The Tokaido Shinkansen line

A Shinkansen In the Tokaido Shinkansen Line passing near Mount fuji

Tokyo and Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka and Kyoto. These five cities represent the three largest metropolitan areas in Japan. Together, they encompass some of the hottest travel destinations in the country.

If you’d like to visit all of these areas on your next visit to Japan, you are in luck. The Tokaido Shinkansen, one of Japan’s famous bullet train lines, connects these cities, providing you with fast and easy access to the locations you want to see most.

The Tokaido Shinkansen line also marks a turning point in railroad history. In 1964, it became the first high-speed rail line in the world. More than half a century later, the Tokaido Shinkansen line remains at the forefront of railway technology. It is also still tied to Japan’s rich history. Did you know? The Tokaido is named after the main road that connected Japan’s former capital of Kyoto with its current capital of Tokyo during the Edo Period. Read on to discover how the Tokaido is still connecting these great cities.

What do you need to know to navigate the Tokaido Shinkansen Line? You can do so easily and affordably using the Japan Rail Pass. This handy travel guide is here to help.

Tokaido Shinkansen stations

The Tokaido Shinkansen is the most-used shinkansen line in Japan. Trains depart every few minutes from most stations along the route. These include Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Odawara, Atami, Mishima, Shin-Fuji, Shizuoka, Kakegawa, Hamamatsu, Toyohasi, Mikawa-Anjo, Nagoya, Gifu-Hashima, Maibara, Kyoto, and Shin-Osaka Stations.

Station Transfers Prefecture
Tokyo Station Tohoku Shinkansen, Joetsu Shinkansen, Hokuriku Shinkansen, Yamagata Shinkansen, Akita Shinkansen, Yamanote Line, Chuo Main Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Tokaido Main Line, Tohoku Main Line (Utsunomiya Line), Takasaki Line, Joban Line, Keiyo Line, Yokosuka Line, Sobu Main Line, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line (M-17). Tokyo
Shinagawa Station Yamanote Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Tokaido Main Line, Yokosuka Line, Keikyu Main Line. Tokyo
Shin-Yokohama Station Yokohama Line, Yokohama Municipal Subway Blue Line. Yokohama
Odawara Station Tokaido Main Line, Odakyu Odawara Line, Izu-Hakone Railway Daiyuzan Line, Hakone Tozan Line Kanagawa
Atami Station Tokaido Main Line, Ito Line. Shizuoka
Mishima Station Tokaido Main Line, Izuhakone Railway Sunzu Line. Shizuoka
Shin-Fuji Station Shizuoka
Shizuoka Station Tokaido Main Line, Shizuoka Railway Shizuoka-Shimizu Line (Shin-Shizuoka Station). Shizuoka
Kakegawa Station Tokaido Main Line, Tenryū Hamanako Line. Shizuoka
Hamamatsu Station Tokaido Main Line, Enshu Railway Line (Shin-Hamamatsu Station). Shizuoka
Toyohashi Station Tokaido Main Line, Iida Line, Meitetsu Nagoya Main Line, Toyohashi Atsumi Line (Shin-Toyohashi Station), Toyohashi Tramway (Ekimae Station). Aichi
Nagoya Station Tokaido Main Line, Chūō Main Line, Kansai Main Line, Nagoya Subway Higashiyama Line (H08),  Nagoya Subway Sakura-dori Line (S02), Nagoya Main Line (Meitetsu Nagoya Station), Kintetsu Nagoya Line (Kintetsu Nagoya Station), Aonami Line (AN01). Nagoya
Gifu-Hashima Station Meitetsu Hashima Line (Shin-Hashima Station). Gifu
Maibara Station Tokaido Main Line, Hokuriku Main Line, Ohmi Railway Main Line. Shiga
Kyoto Station Tokaido Main Line, Kosei Line, Nara Line, Sanin Main Line, Kintetsu Kyoto Line, Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line (K11). Kyoto
Shin-Osaka Station San’yō Shinkansen (through service), Tokaido Main Line, Osaka Metro Midōsuji Line (M13). Osaka

Tokaido Shinkansen map

Tokaido Shinkansen Line map
Tokaido Shinkansen Line Map, From Tokyo to Shin-Osaka


Train Services

Three types of trains operate on this Shinkansen Line: Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama.

Hikari Shinkansen

Stops: Tokyo – Shinagawa – Shin-Yokohama – Nagoya – Kyoto – Shin-Osaka

Hikari trains represent the second-fastest option on the Tokaido Line. Hikari trains serve more stations than do Nozomi trains, requiring about three hours of travel time between Tokyo Station and Shin-Osaka Station. Four Hikari trains depart each hour, two in each direction. Departures take place approximately every half hour. Hikari trains stop only at major cities, but these stops differ by train. Be sure to check train schedules carefully to ensure a stop at your intended destination.

