As of April 1, 2022, the popular timetable search service Hyperdia has ceased offering timetable details on its route search service, which comes as a big shock to the many people who have relied on the free web service to plan their train journeys since the early 2000s. Hyperdia has been particularly liked by overseas tourists for its option to exclude Nozomi trains from its search results, allowing them to look up connections that are fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass (which does not cover Nozomi trains).

Hyperdia can still be used to look up routes, fares and travel times; however, instead of listing specific connection times, it will list only approximate, average travel times, which greatly reduces its usefulness. Without the specific timetable data, popular tools such as the list of stations along the way and the list of other departures on the same day also became unavailable. A reason for the service's discontinuation has not been provided, and we wonder whether the disappearance of overseas tourists from Japan and the considerable monthly cost of using the timetable data may have been factors behind the decision.

The big question for many former Hyperdia users will be what alternative services exist. Below we list some of the available options that we are aware of:

Jorudan (aka Japan Transit Planner)

Since the early days of the Internet, Jorudan has been an alternative to Hyperdia. Today, Jorudan offers a website and an app, both of which come with free basic search functions and some additional paid functions. The free options available differ between the web and app, with the app version being greatly superior to the website.

The free app includes a Japan Rail Pass option, which allows results to be limited to trains covered by the pass, and also lists platform details and stations along the way. None of these features are provided by the free web version. Neither web nor app allow to exclude specific train categories (e.g. shinkansen or limited express trains), which is an option reserved for users willing to pay the monthly subscription fee of 330 yen.

Covers: train, plane and bus

Pros and cons:

  • has Japan Rail Pass option (app only)
  • shows stations along the way (app only)
  • shows platform numbers (app only)
  • does not allow to exclude certain train categories (except paid version)

Website: https://world.jorudan.co.jp/mln/en/
Android app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.co.jorudan.japantransit
iPhone app: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/japan-transit-planner/id524328198

Navitime (aka Japan Travel by Navitime)

The English route search service by Navitime is close to perfect - when it works. Not only does it have a Japan Rail Pass option, but it can similarly handle several other rail passes. It also allows to exclude results by train category and other means of transport. Besides covering train and flight connections, Navitime is particularly strong with bus connections across Japan and also covers driving routes, taxi fares and expressway tolls.

The service is free and comes as website and app; however, while the app has been working like a charm for us, we failed being able to use the website over the past few days because it would not let us enter any departure and destination points.

Covers: train, plane, bus, taxi, car, walk

Pros and cons:

  • has Japan Rail Pass (and other rail passes) option
  • can exclude certain train categories or transport types
  • shows taxi fares
  • shows expressway tolls
  • has wheelchair-friendly option
  • has eco-friendly option
  • allows to set walking speed

Website: https://japantravel.navitime.com/en/area/jp/route/
Android app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.navitime.inbound.walk
iPhone app: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/japan-travel-route-map-jr/id686373726

Google Maps

Last but not least there is Google. The map-centered interface requires a little bit of getting-used-to for those used to Hyperdia, but the search results by Google are tremendously powerful and not limited to trains, buses and flights, but also cover car, bicycle, walk and wheelchair-friendly options, while being interlinked with other useful Google services.

However, unlike Hyperdia, the Google Map connection tool does not currently allow users to exclude certain train categories from their search results and does not feature a Japan Rail Pass option to exclude trains that are not covered by the popular rail pass.

Covers: train, plane, bus, car, bicycle, walk

Pros and cons:

  • shows stations along the way
  • shows platform numbers
  • has wheelchair-friendly option
  • has no Japan Rail Pass option
  • does not allow to exclude certain train categories

Website: https://www.google.com/maps