Guide to plan your trip. How to find Japan Railway’s timetables


If you are looking for the timetable of Shinknasen or major limited express trains, try to find it on JR Groups websites. Otherwise you can check the timetables on the following site, Hyperdia.


Hyperdia covers all railway lines and domestic flights schedule. This is the best website and help you to build your itinerary. It is simple but a bit tricky to use. Please see the other post, Hyperdia perfect guide, train timetable and route search engine. I show you everything about Hyperdia in this post.

JR Group’s website

All JR companies except JR West have English website and show some timetables.

JR Hokkaido timetable

JR Hokkaido is doing good job. They have all limited express trains, such as Super Kamui, Super Ozora, Super Hokuto and more, overnight express Hamanasu and most of local trains! Some of local trains are not on the timetable. But I think this is enough for the tourists from other countries.

JR East timetable

This website show you the timetables of Tohoku Shinkansen, Joetsu Shinkansen, Nagano Shinakansen, Akita Shinkansen, Yamagata Shinaksen, Narita Express, Odoriko/Super View Odoriko, Nikko/Kinugawa, Super Azusa/Azusa/Kaiji, Hakutaka and Super Hitachi/Hitachi. These are only trains that can be reserved online in ALL JR TRAINS.
This does not show any overnight trains, such as Cassiopeia, Hokutosei, Sunrise Izumo, Sunrise Seto and Akebono. And these overnight trains cannot be reserved online either.

JR Central (JR Tokai) timetable

This website shows the timetable of Tokaido Shinkansen between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka.
Westbound (from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka) | Eastbound (from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo)
This website does not show other JR Central trains, such as Wide View Hida, Shinano, Wide View Nanki.

JR West timetable

You are able to find the timetables in the middle of the link above.

It shows you the timetables for Sanyo Shinkansen (Shin Osaka-Hakata), Haruka (Kansai airport-Shin Osaka/Kyoto), Thunderbird (Osaka-Kanazawa/Toyama), Kuroshio (Kyoto/Shin Osaka-Shingu) and Kinosaki/Konotori/Hashidate/Hamakaze (Osaka/Kyoto-Kinosaki Onsen).

JR Shikoku timetable

JR Shikoku has English website. But it shows the timetables in Japanese. They put the numbers on all JR Shikoku stations and mention how to read Japanese timetable. However it is too complicated to read. I recommend to use Hyperdia.

JR Kyushu timetable

You can find the timetable of Kyushu Shinkansen and all limited express trains in Kyushu, such as Kamome, Sonic, Trans-Kyushu Limited Express, Hayato no Kaze, Umisachi-Yamasachi and more.

170 thoughts on “Guide to plan your trip. How to find Japan Railway’s timetables”

  1. I was trying to look at schedules from Kyoto to Takayama in early Sept. Above and elsewhere it talks about two ways of getting there. One is an express train leaving from Osaka through Kyoto with it appears a travel time of only one hour from Kyoto to Takayama (Hida Ltd. Express train).

    JP Rail (Hyperdia) site give two options one with 2 transfers and one with 3 transfers. While the above implied one transfer in Nagoya to the Hida Wide View Express train. Why are the options detailed elsewhere and above not listed on the Hypderia website. Is it a seasonal issue of scheduling or am I doing something wrong?



    1. Hi Ray,
      There is only one round trip between Osaka and Takayama via Kyoto by Ltd Exp Wide View Hida. But it takes about 4 hours. (8:31->12:13)
      Using Shinkansen to Nagoya and Wide View Hida is most popular way to get there. When you check the schedule at Hyperdia, it sometimes shows too many options. Because there are lots of options.
      In this case, Shinkansen + Ltd Exp Hida is the best way. Please keep it in your mind.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. may I know until what time all the train in Osaka to other places operate?
    Is it until midnight or 24 hours?

