questions & answers: general japan travel

using the shinkansen

Using the Shinkansen

Is a JR Rail pass good for travel on the shinkansen? Is there a tie-in between the two systems? Looking to travel between Nagone-Tokyo-Osaka and the Shinkansen would be the fastest (excluding air travel).


Hi there,

Yes, the JR Pass is valid on Shinkansen lines as these are run by JR.

The only limitation is that you are unable to use Nozomi and Mizuho class trains. On lines that Nozomi and Mizuho class Shinkansen run, there are always alternative (and valid) Hikari Shinkansen or Sakura Shinkansen which are the same model of train as the Nozomi, and reach the same top speeds, but stop at slightly more stations. In practice, the Hikari Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka takes around 20 mins more than the Nozomi service, and so for holiday travel purposes this limitation makes very little difference, especially taking the potential savings into account.

Here is an example shinkansen itinerary that is valid for your itinerary (Nagano > Tokyo > Osaka).

See this page for more information on JR Pass validity. You can look up train timetables and costs for all of your legs at the Hyperdia travel planning website and learn how to use Hyperdia for Japan Rail Pass holders through our video blog (we explain how to de-select Nozomi class trains when you search for routes).

Hope this helps!


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