Travellers can book online trains in Japan and receive the electronic tickets by email, ready for boarding.
We support advance ticket booking for trains on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen lines connecting Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Fukuoka, Kumamoto and Kagoshima.
Train companies in Japan
Rail services in Japan are operated by Japan Railways (JR) as well as private railway companies.
Japan Railways (JR) consists of several independent companies that carry on the operations of the former national railway operator JNR. In the present, JR Group is divided in six companies dedicated to provide passenger train services in different regions of Japan: JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR Central, JR West, JR Shikoku and JR Kyushu.
To achieve a complete coverage of the railway transportation across the nation, Japan Railways (JR) operates several types of intercity trains, including:
- - Shinkansen high-speed rail
- - Limited Express conventional rail
Shinkansen high-speed rail
Shinkansen is the high-speed railway service operated by Japan Railways with trains running at a maximum speed of 240–320 km/h.
The Tokaido line was launched in 1964 connecting Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. Since then, the network has expanded to interconnect most of the major cities in the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido and Kyushu. The current Shinkansen network consists of 2,764 kilometers of dedicated high-speed tracks that use standard-gauge and are separated from the conventional lines that use different gauge.
The main Shinkansen lines are the following:
- - Tokaido Shinkansen between Tokyo and Osaka, operated by JR Central
- - Sanyo Shinkansen between Osaka and Fukuoka, operated by JR West
- - Kyushu Shinkansen between Fukuoka and Kagoshima, operated by JR Kyushu
- - Hokkaido Shinkansen between Aomori and Hokuto, operated by JR Hokkaido
- - Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Aomori, operated by JR East
- - Akita Shinkansen between Tokyo and Akita, operated by JR East
- - Yamagata Shinkansen between Tokyo and Shinjo, operated by JR East
- - Joetsu Shinkansen between Tokyo and Niigata, operated by JR East
- - Hokuriku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Kanazawa, jointly operated by JR East and JR West
The Tokaido and Sanyo lines are interconnected forming a continuous corridor that links Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka, and is used by through services operated by JR Central and JR West. The Sanyo and Kyushu lines are interconnected forming a continuous corridor that links Osaka, Fukuoka and Kagoshima, and is used by through services operated by JR West and JR Kyushu.
The Tohoku line and the Tokaido line meet in Tokyo but the tracks are not physically interconnected, hence there are no through services between the East and Central regions and passengers are required to interchange trains at Tokyo Station.
The Hokuriku line operates over the Joetsu and Tohoku lines tracks between Tokyo and Takasaki, then it separates and continues on its own dedicated tracks to Nagano and Kanazawa.
Shinkansen trains are designated by a code name that identifies the class of service followed by one to three numerals. The fast services stop only at key stations, the semi-fast services stop at the major stations, and the local services stop at all stations:
- - In the Tokaido and Sanyo lines, NOZOMI is the fast service, HIKARI is the semi-fast service and KODAMA is the local service.
- - In the Sanyo and Kyushu lines, MIZUHO is the fast service, SAKURA is the semi-fast service and TSUBAME is the local service.
- - In the Hokkaido line, HAYABUSA is the fast service and HAYATE is the semi-fast service.
- - In the Tohoku line, HAYABUSA is the fast service, YAMABIKO is the semi-fast service and NASUNO is the local service.
- - In the Akita line, KOMACHI is the fast service between Tokyo and Morioka, as well as the local service between Morioka and Akita.
- - In the Yamagata line, TSUBASA is the semi-fast service between Tokyo and Fukushima, as well as the local service between Fukushima and Shinjo.
- - In the Joetsu line, TOKI is the semi-fast service and TANIGAWA is the local service.
- - In the Hokuriku line, KAGAYAKI is the fast service, HAKUTAKA and ASAMA are the two semi-fast services, and TSURUGI is the local service.
Shinkansen trains are powered by electric multiple units and can carry up to 16 cars per train, arranged in Green Car with business class seats that require advanced reservation and Ordinary Car with standard class seats distributed in Reserved and Non-reserved.
