Get On The Proper Train! Explaining Japanese Train Varieties

The Japanese train system is notoriously difficult to use for a first-timer to Japan. We’ll explain the different types of trains, and what to keep in mind when riding them.

In case you are sightseeing in Japan, you are undoubtedly going to wish to journey by prepare. Cheaper than taxis and simpler to make use of than buses, trains are taken by an enormous numbers of individuals daily.

Nevertheless, the Japanese prepare system can be infamous for being troublesome to navigate. With quirks like the identical prepare stopping at totally different stations relying on whether or not it is a weekday or the weekend, even Japanese folks have hassle getting the suitable prepare generally.

Apparently, many guests to Japan have made errors like getting on a fast prepare and overshooting their meant cease.

To assist with this drawback, we want to introduce helpful details about Japanese trains.

1. Prepare Varieties (JR)


There are a number of railway firms which function prepare strains inside Tōkyō, all of which have their very own routes and symbols.

Of those firms, JR (Japan Railway) has the most important attain. Many vacationers take the JR, so understanding the totally different sorts of JR metropolis trains will serve you properly. You possibly can distinguish between totally different sorts of trains by trying on the digital discover board on the platform.

Trains With No Particular Fares

普通 (Native): These trains cease at each station.

快速(Speedy): These trains cease at fewer stations than native trains.

通勤快速 (Commuter Specific): These trains run throughout peak commute instances within the morning and night, and cease at fewer stations than fast trains; they’re used on routes such because the Chūō Line, Keiyō Line, and Saikyō Line.

特別快速 (Particular Speedy): These trains cease at even fewer stations than commuter specific trains, and are used on routes just like the Chūō Line and Sōbu Line. There are varieties such because the commuter particular fast prepare, the Chūō particular fast prepare, and the Ōme particular fast prepare.

Trains Which Require Further Particular Fares

特急 (Restricted Specific): This prepare stops on the fewest stations, and can get you to your vacation spot in a flash. You need to pay an extra fare to trip a restricted specific prepare.

2. Prepare Varieties (Non-public Railways)


Photograph by Kentaro IEMOTO on Flickr

There are numerous sorts of trains on personal railways. Grasp the assorted sorts for essentially the most comfy journey doable.

普通 (Native): These trains cease at each station on their line. Some native trains could also be indicated on signboards as 各駅停車 (“this prepare stops at each station”), as properly, so listen.

準急 (Semi-Specific, Native Specific): These trains cease at fewer stations than native trains, however are extra frequent than fast trains.

快速 (Speedy): These trains cease at fewer stations than semi-express trains, however, with a number of exceptions, they’re extra frequent than specific trains. You possibly can trip these trains with only a common ticket.

急行 (Specific): These trains cease at fewer stations than fast trains, and sometimes run extra often than restricted specific trains. Usually, you’ll be able to trip specific trains with out paying particular fares, however there are exceptions.

特急 (Restricted Specific): As famous above, this prepare stops on the fewest stations. Usually, you’ll be able to trip restricted specific trains with out paying particular fares, however there are exceptions.

In case you organize the prepare sorts in line with how few stops every one makes, it goes like this: restricted specific > specific > fast > semi-express > native.

There are additionally sorts just like the commuter fast prepare throughout rush hour, and the vacation fast prepare, which runs on weekends and holidays, so watch out.

Issues To Word About Metropolis Routes

Yamanote Line


The Yamanote Line hyperlinks the stations of Shinjuku, Shibuya and Tōkyō, so it’s indispensible for sightseeing. The Yamanote Line kinds a hoop across the metropolis, so that you want to pay attention to the course you’re heading, and whether or not you must take the interior loop or the outer loop.

The interior loop goes from Shinjuku→Shibuya→Shinagawa→Tōkyō, whereas the outer loop goes from Tōkyō→Shinagawa→Shibuya→Shinjuku.

You should definitely verify whether or not you ought to be using the interior or outer loop, so that you just received’t make any unintended detours.

Chūō Line


Photograph by zenjiro on Flickr

The Chūō Line connects Tōkyō, Shinjuku, Nakano and Kichijōji, amongst different stations.

Kichijōji, widespread as a residential neighborhood and residential to Inokashira Park, is accessible by way of the Chūō Line.

It’s a widespread false impression that each one trains cease at Kichijōji – nonetheless, particular fast trains don’t cease at Kichijōji. When heading to Kichijōji, take a fast prepare.

Japanese railway methods are fairly complicated, however in the event you get the hold of them, you’ll be able to have a really environment friendly journey. First, bear in mind the several types of trains, and have a snug journey within the metropolis.

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