One of the most important things while traveling in Japan is knowing how to ride the endless train lines that surround Japan. Although many stations have instructions in English, you may need to ask a Japanese native for information. Thinking about this need, we wrote this article that will help you catch trains in Japan and communicate with people and ask for information at the station.
If you are a tourist, to avoid problems with purchasing train tickets we recommend purchasing JRPass, a card that allows you to ride on most train lines across Japan.
Taking the train
In Japan you pay per season, tickets are sold in automatic machines, do not abandon your ticket as it is also used to leave the station. You must pay close attention to the wagons, some trains have wagons exclusively for women and smokers. Remember that train stations do not operate 24 hours a day.
To better understand how trains in Japan work, let's leave some videos below:
There are thousands of articles and videos on the internet explaining how to take trains in Japan. We don't want to cover the same things as these sites, let's go deeper and study ways to communicate at a train station.
Below are some phrases that you will likely need to speak or hear during your train ride back to Japan. Study them a lot and be prepared because you will not hear the exact phrases below.
[yamanote sen] wa doko desu ka?
Where's the [yamanote line]?
[Akihabara eki] ni ikitai desu ga.
I want to go to [Akihabara Station].
[yamanote sen] no hoomu wa doko desu ka?
Where is the platform for [yamanote line]
kono densha wa [toukyou eki] yuki desuka?
Is this the train going to Tokyo station?
juuichiji no densha ni norimasu.
I'm taking the 11 o'clock train
Densha shibuya the norikaenakereba naranai.
You have to change trains in Shibuya.
Anata wa sono ressi ni maniawanaideshou.
You will not be able to take the train.
Densha nori chigaete imasu yo
You are on the wrong train.
Densha ga okurete iru.
The train is late.
Densha the noriga machigaeta.
I took the wrong train.
Sleep resha wa sudeni shuppatsu shite shimatta.
The train has already left.
Ressha wa gogo 2-jihan ni deru.
The train leaves at 2:30 pm.
Kisha wa mada tsukimasen.
The train has not yet arrived.
What is the difference between the words densha (電車), kisha (汽車) and ressha (列車)? The word densha is used for electric trains, while kisha for steam trains, while the word resha can be used for both and refers to the trains that form the train. There is also a bullet train called a shinkansen (新幹線).
If you are traveling for the first time by train in Japan, keep an eye out for these words from the list below.
|Agenda / Calendar||時刻表||jikoku hyou|
|2nd class||二等車||nitou sha|
|Window seat||窓側の席||mado gawa no seki|
|Aisle seat||通路側の席||tsuro gawa no seki|
|Book seat||自由席||jiyuu seki|
|Priority seat||優先席||yuusen seki|
|Reserved seat||指定席||shitei seki|
|Subscription ticket||定期券||teiki ken|
|Passenger ticket||乗車券||jousha ken|
|Box office||窓口||mado guchi|
|Non-smoking car||禁煙車||kinen sha|
|Green / First Class Car||グリーン車||guri-n sha|
|Station Manager / Manager||駅長||ekichou|
|Employee / gas station attendant||駅員||ekiin|
|Station entrance||改札口||kaisatsu guchi|
|Express that stops at the main stations||急行||kyuukou|
|Track 3||3 番線||san ban sen|
|Time to go||発車時刻||hassha jikoku|
|Faster than espresso||特急||tokkyuu|
|Ticket vending machine||自動券売機||jidou kenbai ki|
|Seat number||座席番号||zaseki bangou|
|First train||始発||shi hatsu|
|Necessary time||所要時間||shoyou jikan|
|Train with more than 2 wagons||列車||reshape|
|Train Transfer / Exchange||乗り換え||norikae|
|Bullet train||新幹線||shin kan sen|
|Train stopping at all stations||普通||futsuu|
|Train stopping at all stations||各駅停車||kakueki teisha|
|Change / Change money||お釣り||otsuri|
|Last stop / Terminal||終点||shuu ten|
|Smoking car||喫煙車||kitsuen sha|
|Vehicle / Locomotives||車両||sharyou|
|Round trip||往復||or fuku|
|One-way trip||片道||kata michi|
|Last train||最終電車||saishuu densha|
|Last train||終発||shuu hatsu|
|Last train||終電||shuu den|
We already wrote another article talking about trains in Japan, you can read this article clicking here.