Japan Railway operate Rapid trains throughout Japan. Especially lots of Rapid trains are operated in urban area, such as Greater Tokyo. In Tokyo, these trains are operated basically for commuters. But there are many operation routes. Of course you can use these trains for your exploring in surrounding Tokyo area. These trains connect Tokyo (=東京) and Shinjuku (=新宿) with Yokohama (=横浜), Kamakura (=鎌倉), Odawara (=小田原) (for Hakone (=箱根)), Utsunomiya (=宇都宮) (for Nikko (=日光)), Mito (=水戸), Narita airport (=成田空港) and even Atami (=熱海) (Izu peninsula hot springs (=伊豆半島)). These trains are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. If you have Japan Rail Pass Green, most of Rapid trains in Greater Tokyo have double decker Green cars. You will feel same type of atmosphere in a commute train.
View Urban Rapid train network in Greater Tokyo in a larger map
There are several routing in Greater Tokyo. Tokyo, Shinjuku and Ueno are terminal stations in Tokyo. All lines connect these stations with major cities in Kanagawa pref., Saitama pref., Chiba pref., Ibaraki pref., Gunma pref., Tochigi pref, Yamanashi pref. and Shizoka pref.
This line is operated between Chiba and Kurihama via Tokyo and Yokohama. Many trains depart and arrive at Narita Airport. Especially the train to Narita airport is called “Rapid Airport Narita” (快速エアポート成田). If you need more informations about this line, please check the post, Yokosuka-Sobu line.
Shonan-Shijuku line connects Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Shibuya with Yokohama, Kamakura, Odawara, Omiya, Takasaki and Utsunomiya. If you stay in Shijuku, Ikebukuro or Shibuya, this line is very convenient to use. Especially if you go to Nikko via Utsunomiya, this line might be faster than Tohoku Shinkansen. If you need more informations about this line, please check the post, Shonan-Shinjuku line.
This line was divided at Tokyo and Ueno as Tokaido line, Utsunomiya line and Takasaki line. On March 14, 2015, these three lines were connected and many trains run through downtown Tokyo without transfer.
This line connects Takasaki, Utusnomiya, Yokohama, Odawara and Atami via Tokyo, Ueno and Yokohama. Shinkansen does not have any stations in downtown Yokohama. Shinakansen’s station, Shin-Yokohama is a few stations away from Yokohama. This line is more convenient than Shinaksen when you go to Yokohama from Tokyo. If you need more informations about this line, please check the post, Ueno-Tokyo line.
This line connects Ueno with some major cities in Ibaraki Pref, such as Tsuchiura, Mito.
This line connects Tokyo and Shinjuku with Hachioji, Takao and Otsuki. Some trains go through Fuji Kyuko line to Kawagchiko (Lake Kawaguchi in Mt. Fuji). Rapid trains on Chuo line do not have any Green cars but it will be introduced near future.
These Rapid trains are operated as a commute train. Please do not expect a luxury atmosphere. The standard seats are long bench seat and some box seats. You have to expect to stand up in the train when you take this in peak hours. But if you have Japan Rail Pass Green, it is a different story. All Rapid trains except Chuo line have double decker Green car. It gives you completely different comfortability. The Green seat in Rapid trains is non reserved seat. But Rapid train is operated very frequent.
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