Japanese Railways

From Virtual Japan

Jump to: navigation, search

Japanese Railways stretch throughout every corner of the island nation to provide transportation for its 250 million+ residents. While the subway and rail system may seem at first complex, there are a number of publications in various languages designed to help anyone get to pretty much anywhere in the nation. The most important of these is the Jikokuhyo, the book of timetables published monthly by Japan’s Travel Bureau (JTB). Part of the schedule is printed in English as well.



The rail system in Japan is operated almost exclusively by various branches of the JR company. JR East is the primary rail company only for the Kanto region, immediately serving Tokyo and its nearby villages and cities. Japan Railways offers a complete guide of the various lines it provides throughout the country, most often with them connecting to each other in one form or another.


The Subway systems, which operate independently of each other in each major city in Japan, including Tokyo and Osaka, are operated by different companies and factions of the government. In Tokyo, the subways are run by both Tokyo Metro – the Tokyo Metropolitan Transit Authority, and Toei, an independent company which took over operation of the subways from the government when leases expired in 2004. Both companies provide their own lines in the city. However, there are ways of finding and navigating the different lines using the color-coding system of each line. In each station, color coding and English signs make it possible to know which line you are on and which platform you need to find.


The bus system, run by Toei in Tokyo and by the various metropolitan transit authorities in Osaka and the other major cities is not as detailed or as quick as the subway system, but can be highly useful in cities not served by subway or rail service.

Rail Passes

There are rail passes available for visitors to Japan that will allow them to be used on any subway, railway, or buss in the country with a transfer fee between each train. These passes can be acquired through any of the major metropolitan transit authorities in the country and will work as transfers. Additionally, prepaid passes can be purchased from the Japanese Railway company before arriving in the country (but not when you are there) and used on any JR company train.

External Links

Pop culture / Travel / Forum / Gallery / FAQ/Help / Submit

Copyright 2008, VirtualJapan.com. All Rights Reserved.