Unmanned Stations and Trains
Traveling through rural Japan
Our explanation of rural trains and stations that may not have attendants. Be prepared to travel anywhere and everywhere with your Japan Rail Pass! Available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes.
"one man cars"
Occasionally, these rural trains do not have the clearest instructions. Here's a quick overview of unmanned stations and trains so that your journey into the countryside is smooth and straightforward.
Before taking the train
These days, even the smallest train stations will have an automated ticket machine. For instructions on how to use these machines, please see our article!
Entering the train
If the station has a ticket gate (sometimes it will not actually keep anyone in or out and will just be a place to insert a ticket), feed the ticket into the machine. If not, hold on to the ticket until you get to the train.
Enter the train for the rear doors; if there is a box to stamp a ticket, do so now.
Exiting the train
When exiting, you will need to exit from the very front of the train (however, be sure to listen for any instructions announced in English). There are several possibilities: drop the ticket in a box inside the train as you are stepping off, or hand it to a ticket collector/drop it in a ticket box on the platform after exiting.
For an example on how to ride a "one man car," be sure to check out our video on visiting Kurama using the Eizan line train in Kyoto!