CITIES COVERED ON THIS PAGE :
CHIBA - Chiba
FUKUOKA - Fukuoka.
HIROSHIMA - Chugoku
KOBE - Hyogo.
KYOTO - Kyoto.
NAGOYA - Aichi.
NAHA - Okinawa Island
OSAKA - Osaka.
SAPPORO - Hokkaido
SENDAI - Miyagi.
YOKOHAMA - Kanagawa.
This page also features information about Japan's six Shinkansen (Bullet Train) routes and the inter island Kaikyo Railway.
The Japanese rail service, including inter city lines and metro lines, are considered to be the world's most time efficient, energy efficient and expensive.
Due to the high expense of rail travel in Japan there are several money saving, interchangable and rechargable smart cards provided for travelers. For more information about these cards visit - www.jreast.co.jp.
Most of Japan's metro systems operate daily between 05.00 hours and 00.00 hours.
Japanese metro systems also provide women only carriages, which are recognised by the pink signs located on each platform.
All of the Japanese metro systems, shinkansen stations and regular railway stations provide signage in both Hanji / Japanese and English.
Please bear in mind that many of Japan's central railway stations are vast complexes which house not only railway services but hotels, restaurants, cinemas, shops and offices.
The port city of Chiba is served by a 15.2 kilometer suspended monorail known as the Townliner, which opened to the public in 1988. The system, which is the longest of it's type in the world, consists of two lines which are served by nineteen stations.
Line 1 - 3.2 km - 6 stations between Chiba Minato and Kencho Mae
Line 2 - 12 km - 13 stations between Chiba Railway Station and Chisirodal.
The above two lines connect at the Chiba Railway Station.
Image courtesy of Jesper Rautell Balle
Chiba is served by the Narita Airport. The airport is served by a railway station which has a number of rail services for transfers into Chiba. For transportation information from Narita Airport to Chiba please visit - www.narita-airport.jp.
Chiba is served by the Chiba Railway Station located in the Chuo Ward of the city. The station is served by several regional and long distance rail services, the city's two monorail services and the following two lines;
The Chuo Sobu Line - 60.2 km - 39 stations between Chiba and Mitaka.
This line is important as it connects with the Tokyo Metro's Chiyoda Line, Hibiya Line, Hanzamon Line, Maranouchi Line, Tozai Line and Yurakucho Line, the Toei Subway's Asakusa Line, Namboku Line, Oedo Line and Shinjuku Line and the JR Yamanote Line / Shinagawa Loop.
The Narita Line consists of three branch lines, one of which is a local airport line.
The Samatsu Line - 78.6 km - 17 stations between Sakura and Choshi.
The Abiko Line - 32.9 km - 10 stations between Abiko and Narita Railway Station
The Airport Line - 10.8 km - 3 stations at Narita Railway Station -Terminal 2 Narita Airport - Narita Airport Railway Station.
Chiba's premier tourist attraction, the 125 meter high Port Tower and Port Park, can be accessed from the Chiba Minato station located on Line 1 of the city monorail service. The tower is then about a fifteen minute walk from the station.
You can visit the monorail’s website by visiting
The city of Fukuoka has a 29.8 kilometer automated (driverelss), underground, rapid transit system which became operational in 1981. The system consists of three lines which are served by thirty six stations.
The northern suburbs of the city are also served by the 8.8 kilometer long, Kitakyushu Monorail, which became operational in 1985.
The Kuko Line - 13km - 13 stations between Karatsu and Fukuoka International Airport.
The Hakozaki Line - 4.7 km - 7 stations between Nakasu Kawabati and Kaizuka.
The Nanakuma Line - 12 km - 16 stations between Hashimoto and Tenjin Minami.
Kokura Line - 8.8 kilometers - 13 stations at Kokura - Heiwadori - Tanga - Kawaraguchi Mihagino - Katano - Jono - Kitagata - Keibajomae - Moritsune - Tokuriki Kodanmae - Tokuriki Arashiyamaguchi - Shii - Kikugaoka.
The city of Fukuoka is served by the Fukuoka International Airport which is served by it's own metro station, located beneath Terminal 3, situated on the city's Koku Line. The Koku Line service travels via the city's Hakata Railway Station and connects with the metro's Nanakuma Line at Tenjin Station metro station.
