Japan's leading railway company, Japan Railways (JR), has an elaborate and well-established network of trains throughout the country. From scenic local trains to the super express shinkansen, if you are traveling on rail in Japan, the chances are it will be with JR. A wide variety of unlimited ride passes are available to help reduce the cost of train travel and help you travel farther. Check out the Rail Passes section of this site.
Tickets for short distances are available from ticket machines installed at each train station. Tickets for traveling long distances and reservations are dealt with at ticket offices at major stations. These long-distance tickets have a lot of important information printed on them, so for an explanation of your ticket, click here - JNTO: Bilingual Tickets by Japan Railways Group
To use the train, first purchase a ticket at a vending machine or ticket window. Pass your ticket through the automated ticket gate or show your ticket to the inspector. Please keep the ticket as you will need it once you arrive at your destination. If there is no fare chart in English, buy the cheapest ticket indicated on the vending machine and pay the difference into the fare adjustment machine at your destination station before you go through the ticket gate. Most, if not all trains stop operating around midnight.
To book tickets for long-distance trains, follow either one of two different procedures:
If you did not validate your Japan Rail Pass at the airport, or did not make seat reservations at the Airport JR Travel Service Center, find a different JR Travel Center to validate your pass. The Tokyo Center is located at the Yaesu north-exist concourse of Tokyo Station , and is open 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. daily. If you have already validated your pass and need only to make seat reservations, go to any Reservation Ticket Office (Midori-no-Madoguchi) counter at major JR stations.
If you don't have a JR Pass, visit the JR Travel Service Center or one of the major travel agents for ticket purchases.