I will be travelling to Japan next month for 10 days and I need to ask 2 questions here:

1 Is there any official Japanese website to buy train ticket online?

2 What would be the best scenic itinerary starting from Tokyo and ending in Osaka or Tokyo for 10 days?

Also my ideal itinerary would be train journey only.

  • 4
    I'd edit out your second question as recommendations are off-topic here – blackbird Jul 28 '16 at 13:40
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    While I dont want to encourage off topic answers, I suggest you look into Hakone, Izu peninsula and Nara. They should provide a nice start. – JS Lavertu Jul 28 '16 at 14:04
  • First 3 answers look precise , would be unfair to accept just1 – Ali Awan Aug 21 '16 at 7:59

For travelling outside eastern Japan, there is no way to buy or reserve tickets from abroad. (Unless you can read Japanese)

For eastern Japan, you can reserve train tickets on the JR EAST network via their website (found here).

NOTE: JR EAST only covers the following part of Japan: JR East map

Even if you can't reserve a train ticket in advance, you will find that unless you are travelling during one of the three busy periods, you will have no trouble finding a seat without reserving it in advance. Simply show up to the counter, buy a ticket (or show your JR pass) and the attendant will hand you a seat reservation.

The busy periods include:

  • Golden Week: usually around 28 April to 7 May
  • Obon: Usually 10 August to 20 August
  • Shogatsu: 28 December to 4 January

As blackbird57 and Federico mentioned, if you plan on travelling by rail, a JR pass can be extremely worth it. Use websites like Hyperdia to get a rough estimate of the total cost of your train tickets and compare that to the cost of a JR pass, you could save lots of money.


  • good answer actually i was more interested in Tokyo-Nagano-Toyoma-Takayama-Nagoya and then either to Tokyo or Osaka trains only which looks like more scenic – Ali Awan Jul 28 '16 at 15:17
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    @AliAwan thats the point of my answer, you can't reserve train tickets outside of JR EAST. As for your second question, it's purely opinion based so I wont answer it here, I did post a comment suggesting a few things however. – JS Lavertu Jul 28 '16 at 15:21
  • the itinerary i mentioned do i need to make any reservations in advance? or simply buy tickets from the counter – Ali Awan Jul 28 '16 at 15:52
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    @AliAwan As my answer mentions, unless you are travelling during a busy period, no you don't need to make reservations. For 2016, Obon will happen between August 6th and 21st. If you do happen to travel at that time, you will most likely need to reserve your tickets in advance. – JS Lavertu Jul 28 '16 at 15:55
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    @JSLavertu -1 Yes you can? Albeit you have to understand Japanese. e5489.jr-odekake.net/e5489/cssp/CBTopMenuSP – The Wandering Coder Jul 29 '16 at 0:21

You can't buy individual tickets beforehand online.

If you're thinking about getting a JR pass, you need to buy an exchange order from an approved reseller or travel agency in your country before arriving in Japan and then exchanging it for an actual pass once you arrive.

The pass then becomes your ticket on JR networks (high speed trains and some lines within cities). There's a very informative article on Japan Guide about this.

If you don't want to buy a whole pass, you can still buy individual tickets but only in Japan. Most stations have machines where you can buy it yourself

  • that is what i was looking for individual tickets to buy online. thanks for your answer – Ali Awan Jul 28 '16 at 15:05
  • individual tickets prices are always the same regardless of buying tickets in advance? – Ali Awan Jul 28 '16 at 15:26
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    @AliAwan you mean in Japan ? I can't say I had a JR pass, but for the reservations yes – blackbird Jul 28 '16 at 15:31
  • my itinerary is Tokyo-Nagano-Toyama-Takayama-Nagoya and then either Osaka or to Tokyo via fujigoko and individual tickets looks more cheaper than 14 day pass – Ali Awan Jul 28 '16 at 15:42
  • Sure, but don't forget some trains require reservations – blackbird Jul 28 '16 at 15:47
  1. Is there any official Japanese website to buy train ticket online?

I assume you're speaking about the Train ticket discount for foreign tourists.

No: http://www.japanrailpass.net/en/purchase.html

Buy your Exchange Order for the JAPAN RAIL PASS at one of the following sales offices or agents before coming to Japan. JTB Corp., Nippon Travel Agency, KINTETSU INTERNATIONAL, Tobu Top Tours, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, JALPAK, and their associated agencies.

There are websites that sell the JRP, but they are not official outlets.

All the official points of sale are listed in the page linked, divided by geographical region.

  • 1
    You may want to mention this pass covers only 1 company (JR) and all other smaller and regional companies (as well as bus services) are not covered. Further, this isn't the only pass for foreign tourists nor does the JR Rail Pass cover all services with JR. Also, if you speak Japanese, you can buy Shinkansen tickets directly from the JR West Japanese Website. – The Wandering Coder Jul 29 '16 at 0:14
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    Too bad, your assumption is not correct. -1 – fkraiem Jul 29 '16 at 5:06
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    @TheWanderingCoder "JR" is not "one company", and further some non-JR trains as well as some buses are covered as well. – fkraiem Jul 29 '16 at 5:08
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    @fkraiem Apologies, Group of Companies. The buses covered are all JR as is the one ferry. The only non-JR lines covered are the Tokyo Monorail between Hamamatsuchō and Haneda Airport and the Aoimori Railway for journeys starting and ending at Hachinohe and Aomori only, and for journeys from these stations to Noheji and the JR East Ōminato Line. Otherwise it is not accepted at any non-JR related company. My comment was merely to say that this answer needs clarification as it merely states "the Train Ticket Discount for tourists" of which there are numerous available for different companies. – The Wandering Coder Jul 29 '16 at 5:45
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    @TheWanderingCoder feel free to edit my answer – Federico Jul 29 '16 at 6:18

I skipped the rail pass since a 2 week pass ended up being more than the journeys we needed. (Tokyo,Kyoto,Odawara,Tokyo)

The JR vending machines take Mastercard so just bought the tickets when needed. FYI the Subway machines didnt accept foreign cards.

If you have time, 1 full day in Hakone was amazing. Spent 3 nights in Kyoto, wish we did more.

  • yes i have calculated buying individual tickets cost less than pass – Ali Awan Jul 28 '16 at 15:35
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    -1 not really an answer to the question. – JS Lavertu Jul 28 '16 at 15:56

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