How to Use Hyperdia to Travel Japan
Hyperdia is a website that quickly allows you to calculate train times in Japan for pretty much anywhere around the country. If it wasn’t for Hyperdia, I honestly don’t think I would have enjoyed traveling Japan nearly as much. What did people do pre-internet era? Have you ever seen those maps of the Tokyo subway? God forbid I needed to use those to get around Tokyo on days I had to be somewhere! I would have dreaded every modeling audition a thousand times more that’s for sure. The maps are intimidating to say the least and for those who aren’t blessed with above average navigational abilities, Hyperdia will more than make up for your lack thereof; it was my best friend in Japan. Yes, the site is in English and it’s very EASY to use.
The best thing about Japan’s rail system is that it’s punctual. Very punctual. It’s so reliable that you can calculate your route to another city five hours away or to the complete other side of the country and you will arrive almost to the minute exactly. So let’s get started! Hyperdia is the best.
How to Use Hyperdia to Travel Japan
Step 1: Go to Hyperdia.com
You can select the Japanese, English, or Chinese tab.
Step 2: Input Your Destination
Once you log onto Hyperdia enter the station name. Be aware of stations that have similar names. For example, if you’re going to Yokosuka-chuo, make sure you don’t accidentally pick Yokosuka. But you can easily search the Shinkansen train schedule.
Hyphens matter in your searches.
Sometimes I like to leave my browser window open on my smartphone. When returning from your destination, you can simply click the reverse destination arrows the right and it will easily recalculate your route back home.
Step 3: Pick Your Train Time
Step 4: Advanced Options
I rarely mess with this tab, but if you have a JR pass and are taking the Shinkansen, then you can’t take the Nozomi (the fastest train), so you may want to uncheck this option. Also, I usually change Max Routes to 10. It will give you 10 rather than 5 routes to compare. Sometimes this is nice if you’re time is flexible.
Step 5: Pick Your Route
Here you can see Shinkansen fares and schedules.
Hyperdia Travel Tips
The TRAIN TIMETABLE is a useful link to verify which direction your train is heading. When traveling Japan sometimes you may not be sure which train to take because it simply tells you it’s headed towards some unfamiliar stop. Looking at the bottom of the train time table will allow you to verify the correct direction of the train you need to take.
Looking at the STATION TIMETABLE will allow you to determine which kind of train you want to take, e.g., a Local or a Ltd. Express. Locals can take a very time long if you need to get to somewhere further away, so it’s always good to know which kind of train you want to take.
Many JR trains offer what is called a Green Car. This is essentially the first class cabin. It costs a little more, but if you have a lot of luggage or are simply very tired and you either want a seat during rush hour or want to relax, consider upgrading. Expect to pay an extra 700 to 1000 yen per upgrade. The seats are larger and you get tray tables.
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