Survival Japanese – using the train

Trains are the most economic and fastest way to move around in Japan. Nowadays many signs are bi-lingual but it still can be a little bit confusing to find the right platform and train.Here are a couple of useful expressions which will help you to find your way by train.


Kanji 「東京駅」に行きたいですが。
Furigana 「とうきょうえき」にいきたいですが。
Romaji [toukyou eki] ni ikitai desu ga.
English I want to go to  [Tokyo station].

Kanji 「山の手線」はどこですか?
Furigana 「やまのてせん」はどこですか?
Romaji [yamanote sen] wa doko desu ka?
English Where is the [yamanote line]?

Kanji この電車は「東京駅」行きですか?
Furigana このでんしゃは「とうきょうえき」ゆきですか?
Romaji kono densha wa [toukyou eki] yuki desuka?
English Is this train going to [Tokyo station]?

Kanji 「中央線」のホームはどこですか?
Furigana 「ちゅうおうせん」のホームはどこですか?
Romaji [chuuou sen] no hoomu wa doko desu ka?
English Where is the platform for the [chuo line]?


English Romaji Furigana
change train norikae のりかえ 乗り換え
last train shuuden しゅうでん 終電
station eki えき
ticket kippu きっぷ 切符
ticket barrier kaisatsuguchi かいさつぐち 改札口
track number hoomu ホーム ホーム
train densha でんしゃ 電車


  1. Susanne Reuss says:

    Very useful but please add track #

    • Nicolas says:

      very good point. thank you very much. I just added the vocabulary and an example sentence.

  2. Hi there Nicolas!
    Thanks so much for the wonderful train guide!
    And I hope you didn’t mind me tagging your article awhile back in my blog.

    Just wondering how to say you want a seat with ample space for luggage (thinking for shinkansen) as will be travelling around to different cities with my luggage via shinkansen =)

  3. different trains in succession to rising speed:

    普通/各駅停車 ふつう/かくえきていしゃ local / local train (each station)
    急行/快速 きゅうこう/かいそく   express / rapid
    特急/特快 とっきゅう/とっかい  limited express / special fast (local) train
    通勤特急 つうきんとっきゅう  commuter limited express

  4. Ashoken says:


    kono densha wa Tokyo eki ikimaska?

    “ikimasuka” is the correct word here. Not “ukidesuka”

    • Hello,

      The verb 行くmeans to go thus the sentence “この電車は東京駅行きますか” (kono densha ha Toukyou eki ni ikimasuka) would be correct if the particle “ni” is used.
      However, 行き is not a verb but a noun meaning “destination” Japanese speaker would use the sentence “この電車は東京駅行きですか” much more often.
      Also, on trains you can see the sign “東京行き” pronounced “Toukyou yuki” meaning that the train’s destination is Tokyo.

      Thank you for your comment.


  1. […] is a very simple guide to Japanese language for when taking […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: