Jun 11, 2008
3 types of Japanese trains + 1 bonus train
There are three basic types of trains that a gaijin living in Japan should know about. Without knowledge of the different types of trains, you could find yourself at the wrong eki (train station), get off at the wrong place and this could cause you to arrive late and we can't have that. If you are a gaijin living in Japan you'll run across these terms sooner or later but its better that you get introduced to them here so that you won’t be confused about the different types of passenger trains you’ll come across when you roam about the land of the rising sun, Japan.
There are 3 basic types of trains that run in Japan. There are few cities in Japan that aren't covered with some mileage of train track, but not much. The crossing whistles always blow and the crossing gates are constantly opening and shutting. Of course the trains stop running usually by 1 or 2 am. The three types of trains that are regularly used in Japan are, in order of frequency of stops from most to least are as follow:
Tokkyu (special limited),
Kyuukou (limited express), and
Tokkyu trains stop at only the major train stations and are much faster in terms of getting you there quicker. Kyukoo trains stop more periodic, while the Futsuu trains stop at every stop in between, and are thus quite slower than the other two. Ideally you would want to ride a Tokkyu train, get off and wait for a Kyuukou unless that train doesn't go to your destination, and using Kyukoo for small train rides to the very next station etc. If your destination is a small hamlet in the country side then you will have to take for at least a small portion of your ride the Futsuu train.
The train I haven’t mentioned which has incorporated the use of the new maglev technology and has achieved speeds in the upper 500 km/hr is the Shinkansen, or bullet train, isn’t your everyday run of the mill train. Essentially the shinkansen is a very classy and expensive ride that covers great distances, like from Tokyo to Osaka for example. Hopefully you will enjoy all your train rides and become accustomed to this type of culture in constant transit during your visits to the land of the rising sun, Japan.