Fukuoka's main railway station is the Hakata Railway Station, pictured above, located on the Amu Plaza of the JR Hakata City complex located in the city's Hakata City district. The station is served by the metro's Kuko Line and the Shinkansen's (bullet train) Kyushu and Sanyo lines.
You can access the metro website by visiting
The city of Hiroshima is served by two monorail services, the 1.3 kilometer long, Skyrail, which became operational in 1998 and the eighteen kilometer long, automated guideway, known as the Astram, which became operational in 1994.
But the city is actually better known for it's seven line, Electric Railway, which is actually a tram service, which has been operational in and around the city since 1912. This iconic service, which is known locally as the Hiroden, is particularly remembered after local people personally saw to it that the service was up and running just days after it was struck by an atom bomb which hit the city on August the sixth, 1945. Today the Electric Railway, which is the largest and busiest service of it's kind in the country, is served by a fleet of modern trams, several original 1900 trams and two trams which actually survived the atom bomb attack, the old, green, trams displaying the numbers 651 and 652.
Astram Line - 18.4 kilometers - 22 stations at - Hondori - Kencho Mae - Johoku - Shin Hakushima - Hakushima - Ushita - Fudoin Mae - Gion Shinbashikita - Nishihara - Nakasuji - Furuichi - Omachi - Bishamondai - Yasuhigashi - Kamiyasu - Takatori - Chorakuji - Tomo - Obari - Tomo Chuo - Ozuka - Koikimoen Mae.
The Astram operates daily between 07.00 hours and 22.30 hours.
Midorizaka Line - 1.3 kilometers - 3 stations at Midoriguchi - Midori Nakamachi - Midori Chuo.
Line 1 / Main Line - 5.5 km - 19 stops numbered M1 - M19 located between Hiroshima Railway Station and Nishi Hiroshima.
Line 2 / The Ujina Line - 5.7 km - 19 stops numbered U1 - U18 located between Kamiya Cho and Hiroshima Port.
Line 3 / The Eba Line - 2.6 km - 7 stops numbered E1 - E6 located between Dobashi and Eba.
Line 4 / The Hakushima Line - 1.2 km - 5 stops numbered W1 - W5 located between Hatchobori and Hakushima.
Line 5 / The Hijiyama Line (also known as the Minami Line) - 2.5 km - 7 stops numbered H3 - H9 located between Matoba Cho and Minami Machi 6 Chome.
Line 6 / The Yokogawa Line - 1.4 km - 5 stops numbered Y1 - Y5 located between Tokaichi Machi and Yokogawa.
Line 7 / The Miyajima Line - 16.1 km - 21 stops numbered M19 - M39 located between Nishi Hiroshima and Miyajima Guchi.
The Hiroden operates daily between 06.00 hours and 23.00 hours and with the exception of the Miyajima Line, all the other lines shown above charge exactly the same fare.
THE OLD AND NEW HIRODEN TRAMS
Hiroshima is served by the Hiroshima International Airport. The airport is served by local bus services for transport links to the city's Shiraichi Station, Fukuyama Station, Kure Station and Mihara Station. Each journey takes around fifty minutes, but expect delays at peak times.
Hiroshima Railway Station is located along Matsubara cho in the city's Minami ku district. The station, which is served by the Sanyo Shinkansen Line, Sanyo Main Line, the Kure Line, the Kabe Line and the Geibi Line inter -city routes, is served by a south entrance for shinkansen services and a north entrance for regular inter-city services.
BUSHiroshima is served by the Hiroshima Bus Centre which is located in the very centre of the city. The bus centre is served by the Astram Line monorail and the Main Line and Ujina Line of the Hiroden tram.
You can access the Hiroden website by visiting
The city of Kobe has a 40.4 kilometer underground, rapid transit system which became operational in 1977. The system consists of two lines which are served by thirty stations.
Seishin Line - 13.3 km - 17 stations between Tanigami and Seishin Chuo.
Kaigan Line - 7.9 km - 10 stations between Sannomiya Hanadokeimae and Shin Nagata.
The above two lines connect at the Shin Nagata metro station.
ROKKO LINER &
Kobe is also served by two automated guide way transit systems.
The Rokko - Liner which has a 4.5 km line which is served by six stations between Sumiyoshi and Marine Park, which travels to Rokko Island.
The Port - Liner which has a 6.4 km line which is served by nine stations between Sannomiya and Kobe Airport and five stations between Shimin Hiroba and Naka Koen.
Both systems became operational in 1981.
