Tohoku Shinkansen is the second oldest Shinkansen (a.k.a. Bullet Train) line in Japan and it connects Tokyo and Tohoku region, such as Shin-Aomori,Fukushima, Sendai, Morioka and Hachinohe. In March, 2016, Hokkaido Shinkansen was opened between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. Hokkaido and mainland of Japan are connected by Shinkansen line via Seikan Tunnel which is the undersea tunnel. This new segment is called Hokkaido Shinkansen and it is technically different Shinkansen line. But many of trains run on both Tohoku and Hokkaido Shinkansen lines. Many trains connect Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto (near Hakodate) directly now. Please see the link below to get the detail of Hokkaido Shinkansen. Continue reading Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train), the fastest train to Tohoku area from Tokyo.
Yamagata Shinkansen is operated between Fukushima and Yamagata and Shinjo. But all train services are provided to/from Tokyo and go through Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Fukushima. It is usually coupled with Tohoku Shikansen “Yamabiko” between Tokyo and Fukushima. At Fukushima station, these trains are uncoupled. Yamagata Shinkansen go toward to Yamagata and Shinjo.
Yamagata Shikansen is sometimes called Mini Shinkansen. Because technically it is not “Real” Shinkansen. It is smaller and slower than common Shinkansen because of sharing the truck with the local trains between Fukushima and Shinjo via Yamagata.
In this post, I would like to show many photos of Yamagata Shinkansen train and explain about this train. Continue reading Direct transfer to Yamagata and Shinjo, Yamagata Shinkansen (bullet train)
Hokkaido is very popular destination in these days. Especially Sapporo is very well known because it is the biggest city in Hokkaido and is it the base city of the biggest winter festival in the world. Hakodate is located in southend of Hokkaido. This small city is also very popular among tourist. It is also the gate city of Hokkaido if you take train or ferry.
If you have JR Pass, JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass, train trip to Hakodate or Hokkaido is fully covered. Actually we can get Sapporo in same day from Tokyo and even Osaka by Shinkansen and Limited express trains. However it is such a long long trip. I would like to show you the sample trip plan and you will find the trip time from Tokyo and Osaka. Continue reading How to access to Hakodate and Sapporo in Hokkaido by railway.
Limited Express Thunderbird runs between Osaka, Shin-Osaka, Kyoto, Fukui, and Kanazawa. One round trip is operated to Wakura-Onsen. This train is the fastest train between Osaka/Kyoto and Kanazawa. If you go to Kanazawa from Osaka, simply take this express train.
This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass, Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass, Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass. I will tell you the detail information about this train in this post. Continue reading Limited Express Thunderbird ,train to Kanazawa from Osaka and Kyoto.
This train was discontinued on March 13, 2015. Hokuriku Shikansen has started to run on March 14, 2015. You can get Kanazawa and Toyama by Shinkansen from Tokyo without any transfer and much faster. If you need an access to Kanazawa from Tokyo, please find more info at the post, Hokuriku Shinkansen, direct access to Kanazawa, Nagano and Toyama from Tokyo.
If you need to transfer between Toyama/Kanazawa and Niigata, you have to take Hokuriku Shinkansen and transfer to limited express Shirayuki at Jouetsu-Myoko station. Unfortunately there will be no choice to take direct train service between Kanazawa/Tokyo and Niigata. Please find more info at the post, Limited Express Shirayuki. Intercity express between Joetsu-Myoko and Niigata.
Hokuetsu (北越) is operated between Niigata and Kanazawa. If you go to Kanazawa or Toyama from Tokyo, you may take Joetsu Shinkansen and transfer to this train at Nagaoka station.
Hokuetsu is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. But if you are hurry, you have a choice to take Hakutaka. But Hakutaka is operated on both JR lines and Non JR lines. That means you need to pay the extra. I would like to show you the details about Hokuetsu and the difference between Hokuetsu and Hakutaka. Continue reading Intercity train between Niigata and Kanazawa. Limited Express Hokuetsu
Asakusa (浅草) is very popular district in Tokyo. We have Senso-ji, Buddhist temple there. We also have some more temples, so many Japanese souvenir shops and Ryokan (Japanese style accommodation that has Tatami room).
Asakusa is nice place to stay. But if you access from downtown core of Tokyo, such as Tokyo or Shinjuku station, I recommend you to take subway. JR does not have a station in Asakusa. JR has “Asakusa-bashi” station. But it might make you be confused. This station is not located in Asakusa. It takes at least 20 minutes walk. Both Tokyo Metro and Tokyo Toei subway lines have stations in Asakusa.
In this post, I will show you the access to Asakusa from major stations in Tokyo Continue reading How to access to Asakusa. Can we get Asakusa by Japan Rail Pass?
