Train Tickets in Japan

4 reasons to take the train in Japan

Travel comfortably

Build your own itinerary and enjoy a one-of-a-kind train experience
 

Accessibility

By train, you can easily explore all the must-visit cities in Japan


 

Reliability

Get to your destination fast while enjoying unparalleled convenience

Eco-friendly

Travel sustainably by reducing your carbon footprint

Purchase your train tickets in Japan in 3 easy steps

Register to JE Affiliate program

Plan your route

Reserve your train tickets online, to and from major cities in Japan, to fit your itinerary!

qr code phone computer

Get your QR code

Receive your QR code by e-mail, which you will use to exchange your train tickets.

shinkansen 700s nozomi eco friendly green

Explore Japan

Ride the Shinkansen to experience the iconic bullet train as well as Japan's express trains, and more!

Explore our different available train routes in Japan

Buying individual train tickets in Japan gives you access to a wide range of interesting routes and itineraries that guarantee life-changing experiences throughout the country. A world of exploration and discovery awaits you, ranging from the busy streets of Tokyo to the tranquil shrines of Kyoto. Select from adventures at top speed aboard the Shinkansen, trips through breathtaking countryside landscapes on picturesque trains, or cultural immersion in historic sites. Japan's rail network provides a wide range of train routes that suit your interests and needs, whether you're a history buff, a nature lover or a urban traveler. 

Set out on an adventure across Japan, and let your train tickets serve as your pass to a variety of unforgettable encounters and experiences!

Why book your train tickets in advance online instead of onsite in Japan?

You might wonder if you should book your train tickets online ahead of time, or buy them directly at booking machines in train stations when arriving in Japan. Here are a few reasons why we recommend you buy your train tickets online before departing.

JR shinkansen
Booking online is much easier than buying onsite
Shinkansen
Guaranteed to have a seat during peak travel times
japanese yen
It's better to plan your itinerary and budget

More about the reasons why you should book your train tickets in advance

  • By booking online, you avoid the hassle of figuring out how machines in stations work, and you avoid any lines you may face in busy stations in Japan. You're also sure to escape the language barrier at ticket counters with agents. 

 

  • During busy touristic seasons and Japanese holidays when locals travel, you may very well have a limited selection of available trains if you wait until you're in Japan to buy your tickets. This is true for spring, with the sakura blooming season in full swing, for fall, during the momiji season, and around New Year's.

 

  • By booking your train tickets in advance, you have time to research and optimize your itinerary, rather than compose with the options available at the time when you're already in Japan. This also means your transportation budget will be set before departing. Should you change your plans, our tickets include one free modification, so you can book ahead of time and leave stress-free!

Why book your train tickets with Japan Experience?

Official seller

Our train tickets are issued through an official partnership with the National Japan Railways Group (JR)

Secure payment

You're in control! We offer different payment options.

Quality at our core

Our team of passionate individuals based in Japan works with you directly, no intermediary needed.

Customer support

We're here to help, 7/7. And available through all channels. 

How to book your train tickets online and use them in Japan

Here's how you can book your train tickets online with Japan Experience:

1. Simply choose your desired date of departure, look up the available trains that day, select the one you wish to board and add on any options you need, such as seat selection or an upgrade to a more premium travel class, and make your purchase!

2. After with your order confirmation, a month before your departure, you will receive a QR code, that will be your key to exchanging your train tickets upon arriving in Japan. You will also receive a detailed user guide, that will accompany you through the steps of this easy and fully digital process of picking up your physical train tickets! 

  • You can also read our dedicated article about exchanging train tickets at machines in train stations in Japan, right here. 

3. Whether you're arriving in Tokyo, Osaka, or anywhere else in Japan, you will always find a conveniently accessible place to exchange your train tickets. Just follow the steps detailed in the above article or in your user guide in your inbox, and get your physical train tickets from machines in stations! Japan didn't take the leap with digital train tickets yet, so paper tickets are still necessary to board trains in the country.  

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What types of Shinkansen trains are available with train tickets?

To get around Japan by train, if your journey involves long distance, the better (and most available) option is the Shinkansen bullet train. These high-speed and futuristic trains are the pride and joy of Japan's transportation system, being able to carry hundreds of passengers at speeds upward of 200 miles per hour (320km/h). Shinkansen trains being solely the name of high-speed Japanese trains, different variations of these trains exists within the different lines. For example, on the Tokaido Line, connecting Tokyo and Osaka, one of the most popular lines in the country, three train types coexist. 