KOBE ELECTRIC RAILWAY
Kobe also has a light rail, commuter service known as the Kobe Electric Railway which is served by four lines.
The Arima Line - 22. 5 km - 16 stations between Minatagawa and Arima Onsen.
The Sanda Line - 12 km - 10 stations between Arimagachi and Sanda.
The Koen - Toshi Line - 5.5 km - 4 stations between Yokoyama and Woody Town Chuo.
The Kosuki Line - 0.4 km - 2 stations located at Shinkaichi and Minatagawa.
The city of Kobe is served by the Kobe Airport. The airport is served by a railway station on the Port - Liner automated guideway system which terminates at the Sannomiya Railway Station, where travelers can then connect with the metro's Seishin Line.
There is also a high speed ferry service which links Kobe Airport with the neighbouring Kansai International Airport.
Kobe's main railway station is the Sannomiya Railway Station located in the city's Chuo Ward. The station is served by several national and local rail lines and also connects with the metro's Seishin Line and the Shinkansen's (bullet train) Sanyo Line.
For more Kobe rail travel information, visit - www.japan-guide.com
You can access the Kobe metro website by visiting
Map courtesy of mapsof.net
The city of Kyoto has a 28.8 kilometer rapid transit system which became operational in 1981. The system consists of two lines which are served by thirty two stations.
The Karasuma Line - 13.7 km - 15 stations between Kinetsu Nara and Kokusaikaikan
The Tozai Line - 17.5 km - 17 stations between Uzumasa Tenjingawa and Rokujizo
The above two lines connect at the Karasuma Oike metro station.
The city of Kyoto is served by the Kansai International Airport which is served by a railway station on the Haruka Limited Express line which terminates at Kyoto Railway Station. Kyoto Railway Station has it's own metro station, called the K11 metro station, situated on the metro's Karasuma Line.
Kyoto Railway Station is located in the city's Shimogyo Ward and is served by three entrances and exits located at Karasuma Gate, Nishinotoin Gate and Hachijo Gate.
The station is served by several rail services as well as the metro's Karasuma Line, by way of the K11 metro station, and the Shinkansen's (bullet train) Tokaido Line.
You can access the metro website by visiting
The city of Nagoya has an 89.1 kilometer underground and elevated rapid transit system which became operational in 1957. The system consists of six lines which are served by eighty three stations.
Line 1 - The Higashiyama Line - 20.6 km - 22 stations between Takabata and Fujigaoka.
Line 2 - The Meiko Line - 6 km - 6 stations between Kanayama and Nagoyaka (Nagoya Port)
Line 3 - The Tsurumai Line - 20.4 km - 20 stations between Kami Otai and Akaike.
Line 4 - The Meijo Line - 26.4 km -29 stations between Kanayama and Nishitakakura.
Line 6 - The Sakura - dori Line - 19.1 km - 21 stations between Nakamura Kyakusho and Tokushige.
Line 7 - The Kamiida Line - 0.8 km - 2 stations between Kami Ida and Heian - dori.
The Meitetsu railway company is a private rail firm which provides two hotels and six rail services in and around Nagoya. The company's main railway terminal and the site of one of it's hotels is located at the Meitetsu Gifu Nagoya Railway Station which is located
along Meieki in the city's Nakamura Ward. Because it is a private company neither the station nor any it's rail services are served by the city's metro system but it's Meitetsu Gifu Nagoya Railway Station is situated right next door to the Nagoya Railway Station. The company's six railway lines are -
Meitetsu Airport Line - Airports - Rinku Tokoname - Tokoname Station.
Meitetsu Tokoname Line - 29.3 km - 23 stations between Tokoname Station and Jingu - mae.
The above two lines connect at Tokoname Station.
Meitetsu Nagoya Line - 99.8 km - 60 stations between Meitetsu Gifu and Toyohashi.
Meitetsu Chikkō Line - 1.5 km - 2 stations at Oe and Higashi Nagayako.
Meitetsu Kōwa Line - 28.8 km - 19 stations between Otagawa and Kowa.
Meitetsu Seto Line - 20.6 km - 20 stations between Shinsakae-machi and Owari Seto.
The city of Nagoya is served by two airports the Chubu Centrair International Airport and the Central Japan International Airport. Both airports are linked by an elevated walkway and together are both served by the Meitetsu Airport Line train which travels to and from Nagoya's Tokoname Station.
