community-forum community-penpal community-userReports destinations-admission destinations-beenThere-outline destinations-beenThere-solid destinations-city_outline destinations-city_solid destinations-closedDays destinations-date destinations-getThere destinations-hotels destinations-hoursFees destinations-itineraries-3 destinations-links destinations-nearbySpots destinations-pin-simple-outline destinations-pin-simple destinations-sortBy-dots destinations-thumbsUp destinations-tours destinations-town destinations-wishlist-heart-outline destinations-wishlist-heart-solid interests-agriculture interests-amusementParks interests-beaches interests-castles interests-city_solid interests-contemporaryArt interests-events interests-festivals interests-flowers interests-foodDrink interests-gardens interests-hiking interests-historicSites interests-industry interests-koyo-single interests-koyo interests-mangaAnime interests-museums interests-nature interests-onsen interests-parks interests-pottery interests-sakura-single interests-sakura interests-scenicRides interests-shopping interests-shrines interests-skiing interests-snow interests-sumo interests-temples interests-traditionalArts interests-traditionalTheater interests-viewpoints interests-volcanoes interests-wildlife interests-winterIlluminations news-section planning-section planning-tickets-2 planning-transportation-access planning-transportation-bicycle planning-transportation-boat-2 planning-transportation-boat planning-transportation-bus planning-transportation-car planning-transportation-plane planning-transportation-shinkansen planning-transportation-tickets planning-transportation-train planning-transportation-walk shapes-chevron-down shapes-circle shapes-star social-fb social-gplus social-instagram social-twitter ui-alert-construction ui-alert-warning ui-calendar ui-date ui-globe ui-lightbulb ui-no_entry ui-ok ui-pencil ui-reverse ui-search ui-time ui-x user-avatar

Japan's four major islands, Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku are covered by an extensive and reliable network of railways. Trains are a very convenient way for visitors to travel around Japan, especially in conjunction with the Japan Rail Pass.

About 70 percent of Japan's railway network is owned and operated by the Japan Railways (JR), while the remaining 30 percent belongs to dozens of other private railway companies, especially in and around metropolitan areas.

Elsewhere on the site are guides on shinkansen, night trains, tickets, timetables and how to ride the trains.

Japan Railways (JR)

Japan Railways (JR Group) is the successor of the national Japanese National Railways (JNR), which was privatized in 1987 due to huge debts and mismanagement.

The JR Group is made up of six regional passenger railway companies, which are JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR Central, JR West, JR Shikoku, and JR Kyushu, and one nationwide freight railway company, JR Freight. Together they operate a nationwide network of urban, regional and interregional train lines and the shinkansen (bullet trains).

The operation areas of the regional JR companies and shinkansen lines

Private Railway Companies

Dozens of private railway companies exist in Japan. The smaller ones consist of just one line, while others operate quite extensive railway networks. Some of the major private railway companies are listed below:

Kanto

Chubu

Kinki

Kyushu

Page last updated: May 22, 2008