The moment you step into Japan, one totally unmissable thing is the presence of trains – lots of them. All throughout Japan are dense networks of complex railway lines that serve residents with awesome punctuality. Rail transport in Japan is so convenient that it almost seems irrational to own a car.
To a foreigner though, planning a trip using trains can be a little daunting. Despite romanized station names, there’s still no joking about the complexity of Japanese rail web especially those in Tokyo or Osaka, and trust me, even locals experience the occasional train headaches. Fortunately, Hyperdia has already been developed.
Hyperdia is a website that provides train schedules in Japan. In its About page, the Hyperdia describes itself as “a service which offers the route and the timetable of the railway and the aviation of Japan.” Hyperdia is relatively light and generally works well with mobile devices – it’s a lifesaver when travelling.
Hyperdia is available in three languages: Japanese, English and Chinese. The English tab is in latin letters so it’s OK to use without any knowing how to write Japanese.
Basically all you’ll need are a start station, an end station, a schedule (date and time) and a search type. Clicking on “Search” loads a page containing the suggested schedules.
Three search types are available: Departure, Arrival, and Average. Choosing Departure gives the optimal results using the schedule as a start point, while choosing Arrival gives optimal results using the schedule as an end point. Choosing Average, on the other hand, displays a combination of travel and waiting durations, in lieu of time schedules. Generally, using Average is less useful compared to just using Departure and Arrival options.
Advanced options can be incorporated onto the route search to filter the results. These options are laid out in a very simple uncheck-what-you-do-not-need form, and are all self-explanatory.
Hyperdia also displays fare information, not only for single trips but for teiki (commuter passes) prices as well.
Sans any delays (yes, delays do occur of course) Hyperdia results are generally accurate, and owing to the Japanese rail systems’ culture of punctuality, every search result is reliable – by the minute. “Sugoi”, really!