Travellers can book online trains in Japan and pick up the tickets at the station before travelling.
We support advance ticket booking for trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen and the Sanyo Shinkansen lines connecting Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Fukuoka.
Types of trains 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.
Shinkansen, high speed rail
Shinkansen is the high-speed railway service 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
- - 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
- - Hokkaido Shinkansen between Aomori and Hakodate, operated by JR Hokkaido
The Tokaido and Sanyo lines are interconnected forming a continuous east-west corridor that links Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka, and is used by many through train services operated by JR Central and JR West.
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 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, and the local service between Morioka and Akita.
- - In the Yamagata line, Tsubasa is the semi-fast service between Tokyo and Fukushima, and 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.
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 and the Sanyo Shinkansen lines. Ticket sale is available from 1 month in advance.
- Tokaido Shinkansen (東海道新幹線) serving Tokyo, Yokohama, Fuji, Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka.
- Sanyo Shinkansen (山陽新幹線) serving Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, Okayama, Hiroshima, Iwakuni, Yamaguchi, Kitakyushu and Fukuoka.
Kanto region comprises Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures. This region is served by the Tohoku Shinkansen, the Joetsu Shinkansen and the Tokaido Shinkansen.
Chubu region comprises Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, Fukui, Ishikawa, Toyama and Nagano prefectures. This region is served by the Tokaido Shinkansen, the Hokuriku Shinkansen and the Limited Express trains operated by 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 Shinkansen train tickets in Japan?
Booking your Shinkansen 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 services operated by JR available for your itinerary. Select the most convenient option.
We accept reservations from 1 month in advance up to 4 hours before departure. For departures under 4 hours, tickets must be reserved directly at the station.
Click to expand the details of the route, you will find the available fares. JR offers various types of fares for Shinkansen 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 Shinkansen 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 with the QR code to pick up the physical tickets at the station.
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 received by email is not a valid boarding pass and it cannot be used to board the train.
Passengers travelling with Japan Railways (JR) are required to use the electronic ticket to pick up the physical tickets at the station before departure.
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 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Scan the QR code included in your electronic ticket at the ticket vending machines and 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.
Tickets can be picked up at the ticket vending machines installed in all the Tokaido Shinkansen and Sanyo Shinkansen stations, as well as special ticket vending machines in the major JR Central and JR West stations.
To pick up the tickets from the vending machines, select Pick up ticket at the terminal, follow the instructions and scan the QR code included in the electronic ticket.
After scanning the QR code, select your reservation and the ticket vending machine will print the physical tickets, which are boarding passes valid to pass through the ticket gates and board the train.