Tsukiji Market was closed on October 6, 2018 and moved to new market, Toyosu Market on October 11, 2018.
This is the most popular destination for the foreign travellers in Metro Tokyo. Tsukiji Market (築地市場) is the biggest wholesale market in Japan. You can see “Seri” that means the auction. Especially viewing Seri for Tuna is very popular. It is held from 5:00 am to 6:30 am on weekdays. You can taste very fresh sushi at the reasonable price!
You can get Tsukiji Market by Japan Railway. But you need to walk. So I show you how to get there by Japan Railway only for Japan Rail Pass user. And also I show you most popular and convenient way that is using subway. Continue reading How to access to Tsukiji Market by Japan Rail Pass
*Nagano Shinkansen will be extended to Kanazawa in March 2015 and now it is called Hokuriku Shinkansen. Please see the link below to learn more:
This Shinkansen services are operated between Tokyo and 1988 Olympic winter game host city, Nagono via Ueno, Omiya, Takasaki and Karuizawa. This Shinkansen will be extended to Kanazawa by 2014 and this route is the original plan. This Shinkansen share the rail with Joetsu Shinkansen between Omiya and Takasaki. If you travel from Niigata to Nagano, you can transfer to Shinkansen at Takasaki station.
Joetsu Shinkansen is the third oldest Shinkasen (a.k.a. Bullet Train) line and it is operated between Tokyo and Niigata via Ueno, Omiya, Takasaki and Nagaoka. Joetsu is the old name of area where is between Niigata and Gunma. Echigo-Yuzawa is one of well known hot springs town in this area. It also has nice ski slope. JR East that owns Joetsu Shinkansen also owns Gala Yuzawa ski slope. You can access this ski slope directly from Gala Yuzawa station. In winter season, many Joetsu Shinkansen trains run directly to Gala Yuzawa station.
In this post, I will show you the details of Joetsu Shinkansen. Continue reading Joetsu Shinkansen, access to Niiagata, Nagaoka and Echigo Yuzawa
Wide View Hida is a limited express train which connects Nagoya, Takayama and Toyama. This train equips very huge windows. It offers very scenic view through this panoramic window along the route. That is why this train is called “Wide View”.
This train is a primary way to get Takayama. This has been very popular for the tourists from overseas in these days. This train is fully covered by JR Pass and Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass. I will explain about this train in this post. Continue reading Access to Takayama and Hida from Nagoya. Limited Express Wide View Hida
Cape Erimo (=Erimo Misaki=襟裳岬) is located at south end of Hokkaido. There is more than 60m height cliff around the cape and 7km long shore reef to offshore. It is facing the open water of Pacific Ocean. A lot of harbor seals can be seen there.
You can access Cape Erimo by JR local line and bus without any additional charge by JR Pass, but Hokkaido Rail Pass does not cover the bus to Cape Erimo. Continue reading How to access to Cape Erimo (Erimo Misaki) by Japan Rail Pass.
Ryusendo (=龍泉洞) is one of three biggest limestone caves in Japan. It has some crystal clear blue lakes in the cave. You can see three lakes during viewing the cave and third lake is 98m deep. Ryusendo has very well maintained path in the cave. So you don’t worry about any special equipments. Continue reading How to access to Ryusendo (Limestone cave) by Japan Rail Pass
When you take Shinkansen or Limited Express train, you may book a seat and some trains require you a seat reservation. Though some of the express train have a non-reserved seat, you should book a reserved seat if you can. If you use JR Pass, Hokkaido Rail Pass, JR East Pass, Tokyo Wide Pass, Sanyo San’in Area Pass and Kyushu Area Pass, these passes cover a reserved seat fee. You should use this benefit. And also I strongly recommend to secure your seat especially in the peak seasons, such as late April to the first week of May (a.k.a. Golden Week), August 10 to 20 (It is called “Obon” which is a summer break.) and December 29 to the first week of January.
I would like to explain you how to get a reserved seat. Continue reading How to reserve a seat of Japan Railway trains. How about online reservation available?
When you think about buying Japan Rail Pass, you may compare the price of Japan Rail Pass and a single fare. But it is very hard to get an exact fare because the fare rule of Japan Railway is so complicated. So I will give you some examples and consider which way has greater value. Continue reading Compare Japan Rail Pass and regular fare. Which one has a greater value or cheap?
Japan Rail Pass have two types, Green and Ordinary, and three duration, 7, 14 and 21 days. If you travel in Japan for 14 days, do you think 14 days pass is right on for you? Maybe not. Most of travellers arrive at Tokyo (Narita or Haneda) or Osaka (Kansai). Actually Japan Rail Pass is not very useful in Tokyo, Osaka and even Kyoto. How do you find the right duration? Continue reading How to use Japan Rail Pass to its maximum! The keys to find the right duration and type.