There are infamous crazy travel seasons in Japan as shown below, based on the official calendar provided by the Shinkansen operator Japan Rail Way (JR).
It's standard cultural behavior for Japanese locals to book their transportation a long time in advance to secure seats. Please expect ultra-long lines and uncomfortable standing train rides without your reservation! If you would like to travel like local pros, plan, and reserve ahead, which our booking specialists can help you with.
If you are still in your planning stage for your travel to Japan, choose off-season or standard period for a relaxing Shinkansen rides. During peak times, tourist destinations and hotels could also be packed.
Please keep it in your mind that the idea of "crowded train" in Japanese people's mind might look like "trains from hell" for your visitors from abroad! It could also be considered a pure crazy cultural entertainment for traveling in Japan if you are really into that sort of thing.
These are the times Japanese citizens travel like crazy! We recommend riding Shinkansen bullet trains with unreserved seats in peak season if nightmarish wait in line to secure your seats is not your idea of fun! Make sure to buy Shinkansen tickets online from us in advance. JR, the shinkansen operator, publishes the official calendar to show you when the trains are crowded. It’s much more difficult and expensive to book hotel rooms too during these periods. Shinkansen tickets are a little more expensive during peak seasons, but we at Shinkansen Ticket online shop do not change ticket prices.
Japan Rail Way defines periods below as “off-season.” If you plan on traveling on Shinkansen often, it may be wise to choose offseason for your travel, not just to secure your seats, but also for your peace of mind.
*Fridays, weekends and national holidays are considered Normal Period.
Any period other than peak and off-season is considered Normal Period by Japan Rail Ways.
Shinkansen is generally more crowded in early morning and evening when people move to other cities after work and sightseeing.
Shinkansen is a lot more crowded during weekends and around national holidays.
For example, a lot of Japanese people visit Kyoto in autumn for beautiful red and yellow leaves, and in spring for Sakura. During these times, trains and accommodations are very crowded and hard to book them.
Regular seats used on Reserved cars and Unreserved cars of Shinkansen. Consider it as "economy class" seat.
Better seats with more space than ordinary seats. All Green Seats are reserved only. Consider it as "business class" seats.
Your seat is reserved and secured when you book your tickets. Head to the station with a peace of mind.
Seats are the same as Ordinary Seat.
Better seats and free blankets. Popular among Japanese business persons, executives and people who
Know as "First Class" of Shinkansen seats. Only available on Hokuriku and Tohoku Shinkansen lines.
You can take any open seats in unreserved cars of any train on the departure date. (No departure time will be indicated on your tickets.)
The best seat type if your priority is the cost and are traveling during less-crowded season/time.
For further information and photos, please visit official page at http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/ticket/types.html