Schedule of 2012-13 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Ryuhyo Norokko train is operated during very popular Drift Ice season in Hokkaido.

Some part of winter season is the busiest period. Especially in Japan, New Years holidays are crazy busy. In this season, December 28 to 31, January 2, 3 and 6 are expected to be the busiest days. I recommend you to avoid getting a train on those days. The vehicle occupancy rate may be more than 200%. As long as trains have non reserved seat, you can get on anyway without any reservation. But you will be forced to stay on the isle or passenger’s deck without seat. There are many passengers without seats in the train during those busiest days.

As probably you know, it is icy freezing weather in Hokkaido and north part of Honshu island (Tohoku region). If you travel in these cold weather regions, please expect the delay due to snow or high wind. Please have time to spare in your itinerary. Don’t make a tight schedule.

Anyway JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during all winter season. But it is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the popular trains and are operated in the popular spot. Continue reading Schedule of 2012-13 winter seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Fall JR rapid and local trains unlimited ride ticket 3 days at 7500 yen. Available for both residents and visitors.

Special Rapid Service operated by JR West 223 series.
Special Rapid Service in Kansai area is covered by this pass. It is quite fast.

JR Group sell “Railway anniversary day’s unlimited ride ticket (鉄道の日記念 JR全線乗り放題きっぷ)” in October. Because the first railroad was open between Shinbashi and Yokohama in October 14, 1872. October 14 is railway anniversary day in JR Groups. Especially this year, 2012 is 25th anniversary of JR Group founded. In commemoration of the 25th year, this ticket will be sold at 7,500 yen for three consecutive days. This ticket basically will be sold for the local. So anyone can purchase it. Even though there are some restrictions, such as ticket do not cover any express trains, the residents who cannot purchase special discount ticket, like JR Pass, maybe consider to use this pass. I will show you the details about this ticket. Continue reading Fall JR rapid and local trains unlimited ride ticket 3 days at 7500 yen. Available for both residents and visitors.

Shin-Aomori station guide. How to change the train, Shinkansen, Super Hakucho and other local trains.

The exterior of Shin-Aomori station. It looks new because this station opened in 2010.
The exterior of Shin-Aomori station. It looks new because this station opened in 2010.

Hokkaido Shinkansen was opened in March 26, 2016. You can get Hokkaido by Shinkansen directly without changing trains at Shin-Aomori.

I have received some questions about train transfer at Shin-Aomori station. Shin-Aomori is the last station of Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo. And this station is the place to change the train to Hokkaido, like Hakodate and Sapporo. Some travellers worry about the transfer. They are not sure how big Shin-Aomori station and how many minutes is a enough to transfer the trains.

I show you map and images. I hope this instruction will help you to plan your itinerary. Continue reading Shin-Aomori station guide. How to change the train, Shinkansen, Super Hakucho and other local trains.

What is JR? Learn about Japan Railway train networks and difference from Non JR train.

Akita Shinkansen and Tokaido Shinkansen at Tokyo station (C) James Chuang

JR (Japan Railway) is the biggest train company’s group in Japan. When you travel in Japan by train, you will take JR train. Because JR has a local train network in cities and operates many inter-city long distance trains. But a train system in Japan is very complicated. Because there are lots of train companies which are not under JR group. It is very hard to find which train JR is or not. And also there are many companies under JR group. Actually these companies under JR group are financially separated. It sometimes makes inconvenience for passengers.

In this post, I would like to explain about JR train network. And I also mention about Non JR train networks.

Continue reading What is JR? Learn about Japan Railway train networks and difference from Non JR train.