Nagoya has a reputation for being a rather industrial (and dull) place. In fact, while many tourists pass through Nagoya — traveling between Tokyo and Osaka or Kyoto — very few actually stop. Now that Ghibli Park has opened, however, we expect that’s about to change.
The city of Nagoya is about 340km west of Tokyo, roughly three quarters of the way to Kyoto. It’s the fourth most populous urban area in Japan, the bustling capital of Aichi Prefecture, and — since fall of 2022 — home of Ghibli Park. Options for getting from Tokyo to Nagoya (and back) include trains, planes, and buses. The speedy Shinkansen is our top choice.
How to get from Tokyo to Nagoya
The Shinkansen is the fastest, easiest, and most convenient option, particularly if you have a Japan Rail Pass. Meanwhile, the cheapest option is a highway bus, followed by local trains. However both highway buses and local trains are more time-consuming (and sometimes uncomfortable) ways of traveling between the two cities, when compared to the Shinkansen.
If you’re happy paying highway tolls, you could also rent a car and drive from Tokyo to Nagoya. Unless you’re traveling in a group, though, it doesn’t work out to be super economical.
Tokyo to Nagoya transport options
|Shinkansen||★ ★ ★ ★ ★||¥11,300 or less with discount passes||2 hrs||3.4kg CO2||We recommend a Japan Rail Pass|
|Local trains||★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆||¥6,380 or ¥2,410 with a Seishun pass||6–7 hrs||7kg CO2||Use an IC tap card or buy tickets at the station|
|Flights||★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆||¥4,000 + transfers||1 hour 10 mins flight time + transfers||37.4kg CO2||Search flights|
|Highway buses||★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆||¥2,000–¥15,600||6–10 hrs||15.1kg CO2||Search highway buses|
Shinkansen: For speed and convenience¥11,300
About 2 hours
Getting from Tokyo to Nagoya is quickest via the Shinkansen. You’ll be taking the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, which is the same one you take if you’re going to Kyoto or Osaka. Trains depart every 3–15 minutes.
The Shinkansen is also the most convenenient way of getting to Nagoya because it travels direct from city center to city center. In Tokyo, you can depart from either Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station. You’ll arrive at Nagoya Station, Nagoya’s main train station.
How long does it take to get from Tokyo to Nagoya on the Shinkansen?
The exact time depends which bullet train service you take, but it’s typically a 100-to-120-minute ride.
The fastest service on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, Nozomi, will get you there in 1 hour 40 minutes. The next-fastest service, Hikari, will have you at Nagoya Station in just over two hours (sometimes less).
Note that if you’re traveling on a Japan Rail Pass, you’ll be restricted to Hikari and slower bullet train services.
The very slowest service is the Kodama, which uses an older model of train and takes just short of 3 hours to make the trip from Tokyo to Nagoya.
Our advice: Unless you’ve got a discount lined up, your money is better spent on the more time-efficient Hikari or Nozomi services. With upwards of 10 departures an hour, there are no shortage of fast services on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen.
How much does a Shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Nagoya cost?
In peak season (i.e. spring and summer holidays, Golden Week and over New Year), a regular one-way ticket costs about ¥11,300. It’s a couple of hundred yen cheaper off-peak.
To save some money (about ¥700), you can opt for non-reserved seating (jiyūseki), but there is a risk that you’ll have to stand the whole way — especially during peak season.
If you are traveling with small children, have a lot of luggage or just don’t like being on your feet for that long, it’s recommended that you book a reserved seat (shiteiseki). You can reserve seats in advance at the station or online (on the JR website).
Can I take luggage on the bullet train?
If you have a lot of luggage, or even one huge bag, consider sending it on ahead with a luggage delivery service. Shinkansen luggage rules dictate that luggage with total dimensions of over 160cm but under 250cm will require special reservations (included in your JR Pass).
Luggage under 160cm (total dimensions) can be stored on the overhead racks, presuming it fits and there is space. Otherwise you’ll have to stow any suitcases in front of or on your person. Bags over 250cm won’t be allowed onboard the bullet train at all.
