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If you are looking for any information about using Japan Rail Pass, other rail pass/deal/ticket or any questions about travel by rail, please search your question in the search box at the left on the top of this page first. If you still cannot find it, please leave your inquiries in the comment on this page. Of course I always welcome you. 🙂

I hope this website will help you to travel by rail in Japan!

5,152 thoughts on “Forums”

  1. Hi Takeshi

    We were wanting to travel from Tokyo to Hakuba by bullet train on 1 January 2020. Is this a good date to go or would it be better to wait to 2 or 3 January?



  2. hi takeshi i have another question. may i ask if there is a direct bus from mitsui outlet park kitahiroshima to minami 4 jo?what is the time table?

    i plan to take a direct bus from minami 4 jo to mitsui outlet park. am i right that the bus number is 100?if so, upon returning, i plan to alight to this bus stop as well.

  3. hi takeshi!

    i have an upcoming trip this october to sapporo. i would like to tour the city and see sights such as odori park, sapporo clock tower, former hokkaido government office, sapporo beer garden. i read about the 100 yen bus and the sapporo walk bus but i have a hard time looking for a detailed bus route/stop english map for these. please help! 🙂
    (i know are some walking distance but i am travelling with 6 senior citizens and 1 disabled)

    also, can i use my suica card (from my previous trip to tokyo) around sapporo and otaru (stroller bus)?thanks!

    1. Hi Aa,

      I don’t think any English map is available. As far as I saw, only Japanese map is available. I put the link just in case:

      You cannot use Suica to ride this 100 yen bus. Only cash payment is accepted. You can use Suica for other transportation, such as JR train between Otaru, Sapporo and New Chitose airport, subway in Sapporo city.


      Takeshi /

      1. thanks takeshi for the response. how about the sapporo walk?is there an english map with details of where the bus stop is exactly located?

  4. Hi there,

    We are working with a client currently and putting a piece together on the best sleeper train routes across the world and wanted to include the sunrise seto in our piece. We wondered if it would be possibly, and if you would be happy, for us to use any images you have of the train/route in the piece?

    We would be hugely grateful if you would be happy for us to do so.

    Be good to hear your thoughts.



  5. Hi Takeshi,

    I’d like to ask a question regarding my trip to Japan this November.

    One thing that still stuck in my schedule is that i want to go to Shirakawago from Tokyo in one day (one day trip Tokyo-Shrkwgo-Tokyo).

    I’ve read on your post (that’s really helpful i appreciate) for the route from Tokyo – Kanazawa.

    But you have explanation bellow if the route from Takayama is more convenient.

    My question is please advice which route that most efficient in time, and convenient if i want to have one day trip to Shirakawago from Tokyo. And please to share the route which covers with JR Pass because i’ll use it for the trip. Kindly provide the time for the first train from Tokyo and what time is the latest to go back to Tokyo so i’ll have a preparation how much time to explore Shirakawago.

    Thank you so much

    1. Hi Surya,

      If you stay overnight, Takayama is better location than Kanazawa. But you are looking for a day trip plan from Tokyo. Your choice is Kanazawa or Toyama. Because Kanazawa and Toyama are more accessible than Takayama. You can get these cities by the Hokuriku Shinkansen directly in less than 3 hours. If you go to Takayama, you must change trains at Nagoya and trip time is about 5 hours. It’s too far to do a day trip from Tokyo.

      You can get Shirakawago from either Toyama or Kanazawa. I chose Kanazawa on my sample plan because Kanazawa is more attractive than Toyama. But if you want to maximize your time in Shirakawago, Toyama is better choice. Please see the link below to find the bus timetable to Shirakawago:


      Takeshi /

  6. Good afternoon
    I am thinking of visiting Shirakawa and Gokayama from Osaka in mid May 2019. My tentative itinerary is as follows:

    1. Day 1 arrive in Osaka afternoon around 5pm.
    2. Travel from KIX to Kanazawa on the Ltd Express Thunderbird
    3. Stay the night in Kanazawa
    4. Day 2 travel from Kanzawa to Shirakawa/Goyakama. Stay the night in Gokayama
    5. Day 3 travel from Gokayama to Kanazawa. Stay in Kanazawa
    6. Day 4 travel from Kanazawa to Wakayama

    I am thinking of buying the Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass. Do you think it is cheaper and more convenient for me to buy the pass instead of tickets for individual trips. I think the pass can cover all travel from D1 to D4.

