How to find seat availability of trains. JR Cyber Station guide.

Timetable and reservation
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You might be nervous about booking of trains. Online booking is very limited. Most of you have to book your train after you arrive in Japan. Especially if you travel in peak season, such as Golden Week (late Apr to 1st week of May), Obon period (mid Aug) and New Years holidays (late Dec to early Jan), many trains are booked out. You may want to know how busy trains will be before you leave.

Unfortunately there is no way to find it online in English. But we have it in Japanese that is “JR Cyber Station”.

In this post, I show you how to use this site. I know that most of you do not understand Japanese. I believe that you will be able to use this site and find the seat availability of the trains after you read this post even if you do not understand Japanese. I will explain you how to use this site step by step in this post.

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Step 1 Find the service segment of the train

You have to find the space availability one train by one train.

e.g
If you have a trip to Takayama from Tokyo via Nagoya, you will take the following trains:
The Tokaido Shinkansen for Tokyo to Nagoya
The limited express Wide View Hida for Nagoya to Takayama
In this case, you have to check the availability of Tokyo – Nagoya and Nagoya – Takayama separately.

You can find the service segment of trains at Hyperdia. Please see the link below to get the details about using Hyperdia:

Step 2 Get the station name in Japanese

You must have the station name in Japanese. There are several ways to get it. I think using Wikipedia is the easiest way. Please try to google “Wikipedia *** station”.

For example, try to get Japanese word for Kanazawa station. Please google “Wikipedia Kanazawa station”.

I could find it at second in the first page. My language setting is Japanese, so I found Japanese wikipedia link at the first. But if you google it, you will find it somewhere in the first page. Now click the link at Wikipedia page.

You can find Japanese word “金沢駅 (Kanazawa-eki)” in even English wikipedia page. Actually you may find Japanese word in other language wikipedia. Kanazawa station was written in many language in wikipedia, such as French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean.

Before move to next step, you have to copy the station name in Japanese. Please copy only “金沢”. We do not need “駅”. This means station in Japanese. You need only location name.

Step 3 Access to JR Cyber Station

JR Cyber station is only online service for checking availability for JR trains. Before you access this site, please check the time. Because this site is available from 6:30 to 22:30 in Japan time. Now please access JR Cyber station.
And then, click the first link that says “■空席案内(指定席の空席照会がご覧になれます)”.

Now you need to choose date and time.

Next choose the train type. Please see the image below:

The procedure is a little bit different between Shinkansen and conventional line trains (other than Shinkansen). If you check the availability for Shinkansen, please see the next chapter. Otherwise please see the chapter “Step 4-b”.

Step 4-a Check seat availability for Shinkansen (bullet train)

If you choose Shinkansen, drop down menu is appeared and you can choose both departure and arrival station. Of course, you can paste the station name that you copied at wikipedia above.

When you complete to choose at all dropdown menu, you can click “検索”.

You get the result. The availability and the category of seat are shown by the following symbols:

Sample result of Tokaido Shinkansen for Tokyo to Nagoya
Sample result of Tohoku Shinkansen for Tokyo to Sendai

All train names are shown in Japanese. If you want to make sure these train names, these following links show you Shinkansen timetables online or PDF.

Tohoku, Akita, Yamagata, Joetsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen (JR East Official English site)
Tokaido and Sanyo Shinakansen (Tokyo-Kyoto-Shin Osaka-Hiroshima-Hakata)
Westbound (from Tokyo)
Eastbound (to Tokyo)
Kyushu Shinkansen (Hakata-Kumamoto-Kagoshima Chuo)

You may find the name of train from departure time.

Step 4-b Check seat availability for conventional trains (other than Shinkansen)

If you choose “在来線列車” (conventional line trains), you have to paste the correct station name at both departure and arrival. And you can click “検索”. If you fill in wrong name, wrong time or other errors, the following page is shown.

But sometimes JR Cyber Station gives you the choice.

In this above case, there are two similar names and it gives us choices. Please see the choices carefully and pick you the correct one.

And we get a result.

Sample result of Limited Express for Shinjuku to Matsumoto

Other notes

When you use JR Cyber Station, please remember the following notes:

1. JR reserved seat ticket is on sale one month prior to departure dates. You cannot check the availability for more than one month.

2. When you check the availability, sometimes the seasonal train cannot be found. Most of popular seasonal trains, such as Resort Shirakami, JR Kyushu trains can be found.

