The essential transportation application
If you want to optimize your time when taking the train in Japan, you should plan your routes well in advance (and ensure that you order your Japan Rail Pass prior to departing for Japan). Jorudan is one of the most reliable websites and applications for looking up routes, fares and travel times.
When visiting and traveling on your own throughout Japan, navigating the train system is usually on top of anyone’s planning list. For many first-time travelers this can seem like quite a daunting prospect, and with only a few search platforms with an up-to-date and accurate multi-language Interface available, it is sometimes difficult to know where to look.
Jorudan - The recommended App for navigating the train system in Japan
Known as Japan Transit Planner, Jorudan is available on Apple and Android, a web and mobile application on which you can search train, airline and highway bus schedules in Japan and compare prices and is available in 13 different languages, including Japanese, English, French, German and Spanish.
Both the desktop and mobile versions are user-friendly and will be invaluable when planning your trips in Japan.
Plan your travel journey with Jorudan online timetable
Japan Rail has a network of more than 20,000km covering the main islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Hokkaido. It makes traveling by train in Japan very convenient and cost-efficient as most of Japan’s main attractions and hotels in cities are located near train stations.
Jorudan will calculate the best routes for you by giving you several options for the journey you are planning. Additionally, Jorudan shows the ticket cost for each journey; either a single-use ticket or IC Card price. You can therefore calculate the ticket cost for your entire trip and compare it against the cost of a JR Pass.
The Jorudan App offers two versions: a free version and a premium version. Both are available on the desktop and mobile versions, and both include a Japan Rail Pass option.
JR Pass holders: How to use Jorudan?
JR Pass holders are limited in the types of Shinkansen they can travel on between Tokyo and Kagoshima. The key difference between the Nozomi/Mizuho and Hikari/Sakura bullet trains, is that the Nozomi/Mizuho are faster and stop at fewer stations. Additionally, the JR Pass is not valid on this service. Hikari/Sakura, however, are fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass. In order to search for routes applicable to your JR Pass, you will need to be aware of the following.
In the mobile version of the App, users can choose to enable the JR Pass option. Selecting this option tells the search results to prioritize JR lines (and exclude Nozomi/Mizuho / Mizuho bullet trains) when applicable. However, if your final destination is a non-JR line, the cost will still be listed. The Premium version when used on the App, unlocks the other features listed above.. The app also shows a list of stations along the train route and any relevant platform numbers.
It should also be noted that on the free web version, you cannot select your preferred trains; ‘Nozomi/Mizuho’, ‘Hikari/Sakura’ or ‘Local Train’. However, the results will be displayed for both Nozomi/Mizuho and Hikari/Sakura trains, meaning you will be able to easily locate a preferred train in any given search result.
The results page will display the following coloured icons beside each route result ‘Fast’ ‘Low fare’ ‘ Easy’ when applicable
- ‘Fast’ - The fastest routing available
- ‘Low fare / Cheap’ - The cheapest fare possible for this route
- ‘Easy’ - Fewest or no transfers.
Regarding Seat Reservation
Japan Rail Pass holders do not have to pay for seat reservations as it is included in the cost of your pass. It is worth noting that since May 2020, Japan Railways have implemented new rules for passengers traveling with large suitcases on the Tokaido-Sanyo-Kyushu Shinkansen lines connecting Tokyo to Kagoshima via Osaka.
It is therefore important for travelers with large luggage who need to take more than one train to get to their final destination, to check these details. Making a seat reservation in advance is a lifesaver and will make your trip stress-free.