Chuo Line

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The Chuo Line (中央本線) is a JR East line connecting Tokyo and Nagoya. It is one of the slower connections between the two, but also one of the more populously traveled. While the east segment of the line is run by JR East, the western portion is currently run by JR Central, with the division occurring at Shiojiri Station. The middle segment of the Chuo Line is rather sparse despite its busyness at either end.


The Chuo line route is largely mountainous with a stretch through the middle of Honshu and a maximum height of 900 meters and a minimum 2.5% grade in most segments. The physical routes across the line are as follows:

  • Full Route – Tokyo to Nagoya – 424.6 km
  • East Line – Tokyo to Shiojiri – 222.1 km
  • Tokyo to Kanda – 1.3 km
  • Kanda to Yoyogi – 8.3 km
  • Yoyogi to Shinjuku – 0.7 km
  • Shinjuku to Shiojiri – 211.8 km
  • East Line Tatsuno Branch – Okaya to Shiojiri – 27.7 km
  • West Line – Shiojiri to Nagoya – 174.8 km

Most of the rapid or local lines running between Tokyo and Aichi are frequent, though the trains passing through the mountains tend to be quiet with those between Shiojiri and Nakatsugawa only passing through every two hours or so. There is no single train that mains the entire trip across the full route between Tokyo and Nagoya. Several transfers must be made to compete the trip, which takes about 10 hours, while the same trip can be made in 100 minutes on a Shinkansen.


The Chuo line was originally established in 1889 between Shinjuku and Tachikawa. The line continued to extend west throughout the 20th century, stretching first to Hachioji Station, then Yamanashi, and Kofu. The two lines were connected from east and west in 1911 to form much of what exists today.

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