Explore Japan deeper via train! With its extended railroad network, trains in Japan can take you to most of the country's major cities and towns. In this route, you will travel through the country from top to bottom, starting from Hokkaido and finishing in Kagoshima. As you move, you get to experience the differences between the local cultures shaped by history and geography. The 14 stops you're about to make are a series of fascinating locations. From historic places and nature wonders, to unique, tasty dishes, hop on for your train journey full of memorable encounters!
＊Travel time varies depending on the train you take. Please refer to the latest timetable for details.
about 3 hours 30 min
Situated in the biggest city of Hokkaido, Sapporo Station is only 40 minutes away from the convenient gateway, the New Chitose Airport, where overseas travellers usually go through to begin their adventure. One of the reasons why Sapporo remains a popular hotspot is certainly due to the numerous eateries offering local, fresh delicacies from all over Hokkaido. But did you know that Sapporo and its nearby vicinity also have historic spots and nature attractions? Try visiting Maruyama Park, a lovely park filled with trees which its colours change with the seasons, or the Former Hokkaido Government Office, which serves as an iconic symbol and houses historical exhibits.
about 2 hours
Try travelling around Hakodate – a well-known water gateway and port city connecting Hokkaido with Japan's Honshu (Main Island). For history buff, this is one of the five international trading ports that opened following the end of the national isolation in 1859. Take a look around and you can still find many old Western-style buildings, such as churches, making it a nostalgic yet unique cityscape as they continue to timelessly stand amidst the modern buildings. Here you can also find Mt. Hakodate – famous for the panoramic view of its surroundings – where you can take in a dreamy, out-of-the-world nightscape from its vantage points.
about 40 min
Morioka City - where the ruins of Morioka Castle lie - has been developed into a castle town. It is dotted with historical sites, like the Morioka Castle Site Park and the Morioka Hachimangu Shrine. Traditional Japanese architecture found in ancient merchant houses and the Western-style buildings built in the Meiji period (1868-1912), such as the Bank of Iwate Red Brick Building, are worth a visit too. While you're in the city, don't forget to try the "three great noodles of Morioka" - Reimen, Wanko Soba, Jajamen - as well!
about 1 hour 30 min
Despite being an urban city, Sendai brims with abundant greens, such that it is also known as the "City of Trees." Having prospered as the castle town of Sendai Castle, the area is rich in its history with many historical sites. Since you're at Sendai, try hopping over to the scenic Matsushima which comprises 260 tiny islands to catch one of Japan's Three Great Sights - the view over the Matsushima Bay. Tip for easy, cost-efficient travel within and around the city: ride the Loople Sendai bus and use the Sendai Marugoto Pass.
about 50 min
about 1 hour 45 min
Mishima and Atami STATION
Not too far from Atami is Mishima, located on the northern part of the Izu Peninsula. It is home to the Mishima Taisha Shrine and is known as a place blessed with pure spring water from Mt. Fuji. The Mishima Skywalk, the longest suspended footbridge in Japan, opened in 2015 as a thrilling yet scenic spot where you can look over for the spectacular view of Mt. Fuji and its surroundings. Have a taste of the local delicacy, Mishima eels, while you're here!
about 35 min
Nagoya STATION©NAGOYA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU.
Did you know that there are many more spots to experience Nagoya, other than Nagoya Castle? Explore the Atsuta Jingu shrine and the city's symbolic Chubu Electric Power Mirai Tower. If you are a train lover, visit the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park, featuring the dynamism of the technology, design and history of the railway. The city also boasts a rich selection of delicious local dishes called "Nagoya-meshi." Have a taste at miso katsu, a deep-fried pork cutlet dish with a miso base sauce, and the hitsumabushi, an unagi dish served in a wooden rice container to immerse yourself in the food culture!
about 15 min
Kyoto is more than just a city; it is a long-standing symbol of the country's culture and history. Here, you can find notable temples and shrines as well as the essence of Japanese cuisine, which is an Intangible Cultural Heritage. Not only its cuisine, from the traditional performing arts and handicrafts to seasonal rituals and festivals that have been carried out since ancient times, have a feel of Kyoto through its one and only cultural experiences! If you want to experience a completely different side of the prefecture, head to the northern areas of Kyoto to visit Kyoto by the Sea, with wonderful views of locations like the Amanohashidate sandbar, which is regarded as one of Japan's Three Great Sights.
about 50 min
Osaka started flourishing as a metropolitan area over 400 years ago to become one of the commercial and gastronomic centres, and commonly referred to as the "nation's kitchen." It is a gourmet paradise full of Osaka-unique, mouthwatering dishes, making every decision to choose from the city's seemingly limitless menu - from street food like takoyaki to Michelin-starred meals - like a once-in-a-lifetime one. "Eat till you've spent every single penny," which is how foodies usually go on a non-stop food expedition in Osaka. The convenient urban transportation network helps you travel around the city easily.
about 40 min
Okayama STATION©Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation.
Grapes and peaches are some of Okayama's best produces, so sweets and other confections created with these fruits are not to be missed! Easily accessible by local trains, head over to Kojima, where popular domestic jeans are produced, Kurashiki - known for its beautiful, nostalgic townscape with white walls - and the Korakuen Garden, one of Japan’s three great gardens.
about 1 hour 15 min
Hiroshima STATIONCourtesy of Hiroshima Prefecture
One of the most visited cities in Japan is Hiroshima, giving off a nostalgic ambience with its tram network. You may know Hiroshima for its Miyajima and Itsukushima Shrine. Other charming spots among many, admire the monuments and structures made from white marble at Miraishin no Oka and take a scenic stroll along the Path of Literature of Senkoji Park to meet 25 Japanese poets (monuments). For rabbit lovers, Okunoshima Island needs to be on your list.