  3. Hi Takeshi and JPRail Staff,

    I’m a little bit stuck.
    I hope to buy a Hikari Hayatoku Kippu ticket to go from Kobe to Tokyo on June 24th. (I would like to take Hikari rather than Nozomi because my friend will have a JR Pass.)
    However when I use Hypedia to search for a Hikari train for June 24th, there doesn’t appear to be any Hikari trains running from Kobe – only from Osaka.

    Nevertheless on the website, it says that you can buy a Hikari Hayatoku Kippu from Kobe to Tokyo.

    Sorry to bother you, but am I doing something wrong? Do Hikari trains in fact run from Kobe?

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Sheila,
      As you saw the above, there is only one English booking system (JR East Shinkansen Reservation). If you can understand Japan or you have any connections who can understand Japanese, you can use Eki net for booking Aso Boy. Otherwise you cannot prebook it.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. Hi,

    I have a difficult question. I want to go from Izumo to Tottori to Kanazawa. I hope to take a train with the JR pass, and do it quickly.

    But my search on Hyperdia says each time I have to go to Kyoto or Shin-Osaka to change trains.

    Isn’t there something I can do that is faster? It seems alot of up and down, instead of direct across.

    I even called Matsue and Tottori tourist office, and they said it is not possible.

    Thanks for your help!!

    1. Hi jmak,
      I understand what you mean. Please refer the map below:
      It is direct access and shortest distance route. It is possible to take. But as everybody said, this is not the fastest route. Because this route is a rustic local line. There is no express train on this route that is called Maizuru line and Obama line (Ayabe-Higashimaizuru-Tsuruga).
      If you take a route via Shin Osaka or Kyoto, it takes about 3 hours to 3.5 hours. But if you take this direct route, it takes at least 4 hours by only local commute train.

      When you look for the route between Tottori and Kanazawa on Hyperdia, the route by Limited Express Super-Hakuto may be shown. But Super-Hakuto goes through NON JR line (Chizu Kyuko line) between Chizu and Kamigoori. This section is not covered by Japan Rail Pass. You need to pay basic fare 1260 yen + Ltd Exp surcharge 510 yen. Even though you need pay extra, Super Hakuto is only train that connects Tottori with Osaka. There is no train connects Tottori with Osaka/Kyoto directly. I think the combination of Super Hakuto (Tottori-Osaka) and Thunderbird (Osaka-Kanazawa) is the fastest. Japan Rail Pass cover all trains except Super Hakuto Chizu-Kamigoori section.

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      1. Hi jmak, Takeshi,

        From Tottori, Super Hakuto (usually to Himeji) and Thunderbird from Shin-Osaka is indeed the fastest route. However, I’d like to suggest a couple of situational alternatives.

        If you are on a JR Pass and want to save money, from Tottori you can also use Ltd Exp “Super Inaba” to Okayama and use Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka. There are less services, but is covered by the Japan Rail Pass and doesn’t cost too much time because of Shinkansen connection.

        Also, my personal favourite route is to see more of the San-in coast, and go via Kinosaki Onsen. You do have to use local trains between Tottori and Kinosaki Onsen (one change at Hamasaka), then use Ltd Exp Kinosaki (or Kounotori and Hashidate) to Kyoto, then Thunderbird to Kanazawa. It’s substantially slower, but the scenery is very impressive, and goes through the famous Amurube Viaduct.

        Many lines in the San-in region do not have regular (or in some cases, any) express services. I’ve come into this situation before.

        Best regards,

        – Jonathan Ayre –

        1. Thanks for both responses!!

          Today I was trying to plan with my Japanese friend. I am thinking of doing a a rush trip to see how far I can go on my JR Pass.
          I”m going to check on Hyperdia tomorrow to see if it works or not, but my rough plan is this:

          Monday ~ Osaka to Tottori ( forget Izumo )

          Tuesday ~ Totori to Kanazawa

          Wednesday ~ Kanazawa to Tokyo ( meet a friend for dinner )

          Thursday ~ Tokyo ~ Niigata ~ Sendai

          Friday ~ Sendai ~ Aomori ( night train to Osaka )

          Saturday ~ Osaka ~ Shikoku

          Sat/Sun I will spend with friends in Shikoku.