Hikari seat reservation

Kodama Shinkansen

Stops: Tokyo – Shinagawa – Shin-Yokohama – Odawara – Atami – Mishima – Shin-Fuji – Shizuoka – Kakegawa – Hamamatsu – Toyohashi – Mikawa-Anjo – Nagoya – Gifu-Hashima – Maibara – Kyoto – Shin-Osaka

Kodama Shinkansen trains stop at all stations along the Tokaido Shinkansen Line. The trip from Tokyo Station to Shin-Osaka Station via Kodama train takes about four hours. Four Kodama trains depart each hour, two in each direction. Some Kodama trains operating during the morning and evening rush hours offer only non-reserved seating. From the Kodama trains, you may access famous hot spring towns not serviced by the other train types.

Kodama seat reservation

Nozomi Shinkansen

Stops: Tokyo – Shinagawa – Shin-Yokohama – Nagoya – Kyoto – Shin-Osaka

The fastest shinkansen of the Tokaido Line. They stop only at major stations along the route, reaching Shin-Osaka Station from Tokyo Station in about two and a half hours. Eight trains depart per hour – four in each direction – with additional trains running during peak hours. Some Nozomi trains continue on beyond the bounds of the Tokaido Line.

Nozomi trains are not currently covered by the JR Pass. However, this will change (with a supplemental fee) from October 2023.

Using the Japan Rail Pass

When you arrive in Japan, you can activate your JR Pass at any major train station. You may do this at the ticketing counter, where you can also reserve seating on the trains. Whether utilizing reserved or non-reserved seating, have your JR Pass ready to present at the departure gate.

Keep in mind that holders of a JR Pass will be able to ride Nozomi trains from October 2023 However, you will need to pay a supplement to do so.

Tokyo to Yokohama

How to go from Tokyo to Yokohama: From Tokyo Station, take the Tokaido Line to Yokohama Station. This trip will take just under half an hour. You may depart for your destination directly from Yokohama Station, or you may transfer to the Negishi Line to Kannai Station to reach the city center.

Tokyo to Nagoya

How to go from Tokyo to Nagoya: From Tokyo Station, take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Nagoya Station. This trip will take about two hours.

From Nagoya, you will be able to travel to other major attractions, such as the Japanese Alps and the Kii Peninsula. Nagoya is also a gateway to other cities, such as Kyoto and Osaka.

Tokyo to Kyoto

The 366 km of rail line from Tokyo to Kyoto represent Japan’s busiest. From Tokyo Station, you can take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen directly to Kyoto Station. This trip will take approximately two hours and 15 minutes.

Tokyo to Osaka

How to go from Tokyo to Osaka: From Tokyo Station, you can take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen directly to Shin-Osaka Station. This trip will take just under two and a half hours.

Where will your next Japan adventure take you? With your JR Pass in hand, you are ready to explore. Start planning your next trip today.

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6 thoughts on “The Tokaido Shinkansen line”
  1. Hi were arriving at Tokyo in Jan 1,2020 and planning to go to Shirakawago, puji and disneyland. Is Japan Jr all pass will be good to buy or do you have any suggestion for tine- efficient and economical transpo.

  2. Hey there! I was wondering if anyone knows how to get from Hakone to Okayama with a JR rail pass?
    I believe I need to make my way to Odawara station but have no idea what to do afterwards. Any help would be amazing!!

  3. How can you reserve a seat on the Tokaido Shinkansen say from Tokyo to Kyoto when using a JR Rail Pass?
    I am planning to fly to Tokyo and then take the train to Kyoto that afternoon so want to make sure we have a seat.

    Thanks jon

    1. Hi Jon!

      Japan Rail Pass holders are entitled to book a seat on all Japan Railways trains free of charge. All seats should be booked before boarding the train. Please take your Japan Rail Pass to any JR Ticket Office (Midori-no-madoguchi), spread through all Japanese train stations.

      Happy travels!

  4. Hi!!!!I flying to Narita on December 13 and would like to visit Kyōto for a couple days between Dec13-15. Then back to Tokyo!
    Will stay another three days from 12/15/12/18. Flying from Haneda to Bangkok
    Now all I want is a round trip train ticket from Tokyo to Kyōto! Will rather take the Nazomi lines.
    I am arriving around 4PM at Narita Airport from New York. So to play safe maybe take the 7-8PM train ride to Kyōto
    How long is the ride with NASOMI Express train to Kyōto & can you me a schedule! Plus what is my chances to buy the ticket upon arrival at the Airport.
    Hoping for your kind consideration. Thank you



    1. Hi Vilma! Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansen bullet trains (both reserved and non-reserved) are not included with the JR Pass. However, there are Nozomi and Mizuho alternatives which passengers can access with the JR Pass. Along the Tokaido Shinkansen line, pass holders can catch Hikari and Kodama trains which are slightly less frequent and make more stops than Nozomi and Mizuho trains. Happy travels!

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