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Do you know how to take Japanese trains in Kyoto?


How to take japanese trains

 Have you ever taken a train in Japan? There are some differences of taking trains between countries. By reading this article, you will understand the way of riding trains in Japan correctly and can enjoy travelling smoothly without a stress of moving!


1.  Purchasing tickets

As you know, before taking trains you must purchase a ticket from a ticket machine. When you go to buy your ticket, you can check the price of all the tickets on the panel above the machines. The smaller number is the price for children under 12. After putting money into the machine and pushing the button, you will get the ticket.


2.  Getting on the train

First, let’s go to the turnstile. Insert your ticket into the turnstile and the doors of the machine will open for you to pass. Your ticket will be returned to you from the other side of the machine. Don’t forget to take your ticket! Finally, please go to the platform and get on your train. Be careful not to take the wrong one!

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3.  Leaving the station

When you arrive at your station, you will have to leave through another ticket barrier. Put your ticket into the barrier machine again to can pass through it. This time, your ticket will not be returned to you.


What are bullet trains?? How do I book one?

Bullet trains are called shinkansen in Japanese. Many people use them for faster long distance travel, such as from Kyoto to Tokyo. There are two types of seats on bullet trains: unreserved and reserved.


reserved seats

Your seat is reserved in advance, and you will absolutely be able to sit down. You must pay a higher fare than for an unreserved seat.

unreserved seats

Your seat is not reserved. If the train is crowded, you may not be able to find a seat.  Of course, if there are open seats in the unreserved car, you are welcome to sit.


 There are mainly two ways to reserve seats on bullet trains in Japan. One way is to buy tickets at the ticket counter in major JR stations, such as Kyoto station. The ticket counters are called “Midori no Madoguchi” in Japanese. If you want to book tickets there, please tell the clerk the date, time, and destination of your trip, and he/she will show you the best bullet trains for your plan. After you decide the train you’d like to take, just pay, and your reservation will be complete.

 You can also purchase tickets with ticket machines called “Midori no kenbaiki” (“Green ticket machines”) in Japanese. These machines are also located at major JR stations in JR west area. This method is faster than buying ticket at the window, but it may a little difficult for first-timers. The machines have English availability so non-Japanese people can use them, too. You must pay with cash or a credit card recognized by the machine.

You can book tickets for your trip from as early as 10:00 a.m, one month before the day of your trip.

Japan Rail Pass

What is it?

Have you heard of this JR pass? The Japan Rail Pass was made so that foreign visitors will use JR railways more during their trip. You can ride most JR trains, buses and ferries with this pass.

*How do I buy it? How do I use it?

You cannot buy a Japan Rail Pass in Japan, so you must buy it before you visit. You can buy the pass at shops designated by JR. The shop staff will explain the requirements and how to use the pass. Then, you have to decide the dates you want to use your pass (you can use it on the days you designated). You will receive a coupon, so please bring it to Japan. After arriving in Japan, you will need to exchange your coupon for a Japan Rail Pass, otherwise you won’t be able to use it. After exchanging it, you’ll be able to ride! Of course, you can book a reserved seat on the bullet trains at “Midori no Madoguchi” with the Japan Rail Pass.


The Japan Rail Pass is only for travelers from foreign countries, and only travelers who meet the requirements for the pass can purchase it. The requirements for foreign travelers is that they have a short-term stay in Japan, and a seal in their passport which proves their stay will be short-time. If you pass an immigration screening at the airport which has no staff, the seal will not be put in your passport, so please ask airport staff to put such a mark your passport. If you exchange your coupon for your pass, and you don’t have your passport with the seal, you won’t be able to use it, even though you have the rail pass. Please be careful not to forget to get the seal on your passport.


If you want more information about this, please visit the official web site of Japan Rail Pass.

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