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Types of Japanese trains with photos and prices + Questions about them.

4 de June de 2024

There are many types of Japanese trains, and they are some of the most reliable and punctual in the world, so we want to honor them and talk about all the types of Japanese trains there are.

Are Japanese trains on time? – Why are Japanese trains on time?

They are extremely punctual, but why Japanese trains are punctual, we are going to give you the answer, and maybe it will surprise you but it is a great method used by Japanese trains: The Japanese incorporate slack in the timetable and run the trains at a speed lower than the maximum possible on any given stretch of track. This allows many delays to be made up if necessary, as they only have to increase the exact speed to be able to make up those minutes of delay.

What does this mean, well, if a train leaves in Spain, USA or even in Latin America, it leaves a couple of minutes late, there is no way to compensate for the loss, except by running unsafely and faster than what is allowed. And since the loss cannot be compensated, a domino effect is possible.

japanese trains
Japanese train on Mount Fuji

In addition, the Japanese run their milling machines slower than almost anywhere else in the world. The result is fewer breakdowns and spare capacity that can be used to compensate for delays and interruptions.

Of course, Japanese companies would not do this if there were not an ethic that emphasized timeliness and predictability.

Types of Japanese trains

Japanese trains in Japan’s public train system come in many different sizes, travel at different speeds, vary in number of stops and also have different prices.

Here is a list of the common types of Japanese trains you will find in Japan, in order from slowest to fastest, we hope you like it.

Common Trains in Japan | Japanese Trains

We will look at common trains in Japan, local trains and express trains.

japanese trains
Japanese Trains (Hankyu and Koupenchan line collaboration)

普通 Futsuu – Japanese Trains / Japanese Train

The Japanese train: 普通 Futsuu – Japanese local trains: These are the cheapest and most commonly used by local Japanese traveling short distances in and around their cities.

Futsuu train
Local futsuu type train

準急 Junkyuu – Japanese Trains / Japanese Train

Japanese train: 準急 Junkyuu – Semi-express train (named after 準急行).

Junkyuu Train (Kintetsu Railway)
Semi-express train

急行 Kyuukoo – Japanese Trains / Japanese Train

Japanese train: 急行 Kyuukoo – Express train: Normally, there is no difference in ticket price between local and express trains, they simply stop at fewer stations and therefore go faster, there is no other difference.

Kyuukoo Train (Pokémon edition)
Express-type train 急行 

特急 Tokkyuu – Japanese Trains / Japanese Train

Japanese train: 特急 Tokkyuu – Special express train (named after 特別急行) that stops only at main stations. Depending on the train company, you may have to buy a Tokkyuu ticket (特急券), as these trains are usually reserved seats and in order not to miss out, you’d better buy one.

Tokkyuu Train (Panda edition)
Special express-type train 特急 

快速 Kaisoku – Japanese trains / Japanese train

The Japanese train: 快速 Kaisoku – Quite fast train. A slightly faster way to move around a city or town, as it skips some stations that for the company are not important so with a lot of crowds. There is no difference in ticket fare between local and fast trains.

Kaisoku Train
Fast train type 快速 

新快速 Shin-kaisoku – Japanese Trains / Japanese Train

Japanese train: 新快速 Shin-kaisoku – Special fast train (新 means new).

*Shin-kaisoku is used on JR Tokai and Nishi-nihon (JR West). No additional fee is required. 

japanese trains
Shin-kaisoku Train
Special fast train type 新快速

Other Japanese trains / Japanese train

快速急行 Kaisoku kyuukoo – Japanese Trains / Japanese train

Japanese train: 快速急行 or 快行 Kaisoku kyuukoo – Limited express. Faster than Kyuukoo and slower than 特急 Tokkyuu.

japanese trains
Train 快速急行
Limited express type train 速急行

通勤特急 Tsuukin tokkyuu – Japanese Trains / Japanese train

Japanese train: 通勤特急 Tsuukin tokkyuu – Special express commuter train. Faster than 特急 Tokkyuu, as it stops at limited stations. It runs quite a bit during morning and evening travel time.

japanese trains
Tsuukin tokkyuu Train
Special express type train 通勤特急

区間快速 Kukan kaisoku – Japanese Trains / Japanese train

Japanese train: 区間快速 Kukan kaisoku – Fast train that stops at each station within a given section.

