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How To Use the Bullet Train Pass For Subway in Tokyo Japan

Riding the Bullet Train in Tokyo is a rush! The Train is also the best way to travel in Tokyo, Japan. Hokkaido has become easier to reach by train from Tokyo. A bullet train service linking Morioka and Hachinohe on the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line was launched on Dec. 1st, 2002. The new "Hayate" train departs from 7:30am, with 20 trains daily.(check new times) It takes 2 hours 56 minutes from Tokyo to Hachinohe, and a further 3 hours by limited express train will get you to Hakodate. With the Japan Rail Pass, you can board "Hayate" without any surcharge. It is now more convenient than ever to visit Hokkaido by train.

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Tokyo Japan Bullet Trains and Subway Tickets Tips

Valuable Piece of Advice: If you want to see Japan and see it from the trains, then buy a pass.

It's a real no-brainer as to why the pass is a good idea when you first get to the bullet train counter at Tokyo Station and see that a return from Tokyo to Hiroshima is the best part of £200. When you also bear in mind that you can cover a lot of ground on a Bullet train that travels at over 300kph, (180mph) you can quickly see that exploring a lot of the country is a real option even if you do have just seven days to do it in.

The Japan Rail Pass allows unlimited travel on the entire nationwide Japan Railway (JR) network, including the Shinkansen (bullet train), JR ferries, and JR buses.

How to Ride Subway + Trains in Tokyo - 35 Tips!
credit: Yellow Productions

Hokkaido has become easier to reach by train from Tokyo. A bullet train service linking Morioka and Hachinohe on the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line was launched on Dec. 1st, 2002. The new "Hayate" train departs from 7:30am, with 20 trains daily. It takes 2 hours 56 minutes from Tokyo to Hachinohe, and a further 3 hours by limited express train will get you to Hakodate. With the Japan Rail Pass, you can board "Hayate" without any surcharge. It is now more convenient than ever to visit Hokkaido by train.

The Japan Rail Pass is available to:
  1. Tourists visiting Japan from abroad under "temporary visitor" entry status.
  2. Japanese nationals living in a foreign country,
    a) as a permanent resident of that country, or
    b) a resident in that country for ten (10) or more years, or
    c) who is married to a citizen of that country.
How to apply for a Japan Rail Pass:
  1. It's best to purchase an exchange order with an authorized agent BEFORE coming to Japan.
    (Japan Rail Pass cannot be purchased in Japan).
  2. After arrival in Japan, go to the JR Information and Ticket Office at Narita Airport, or to one of the JR Travel Service Centers, such as Tokyo Station. Exchange your exchange order for your Japan Rail Pass; when you fill out the pass application form, specify the first date on which you want to use the pass. Show your passport at the time of exchange.
  3. The exchange order must be exchanged within three (3) months of the date of issue.
Conditions and Information:
  1. A Japan Rail Pass is strictly personal and not transferable.
  2. Always carry your passport and show it if requested.
  3. Begin your travel within three (3) months of the date on issue of the exchange order.
  4. The pass is valid for unlimited travel on the Shinkansen ("Kodama" and "Hikari" trains, not "Nozomi" trains), limited express, ordinary express and local trains on all JR lines. It is valid on local lines of JR bus companies (JR Bus Tohoku, JR Bus Kanto, JR Tokai Bus, West Japan JR Bus Company and Chugoku JR Bus Company) and bus divisions of the JR Hokkaido, JR Shikoku and JR Kyushu, and also on some of the JR highway bus lines on the express highways, as follows:
Morioka, Hirosaki and Aomori
Tokyo to Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka and Tuskuba Center
Nagoya to Kyoto and Osaka
Osaka to Ochiai Interchange and Fukuchiyama

The pass is also valid for basic fares on the JR ferry between Miyajima and Miyajimaguchi. The Japan Rail Pass will NOT cover you on the subway or on any of the private (non-JR) overland train lines. For this you will need a PASMO card. If you intend to visit Tokyo and Kyoto (as most visitors to Japan do) then it is Japan Rail Pass you will need.
Seat reservations may be made in advance without additional payment seat availability cannot be guaranteed otherwise. For reservations, you should apply to any Travel Service Center or the Midori no madoguchi (Green window) at a JR station.
If you hold a Japan Rail Pass Ordinary and you want to use a berth or green car seat, you must pay the regular berth or green car charge and the associated limited or ordinary express charge.
If you hold a Japan Rail Pass Green and you want to use a berth on a sleeping car train or private compartments on the Shinkansen or limited express "Superview Odoriko", you must pay the regular berth charge of the Green Private Compartment charge and the associated Shinkansen, limited express or ordinary express charge.
The pass cannot be reissued if lost or stolen.
The pass is refundable only if presented for cancellation at a Travel Service Center in a JR station designated to handle Japan Rail Passes BEFORE the stamped first day of use. Ten (10) percent of the yen price of the pass will be collected as a handling fee. No refund can be made on or after the stamped first day for any reason whatsoever.

