Shinkansen trains, JR limited express (特急 tokkyū, short for 特別急行 tokubetsu kyūkō) and express (急行 kyūkō) services usually offer the following carriages:
  • Ordinary (普通車 futsū-sha)
  • Green Car (グリーン車 gurīn-sha), a first-class car with two seats abreast on each side.
In local traffic, there are only ordinary cars and the following services:
  • Local (普通 futsū-densha or 各駅停車 kakueki-teisha) stopping at all stations and
  • Rapid (快速 kaisoku) that only stop at major stations.


Reserved seats

Trains have both reserved (指定席 shiteiseki) and non-reserved (自由席 jiyūseki) seats. Seat reservations range between 300 and 700 JPY, depending on the train and the season, but are free if you hold a JR rail pass. You are not permitted to travel in a reserved section with non-reserved tickets, even if the carriage is empty, but you can always purchase seat reservations directly from the train conductor.


Non-reserved section

The reserved and non-reserved cars are indicated on the platform. If you have a seat reservation, proceed to the reserved section on the platform and line up at the right point depending on your car and seat number (indicated on your train ticket).

No smoking seats

Some trains still offer smoking (喫煙席 kitsuenseki) and non-smoking (禁煙席 kinenseki) cars. Most JR shinkansen services are non-smoking, newer trains offer small smoking sections or cabins with improved ventilation. The same restrictions apply to smoking on platforms. Some stations offer ventilated cabins or small smoking sections at the very end of platforms.

Related Links:


  • Cover image: Odakyu 60000 series MSE (Multi Super Express, 小田急60000形 Odakyū 60000-gata) is a Romancecar electric multiple unit (EMU) train type operated by the Odakyu Electric Railway in Japan since March 2008 (photo credit)