Nagoya Railway Station is one of the world's largest train stations. The station is housed beneath two fifty storey towers which have a combined floor space of over 400, 000 square meters. The station is located along Meieki in the city's Nakamura Ward and is served by several local and long distance train services as well as the metro's Higashiyama Line and Sakuradori Line and the Shinkansen's (bullet train) Tokaido Line.
You can access the metro website by visiting
Map courtesy of mapsof.net
NAHA, Okinawa Island
The city of Naha is the capital city of Okinawa Prefecture and Okinawa Island. The city is served by a 13 kilometer long monorail service which became operational in 2003. The monorail, which also goes by the name of the Yui Railway or Okinawa Monorail, was constructed in order to alleviate the heavy traffic congestion in and around the capital.
The city of Naha is noted for being Japan's most southerly located city and it's monorail is the only rail transport located on the whole of the island.
Yui Rail - 12.9 kilometers - 15 stations at Naha Kūkō Airport - Akamine - Oroku - Ōnoyama kōen - Tsubogawa - Asahibashi - Kenchōmae - Miebashi - Makishi - Asato - Omoromachi - Furujima - Shiritsubyōinmae - Gibo - Shuri.
Okinawa Island is served by the Naha Kuko International Airport. The airport is served by the island monorail service which links the airport with the city and suburbs of Naha.
There are no rail services on Okinawa Island.
The island's main bus terminal is located in Naha city centre and is served by it's own monorail station at Asahabashi.
You can access the monorail website by visiting
The port city of Osaka has a 129.9 kilometer mass rapid transit system which became operational in 1933. The system consists of eight lines which are served by one hundred and twenty five stations. The city is also served by a twenty one kilometer, heavy rail, city loop system, an eight kilometer long, automated guideway known as the Nanko Port Town Liner, an airport express rail service and a 28 kilometer long monorail.
Line 1 - The Midosuji Line - 24.5 km - 20 stations between Esaka and Nakamozu.
Line 2 - The Tanimachi Line - 28.1 km - 26 ststions between Dainichi and Yaominami.This line provides a women only carriage after 9AM.
Line 3 - The Yotsubashi Line -11.4 km - 11 stations betwen Nishi Umada and Namba.
Line 4 - The Chuo Line - 17.9 km - 14 stations between Cosmo Square and Nagata.
Line 5 - The Sennichimae Line - 12.6 km - 13 stations between Nodahanshin and Minami Tatsumi.
Line 6 - The Sakaisuji Line - 8.5 km - 10 stations between Tenjimbashuji Rokuchome and Tengachaya.
Line 7 - The Nagahori Tsurumi Ryokuchi Line - 15 km - 16 stations between Taisho and Kadoma Minami.
Line 8 - The Imazatasuji Line - 11.9 km - 11 stations between Itikano and Imazato.
21.7 km - 19 stations at - Osaka Railway Station - Fukushima - Noda - Nishikujo - Bentenchō - Taishō - Ashiharabashi - Imamiya - Shin-Imamiya - Tennoji -Teradachō - Momodani - Tsuruhashi - Tamatsukuri - Morinomiya - Osakajō-kōen - Kyobashi - Sakuranomiya - Temma - Osaka Railway Station.
The loop connects with the metro's Chuo Line, Midosuji Line, Nagahori Line, Sakaisu Line and Sennichimae Line.
NANKO PORT TOWN LINER
7.9 km - 10 stations at Cosmo Square - Trade Center - Nakafuto - Port Town nishi - Port Town higashi - Ferry Terminal - Nankō higashi - Nankōguchi - Hirabayashi - Suminoekōen.
The liner connects with the metro's Chuo Line at Cosmo Square Station.
Main Line – 21.2 km – 13 stations between Osaka International Airport and Kadoma.
Saito Line – 6.8 km – 5 stations between Banpaku Kiren Koen and Saito Nishi.
Haruka Limited Express - 15 stations between Malbara and Kansai International Airport via Osaka Railway Station.
UMEDA SKY BUILDING
Osaka is served by the Kansai International Airport which is served by a railway station on the city monorail and a station on the Haruka Limited Express.
The express service, which operates daily, every half an hour between 06.00 hours and 00.00 hours, takes around an hour and fifteen minutes to make the journey into downtown Osaka where it terminates at Osaka Railway Station which is served by the city metro's Midosuji Line and Tanimachi Line and the Shinkansen's (bullet train) Tokaido Line and Sanyo Line.
