Tokaido Shinkansen is the oldest and busiest Shinkasen line and it is operated between Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka. Sanyo Shinkansen is operated between Osaka, Okayama, Hiroshima and Hakata (Fukuoka). Both lines are connected each other. Many trains, “Nozomi” that is the fastest train on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen, run from Tokyo to Hiroshima and some of those run to even Hakata.
Most of Hikari run between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, But some of those run to Okayama and Hiroshima.
Sanyo Shinkansen connected to Kyushu Shinkansen at Hakata. Many trains, Mizuho and Sakura are operated between Shin-Osaka and KUmamoto or Kagoshima-Chuo directly. Please see the post, Kyushu Shinkansen to get details.
We cannot think about the travel in Japan without Shinkansen. Especially Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo-Shin Osaka) can be used for transfer to Kyoto and Osaka from Tokyo. Most of travellers take this Shinkansen once or more. Probably you want to see the interior of Shinkansen trains. There are several types of trains to be operated on Tokaido Shinkansen. I show you all types of trains of Tokaido Shinkansen trains. And also most of Tokaido Shinkansen trains go through on Sanyo Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Hakata. So if you take Sanyo Shinkansen, this post may be useful for you too.
Shirasagi runs between Nagoya, Maibara and Kanazawa. This train is the fastest transfer from Nagoya and Maibara to Hokuriku region, such as Kanazawa and Fukui. This train is very popular for both a business and a leisure travelers. Because there are several popular locations along the route, such as Awara-Onsen hot springs, Kaga-Onsen hot spring. And Kanazawa is the biggest city in Hokuriku area and it is very popular tourist destination as well.
This train, Shirasagi is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. And if you use Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass or Hokuriku Arch Pass, only the segment between Kanazawa and Tsuruga are covered. If you use Takayama Hokuriku area pass, the segment between Tsuruga and Gifu is not covered.
Moonlight Nagara (ムーンライトながら) is the overnight rapid service train that is operated between Tokyo and Ogaki (大垣). This train is operated as the seasonal train. It is usually operated in spring break (two weeks from late March to early April), summer break (late July to the end of August) and Christmas to New Year holidays. These periods are the seasons when “Seishun 18 ticket” is sold. This ticket covers any rapid and local train’s non reserved seat throughout Japan for 5 days at 11,850 yen. This train can be used by this ticket with additional charge for reserved seat fare. Therefore this train runs for busy period only and it is very hard to book.
This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. But online reservation is not available for overseas visitor and ticket is on sale one month prior to departure date. It is very hard to book and not realistic to put this train in your plan.
Special Rapid Service is the fastest local train that is operated between Tsuruga (=敦賀) and Kamigori (=上郡) via Kyoto (=京都), Shin-Osaka (=新大阪), Osaka (=大阪), Sannomiya (=三ノ宮), Kobe (=神戸) and Himeji (=姫路). Especially JR West compete with Hankyu (=阪急) and Keihan (=京阪) between Kyoto and Osaka, with Hankyu and Hanshin (=阪神) between Osaka and Kobe. So JR West have to offer fast and good quality of services. As a result, the time required by this train is faster than Shinkansen between Osaka and Kyoto. Since Shinkansen do not have a station in downtown Kobe, this trains is faster than Shinkansen between Osaka and Kobe too. Of course this train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see the details.
JR West operates many commute trains, rapid and local between 5:30 am and midnight. But when you travel in Kansai area by JR trains, special rapid service trains are the best way to travel among cities, like Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Wakayama and Kansai airport. These “Special” rapid service skips many stations and much faster than rapid and local trains. If you use JR pass, you may take limited express trains. But these rapid service trains are sometimes faster than express trains and run much more frequently. That means you do not check the timetable. These are commute trains and mostly very busy in even daytime and late night, but it is convenient. It is a key to understand this rapid train system to travel among cities in Kansai area.