizations. While these different divisions operate individually, together, they make up the entirety of the Japan Railway Network that pass users have access to. These organizations are divided as follows:

  • JR East (JR 東日本)
  • JR Central (JR 東海)
  • JR West (JR 西日本)
  • JR Hokkaido (JR 北海道)
  • JR Shikoku (JR 四国)
  • JR Kyushu (JR 九州)
Divison of Japan Railway Regional Branches

Divison of Japan Railway Regional Branches


       Check out these Regional Passes!        

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