Osaka Railway Station is located in the city's Yodogawa Ward and is served by the metro's Midosuji Line and Tanimachi Line and the Shinkansen's (bullet train) Tokaido Line and Sanyo Line.
This station is also both the inbound and outbound terminus of the city's, Osaka Loop, a 21.7 kilometer central loop system which encircles downtown Osaka. The loop, which originally opened in 1898, is served by nineteen stations between Osaka Railway Station and Temma Station which is located at the city's Tenjimbashisuji Shopping Arcade.
You can access the metro website by visiting
The city of Sapporo has a 48 kilometer underground rapid transit system which became operational in 1971. The system consists of three lines which are served by forty nine stations.
The city is also served by an 8.41 kilometer tram network.
Line 1 - The Namabuku Line - 14.3 km - 16 stations between Asabu and Makomanai.
Line 2 - The Tozai Line - 20.1 km - 19 stations between Miyanasawa and Shin Sapporo.
Line 3 - The Toho Line - 13.6 km - 14 stations between Sakaemachi and Fukuzumi.
The above three lines all connect at the Odori metro station, which is also served by the Nishi Yon Chome tram stop.
The Sapporo Tram is an 8.41 kilometer long network which is served by three city centre routes, the Ichijo Line, the Yamahana Line and the Yamahana Nishi Line, all of which traverse between the Nishi Yon Chome and Susukino areas of the city's Chuo District. The three tram lines connect with all three lines of the city metro system at the Nishi Yon Chome tram terminus which is located outside the Odori metro station.
THE BEER MUSEUM
The city of Sapporo is served by the New Chitose Airport. The airport is served by it's own railway station on the Shin Chitose - Kuko Branch Line. Take the airport train to the Minami Chitose Station and change there for the Chitose Main LIne. The first station on this line is the Sapporo Railway Station which is served by it's own metro station on the Nambuko Line.
Shin Chitose - Kuko Branch Line - 2 stations at New Chitose Airport and Minami Chitose.
Chitose Main Line - 56.6 km - 15 stations between Sapporo Railway Station and Tomakomai.
Sapporo is served by two main railway stations.
The Sapporo Railway Station, located in the city's Chuo Ward, which is served by the Chitose Mainline and the metro's Namboku Line and Toho Line.
The Shin Sapporo Railway Station, located in the city's Atsubetsu Ward, which is served by the city's tram network and the metro's Tozai Line.
You can access the metro website by visiting
The city of Sendai has a 14.8 kilometer rapid transit system which became operational in 1987. The system presently consists of one line with another line due to open this year - 2015.
The city is also served by an airport express rail line.
Nanboku Line - 14.8 km - 17 stations between Tomizawa and Izumi Chuo
Tozai Line - 13.9 km - 13 stations between Yagiyama-Dōbutsu-Kōen and Arai. Opens 2015.
All the above lines connect at Sendai Railway Station.
5 stations - Sendai Railway Station - Natori - Morisekinoshita - Mitazonu - Sendai Airport.
Sendai is served by the Sendai International Airport . The airport is served by a railway station on the Sendai Airport Line train which travels through to Sendai Railway Station which is then served by both lines of the metro station and the Shinkansen's (bullet train) Tohuku Line and Akita Line.
Sendai Railway Station is located in the city's Aoba Ward and is served by both lines of the city's metro, the city airport line and the Shinkansen's (bullet train) Tohuku Line and Akita Line.
You can access the metro website by visiting
For information about the Tokyo Metro visit our page
The city of Yokohama has a 40.4 kilometer rapid transit system which became operational in 1972. The system consists of two lines which are served by thirty nine stations.
Line 1- 19.7 km - 17 stations between Shonandai and Shin Yokohama.
Line 2 - 13 km - 22 stations between Nakayama and Hiyoshi.
The above two lines connect at Center Kita and Center Minami metro stations.
The city of Yokohama is served by the Haneda International Airport. The airport is served by a station on the Keikyu main line rail service which consists of a twenty three station route between Shinagawa and Yokohama.
From the airport's Domestic Terminal take the Keikyu mainline railway service to Yokohama Railway Station or Shinagawa Station situated on the JR Yamanote Line/ Shinagawa Loop for onward services into Tokyo.
From the airport's two International Terminals take the terminal's monorail service to Hamamatsucho Station which is also located on the JR Yamanote Line/ Shinagawa Loop for services into either Tokyo or Yokohama.
