To everyone’s surprise, Hyperdia discontinued its timetable and route searches on April 1, 2022. This was a complete shock because Hyperdia had been the leading Japan train travel app and website since the early 2000s.
In fact, it was the only timetable search I used. The timetables were frequently updated and provided the most reliable information on the web.
The Hyperdia website still exists, but it now only offers average time searches. This is completely useless for anyone looking to plan their travel while in Japan.
So, I’ve been trying to find a replacement for the last six months. Although nothing yet compares to the functionality of Hyperdia, I’ve found some good alternatives. The following recommendations are in order starting with my favorites.
Japan Train Travel App Alternatives
1. Japan Travel by Navitime
Japan Travel by Navitime has a lot of great features similar to Hyperdia. To start, the Route Search allows you to choose a Tourist Pass, such as Japan Rail Pass, Tokyo 1-day ticket, and tons more.
There is the possibility to Customize Options, which allows you to choose your preferred mode of transportation (i.e., Bullet train, Highway Bus, Taxi). There is also a Walking Speed option, so you can enjoy more leisurely transfers between trains.
The search results give you the name of the train, platform number, and price of a Non-Reserved Seat, Reserved Seat and Green Car. What’s nice is that the total price changes according to the type of seat you choose. When you click on the train name, you can see all of the stations along the route.
The only thing I couldn’t find on the app was a timetable to see the frequency of trains on a route. However, the website had this information.
Surprisingly, the app had excellent timetables for buses (but not the website version). I could see the frequency of buses for the entire day.
The website and app are both free. The app has a paid version but I haven’t tried it yet. For now, everything I needed was available with the free version. There were advertisements, as you’d expect with a free service.
2. Japan Official Travel App
Update: Japan Official Travel App was discontinued in late September 2023.
The Japan Official Travel App by JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization) offers a Transit Search. Similar to Japan Travel by Navitime, you can choose a Tourist Pass, which gives you a list of discount passes (i.e., Japan Rail Pass). And the Search Options allow you to choose your mode of transportation.
The search results give you the name of the train, platform number, and the price of a Non-Reserved Seat, Reserved Seat, and Green Car. The total price includes a Reserved Seat. Unfortunately, you can’t change the type of seat and see the updated total price.
When you click the three dots on the right, you can see all of the stations before your stop.
Unlike Navitime’s app, there is a button on the right of the station name that offers Timetables. This is a great feature to see the frequency of trains on a particular route.
Unfortunately, when I did a search for a bus route, it was all in Japanese, as well as the bus timetable. Navitime had the same bus route in English.
Another disadvantage is that the service is only offered as an app, so you can’t do searches on your computer. But, as of writing, the app is completely free of advertisements.
App – has been discontinued
3. Japan Transit Planner – Norikae Annai by Jorudan
Jorudan has been around about as long as Hyperdia, so it’s surprising that it hasn’t improved over the years.
The Route Search works fine, but it doesn’t give as many search results as Navitime or the JNTO app. In addition, I had to do multiple searches in order to find the best combination of train and bus.
There are Route Options which allows you to choose Japan Rail Pass and/or Tokyo Subway Ticket, but not other passes.
There is also no option to choose mode of transportation, other than Airplane.
The search results give you the name of the train, platform number, all the stops along the way, and price of a Reserved Seat. You can’t choose a Non-Reserved Seat or Green Car to get prices. Apparently, this is a paid feature.
When you click on the train name, you can choose to Show more trains, which gives you a timetable for three more trains. If you want to see more timetables, you have to do a separate search under the tab Timetable.
The website and app are both free. The website gives more search results than the app but doesn’t allow any Route Options or platform numbers. The app definitely has more features than the website if using the free version.
Ekispert does not have an app in English. It is currently only a website.
The website, however, does offer quite a lot of functionality. The settings allow you to choose your mode of transportation, type of seat, and transfer time (i.e., Normal, Relaxed, Hurry).
Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide bus timetables or the option to choose tourist passes.
The search only returns four results. It gives you the name of the train, platform number, and price of a Reserved Seat. You can click on Seat and get the prices of Non-Reserved and Green. However, it doesn’t allow you to choose the type of seat and update the total price.
You can click on Spots and see all of the stops along the way. There is no option to get additional timetables.
5. Google Maps
Google Maps isn’t always the most reliable app for train travel in Japan, but it can be useful.
There is no option for Tourist Passes, but you can choose Route Options that allow you to choose your mode of transportation.
The search results include the name of the train and the platform number. You can click to find Other Departures and the number of stops along the route (for both trains and local buses).
It gives a total cost, but doesn’t break it down for each mode of transportation or type of seating.
Personally, I like to use the Google Maps once I’ve exited the station, and I’m looking for my destination. Addresses in Japan don’t use street names, so finding a restaurant can be challenging. Luckily, Google Maps is very good at navigating the streets in Japan.