Tips 06 Mar 2024

Some Tips So You Don't Get Confused When Taking Trains in Japan

Train is one of the main public transportations in Japan, both for the Japanese people and the tourists. There are many types and routes of trains, so tourists sometimes get confused. Not only to get to one location, but you can take several types of trains.



Tips for Riding Trains in Japan

If you are planning a trip to Japan and are afraid that you will find difficulties when using the train for transportation there, you don't need to worry because you can follow these tips:

  • Destination

The first thing you have to know is of course your destination. First, determine the location you want to visit and then use the Google Maps application to find out the train route. In the Google Maps application, select the train icon so that only the train routes are displayed.

  • Check the Best Route

When you have a destination, the Google Maps application will display several routes you can choose from. It shows not only the route, but also the estimated travel fare and departure time. You can choose a route to your destination station with the fare and departure time that suits your needs.

  • Pay Attention to the Train Name

To reach one destination, there may be several types of trains that you can take. Make sure you pay attention to the name of the train, so you don't get on the wrong train. Unfortunately, train names are often written in kanji. To prevent you from taking the wrong ride, it's a good idea to know the kanji for the train you're going to take. Or, you can look at the departure schedules, because trains in Japan are rarely late.

  • Know the Nearest Gate

If you exit through the wrong gate, you must be prepared to walk a longer time. In one station, especially underground stations, there can be many gates. You should know which gate is closest to your destination. For example, to go to your accommodation, you can ask the accommodation staff at which station you should get off and at which gate.

  • Integrated Stations

Stations in Japan are large because they are integrated with each other. For example, a station of Shinkansen trains is integrated with those of the local trains. However, you don't need to worry because the signs to get to the local train station and Shinkansen stations are the Roman alphabet, so it won't be difficult for you to find them.

Even if you experience a difficulty, you can directly ask the station officer. You can use body language to help you communicate if you don't understand Japanese.

Purchasing Train Tickets in Japan

For train tickets in Japan, you can buy one-way tickets at the machines available at each station. The ticket will be a small piece of paper which you have to insert into the ticket gates before you walk to the station platform. You must keep the ticket because you will use it again when you leave the station.

If you don’t want the hassle of purchasing tickets every single time, you can also use pass cards you can buy once and use repeatedly. There are two types of pass cards valid in Japan, namely:

JR Pass

Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) is an economical transportation facility for JR services, such as express trains, local trains, buses, and ships. There are three types of JR Pass that you can choose:

  • Nationwide JR Pass. This JR Pass covers all areas of Japan without any restrictions. As long as the JR Pass is valid, you can continue to use it.
  • Regional JR Pass. This JR Pass is only valid for one region, for example, Kanto, Kansai, Hokkaido, and others.
  • JR Tokyo Wide Pass. This JR Pass covers only the entire Tokyo area and its surroundings.

To get a JR Pass, you can buy it from a JR Pass sales agent in your country of origin, for example, Indonesia. Bring the proof of purchase and exchange it with the JR Pass card at the special JR Pass counter at the airport. Usually, you will also be asked to show your passport.

After that, you will get a JR Pass card on which the validity period is shown. As long as it hasn't passed the validity date, you can freely use it by inserting the JR Pass card at the ticket gates.

IC Card

IC cards are actually similar to prepaid cards issued by several banks in Indonesia, because they can be used for public transportation tickets and payment for groceries at certain shops. You only need to buy an IC card with a deposit of JPY 500 and then top up your IC card.

You can use an IC Card as long as the card has a sufficient balance by tapping in and out at the ticket gates at the station. There are several types of IC cards according to the issuers and some of the most popular ones are:

  • SUICA. The IC card issued by JR East for use in the Tokyo Metropolitan area.
  • PASMO. The IC card issued by Tokyo Metro for use in the Tokyo Metropolitan area.
  • ICOCA. The IC card used for the Kansai area.

After reading the information above, we hope you are no longer confused about the train transportation in Japan. It will definitely be easier to understand especially if you are used to taking trains in Indonesia. So, if you have prepared everything before a trip to Japan, don't forget to buy Travel Insurance to Japan from MSIG Indonesia for your protection while traveling. This way, you can enjoy your holiday in Japan worry-free.

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