I don’t know about you, but I’m all about the information packet – a printed copy of the itinerary, lodging confirmations, event tickets and any number of materials critical to the success of the journey. For our trip to Japan, the information packet got a new subsection: transportation details. We planned to train and bus our way around the country, but with various departure times, unfamiliar station names and track changes, I didn’t want to be left figuring it all out on the fly.
Luckily, HyperDia is an excellent planning site for building your transit routes. Enter your beginning and ending points, and search results return trip options around your preferred departure time. Trip length, transfers, cost and other key details are provided for each route.
I used HyperDia to determine our transportation costs, travel schedule and whether rail passes were right for us (they weren’t). Developing a full transit schedule is a tedious, time-consuming exercise, but it saved us a lot of time and likely a few headaches during the trip.
Following is a screenshot from our schedule that demonstrates the level of detail provided by HyperDia and just how helpful it can be to have gathered this information in advance.
Travel from Kyoto to Kanazawa is via a direct train. As you can see, the HyperDia results even include the departure and arrival track numbers. I also noted alternative train times. In the event we preferred to depart later, there would be no need to consult the website again or make an inquiry at the train station.
We didn’t book any of our trains or buses more than a couple of days in advance. We even booked our final train the day of departure, and we never had trouble securing reserved seats.
Having train costs handy is also helpful for more than calculating your budget, as it’s the fastest way to purchase tickets at a kiosk. While it is possible to purchase by station name, knowing the cost of your journey will save you some time and confusion.