Located in Satiama, Omiya Station is major transport hub with multiple shinkansen (Bullet Train) lines and the Narita Express (NEX) rapid service to the airport all running to and from the station. Combined with many local lines servicing the surrounding area including central Tokyo, Omiya is a convenient area for international visitors to base themselves – allowing easy access into and away from Tokyo.
Although Omiya is not in Tokyo, most international visitors won’t even notice they are in a different city given there is not discernible gap between the two and it only takes 25-minutes to travel between the two hub stations using shinkansen services. For any visitor with a Japan Rail (JR) Pass, it’s just a matter of hopping-on any shinkansen headed to Tokyo and you’ll be there in a flash. Don’t both with getting a reserved seat. Simply use a non-reserved carriage.
Heading into other areas of Tokyo are just easy using regular train lines, with areas including Shinjuku and Shibuya accessible within around 30-minutes. For visitors wanting to enjoy some day-trips out of Tokyo, Omiya is equally convenient with regional destinations easily accessible using different shinkansen services including Nagano only 55 to 65-minutes away.
There are plenty of accommodation options surrounding the station, making it a great base from where to enjoy the best of Tokyo and beyond.
The following page provides information to assist with moving to and from Omiya Station as you travel through Central Japan. It is not intended to provide complete information about the station or its facilities, but instead, provide some helpful information for travelers enroute to other destinations.
Train lines running to and from Omiya Station
Multiple train lines operate to and from Omiya – including both rapid and local services. For international visitors, the lines of most use and interest will be:
Hokuriku Shinkansen – running from Tokyo to Kanazawa via Nagano
Joetsu Shinkansen – running from Tokyo to Niigata via Echigo-Yuzawa
Tohoku Shinkansen – running from Tokyo to Aomori via Sendai Yamagata
Akita and Hokkaido Shinkansen Lines – no direct service by all three lines connect with stations on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line
Narita Express (NEX) – rapid service to Narita Airport servicing Tokyo
It is easy and fast to transfer between the Hokuriku Shinkansen and Joetsu Shinkansen at Omiya Station – see below for details. Please note, the two lines also connect at Takasaki Station.
Hokuriku Shinkansen / Tokyo to Kanazawa via Nagano
Running from Tokyo Station to Kanazawa Station, the Hokuriku Shinkansen stops at the following stations:
Tokyo / Ueno / Omiya / Kumagaya / Honjo-Waseda / Takasaki / Annaka-Haruna / Karuizawa / Sakudaira / Ueda / Nagano / Iiyama / Joetsu-Myoko / Itoigawa / Kurobe-Unazukionsen / Toyama / Shin-Takaoka / Kanazawa
There are four different services on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line – the Kagayaki, Hakutaka, Asama and Tsurugi. All services other than the Tsurugi service Omiya Station. From Tokyo to Omiya takes only 25-minutes while Omiya to Nagano takes between 55 to 65-minutes.
Reaching the final stop, Kanazawa Station, takes between 125 to 155-minutes from Omiya, depending on which service you choose.
To see the daily train schedule, please refer to our ‘Hokuriku Shinkansen Line Timetable’ page.
Joetsu Shinkansen / Tokyo to Niigata via Echigo-Yuzawa
Running from Tokyo Station to Niigata Station, the Joetsu Shinkansen stops at the following stations:
*In winter, some shinkansen services continue onto a winter-only stop at Gala-Yuzawa, directly underneath the ski resort of the same name.
Two services – the Toki and Tanigawa – operate from Echigo-Yuzawa to Tokyo while the Toki only runs from Echigo-Yuzawa to Niigata. Omiya to Echigo-Yuzawa takes around 55-minutes while reaching the final stop of Niigata Station takes between 80 to 100-minutes depending on which service you choose. Much like services on the Hokuriku Shinkansen, using the Joetsu Shinkansen to reach Tokyo Station will take 25-minutes.
For the train schedule, please refer to our ‘Joetsu Shinkansen Timetable’ page.
Transferring Between Shinkansen Lines at Omiya
Omiya Station is a large but easy to navigate. Split over three levels, the shinkansen ticketing offices and gates are located on the second floor, with the platforms located on the third floor and accessible by stairs, escalators and elevators. For travelers wanting to transfer between shinkansen lines at Omiya, there is no need to come out of the shinkansen area. When you arrive, simply head down to the floor below from the platform and look for the overhead sign directing you to the platform you need. You can then head straight back up to the platform – it should only take a minute or two to transfer platforms.
Narita Express (N’EX)
Making stops at Narita Airport Terminal 1 and a joint stop for Terminal 2 & 3, the Narita Express (N’EX) takes 120 minutes to travel from Omiya Station to the airport (depending on the specific service and which terminal you are using). The N’EX also services Tokyo, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Shinagawa and Yokohama Stations. All services stop at Tokyo Station.