For more information about transportation at Haneda Airport visit - www.haneda-airport.jp
Yokohama is served by two main railway stations.
The Yokohama Railway Station, located in the city's Nishi Ward, which is served by the Keikyu mainline railway service, the JR Yamanote Line/Shinagawa Loop and the metro's Line 1.
The Shin - Yokohama Railway Station, which is located in the city's Kohoku Ward, which is served by the metro's Line 1 and the Shinkansen's (bullet Train) Tokaido Line.
The above two stations can both be accessed by way of the metro's Line 1.
You can access the Yokohama Metro website by visiting
SHINKANSEN / BULLET TRAIN ROUTES
Japan's Bullet Train or Shinkansen is the fastest and safest train service in the world with trains which can attain speeds of up to 300 km/h (or 186 mph) which have a one hundred per cent safety record. The service is the world's busiest, by passenger number, with 151 million passengers every year. The high tech electric trains run on exclusive, continuous standard gauge tracks and provide five routes on Japan's main island of Honshu and one route on the Island of Kyushu.
For more passenger information about Japan's bullet train services please visit - www.japanrailpass.net
Route map, shown below, courtesy of Hisagi, wikimedia commons.
THE TOKAIDO LINE
The Tokaido line, shown as the yellow route on the above map, provides a 515 kilometer long service which was completed in 1964. The service begins in the country's capital city of Tokyo and terminates at the city of Osaka.
The Bullet that performs this service travels at speeds of up to 270 km/h and takes three hours on the non stop service, but, as there is a train every five minutes leaving Tokyo, taking the four hour train containing stops is a great way to see some of Japan's top landmarks and tourist attractions.
The route takes in the world famous Mount Fuji and Mount Ibuki, stops at the world's largest train station in the city of Nagoya and passes through Japan's vast tea plantations via the ancient cities of Kyoto and Nara before terminating at Japan's second largest city of Osaka, famous for it's vast seaport.
The line has eighteen stations located at - Tokyo - Shinagawa - Shin Yokohama - Odawara - Atami - Mishima - Shin Fuji - Shizuoka - Kakegawa - Hamamatsu - Toyohashi - Mikawa Anjo - Nagoya - Gifu Hishima - Maibara - Kyoto - Shin Osaka.
THE TOHUKO LINE & MINI SHINKANSEN
Japan's Tohuku Line, shown as the green route on the above map, is 593 kilometer service, making it the longest of the Bullet train services. This service, which was completed in 2002, travels north from Tokyo through the Shirakami - Sanchi mountain range before terminating at the Pacific coastal city of Shichinohe Towada.
This area in the northern province of Aomori is home to the largest virgin beech forest in the world and contains several natural World Heritage Sites, national parks, ancient castles and temples.
The line also passes through the 26.5 kilometer long Hakkoda Tunnel and the the 25.8 kilometer long Iwate Ichinohe Tunnel.
The line consists of twenty two stations located at - Tokyo - Ueno - Omiya - Oyama - Utsunomiya - Nasu Shiobara - Shin Shirakawa - Koriyama - Fukushima - Shiroishi Zao - Sendai - Furukawa - Kirikoma Kogen - Ichinoseki - Mizusawa Eashi - Kitakami - Shin Hanamaki - Morioka - Iwate Numukanai - Ninohe - Hachinohe - Shichinohe Towada.
There are also two sub lines of the Tohuku Line known as the Mini Shinkansen.
These lines are the 148 kilometer long Yamagata Line, which is served by eleven stations between Fukushima and Shinjo and the 127 kilometer long Akita Line which is also served with eleven stations between the cities of Morioka and Akita.
THE SANYO LINE
The Sanyo Line, shown as the blue line on the above map, is a 553 kilometer long route between the city of Osaka and the coastal city of Hakata.
The route travels along the lush, flat arable plains surrounding the Mikasa River, via the city of Hiroshima, before terminating at the ancient, west coast city of Hakata.
The line consists of nineteen stations located at - Shin Osaka - Shin Kobe - Nishi Akashi - Himeji - Aioi - Okayama - Shin Kurashiki - Fukyuyama - Shin Onomichi - Mihara - Higashi Hiroshima - Hiroshima - Shin Iwakuni - Tokuyama - Shin Yamaguchi - Asa - Shin Shimonoseki - Kokura - Hakata.
