The Sanyo Shinkansen with the JR Pass

What thrills you most about western Japan? Is it the succulent taste and fine marbled texture of the famous Kobe beef? It is the surreal reminders of historic events to be found in Hiroshima? Is it the rich history of the area’s countless shrines, gardens, and temples? Or, do you wish to indulge in the modern shopping experience of Osaka Station city?

Whatever draws you, western Japan holds something for every traveler. Now, with the help of your Japan Rail Pass, getting there and getting around are faster and easier than ever. Find out how you can use the Sanyo Shinkansen Line to enhance your next Japanese vacation.

Taking the Sanyo Shinkansen

The Sanyo Shinkansen Line is a bullet train service that connects Osaka and Fukuoka, two cities on Japan’s third largest island, Kyushu. The Sanyo Shinkansen is important to Japan’s rail history – it was the second line to be built, completed in 1975, as an extension of the Tokaido Shinkansen.

These bullet trains have revolutionized travel in Japan with their ability to zip from city to city at speeds of 300 kilometers per hour (185 miles per hour).

Sanyo Shinkansen Stations

The Sanyo Shinkansen Line runs between Shin-Osaka Station and Hakata Station in Fukuoka.

Station Transfers Prefecture
Shin Osaka Station Tokaido Shinkansen, JR Kyoto Line, Osaka Higashi Line, Midosuji Line. Osaka
Shin-Kobe Station Hokushin Line, Seishin-Yamate Line. Kobe
Nishi-Akashi Station JR Kobe Line. Hyōgo
Himeji Station JR Kobe Line, Sanyo Main Line, Bantan Line, Kishin Line, Sanyo Electric Railway Main Line. Hyōgo
Aioi Station Sanyo Main Line, Ako Line. Hyōgo
Okayama Station Sanyo Main Line, Uno Line, Hakubi Line, Tsuyama Line, Kibi Line, Okayama Electric Tramway. Okayama
Shin-Kurashiki Station Sanyo Main Line. Okayama
Fukuyama Station Sanyo Main Line, Fukuen Line. Hiroshima
Shin-Onomichi Station Hiroshima
Mihara Station Sanyo Main Line, Kure Line. Hiroshima
Higashi-Hiroshima Station Hiroshima
Hiroshima Station Sanyo Main Line, Geibi Line, Kabe Line, Kure Line, Hiroshima Electric Railway Main Line. Hiroshima
Shin-Iwakuni Station Nishikigawa Seiryu Line Yamaguchi
Tokuyama Station Sanyo Main Line, Gantoku Line. Yamaguchi
Shin-Yamaguchi Station Sanyo Main Line, Yamaguchi Line, Ube Line. Yamaguchi
Asa Station Sanyo Main Line, Mine Line.  Yamaguchi
Shin-Shimonoseki Station Sanyo Main Line. Yamaguchi
Kokura Station Kagoshima Main Line, Nippo Main Line, Hita-Hikosan Line, Kitakyushu Monorail. Kitakyūshū
Hakata Station Kyushu Shinkansen, Hakata-Minami Line, Sasaguri Line, Fukuoka Subway Airport Line. Fukuoka

Sanyo Shinkansen map

Sanyo Shinkansen line map
Sanyo Shinkansen Map

Using Japan Rail Pass

You can activate your JR Pass for use by visiting one of the ticketing offices located at most major train stations. Those along the Sanyo Shinkansen Line include the Travel Service Centers or ticket offices at Kokura Station, Hiroshima Station, Shin-Yamaguchi Station, and Okayama Station.

All trains operating on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line offer both reserved and non-reserved seating. If you would like to make seat reservations, you may do so at a ticketing counter. For either seating type, have your JR Pass ready to present at the departure gate.

Please note that fares for the Nozomi and Mizuho trains are not full covered by JR Pass. However, JR Pass holders can ride these services from October 2023 by paying a supplemental fee.

Train Services

Five different types of train categories operate on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line:

Sakura Shinkansen

Covered by Japan Rail Pass

Sakura trains likewise connect to the Kyushu Shinkansen Line, stopping at additional stations along the way.

Seat reservation
Sakura Shinkansen seat reservations

Hikari Shinkansen

Covered by Japan Rail Pass

Hikari trains run once per hour, serving the stations between Shin-Osaka and Okayama. The Hikari trains also provide a connection to Tokyo. This route is often called the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line.

Hikari Seat reservations
Hikari Shinkansen seat reservations

Kodama Shinkansen

Covered by Japan Rail Pass

Kodama trains stop at all stations along the route, and are therefore slower than other options. A trip along the Sanyo Shinkansen Line via Kodama takes around five hours.

Kodama Seat reservations
Kodama Shinkansen seat reservations

Nozomi Shinkansen

Covered by Japan Rail Pass with supplement from October 2023

Nozomi trains are fast, stopping only at select stations along the route. In fact, the Nozomi trains typically complete the course of the Sanyo Shinkansen Line in about 2.5 hours. Departures are made three or more times per hour. Nozomi trains also provide through service to the Tokaido Shinkansen Line. Nozomi trains will be covered by the JR Pass from October 2023 if you pay a supplemental fee.

Mizuho Shinkansen

Covered by Japan Rail Pass with supplement from October 2023

Mizuho trains make about six round trips per day, typically in the morning and evening. These trains stop only at select stations along the route. The Mizuho trains provide through service to the Kyushu Shinkansen Line. Like the Nozomi, the Mizuho will be covered by the JR Pass from October 2023 if you pay a supplement.

As noted, some trains of the Sanyo Shinkansen line provide through services to Tokyo’s Tokaido Shinkansen Line and Kyushu Shinkansen Line.

The culture, food, and landscapes of Japan are calling to you. Book your JR Pass and start planning your next trip today.

Cover Photo by Suichi Aizawa @Flickr

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