Discounts for the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya
Cheapos can reduce the cost of a Shinkansen ride by taking advantage of the Japan Rail Pass (if you’re a short-term visitor).
A 7-day JR Pass will set you back the modest-for-what-you-get price of ¥29,110, which is not a lot more than a return ticket. If you’re also going to Kyoto and/or Osaka, you’ll more than break even.
Local trains: The scenic route¥6,380
6 to 7 hours
If you really like trains you could take a very slow meander Nagoya-wards using nothing but regular JR trains (and a great deal of patience).
You’ll be taking the JR Tokaido Main Line, which takes the same path as the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, but takes a lot longer, making many stops and requiring train changes. Last we checked, the local train journey from Tokyo to Nagoya would take about 6 hours, and need around three transfers.
The fare is ¥6,380 one-way, though you can save money by with a Seishun 18 Ticket.
Using the Seishun 18 Ticket to travel to Nagoya
The Seishun 18 Ticket is the ultimate cheapo pass. It gives five (non-consecutive) days of unlimited travel on local and rapid JR trains — but nothing faster — for ¥12,050. You can split one ticket up to five ways, giving a group of five people one full day of travel each for just ¥2,410.
This discount travel scheme is released by JR three times a year, roughly around the time university holidays happen in summer, winter and spring, the ultimate cheapo pass comes on sale.
Some brave souls use it to travel halfway across the country; journeys tend to be long and complicated, however, so you’ll need to plan carefully before boarding any trains!
Flights: Low cost, high carbon¥4,000
About 1 hour
Some of Japan’s low-cost carriers fly this route, which takes just 70 minutes runway to runway.
Nagoya’s nearest airport is Chūbu Centrair International Airport. There’s a direct train to Nagoya Staion that takes about 30 minutes.
|Tokyo Haneda => Nagoya Chubu Centrair||Japan Airlines||US$60.00||Sep 06, 2023||Booking options|
|Tokyo Haneda => Nagoya Chubu Centrair||ANA||US$78.00||Jul 22, 2023||Booking options|
|Tokyo Narita => Nagoya Chubu Centrair||Spring Airlines Japan||US$89.00||Jun 14, 2023||Booking options|
|Tokyo Narita => Nagoya Chubu Centrair||Jetstar||US$91.00||Sep 12, 2023||Booking options|
|Tokyo Narita => Nagoya Chubu Centrair||Peach||US$107.00||Oct 03, 2023||Booking options|
The discount airlines usually only fly out of Narita Airport for this route. Keep that in mind, as getting from Tokyo to Narita takes longer and costs more than getting from Tokyo to Haneda Airport.
You can get flights from Haneda to Nagoya on JAL or ANA, both of which have some discount fares for in-bound foreign travelers.
Is flying to Nagoya worth it?
Once you factor in the cost and hassle of airport transfers, flying to Nagoya from Tokyo starts to sound less appealing — especially compared to taking the Shinkansen. Flying to Nagoya makes more sense if you’re traveling from Sapporo or somewhere else far-flung.
Highway buses: Slow but steadyFrom ¥2,000
6 to 10 hours
A very cheap way of getting from Tokyo to Nagoya is a highway bus — one-way tickets go for as little as ¥2,000. The downside is that the trip takes a good 6–8 hours, which is a lot of sitting time for those with long legs or little children.
Most buses leave Tokyo late at night, reaching Nagoya around dawn, meaning you can save on hotel and minimize time wastage if you’re looking to make the most of a trip. However, it’s possible to book daytime buses, too.
Check out Kosoku Bus and Willer Express to see what’s available from Tokyo to Nagoya on your travel dates.
Note that some bus sites list Nagoya as “Aichi (Nagoya).” Keep in mind that while there are super cheap options, there are also weirdly expensive ones, to the point that it’s more than a bullet train, so do compare.
Want to know 11 awesome things you can do in Aichi Prefecture?
While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. This post was first published in 2017. Last updated in May 2023 by Maria Danuco.