More information about the different trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line

Keeping the example of the Tokyo to Osaka journey, you can choose between three types of Shinkansen high-speed bullet trains: Hikari, Kodama and Nozomi. Hikari trains make fewer stops, and take around 2 hours and 40 minutes to complete the trip. Kodama trains stop at all stations on the way, and thus the Tokyo to Osaka trip takes a little over 3 hours and 40 minutes. The Nozomi is the fastest of the options at 2 hours and 20 minutes, being an express and almost direct service, but it'll cost you more. This Shinkansen also operates only with reserved seats

You can be sure that no matter the type of train, reclinable seats, overhead storage, power outlets, and more are available on board! Traveling by Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka will be both efficient and comfortable. Be sure to research all seat and car options to book the train ticket adapted to your travel needs

Read more about the Shinkansen network in Japan. 

Traveling by train in Japan

Japan's rail system is largely developed and is a very practical means of transportation both locally and cross-country, so both residents and tourists alike find themselves riding trains almost on a daily basis, be it their local train lines or the world-famous Shinkansen bullet trains. For those taking their first trip out to Japan, the role that train travel will play during their journey undoubtedly crosses their minds. 

While the prominence of train travel in Japan makes its usage very commonplace, there are a few things that may require some prior knowledge or preparation before first-time visitors climb aboard. This applies even if they are coming from a country that already has a prevalent train travel culture

Read more about train travel tips in Japan!

Why are trains so popular in Japan?

Japan's rail transportation system is one of the best in the world. Taking the train in Japan can be summed up in three words: efficient, fast, and clean. Until you have experienced it, it's hard to believe how easy, and impressively convenient it is, to take the train in Japan. Despite the fact that Japan's rail system is ridden by millions of passengers per day, trains are always spotless, on time, and functioning. For many readers, this may sound like a utopia compared to their country's train network. 

There are many reasons for this incredible railway system, but it can be trimmed down to Japan's reliance on imports in terms of fossil fuels, which prompted the country to heavily invest in its transportation network through trains. Since the late 19th century, train companies in Japan have been building lines to get people and goods from point A to point B efficiently, and thanks to this historic network, cities began to build themselves around trains. Where most of Western urbanism focused on car-centric infrastructure, Japan mostly developed its urban sprawl around train stations. You will see that in most Japanese cities, train stations are the economic and demographic center of the city. 

With the right investment into its train system, Japan effectively created one of the most reliable, fast and safe rail networks in the world!

Basic train etiquette in Japan

Like a good number of aspects of Japanese society, taking the train is very codified, and some rules dictate how to properly use trains in Japan

  • Trains in Japan have different types of cars, as well as seating arrangements. Pay attention to your surroundings in trains, as they indicate rules to follow. For example, priority seating will be clearly marked, and it is widely encouraged to give up your seat for those in need. Some trains also have women-only cars, usually signaled with pink markings in stations and on trains. On the Shinkansen trains specifically, pay attention to the seat reservation status of the train cars, as explained earlier in this guide.

  • Whether it is on local trains or high-speed Shinkansen trains, talking, listening to music and any loud activity is generally a no-go. Japanese train cars are very quiet, and electronic devices should be put on silence mode. If you need to make a call, wait until you disembark on local trains, and use your phone only between cars on the Shinkansen. 

  • Similarly, be mindful of other travelers when you are carrying luggage or a bag. Take off your backpack during peak hours, and do not put your belongings on an empty seat next to you. On the Shinkansen, only put your luggage in the designated areas

  • To get on and get off the train, line up in a queue, as the rest of the population is doing. Never try to cut in line, and don’t shove or push anyone. When you get in, please advance as far as you can and don’t block the exits.

  • While eating, snacking and drinking is frowned upon on local trains, it is allowed, and even seen as a true travel experience when taking bullet trains in Japan, to eat on the Shinkansen (but nothing too smelly, still be mindful of other passengers). Before boarding your train, grab a delicious ekiben in your departing station, hop on, and feast as the Japanese countryside zooms by your window. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Train Tickets in Japan