Top Articles

Recent Posts



  • Blogroll

  • « | Main | »

    Plan Your Trip With JR Odekake Net

    By thomas | October 28, 2007

    Planning a trip within Japan soon? Will you be travelling by train? If you are using JR, can save you a lot of time. Just type in where you are going, where you are coming from and the time and will do the rest of the work for you. This was a life-saver for my trip to Nagano last year. It’s easy to use too. Here’s how it works.

    Step 1 – Where are you going?

    Let’s imagine we are planning a trip. For this little exercise we will assume that:

    To help us plan, we go to I recommend you follow along in a separate browser window/tab. On the front page we will find this little form.

    出発駅 (しゅっぱつえき - shuppatsu eki) means “departure station”. 到着駅 (とうちゃくえき – touchaku eki) means “arrival station”. We plug Nara into the departure field and Himeji into the arrival field. Then we click the kensaku (検索 [けんさく]) button to start the search. Romaji, hiragana and kanji are all acceptable as input.

    Step 2 – Could you be more specific please?

    The next page will ask us for more information. We need to pick a time, confirm our departure and arrival points, select what kinds of trains and seating are acceptable and how many results we want. Click the image below to enlarge.

    Click to enlarge.  JR

    1. First we fill in the date: 2007年 11月 10日. What about time? By looking at the homepage for Himeji Castle (our destination), we find out that they close at 4pm. We want to make sure we have time to get there and enjoy the castle, so let’s make sure we get to our station by 3:00pm (15:00). Fill in the form with the time and select 到着時刻指定 (とうちゃくじこくしてい – touchaku jikoku shitei), which means “arrival time”.
    2. Confirm our departure and arrival points. We will choose 奈良 (なら – nara) and 姫路 (ひめじ – himeji).
    3. Select special train types, if desired. 新幹線 (しんかんせん – shinkansen) as you probably know, is the bullet train. 特急 (とっきゅう – tokkyuu) is “limited express”. By default, will search all local lines, and normal (not limited) express lines. If you want it to search for shinkansen or limited express lines too, you should check these boxes.
    4. Choose seating type. This is if you checked one of the boxes in step 3 above. These are the choices:
      1. 普通車指定席 (ふつうしゃしていせき – futsuusha shitei seki) – “normal car, assigned seats”
      2. グリーン車 – “green car”
      3. 普通車自由席 (ふつうしゃじゆうせき – futsuusha jiyuu seki) – “normal car, unassigned seats”
    5. Choose how many results you want. 回答数 (かいとうすう - kaitousuu) means “number of results”. Let’s choose 3.
    6. Click the kensaku (検索 [けんさく]) button.


    Now we are brought to the results page. We have a nice table with our 3 results. Click the image below to enlarge it.

    Click to enlarge.  JR

    By the looks of it, option 3 is the best. It’s the cheapest and we only have to switch trains once. Let’s take a closer look. Click the image below to enlarge it.

    Click to enlarge.  JR
    Here’s how we read it.

    If we were to look at the other results, we’d find that the reason they are more expensive is that they involve riding the shinkansen. If our destination is far away, shinkansen may be the best way to go. But for our Nara->Himeji excursion, taking the shinkansen only saves us 15 minutes, for double the price. I could eat steak everyday for a week with that money. No thank you.

    That’s All Folks

    That took a lot of words to explain, but really it takes about a minute to fill everything in and get your results. Try a few searches and you will see how easy it is. is run by JR West, but I did a test search for an Aomori to Tokyo trip and got some results, so it appears that you can use the site to find train schedules for stations out of the jurisdiction of JR West. You can access the site from your mobile phone at

    Happy Travels!

    Like this post? Give me the Thumbs Up!

    Share: Stumble This | Zoom This | JapanSoc This
    Topics: Transportation | 14 Comments »Trackback

    14 Responses to “Plan Your Trip With JR Odekake Net”

    1. Jethro Says:
      October 28th, 2007 at 3:21 pm

      While I was in Japan studying abroad, I used a very similar website to plan out trips–

      I’ll have to try out this one too, though!

      ~ Jethro.

    2. Jonneh Says:
      October 28th, 2007 at 8:57 pm

      This was probably the most informative and important information I’ve read! I wish so bad that I were already in Japan so I could take all of these tips/tricks you give and actually try them out. But, I won’t be in Japan for some years. Definitely bookmarking this page :D Thanks again!

    3. Lee Says:
      October 29th, 2007 at 4:03 am

      There’s also this one too:

    4. Rick Says:
      October 29th, 2007 at 5:07 am

      This is very good information. I usually have friends or family calculate the best times/routes for me to use, but I often have many questions. I like to make sure I am using every moment I have when I am in Japan as effeciently as possible so I would rather have control of everything. I’ll be using this next time. Thanks.