In total, the Shinkansen trains offer three passengers classes: Reserved Seat (Green Car), Reserved Seat (Ordinary Car) and Non-reserved Seat.
Travellers with Reserved Seat tickets are required to take their numbered seat in the Green Cars or the Ordinary Cars. Travellers with Non-reserved Seat tickets are allowed to take any seat available only in the Ordinary cars designated as Non-reserved. On these cars, seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. When all the seats are full, passengers must travel standing on the corridor or the coach entrance without blocking the access to other passengers.
Getting around Japan by train
Japan has 27,268 kilometres of railway network, which includes 2,764 kilometres of Shinkansen lines.
We support advance ticket booking for trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen, Sanyo Shinkansen and Kyushu Shinkansen lines operated by JR Central, JR West and JR Kyushu.
Ticket sale is available from 1 month in advance.
Kanto region comprises Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures. This region is served by the Tohoku Shinkansen, the Tokaido Shinkansen and the Limited Express trains operated by JR East.
Chubu region comprises Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, Fukui, Ishikawa, Toyama, Nagano and Niigata prefectures. This region is served by the Tokaido Shinkansen, the Hokuriku Shinkansen, the Joetsu Shinkansen and the Limited Express trains operated by JR East, JR Central and JR West.
Kansai region comprises Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo and Shiga prefectures. This region is served by the Tokaido Shinkansen, the Sanyo Shinkansen and the Limited Express trains operated by JR Central and JR West.
Chugoku region comprises Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Shimane and Tottori prefectures. This region is served by the Sanyo Shinkansen and the Limited Express trains operated by JR West.
Kyushu is the third largest of Japan's five main islands. This region is served by the Sanyo Shinkansen and the Kyushu Shinkansen.
How to book your train tickets in Japan?
Booking your train tickets in Japan is very quick and simple. Search for train routes between any two cities for your travel dates.
Select your route
After search, we will display the results for your itinerary.
Find the Shinkansen and Limited Express services operated by Japan Railways (JR) available for your itinerary. Select the most convenient option.
We accept reservations from 1 month in advance up to 24 hours before departure. For departures under 24 hours, tickets must be reserved directly at the station.
Click to expand the details of the route, you will find the available fares. Japan Railways (JR) offers various types of fares for Shinkansen and Limited Express trains:
- Reserved Seat (Green Car), arranged in 2+2 row configuration
- Reserved Seat (Ordinary Car), arranged in 3+2 row configuration
- Non-reserved Seat (Ordinary Car), does not require seat selection
Fill in the passenger and contact details
Next, select your seats.
You can indicate your seat preference in the train: window or aisle.
Please provide the passenger information and the contact details of the person responsible for booking. We will send by email the booking confirmation and the electronic ticket.
Complete your payment
Select your payment method. We accept international credit or debit cards.
Check your itinerary and price breakdown. Confirm that the booking information is correct. Before you proceed to payment, you must read and accept the terms and conditions of booking.
Receive your electronic ticket by email
Once your payment is complete, your reservation will be processed.
In the following 24 hours you will receive the itinerary and booking confirmation by email with the electronic ticket attached in PDF format.
You can also access to Manage your booking via web and download the electronic ticket to your device.
How to use the train e-ticket?
The electronic ticket is a valid boarding pass and can be used to board the train or pick up the physical tickets at the station before departure.
Passengers travelling with Japan Railways (JR) can print the e-ticket in advance or carry a digital copy in the mobile phone and present it when boarding the train.
RECEIVE YOUR E-TICKET BY EMAIL
Receive your electronic ticket by email in PDF format. Print a copy of the e-ticket in advance or carry it in your mobile phone.
PICK UP YOUR BOARDING PASS
Arrive at the station 30-60 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Scan the QR code included in your electronic ticket at the Shinkansen ticket gates or the ticket vending machines to print your boarding pass.
BOARD THE TRAIN
Cross through the gates using your boarding pass, locate the platform and wait for the boarding call to board the train.