Updates and news

The 5th edition of Japan by Rail has now been published and is available for sale in many parts of the world – see the Buy the book page for details.

However, perhaps the biggest update is that Japan is now open to independent tourists and as long as you are fully vaccinated it isn’t necessary to get a Covid test before you go. However, check with your local Japanese embassy or consulate whether or not you need a visa for your visit. Expect to wear masks all the time in Japan especially indoors and it will be essential to have insurance that includes Covid cover.

The updates below are all arranged in the same way the book is ordered so look for the relevant page number. Please note that they now refer to the 5th edition of Japan by Rail. We have deleted entries where updated information was provided for the 4th edition.

On this page we will also share any feedback we have received about travelling in Japan. One of the advantages of receiving feedback is that it gives us ideas of places to include in future editions of Japan by Rail, but will also help anyone planning a trip.

We will also include any new museums or other attractions we hear about that we think will be of interest but which are not in the current edition of the book.

We will try to keep this website as up to date as possible, but if you find anything in the 5th edition that has changed we would very much appreciate hearing from you so we can put the update here for the benefit of everyone! Go to the Contact us page to contact Japan by Rail.

Introduction – colour pages

Planning your trip

Itineraries 

p45 JR West Sanyo Sanin Area Pass  Adachi Museum of Art is in Yasugi not Yonago.

Politics

p59 Former prime minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot in Nara on 8th July 2022 when campaigning on behalf of Kei Sato who was hoping to be re-elected to the Upper House.

Rail passes

p30  The text should say that in addition to the purchaser passes can be bought for up to six other people at a time so in effect for seven.

p31 & p34  For details of the Hokuriku Area Pass see https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/pass/hokuriku.

Japan

Vending machines

p76  JR Kyushu are removing vending machines from their shinkansen and LEX services as there is such little demand now.

The Rail Network

Fares

p99 JR West are likely to increase fares on Sanyo shinkansen services in April 2023. Reserved seat fares and Green Car charges will be increased by ¥110 to ¥420.

Tokyo

What to see and do

p104 The Tokyo Pass app (www.mytokyopass.com; 2/3/5 days ¥6800/8000/10,300), available on App store and Google Play, allows entry to more than 35 museums, gardens etc and includes Tokyo Subway ticket for unlimited rides on all Tokyo’s subways in a 48/72/48+72-hour (worth ¥1200/¥1500/¥2700) time period. It includes some of the places that are on the Grutto Pass but also some different places such as Meiji Jingu Museum.

p104 On the Yamanote Line  JR East have been testing automated trains on the Yamanote Line since October 2022 so do look out for trains without a driver.

p111 Harajuku  The Meiji Jingu text should say when the shrine – not the temple – was being constructed.

pp129-30 Tokyo Metro is raising fares from March 2023 by ¥10; this is partly make it possible to afford to make stations barrier free

p133 Where to stay Shinagawa Goos, the building which housed Keikyu EX-INN Shinagawa-ekimae hotel, is being torn down as part of the development work for the Chuo maglev shinkansen. However, as part of the development the site will accommodate another hotel.

Osaka

Honshu

Central Honshu

Kansai

Western Honshu

Miyajima

p309  The o-torii gate should be visible by December 2022

p310  The ropeway is in two stages and consists of two types of gondola: a funicular type with just two gondolas and a circulating type with many gondolas and the ropeway keeps operating.

SL Yamaguchi

p281  This is operating on 86 days – mainly weekends and public holidays – between 19th March and 20th November 2022. 

Tohoku

pp323  Oyama/JR Mito Line and Mooka Railway

Louise Archer suggested we include Mashiko : ‘that’s a great place with a couple of pottery festivals a year’. The pottery festivals in Mashiko (www.mashiko-kankou.org/english) are held in Golden Week and early November. The easiest rail option is to take the JR Mito line from Oyama to Shimodate. Then take the Mooka/Moka railway to Mashiko.

p92, p328, p352  

SL Banetsu Monogatari

This will stop operating earlier in the autumn this year (2022) and is unlikely to restart till summer 2023 as it needs a major inspection.

p319  Tohoku area map  

Minakami is on the Joetsu mainline (Takasaki to Nagaoka) not the shinkansen line.

Hiraizumi

p334 The page ref to Pure Land garden should be ‘box on p87’ though it doesn’t actually explain a Pure Land garden. Pure Land gardens were built to represent the Buddhist paradise.

Hokkaido

pp382-3  Side trip to Nemuro

The Nemuro Hanasaki Line from Nemuro to Kushiro travels on marshyland and it has been said that the scenery resembles the scenery on the train journey in Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away

 

Kyushu

p412 Takeo-onsen  

Futatsuboshi 4047 seems to be known more as Two Stars 4047. The morning journey from Takeo-onsen goes via Hizenhama and Isahaya; the afternoon return from also goes via Isahaya, Shin-Omura and Huis Ten Bosch.

What to see and do 

p440-1  Steven Wedema contacted us regarding the 3rd edition of Japan by Rail and mentioned two particular things: the directions for the Oka Masaharu Memorial Peace Museum were not clear and we did not include Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture. We added the latter to the 4th and now 5th editions of Japan by Rail and hopefully have made the directions to Oka Masaharu Memorial Peace Museum clear, but just in case we are adding the photo he kindly sent us and his comments on the museum.

Oka Masaharu Memorial Peace Museum
Oka Masaharu Memorial Peace Museum (© Steven Wedema)

‘My second comment concerns the Oka Masaharu Memorial Peace Museum, which you very commendably do mention. I can only encourage readers to visit this small museum. Its underlying message is that Japan will never normalise its relationships with its neighbours if it does not face up to its wartime crimes. This message is delivered forcefully, if by simple means. Its collection looks a bit jaded in places and the museum obviously does not have the funding or the status it deserves; the lady at the reception said that the city council “does not like this museum” and thus has omitted it from the official Tourist Office map. All the more reason for anybody with a historical interest to visit it along with the (very well funded) Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.

  

Shikoku

Side trip by boat or train from Takamatsu – By boat to Naoshima

p483 Yayoi Kusama’s Yellow Pumpkin is back on display.

Appendices