Translated by Allie
Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen - Fares and Discounts for Kansai and Kyushu
Written by Inou masahiro
The Tokaido Sanyo Shinkansen allows you to visit all of the main attractions in the western part of Japan. This article features a fare timetable showing fare differences and information about discounted tickets.
The Tokaido Sanyo Shinkansen is a bullet train service which connects Tokyo to major cities such as Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima and Fukuoka.
Although it is a really convenient transportation system, understanding the prices and systems can be rather complicated as prices vary depending on the seats, while discounted tickets can be used under certain conditions. We will summarize the price systems for bullet trains as of August 2016.
Differences among Kodama, Hikari and Nozomi trains
The Tokaido Sanyo Shinkansen offers three types of bullet trains: the Kodama, Hikari and Nozomi trains. Here are the differences between these trains.
Nozomi trains are the fastest out of those three but don't stop at every station on the line. Nozomi trains stop at major stations such as Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Shin-Kobe, Hiroshima and Hakata.
The stations which Nozomi trains don't stop at are Odawara, Atami, Hamamatsu, Himeji (some of the trains) and Shin-Shimonoseki and so on.
The ride from Tokyo station to Shin-Osaka station takes about two and a half hours.
Hikari trains are the second fastest bullet trains after Nozomi and stop at major cities such as Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Shin-Kobe, Hiroshima and Hakata and more.
But Hikari trains don't stop at every station either. So please check where your train will stop in advance. Some of the Hikari trains don't stop at Odawara, Atami and Hamamatsu, for example.
The ride from Tokyo station to Shin-Osaka Station takes about three hours.
As Kodama trains stop at all stations, the ride to your destination will take longer than it would on Nozomi and Hikari trains. However, out of these three, Kodama trains have more non-reserved seats. The ride from Tokyo station to Shin-Osaka station takes about four hours.
Differences in Fares
All three bullet train services cost the same price if you choose a non-reserved seat. We will talk about this in more detail later but the fare to travel from Tokyo station to Shin-Osaka station costs 13,620 yen.
A reserved seat costs more than a non-reserved seat. For example, a reserved seat from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka on a Nozomi train costs 14, 450 yen, while the same seat on a Hikari or Kodama costs 14,140 yen.
Please keep in mind that you might not be able to sit down when you buy a non-reserved seat ticket if the train is particularly crowded.
Discounted tickets are offered besides standard tickets.
Nozomi Hayatoku Ofuku Kippu (Nozomi Early Bird Round Trip Tickets)
The Nozomi Hayatoku Ōfuku Kippu is the Nozomi trains' discounted round trip ticket offered between the Okayama area and Tokyo, the area within Hiroshima city and Tokyo and the area within Fukuoka city and the area within Nagoya city (traveling between Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo are not included in this ticket).
It is a reserved seat round trip ticket which allows you to use it for seven days after the first use of your ticket. For instance, if you travel from Hiroshima station to Tokyo station on June 10, you need to travel from Tokyo station back to Hiroshima station by June 16. You can buy the round trip tickets 21 to 7 days before your travel date.
Tokyo Ofuku Super Hayatoku Kippu (Tokyo Round Trip Super Early Bird Ticket)
The Tokyo Ōfuku Super Hayatoku Kippu is a discounted early bird ticket which is offered to those traveling between Okayama and an area within special wards of Tokyo, an area within Hiroshima city and an area within special wards of Tokyo (tickets between Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo are not available.) It is also a round-trip, reserved seat ticket which allows you to use it within three days after your first ride. You can purchase it 21 to 14 days before your travel date. As the period of validity is shorter, this ticket is highly discounted.
You can buy these two discounted early bird tickets at the information center of each JR train stations, the Midori no madoguchi (Ticket Office) and by tickets machines around your place of departure.
Platt Kodama is a service which offers a cheaper fare to travel to any areas from Tokyo station to Shin-Osaka station when taking a Kodama train. For instance, a trip from Tokyo station to Shin-Osaka station costs 10,300 yen.
You need to reserve these tickets in advance on the website for JR Tokai Tours, by phone or at branches of the JR Tokai Tours and JTB travel agency. You can buy tickets one month to 5 days before your travel date on the internet, up to two days before by phone, and one day beforehand at any branches of JR Tokai Tours and JTB travel agencies. The website is also available in English, so non-Japanese speakers need not worry.
More details are available on the JR Tokai tours website.
A Fare Summary
The table below compares the fares from Tokyo station to eight different stations: Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Shin-Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Hakata, including those discounted tickets we introduced above. The prices of the Nozomi early bird round trip ticket and the Tokyo round trip super early bird ticket are divided by half. The currency is shown in Japanese yen. These prices are taken from the regular season and not the low or peak seasons when prices may differ.
|Non reserved seat||Hikari/Kodama
|Nozomi early bird
round trip ticket
|Tokyo round trip
super early bird ticket
Please use bullet trains wisely based on your travel plans. If you live in other countries, you can buy tickets on the Japan Rail Pass website (please check which tickets are available on the website).