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  • Writer's pictureDavid Cheung

Tips for travelling by Train in Japan

Japan has an extensive railway network that is both efficient and convenient, making it a popular mode of transportation for tourists exploring the country. Trains in Japan are well-maintained, clean, and punctual, making it easy for travellers to navigate and get to their destination on time.

Here are some tips to help tourists navigate and enjoy their train journeys in Japan:

Get a Japan Rail Pass

The Japan Rail Pass is a cost-effective way for tourists to travel around Japan. This pass allows for unlimited use of most trains, including the high-speed Shinkansen, and is only available to non-Japanese visitors. The pass is available for seven, 14, or 21 consecutive days, and must be purchased before arrival in Japan.

Use Hyperdia

Hyperdia is an online timetable and route search engine for trains in Japan. This is an essential tool for tourists to plan their train journeys, as it provides real-time train schedules, fares, and transfer information. The website is available in English and is easy to use.

Take note of train schedules

Trains in Japan are very punctual, so it's important to take note of the train schedules to avoid missing your train. The schedules are usually displayed in Japanese and English on the platforms and on the electronic display boards. Train schedules can also be found on Hyperdia.

Know the train classes

There are different classes of trains in Japan, each with its own level of comfort and amenities. The Shinkansen, for instance, has three classes of seats: ordinary, green, and gran class. Ordinary seats are the most affordable, while gran class seats are the most luxurious. The local trains also have different classes of seats, with some offering reserved seats and others offering only non-reserved seats.

Keep it quiet

Japanese trains are known for their quiet atmosphere, so it's important to keep noise to a minimum. Conversations should be kept to a low volume, and mobile phones should be set to silent mode.

Take off your shoes

If you're traveling on a luxury train or visiting a restaurant car, you may be required to take off your shoes and place them in the designated area. This is a common practice in Japan and is done to keep the train and dining areas clean.

Observe train etiquette

Japanese train etiquette is taken seriously, and it's important to follow these customs to avoid causing offense. When boarding the train, wait patiently in line and allow passengers to disembark first. Once on the train, avoid eating and drinking in the train cars, and keep your belongings out of the aisles to avoid inconveniencing other passengers.

By following these tips, tourists can enjoy a comfortable and hassle-free train journey in Japan. The country's railway system is a great way to explore Japan's many attractions and experience its unique culture.


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