    Thank you for your advice

    1. Hi Rudy,

      Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass is recommended. All part of your trip will be covered except Wakayama. When you go to Wakayama on day 4, you have to pay for Hineno to Wakayama. Hineno is located in the middle of Wakayama and Osaka. This segment is outside the coverage area.


      Takeshi /

        1. Hi Rudy san,

          You don’t need to exit at Hineno. The easiest route is taking the limited express Kuroshio from Shin-Osaka to Wakayama.

          If you take this, you have to pay the base fare and the limited express fee for Hineno to Wakayama. You can pay this extra fee at Kanazawa or other major JR station, such as Kansai airport station. When you buy this extra ticket, tell the staff at the ticket window that you want to take the limited express Kuroshio from Shin-Osaka to Wakayama and you are okay with paying extra for Hineno to Wakayama.


          Takeshi /

  7. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I need your advice on which is a better starting point for Kurobe-Alpine route. Specifically I’m referring to the traffic congestion/ waiting time for each mode of transportation throughout the route. Comparatively, is the route from Tateyama to Ogizawa more popular (hence heavier traffic) than the reverse, assuming looking at around 10am to depart at the respective point? We’re coming from Osaka for your info. Thank you for your attention.

    Li Kheng

    1. Hi Li Kheng san,

      If you start from Osaka, your choice is only Toyama. Because even if you take the earliest train, the limited express “Thunderbird 1” from Osaka, it departs from Osaka at 6:30. Your arrival time at Toyama is 9:44. There is no other earliest option. If you go to Ogizawa, you have to take the Shinkansen from Toyama to Nagano and then need to take a bus. It is too late to start the tour of Alpine route.


      Takeshi /

    2. Dear Takeshi-San, thank your for your swift reply. I am sorry my earlier message wasn’t clear on the timing. We are flying in to Kansai but I am not prepared to head to Kurobe Alpine route (on the same day) from Osaka. I will have an overnight stay either in Kanazawa/ Toyama OR Nagoya before going to Kurobe route. Hence I should have more time to get to Nagano/ Ogizawa or Tateyama. Your advice on where should be he starting point will determine where I need to stay on the night before.

      I check the Alpine official website every other day and seems like they sell one-way ticket from Tateyama to Ogizawa early each morning. Should I interpret this as a sign of over-crowding in Tateyama in the morning peak and that they want to divert some traffic to start from Ogizawa?

      Thanks again for your thoughts.

      Li Kheng

      1. Hi Li Kheng san,

        If you want to start the trip to Alpine route from Ogizawa side, you should stay in Nagano. You can take an express bus to get Ogizawa from Nagano. Nagoya, Toyama and Kanazawa are okay but Nagano is most convenient. But do you know why Alpine route from Tateyama is more popular than Ogizawa. Because if you start from Tateyama, you will take the gondola and take a bus to get Murodo. Murodo is one of the biggest highlights on this route. You will spend the time on the bus to get Murodo. The scenery from the bus is nice if you see it at the beginning. After Murodo, you will take various transportation modes and you will see Kurobe Dam at almost the end of the trip. If you start from Ogizawa, you will take a bus at the end. You will see many amazing views before taking the bus. You will be bored.

        Anyway you can start from either side whichever you like.

        If you buy Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket in advance, you can take either way.


        Takeshi /

        1. Thank you for your valuable advice, Takeshi-san. I have firmed up my itinerary – shall start from Toyama ;p

  8. Hi Takeshi

    You helped me and gave advice for my trip to Hokkaido in March 2017. It was a fantastic trip on JRPass 7 days up to Wakkanai and back down to Tokyo including by Hokkaido Shinkansen.