THE JOETSU LINE
The Joetsu Line, also shown as a green route on the above map, is a branch line of the Tokaido Line which was completed in 1971. The 269 kilometer service cuts cross country from east to west between the cities of Tokyo and Niigata. The service travels through heavily forested mountains and lush, green arable plains towards the Japanese Northern Alps in the Hida Mountains, the Central Alps of the Kiso Mountains and the Southern Alps of the Akaishi Mountains, where vast ranges with several peaks of over three thousand meters high can be seen. The area is also home to several ski resorts, hiking routes, national parks and active volcanoes.
An eighteen kilometer branch line of this route also opens in the Winter months in order to accommodate the winter ski tourists, which operates between Niiagata and Goya.
The line has ten stations located at - Tokyo - Ueno - Omiya - Kumagaya - Honjo Waseda - Takasaki - Jomo Kegen - Echigo Yuzawa - Urasa - Nagaoka - Tsubame Sanjo - Niigata.
THE NAGANO LINE
The Nagano line, shown as a purple route on the above map, links the cities of Takasaki and Nagano and was completed in 1997 in time for the Nagano Winter Olympic Games.
The 117 kilometer route takes you through Japan's central highlands, an area renowned for it's spectacular natural beauty of mountains, lakes and forests, which boasts a myriad of inland mountain resorts, spas and spiritual retreats, all of which have become popular for both Winter sports enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
The line has six stations located at - Takasaki - Annaka Haruna - Karuizawa - Sakudaira - Ueda - Nagano.
In March of 2015 a 228 kilometer extension of the Nagano Line, located between Nagano and Kanazawa, was opened.
This new extension consists of eight stations located at Nagano, Liyama, Joetsumyoko, Itoigawa, Kurobe Unazukionsen, Toyama, Shin Takaoka and Kanazawa.
THE KYUSHU LINE
The Kyushu Line, shown as the red route on the above map, is the only line in operation outside Japan's main island of Honshu. This 126 kilometer line operates on Kyushu Island south of Honshu. Kyushu is an island situated in the East China Sea with a terrain of active volcanoes, hot springs, beautiful beaches and popular holiday resorts.
The island's sub tropical climate has provided the area with a thriving rice, tea, tobacco and silk industries contained within it's interior and it's major city of Fukuoka has been awarded the title of the Most Pleasant City With Which to Live in the World.
This line has twelve stations located at - Hakata - Shin Tosu - Kurume - Chikugo Funagoya - Shin Omuta - Shin Tamana - Kumamoto - Shin Yatsushiro - Shin Minamata - Izumi - Sendai - Kagoshima Chuo.
THE KAIKYO LINE
The Kaikyō Line is not a shinkansen / bullet train but an 87.8 kilometer long railway line which is operated by the Hokkaido Railway Company. The line links the two Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido, from the Naka Oguni Station in Sotogahama, Aomori Prefecture and the Kikonai Station in Kikonai on Hokkaido.
The line consists of six stations located at Naka Oguni - Tsugaru Imabetsu - Tappi Kaitei - Yoshioka Kaitei - Shiriuchi - Kikonai.
The two stations of Tappi Kaitei and Yoshioka Kaitei are situated inside Japan's longest tunnel, the Seikan Tunnel, which is 53.9 kilometers long and located in the Tsugaru Strait, pictured above.
There are three other railway lines which also link these two islands, the Tsugaro Line between Aomori on Honshu Island and Hakodate on Hokkaido Island, the Esashi Line between Goryokaku on Honshu Island and Kikonal on Hokkaido Island and the Hakodate Line between Asahikawa on Honshu Island and Hakodate on Hokkaido Island.
From the Tappi Kaitei Station, which was originally installed for evacuation purposes, one can access the Seikan Tunnel Tappi Shakō Line, a funicular railway, pictured above, located at Sotogahama in Aomori Prefecture on the island of Hokkaido.
This 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge line, which is operated by the Seikan Tunnel Museum and can be visited only by way of a guided tour, descends from the museum into the underground station of the tunnel, which is the longest railway tunnel in Japan and the second longest railway tunnel in the world.
In 2016 the Kaikyo Line will begin to operate the first phase of the new Hokkaido Shinkansen Line, a high speed route which will eventually travel the 360 kilometers between the city of Sapporo located on Hokkaido Island and the city of Hachinohe in Aomori Prefecture located on Honshu Island.
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