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Japon

Purchasing a Japanese Train Ticket

a how-to guide

Your JR Pass can take you all over the country using bullet trains, local trains, and more. However, there are occasions when you may need to purchase a regular ticket: the last leg of your trip to Mount Fuji; a quick ride to the airport on the 15th day of your trip when your pass has just run out; travel on a city's local tram line...

Train stations in foreign countries can sometimes feel intimidating, but fear not! Buying a regular ticket in any station in Japan is really easy. Follow our simple, step-by-step guide and be prepared for your vacation.
train ticket machin in Japan
First, find the ticket kiosk. It will be a line of machines against a wall, with a big map above it.

(Note that this is not the case for street cars or mountain ropeways!)
Rail map in Japan
Check the map. It is almost always written in both Japanese and English. The station you are currently located in will be marked larger, or in red, with a "you are here" sign. Find the station to which you are going, but note that this can take several tries if it's an expansive map! Don't get discouraged! 
The price of a ticket to that destination will be listed right by the name of the station.
Ticket machine's screen in Japan
Put in the amount of coins; the vending machines can take any size bill, but please be aware that many automated machines do not accept 2000-yen bills as they are very uncommon. 
If you need to break a 10,000-yen bill, you can put it in the machine, but sometimes it will take time to change the bill, as a station attendant will come out to give you the correct change.
Ticket gate in Japan
Take your change and your ticket. Put the ticket in the ticket gate, and remember to take it back! You need to keep the ticket for when you exit; you will have to put it in another machine to leave.
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