Kukan kaisoku train
japanese trains
Fast train type 区間快速

準快速 Jun kaisoku – Japanese trains

Japanese train: 準快速 Jun kaisoku – Semi-fast train. Stops at more stations than the fast train, and is therefore slower than the fast train.

japanese trains
Jun kaisoku train

特別快速 Tokubetsu kaisoku – Trenes japoneses

Japanese train: 特別快速 Tokubetsu kaisoku (it is a special fast train) It stops at fewer stops than the so-called fast train, therefore, Tokubetsu kaisoku is faster than the fast train (Kukan kaisoku).

Tokubetsu kaisoku Train
japanese trains
Special type train 特別快速

通勤快速 Tuukin kaisoku – Japanese trains

Japanese train: 通勤快速 Tuukin kaisoku (fast commuter train) runs quite a bit in the Tokyo area. Faster than the fast train as limited station stop, it runs during morning and evening commuting time.

Tren Tuukin kaisoku
japanese trains
Fast train type 通勤快速

Shinkansen 新幹線: Japanese Bullet Train

Shinkansen: Japanese bullet trains, which are super express trains, are only operated by JR and use completely separate tracks and platforms.

These futuristic-looking trains are some of the fastest in the world, and can take you all over Japan in just a few hours. Shinkansen tickets are the most expensive you will find in Japan, and have unreserved and reserved seating.

Train 新幹線

Types of Japanese trains and how to differentiate them

Sometimes we see a lot of Japanese trains and we do not know which one we want to take, whether it is the local, the express, the limited express… Therefore we leave you a picture that is worth a thousand words as the saying goes.

japanese trains
Difference between Japanese trains

Anime Train – Anime Japanese Trains

There are different themes in Japanese trains, but there are some that stand out from the rest, the so-called anime trains. Here are some pictures of anime trains.

Pokemon train – Japanese anime trains

In the first example of anime train we leave you a picture of Pokémon train:

pokemon train
Oshawott’s Pokémon Train

Naruto train – Naruto anime train – Japanese anime trains

Here we can see the Naruto train, it is one of the most famous Japanese anime trains, if you go to Japan we recommend you to take a picture with the naruto anime train, and remember to take pictures inside the naruto train because it is all decorated.

naruto train
Naruto Train

Anime Train | Evangelion Train

We leave you with photos and video of the evangelion train, the anime train that was very famous at the time.

evangelion train
Evangelion Train

Frequently asked questions about Japanese trains

Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions and answers we are asked and sometimes ask ourselves about trains in Japan.

Do Japanese trains not run 24 hours a day? How to find the time of the first and last Japanese train?

Trains in Japan usually end around midnight and start work around 5 a.m., Monday through Sunday. This is the case all over Japan. You can find the time of the first and last train on most map apps on your smartphone or on Hyperdia.

japanese trains
Japanese trains

Are Tokyo trains expensive? Are trains in Japan expensive?

Not exactly, but if you want to save money, take these tips: use an IC card to save you paying for paper tickets (handling fees); day passes are also excellent savers; walking between the nearest stations when you have enough time can also save you a couple of hundred yen here and there, which ends up being thousands of yen in 2 weeks.

Are Tokyo trains very crowded?

Yes they are, full almost all the time and especially during rush hour, we once saw people being pushed inside to fit more people. If you avoid traveling on the main train lines of the city during rush hour which is from 7 to 9:30 in the morning or late in the afternoon, you can avoid the hustle and bustle, and being pushed around as happened to us.

japanese trains
People on the Japanese train

How long does it take by train to get from Shinjuku, Shibuya, Roppongi, Ginza or Asakusa stations to Tokyo’s main airports?

Shinjuku to Haneda – 50 minutes, Shinjuku to Narita – 75 minutes
Shibuya to Haneda – 35 minutes, Shibuya to Narita – 75 minutes
Roppongi to Haneda – 40 minutes, Roppongi to Narita – 90 minutes
Ginza to Haneda – 35 minutes, Ginza to Narita – 65 minutes
Asakusa to Haneda – 50 minutes, Asakusa to Narita – 60 minutes

When you go on a trip what we like most as travelers is to have the best possible experiences, so these activities that I show you below, can be the best experiences you will have on your trip to JAPAN.

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