    5. Deas ( Says:
      October 29th, 2007 at 6:16 am

      Hey there, Thomas. I also use Hyperdia for my train scheduling stuff. It works wonders – and has an English page, which Jethro pointed out. (Though it requires further clarification for some stops since their are homophone names involved and in English you don’t input kanji. I obviously prefer the Japanese end of the site to circumvent that problem.)

    6. Chris ( Says:
      October 30th, 2007 at 3:52 am

      I’ve always used – under 調べる|路線 – it has an option to include plane travel as well, and links to weather and lodging along the way.

      It looks like the jr-odekake site allows you to book online as well. JR had the most brain-damaged online booking system imaginable for a while, which they thankfully decomissioned. Has anyone used this new system yet?

    7. Other Options For Planning Your Train Trip | Says:
      October 31st, 2007 at 3:32 pm

      […] Plan Your Trip With JR Odekake Net […]

    8. thomas Says:
      October 31st, 2007 at 3:47 pm

      Jethro: Thanks for the heads-up! I didn’t know about hyperdia before. I’ll make an update post mentioning it.

      Jonneh: Thanks for your enthusiasm. I don’t plan on ever taking this site down, so hopefully all the tips will still be here for you when you finally make it to Japan.

      Lee: Great tip! I’ll add this one to the update post too. Thanks!

      Rick: Glad you found it useful. If you want to search in English, try one of the sites mentioned by Jethro, Lee and Deas.

      Deas: Thanks for the comment. I’ll add your words to the update post as well with a link to the Japanese side of hyperdia.

      Chris: Thanks for the Yahoo tip. I’ll try that out for my next trip since it gives me the weather too. I haven’t booked through jr-odekake before. We’ve only used it for the scheduling. If we want to reserve a train ticket, we do it in person and my wife usually takes care of lodging by telephone.

    9. Ken Y-N Says:
      November 8th, 2007 at 12:00 am

      Here’s an idea for a related article; how about how to juggle on-peak/off-peak discount tickets, and use ticket shops for discounts on one-off travel or discounts on pre-paid cards?

      I, for instance, always use the 14-for-the-price-of-10 tickets for weekend trips to town, and on one leg of my commute the 11-for-10 ticket works out cheaper than a 6 month pass, once you factor in holidays/business trips/sick days. Also, the Osaka underground has a 3300-yen-travel-for-3000-yen card that I never learnt about until after three years here! And then there’s all the one day passes…

    10. thomas Says:
      November 12th, 2007 at 3:21 pm

      Ken Y-N: That’s a good idea! Since my birthday just passed I was planning on writing a little article about tanjoubi waribiki. It might not be a bad idea to continue with the travel theme and cover train ticket deals too. Thanks a lot! And thanks for the link again. :)

    11. What information do the Japanese gather from the internet? » 世論 What Japan Thinks Says:
      December 19th, 2007 at 1:40 pm

      […] If you too want to gather information on train times, NihonHacks recently had an article on how to do it. […]

    12. Joseph Says:
      December 20th, 2007 at 12:52 am

      Jorudan is free in English on Softbank phones, and features a crucial last train feature as well.

      OpenTransit will hopefully make things better as well:

    13. Tips and Tricks for Survival in Japan « Says:
      January 14th, 2008 at 3:33 pm

      […] a former exchange student and current JET teacher in Hyogo. Thomas has written articles about using JR Odekake NET for planning trips by train, saving money on cleaning products by buying refills, how to find […]

    14. 30+yearshere Says:
      September 20th, 2008 at 1:05 am

      I live in Aomori and always research and book my JR tickets online at the JR East site:

      The site is all in Japanese but you can input the station names in roman letters when you initially start a search. The system will then convert those into kanji which you need to check to make sure they are the particular stations you want. The basics are similar to what was described for the JR West site. If you are not very practiced in reading Japanese you might want to have someone help you through the first time.

      You can always use this system to check times, availability, etc. but to book tickets you will need to register online. Seats can only be reserved one month ahead but being registered allows you to put a reservation on the waiting list one week earlier (if you use a computer that is, I think this does not apply if you use the cell phone site). At the one-month point those pre-reservations are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

      You can reserve tickets for JR shinkansen and express trains for anywhere in the country but have to pick up your tickets at a JR East station. You can pick up the tickets from soon after you get confirmation of the reservation (via e-mail) up to just before the train leaves. Just go to the View or Midori windows at a station with the credit card you used online and the reservation number (good idea to print out the online page showing the reservation was completed or the confirmation e-mail), or use the credit card (and your credit card PIN number) in a reserved seat ticket machine (lavender colored ones).

      You can make changes and cancellations of the reserved tickets online. There are some benefits such as small discounts, a point system, etc. You can also do various combinations of train tickets with JAL tickets, rental cars, hotels, as well as do some shopping, etc.