Whether they are packed to bursting point, wonderfully punctual or just plain convenient, we all need them at some time. Japan's trains would never be stopped by leaves on the line (a British Rail excuse). However, there are so many different types of train. Look below to find out more or ignore at your peril.
futsu local train
tokkyu limited express (the actual meaning of this is that while a futsu halts at every stop on the line the tokkyu stops at only a few)
kyukou express (has even less stops)
tsukin kaisoku rapid commuter train
kaisoku rapid train
tokubetsu kaisoku kyukou limited rapid train
shuten last station/terminal
shuden last train
shinkansen (literally new trunk line) bullet train
Remember, if you are not sure of a fare just pay the cheapest available and then go to a fare adjustment machine or the ticket window.
Once you have sorted that lot out remember that the railways are divided into seven JR companies (privatized from the national state monopoly in 1987) and private lines, often the ones people commute on to work. Then there are the subway lines that may be JR owned or private.
Passes and special buys
For tourists the JR pass allows you to travel cheaply on JR trains. It can only be bought outside Japan. Contact your nearest Japan National Tourist Organization for details.
Teikiken are commuter passes that can be bought for one month or three months. Students can get especially cheap deals.
Kaisuken are tickets to the same destination, eleven for the price of ten.
Lost and Found
JR East Information and Reservations
Metro Police for items lost elsewhere in Tokyo 03-3814-4151
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