Do you know that Hiroshima has its own style of okonomiyaki? Yes, different from that of Osaka. An omiyage (souvenir) unique to the prefecture is momiji-manju.
about 30 min
Found at the very western tip of Honshu, Shimonoseki of Yamaguchi Prefecture is separated by the Kanmon Straits from Kyushu. Try taking a vehicle ride through the Tsunoshima Bridge which appears to be floating on the cobalt-blue Sea of Japan. Try out fugu at some of the famous restaurants here, which also happened to be frequented by the dignitaries - feel the luxurious vibes while having a taste.
about 1 hour 30 min
Hakata, a vital port city buzzing with trade activities in Fukuoka, provides easy access to popular sites like Dazaifu and Itoshima, while serving as the hub of Kyushu's transportation system to let you travel easily around Kyushu by trains, including limited express. If you're a foodie, the Nakasu district next to Hakata Station offers a variety of eateries and cafes in addition to street food. If you're looking to savour the variety of gourmet food from Fukuoka, this is the place to be!
Kagoshima Chuo STATION
Kagoshima is an hour and a half on the Kyushu Shinkansen from Hakata. Kagoshima is certainly one of the places for nature lovers as it has much of its nature remaining in pristine conditions; explore the mysterious island of Yakushima, the volcanic island of Sakurajima, and the lovely beach at Yurigahama. Looking for a dip? Kagoshima is actually a hot spring sanctuary with the second largest number of hot spring sources in the country! Enjoy delicious local specialities, such as kurobuta pork, shirokuma (shaved ice with condensed milk), and fresh seafood with Kagoshima's sweet sashimi soy sauce as well!
The bullet train Hokuriku Shinkansen Line gets you from Tokyo to Kanazawa city, the cultural capital of the Hokuriku region, in just 2.5 hours but there is so much to explore at the various stations along the way. We have prepared a 6-day route which will take you from the capital to various cities in Nagano, Niigata and Toyama Prefecture before reaching our final destination at Kanazawa city in Ishikawa Prefecture. Read on to find out more about this journey on rails across the main island Honshu!
about 1 hour 10 min
about 20 min
The first stop is Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture, a highland resort. Due to the high altitude, the climate offers respite from the heat in the summer and is ideal for skiing and snowboarding in the winter. Right beside the station you will find the Karuizawa Prince Hotel Ski Resort where you can enjoy some winter sports. Or get some shopping done at the historic Kyu-Karuizawa Ginza Street dotted with cafes and boutiques. The close proximity to Tokyo makes Karuizawa a popular retreat away from the capital and many enjoy day trips from Tokyo as well.
about 10 min
Stop over at Ueda Station in Nagano and immerse yourself in the rich history of samurais in this castle town. Just a 15-min walk from the station will bring you to the ruins of the Ueda Castle, built by the famous Sanada samurai clan who made their home in Ueda City. The city is also abundant in nature with Japan’s longest river, the Chikuma River just a 5-min walk from the station and a magnificent plateau, the Utsukushigahara Highlands at the outskirts. Seasonal attractions such as cherry blossoms at Chokokuji Temple in spring and lotus flowers at Shinano Kokubunji Temple in summer are not to be missed as well!
about 35 min
Nagano Station is an excellent base for sightseeing as it is well connected to Nagano’s attractions such as the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and the Zenkoji Temple. With a history of about 1400 years, the temple is said to hold the first buddhist statue of Japan and will definitely make for a memorable experience. Walk down the Nakamise-dori street near the temple where you will be spoiled for choice for souvenirs and local delicacies. Do try some Shinshu soba (buckwheat noodles), a famous Nagano speciality while you’re in the area!
about 30 min
This next stop brings you to Itoigawa City in Niigata Prefecture, which has been blessed with such a wonderous nature with high geological significance, that it was the first area in Japan to be designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark. It is also the main producer of jade in the country and said to be one of the oldest jade-producing regions in the world. Just a short walk from the station is the Jade Coast where you can try your hand at finding jade pebbles while admiring the spectacular view of the Sea of Japan. A must-try local delicacy is the "black yakisoba" made with squid ink which is sure to become an unforgettable dish!
about 20 min
Toyama City is located between Toyama Bay and the majestic Tateyama Mountain Range. Walk over to the stunning Toyama Castle from the station or venture out to world-class sightseeing spots such as the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, the volcanic lake Mikurigaike, and the World Heritage Site of Gokayama Gassho-Zukuri Village. The city is also famous for its seafood such as firefly squid and trout sushi. Glass shrimp in particular can only be harvested in Toyama Bay; how about some deep-fried glass shrimps while you’re there?
Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture is a city of art and culture and Kanazawa station is said to be one of Japan’s most beautiful train stations; the huge wooden gate resembling a traditional drum used in Noh theatre is definitely a sight to behold. If you want to enjoy Kanazawa’s food culture such as nodoguro (sea bream) and gold leaf soft serve, walk over from the station to Omicho Market which has a 300-year history as the biggest fresh food market of the city. Or explore more of the art scene at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.
To return to Tokyo the Kagayaki Shinkansen will be the fastest way, bringing you to the capital in 2.5 hours.