    Just starting to plan my next trip to Japan in September-October. Since I never took night train (apart from Nagara) when I previously lived in and visited Japan, I’m hoping to take the Sunrise Izumo before JR takes it away like all the other previous night trains!

    A lot of your info about those trains is from a few years back so I just wanted to ask if the timetable and stops remain the same as what is currently on your website, and has there been any changes to booking these? e.g. is it now possible to book online at all? Do reservations still open one month before travel date etc?

    As I am coming for the Rugby World Cup (last week World Rugby announced from ticket sales so far it estimates 600,00 overseas visitors will come to Japan so it’s going to be busy!), I am thinking of asking a colleague in my company’s Tokyo Office to buy a room rather than taking my chances to get a nobinobi space even though I realise it will cost me more, especially since you have often emphasised how hard it is to reserve a nobinobi seat. Are the prices for the room categories still the same?

    last time I was able successfully to reserve seats on JR East’s website with my JR Pass and then pick up the day before travel but this time I will probably spend most of my time in the JR Central (Shizuoka), and JR West & Kyushu areas. it looks like those companies still don’t have a JR Pass online reservation system, right? I see JR West just started their online reservation site. Does it allow seat reservations to be made for JR Pass holders?

    Lastly, as someone who lived close to and used Mishima station a lot for Shinkansen, JR mainline, and a few times the Izu-Hakone line to Shuzenji, it was great to see your story on this station. I only wish I knew the buses went to the Fuji Five Lakes area when I lived there. I was completely ignorant of that!



    1. Hi Simon,

      I’m very happy that you come back to my website.

      Unfortunately JR East is only company which offers online reservation for JR pass user. JR West online site still accepts only regular fare travelers. So please ask your company’s colleague to book Nobi Nobi seat. It’s still sometimes very busy and hard to book.


      Takeshi /

      1. Thanks Takeshi
        Are the room prices still the same for Sunrise Izumo? Does booking still open one month before the date of travel?

          1. Thanks again Takeshi. I’ve booked my first night in Japan…at the Hokutosei Hostel in Nihonbashi. I’d rather be on the real Hokutosei, but since that is no longer possible, this is the next best thing! 🙂

              1. Hi Takeshi. I am looking at booking another night in Tokyo at a station hotel if possible so I can do a little train watching. Obviously there is the Tokyo Station Hotel which looks very luxurious (quite different to the Hokutosei Hostel!) but do you know any other stations in Tokyo that have a hotel and possibly a good view of trains coming and going from that station?

                Not Tokyo, but from my own experience visiting Nagasaki in 2006 there was a hotel on top of the station there with good views of the railway below.

                  1. Thanks again Takeshi. That’s a great resource. It certainly has tons of info like you say. I can read Japanese so no problem. Just been reading quite a lot of the reviews of the website host so I saw some good options. The website host also very helpfully highlights recommended hotels.

                    Also apart from Tokyo and going on the Sunrise Izumo, I’m planning to go to Kusatsu Onsen, Himeji, Kurashiki, Kinosaki Onsen, Tottori and down to the Oita region via Iwakuni and Fukuoka and already your pages about train info to different destinations, along with checking hyperdia, has been a big help to draft a travel plan for this upcoming trip.

  9. Dear Mr Takeshi

    I have Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass and would like to go to Tottori and Okayama.
    If i use JR San-in Line at Yura Station to Yanago Station , and JR Yakumo to Okayama is the pass cover any of the fare?
    Do i have to pay additional fees to get in this train?

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      Unfortunately this travel (Tottori – Yura – Yonago – Okayama) is not covered by this pass fully. Only Soja – Okayama portion is covered. But this is very small portion of this travel. Basically you have to pay extra fare for most part of this trip.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hello Takeshi

        Thanks for replying

        So if i use this train is the Kansai Hiroshima Pass covered the fare? How much surcharged do i have to pay?
        Tottori Station to Himeji Station (Super Hakuto) unreserved seat 4400 yen
        Himeji Station to Okayama Station (Shinkansen Nozomi) unreserved seat 3200 yen

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