3. Overnight train Sunrise Seto and Sunrise Izumo from Tokyo cannot be shown. Other direction (to Tokyo) can be found. But only availability for Nobi Nobi seat is shown. We cannot find the availability for other compartment.

4. Other overnight trains are seasonal operation and cannot be found at JR Cyber Station.

5. JR Cyber station can check the availability for JR trains only. You cannot get an availability for any express trains on private railway lines, such as Tobu railway, Kintetsu railway, Odakyu Railway.

6. Again, this site is available from 6:30 to 22:30 in Japan time only. You cannot access this site outside this hour.

I hope you could understand how to use JR Cyber station now.

Comments

  1. Mei says:

    Hi, Can the JR Cyber station guide find the seat availability for non-reserved seats? For eg. the train from Shin-Osaka to Wakayama on the Ltd Exp Kuroshio. Or does Berth A and Berth B refer to non-reserved seats?

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Mei,

      You cannot find any availability of non reserved seat. Because the ticket of non reserved seat is sold without limited. The person who has non reserved seat ticket can take any trains on the designated segment.

      e.g. If you have a non reserved seat ticket for the Shinkansen Nozomi from Tokyo to Kyoto on Apr 29, you can take any Nozomi from Tokyo to Kyoto on Apr 29.

      So you can never find the availability of it.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Francesca
    Francesca says:

    Hi Takeshi, I was checking the hikari Tokyo to Osaka and it still has available seatings, while the trains immediately before and after are flagged with limited availability.

    Our plan is:

    Tokyo to Osaka 30th April 9.33am with Hikari
    Osaka to Kanazawa 4th May 9.40am with LTD EXP Thunderbird
    Kanazawa to Tokyo 6th of May 6pm with Hakutaka/Kagayaki

    We are gonna get our JR pass on the 23rd of April, what are our chances to manage to book the above trains?

    Thank you for the amazing support you’re providing

  3. Jason says:

    Hello

    I am traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto on March 28 and return on March 31. Is this a busy time with the shrines in Kyoto ? For reservations is it better use Shinkansen or nozomi ?

    Thank you

  4. Beatrice says:

    Hi
    I’m planning a short trip from Tokyo to Kyoto, I’ll depart from Tokyo on 15th of august and go back to Tokyo on 17th, should I be worried for the seats availability? Will these be very busy dates?
    Unfortunately I’ll be in Japan only from 11th of August.
    Do you have any suggestions? What should I do in case I could not reserve a ticket?
    Thank you

  5. Jim Wong says:

    I will be arriving in Tokyo on Jan 2, 2019. I want to reserve a seat from Tokyo to Takayama on Jan 6 and then from Takayama to Osaka on Jan 7 using the JR pass. Are the 2 dates in the busy period? What are my chances of reserving seats on those trains?

    Also, I want to reserve two Nobi Nobi seats on the Sunrise Seto going to Tokyo on Jan 19. Are those seats very hard to reserve or will they be sold out by Jan 2?
    Thanks,

  6. EP says:

    Dear Takeshi,

    My family and I are arriving in Tokyo on 26 Dec and would like to take the Shinkansen to Nagano on the same day. I have purchased JR East rail passes but cannot reserve seats in advance due to same day travel. As this is potentially a busy travel period in Japan, should I be worried about being able to get seats on the train?

    Thanks,
    EP

  7. g2-1f9d9a9efc2f523b2f09629444632b5c
    John says:

    Hello Takeshi!

    I don’t see in the drop down menu how to look at the availability of the Sunset Seto/Izumo.

    How were you able to?

  8. Huiwen says:

    Thanks for your advice, Takeshi!

  9. Huiwen says:

    Hi
    I want to travel from Tokyo to Aomori by Shinkansen. I found out that I need to take the Hayabusa train, and reservations are required.
    I also plan to buy a JR East pass, and reserve the shinkansen tickets in advance. The thing that confuses me is, am I be able to collect the tickets on the same day as my travel date, or must I collect them the day before?
    Thanks!

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Huiwen,

      If you use online booking, you have to collect your trip one day before. If you can’t, you have to make a reservation after you arrive in Japan at the window.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  10. Balemir says:

    How do I get from Osaka Airport (KIX)
    to
    Himeji trip station?
    Anyone could help me?

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