Tips & Advice

JR Station Names:

Every Japan Rail, or JR, station name is displayed in both Romanized English and Japanese on the platform. So, when you look at a station sign – you will see the current station’s name at the top and middle of the sign in big letters. On the other hand, the preceding station and the future station are listed in smaller letters near the lower portion of the sign.

Trains with Public Telephones:

All Shinkansen trains are modified to include public use telephones that accept telephone cards that are prepaid. You can purchase these cards at either a station kiosk or aboard your train.

Words you should know:

Reservation is the same as Yoyaku
Travel Service Center can also be called the Ryoko Center
Reservation office in Japanese is Midori-no-madoguchi
Super Express in Japanese is Shinkansen
Limited Express is called Tokkyu in Japanese
The Express is Kyuko
The Rapid Train is called Kaisoku
The Local Train will be listed as Kakuekiteisha
Ordinary car in Japanese is Futsusha
Green car (or superior accommodations) will be called Green-sha
Reserved seats are called Shiteiseki; where non-reserved seats are Jiyuseki


Coin Lockers:

Throughout the country of Japan you’ll notice that traditional checkrooms are a thing of the past; replacing them are coin-operated lockers or “coin-lockers” as they are known in Japan. These lockers are present at most major stations and cost around one-hundred coins.

Infoline for JR East:

Japan Rail offers a telephone information system that informs customers of vital information. Such telephone services are offered in languages like Chinese, English, and Korean. You will learn information such as train schedules, reservation office locations, the fastest routes from JR locale to locale, and much more. If you would like to use this service, simply phone 050-2016-1603 during the hours of 10AM and 6PM; with the exception of new year/year-end holidays. Just keep in mind that this service is not intended for those looking to reserve seats.

Drink and Food Sales on Trains and at Stations:

On certain trains such as the limited express, Shinkansen, and select others you’ll find mobile vendors who sell what are called “Ekiben”. An Ekiben is a boxed lunch that contains snacks, drinks, and other Japanese-style specialty foods. The most common places to find these are at kiosks located in stations, where you will also find a wide array of vending machines and other restaurants.

Avoid Evening and Morning Rush-Hour Times:

When dealing with major cities, make sure to avoid travel times in the morning such as 7:30 to 9:30, and other evening hours such as 17:00 until 20:00.

Riders with Wheelchairs:

If you are traveling in a wheelchair, keep these things in mind:

  • Seats that are wheelchair-accessible can be obtained on the majority of the limited express trains and Shinkansen. If you require a seat like this to travel, it’s a good idea to contact your local station no later two days before you plan to board; if you know you’ll be traveling in advance make sure you don’t contact them sooner than 10:00 am exactly one month to your travel date.
  • All wheelchairs must meet size and other conditions specified by the train carrier. Generally, they do not permit wheelchairs that are power and feature a steering wheel. Yet on the other hand, if this kind of chair meets the guidelines, then it may be permitted.
  • If you are unsure or to obtain more information about this, simply contact the station staff with questions.