Japanese bullet trains (Shinkansen) are very fast and also very comfortable to ride.

Follow the steps below to get to your destination efficiently.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 15

Here's How:

  1. Go to the major Japan Railway (JR) stations such as Tokyo, Ueno, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Hakata, and more.
  2. Go to a JR ticket counter called Midori-no-mado-guchi which can be recognized by a green sign.
  3. Purchase the ticket to your destination. You need to pay bullet train express fares in addition to the regular fare for the distance.
  4. If you want to reserve your seat, ask at this time. You can do this for a small additional fee.
  5. Check the departure time and the number of platform of your train on the display board.
  6. Go to the correct JR Shinkansen gate and hand your ticket to the officer or insert your ticket in the automatic gate.
  7. When you get to the platform, go to under the number plate of the car indicated on your ticket, if you reserved a seat.
  8. If you don't reserve a seat in advance, go under the number plates of self-seating areas called Ji-yu-seki.
  9. Line up behind the white line and wait for the train.
  10. Get in the train and find your seat.
  11. Seat numbers are indicated below the baggage rack above the window.
  12. If you didn't reserve a seat and also couldn't find any empty seats, you might have to stand in the hallway or entrance area until someone gets off the train.
  13. When the person who sells food, drinks and souvenirs comes near your seat, get her attention and buy whatever you want from the cart.


  1. There are ordinary cars and green cars(first class). You need to pay extra to sit in the green cars.
  2. Each station offers special boxed meals which are sold on the train. Enjoy Japanese regional food in your seat.
  3. The Shinkansen tend to be full, so it's highly recommended to reserve your seat in advance.
How To Take a Train or Subway in Japan

The basic steps which help you travel around Japan by taking the subway or local trains.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 5

Here's How:

  1. At the station, find a ticket vending machine.
  2. Look at the large map or chart displayed above the machine and find the name of your destination.
  3. The price indicated under the name of your destination is the fare to your destination. (In large stations, it's written in English, but if not, go ask someone to tell you the fare.)
  4. Insert coins or bills in the slots and press the button that indicates your fare.
  5. If you are taking JR limited express trains (Tokkyu), you are required to pay an additional fare.
  6. For the Tokkyu ticket, go to a ticket counter and buy your tickets. You can reserve your seat for limited express trains at this time with an additional fee.
  7. Look at the time table displayed on the wall in the terminal and find the departure time of your train and the platform number where the train departs.
  8. Go to the gate and hand your ticket to the officer.
  9. If you are going through the automatic gate, insert your ticket in the slot so the gate will open.
  10. Go through the gate and retrieve your ticket from the other side.
  11. Go to the platform and wait behind the white line.
  12. If people are lining up in one line, go line up behind the last person. If you are taking a limited express train and haven't reserved your seat, line up in the area where the self-seating cars stops.
  13. When a train arrives, wait until people get off the train, then get in and find your seat. When you are taking a subway or local train, you can sit down in any open seat.


  1. If you have trouble using the vending machine, don't hesitate to ask for help. It's sometimes difficult, even for Japanese people.
  2. During rush hours on weekdays, it's best to avoid taking the subway or local trains. It's extremely crowded.
  3. If you need additional help, there is the Japan Railways's English-language telephone service. Call 03-3423-0111.(?)
How To Take a TAXI in Japan

Gives you tips for using a taxi in Japan.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5

Here's How:

  1. From train stations or airports, go to the taxi stand and line up.
  2. In the street, look for a taxi which has a red light in the front window. It indicates the taxi is empty. (If the light is green, the taxi has passengers.)
  3. When you see an empty taxi, raise your hand and call it.
  4. The backdoor opens and closes automatically, so stand back and wait until it opens.
  5. Get in the taxi and tell the driver your destination or show them the Japanese written address of your destination.
  6. Before you get out of the taxi, pay the charge indicated on the meter. No tip is necessary.
  7. Wait until the door opens and get out of the taxi.


  1. Most of drivers don't speak English, so it is highly recommended that you have the address of your destination written in Japanese or have a map.
  2. Taxis are pretty expensive in Japan (the average fee starts from $6 ? for the first 1.25 miles -check price-), especially between 11 pm and 5am, when the meter adds extra charges.
  3. When you call a taxi from a restaurant or other places, you are required to pay extra charges.

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