          Before I check out details, do you think this plan is ok, or not?


          1. Hi Jmak,

            Jonathan is very familiar with Sanin area. As he suggested, Sanin coast is very scenic. If you have an extra time, try to take this route.
            I checked your schedule. It’s going to be very busy trip. But it is possible. Actually I did much busier trip in March. 🙂
            By the way, I want to check one thing. Which night train are you going to take on Friday? Are you going to take Nihonkai? Do you know it is seasonal operation?
            If you have a plan to take Nihonkai, check the date on the following link:
            If you will take this train on operation day, you still need to make reservation ahead. This train may be very busy. If you can ask your friend in Japan to make a reservation, ask your friend as soon as possible. You can find the details about reservation at the following link:

            Takeshi / JP Rail

          2. Hi jmak, Takeshi,

            Just issuing a correction. Super Inaba does use the Chizu Express line, so you would have to pay the surcharge, like on Super Hakuto. However, depending on shinkansen schedules, it may still be faster to use Super Inaba to Okayama. If you try to change at Himeji, less shinkansen stop there and sometimes you will wait longer.

            Best regards,

            – Jonathan Ayre –

      2. I just took the super hakuto from Tottori to Kyoto the other day. I even reserved a seat beforehand from the station but I was not told by anyone that the super hakuto route includes a non jr part. I wasn’t prepared for it at all, luckily I had just enough cash to pay the fare. I wonder what would have happened if I didn’t have the money.

        I must say I think it should be stated to foreigners by JR that the super hakuto train goes through non jr track or they should cover the part with the JR pass even though it goes through the non JR part as the starting and final locations are JR stations. Not fun to pay 45100 yen for the pass and then get charged more by surprise when already on the train.

          1. Thank you for the reply. No, I was not told that there is an extra fare even though I showed my JR pass when I reserved the seat. Furthermore, Hyperdia returns the super hakuto train in its search results even when I deselect “private railway” from the search options!

            I understand that there are trains that the JR pass doesn’t cover but in my opinion this incident is different. I am currently thinking about making a reclamation as I believe I should not have been charged the fare under these circumstances. Do you know how I should proceed with making the reclamation?

          2. Hi Jaas,
            If you booked it at Tottori or other station in JR West area, you can contact to JR West customer service. But they don’t have any English info. You have to call to 078-382-8686 or using contact form in Japanese.
            I understand there is a language barrier. If you cannot use these way, how about contacting the travel agent where you bought JR pass?
            Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. I’m arriving at Narita on 15 April (1530) and need to go to Yokosuka. There used to be a train called Rapid Service that would take you all the way to the JR Yokosuka Station. Does this service still exist or do I now need to transfer to Yokosuka Line in Ofuna?

    Thank you,

  6. I will arrive at Nariata airport at 2:30 PM on October 29, 2012 on Japan Airlines from Chicago and would like to take JR train to Kyoto. Which terminal I will be reserving my seat on JR Train for Kyoto? Could I use my JR pass?

  7. Hi,

    If I buy JR Pass, the one that can be used all over Japan for 7 days (minimum), can I use it in Hokkaido area, just like JR Hokkaido, to go around between Sapporo, Otaru, Hakodate, etc.? The travel agent who sells JR Pass here said that I cannot use. So, I wonder if it is true.

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Angie,
      Japan Rail Pass cover throughout Japan. That means from Hokkaido to Kyushu. Please see the map below:
      You can take all lines on this map by Japan Rail Pass. I just finished my trip. I used 7 days pass. I have been to Kagoshima, Hakata, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Osaka, Tokyo, Sendai, Kakunodate, Aomori, Hakodate, Otaru and Sapporo. That was crazy trip. So I don’t recommend to do like this trip to everybody. But technically you can do it by 7 days pass.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  8. Hello,

    I am looking for the timetable of SL Hakodate Onuma train in July 2012.
    Could you help ? Thanks.


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