There are four main ways to buy the Shinkansen, JR(Japanese Railway) Japan's bullet train tickets .
The Shinkansen has a busy season(the New Year period, Golden Week in the spring, the Obon Festival in mid-August).If you are going to Japan during the busy season of Shinkansen, I recommend purchasing the Shinkansen ticket via the Internet.
Purchase Internet of JR
When you buy tickets via the Internet, the sites you purchase will differ depending on your destination.
- Japan's eastern area(Tohoku Region, Hokuriku Region, Hokkaido)
- Japan's western area(Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Kyushu Region)
The ticket purchase method is the same for both.First, I will explain from Japan's eastern area.
For Japan's eastern area
If you want to travel to Japan's eastern area, you will purchase on the official site of JR East.You need to register as a member of JR East, and payment is by credit card only.
JR East Official English Website: JR East
For Japan's western area
If you want to travel to Japan's western area, you will purchase on the official site of JR West.You need to register as a member of JR West, and payment is by credit card only.
JR West Official English Website: JR West
You stay in Japan for more than a week and you want to move to many areas on the Shinkansen, the service you would like to recommend is JAPAN RAIL PASS.
For Areas of Japan
If you use the JAPAN RAIL PASS, public transportation including Shinkansen will be unlimited.However, please note that you can not get on some bullet trains such as Nozomi.
JAPAN RAIL PASS Official English Website：JAPAN RAIL PASS
Purchase at JR station window
You can purchase tickets at the JR station window. You can also buy tickets at the Ticket Office "Green Window". If you go to the station window and tell about your destination and boarding date, you will be able to get the train you want. You can also buy train tickets on the spot. You can buy either cash or credit card.
Purchase Ticket vending machine at JR station
You can buy tickets from JR ticket vending machines. At JR's main stations, there is an automatic ticket vending machine where you can buy tickets for the Shinkansen. A high-performance ticket vending machine, which is a type of automatic ticket vending machine and can also buy reserved seats, is called a "designated seat ticket vending machine." At major stations, these reserved seat ticket vending machines are installed near the window.
You can buy Shinkansen tickets at major travel agencies. It is sold by major travel companies such as JTB, KNT, Japan Travel and Hankyu Transit.The way to buy a ticket at a travel agency is the same as buying at a JR station window.