It is important to note that only a couple of services each day run to and from Omiya Station to the airport, taking around 2 hours and costing JPY3190 one-way or JPY5480 return. Tickets can be purchased online up to one month in advance however there really is no need to book ahead of time. Tickets are available using the ticket machines or service windows at the station or the airport terminals.
For the daily schedule, see our ‘Narita Express (N’EX) Timetable’ page. The Narita Express is covered by the JR Pass, JR East Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass – see below for details.
Japan Rail (JR) Passes covering travel to/from Omiya Station
There is no escaping the fact that travel using the shinkansen and other rapid services is expensive. Given the speed and distances covered by these trains, travelers should think of them much like taking a flight, with tickets accordingly priced. International visitors to Japan have the option of purchasing one of several passes which allow for unlimited use of the Hokuriku along with other services:
Japan Rail (JR) Pass
Covering all 9 shinkansen lines in Japan and many other train services, the full JR Pass is a great option for visitors planning to use the shinkansen more than a handful of times and/or travel large distances. Travelers have the option of 7, 14 and 21-day passes covering either Ordinary or Ordinary and Green Cars.
The JR Pass allows for use of any service on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line at no additional cost but noting that should holders wish to have a reserved seat, they are still required to book a seat at the ticket office (at no additional cost).
Japan Rail (JR) East Pass/ Nagano & Niigata
This pass covers the Hokuriku and Joetsu Shinkansen lines serving Nagano and Niigata, along with other regional services. There is only one option of pass, covering 5 days of use within a 14-day period from its date of activation.
Notably cheaper than the JR Pass, this is a great option for visitors staying within Nagano and Niigata. Much like the JR Pass, it allows for use of any service on the Hokuriku Shinkansen or Joetsu Shinkansen at no additional cost but noting that should holders wish to have a reserved seat, they are still required to book a seat at the ticket office (at no additional cost).
Hokuriku Arch Pass
Valid for 7 consecutive days from date of activation, the JR Hokuriku Arch Pass covers train services from Tokyo – including trains from both Narita and Haneda Airports – to Nagano and Kanazawa and then onto Kyoto, Osaka and Kansai Airport.
For many international visitors, this pass covers the majority of their intended destinations as the they follow the most popular tourist route from Tokyo to Kanazawa and onto Kyoto and Osaka. Notably cheaper than the full JR Pass, the Hokuriku Arch Pass offers fantastic convenience and savings but it should be noted, that while the pass covers the Hokuriku Shinkansen it does not cover the Joetsu Shinkansen.
Purchasing a JR Pass
Passes can be purchased via the official website or via a JR-affiliated overseas sales office. Once you have completed payment, you will receive an exchange order. This is a proof of payment and looks almost like a flight ticket with your personal details, type of pass, and validity (three months from the date of issue). It is important to note that the exchange order is not your actual pass and will need to be exchanged for your pass once in Japan. Whatever you do, do not lose the exchange order and prioritise exchanging it for your pass when you arrive.
Activating a JR Pass
The Japan Rail passes listed above are valid for travel to and from Iiyama Station. Before using a pass, it must first be exchanged/activated. It is important to note that JR passes cannot be exchanged/activated at Omiya.
Exchanging/activating the pass can however be done at numerous offices located at airports – including Narita Airport / Haneda Airport / Chubu Centrair International Airport / Kansai International Airport – and major train stations throughout Japan.
If you have the time, we recommend activating your pass while at the airport. Otherwise, passes can also be activated at these stations on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line: Tokyo Station / Ueno Station / Nagano Station / Kanazawa Station.
To exchange/activate your pass you will need your exchange order and passport. Make sure you allow adequate time to exchange and activate your pass if you are intending to use it on the same day or do so a day or two before you plan to start using it (you can always nominate a later activation date). Once you have your activated pass you are free to ride however you can’t insert your pass into the ticket gates. Simply walk through the side booth (permanently attended by station staff) and show your pass. You will be waved through and you can make your way to the platform.
Omiya Tourist Information Center
The station’s small Tourist Information Center is located inside the station – in the middile of the main concourse on Level 2 – and open daily from 09:00 to 19:00. Full-time English-speaking are on hand to assist with enquiries related to sightseeing, accommodation and transportation.
Accommodation In & Around Omiya Station
Staying around Omiya Station is a good option for travelers who prioritise ease of access to central Tokyo while also allowing for easy travel outside of the city. Multiple train lines will transport you into the centre of Tokyo in 25-minutes or popular pockets of the capital including Shinjuku and Shibuya in around 30-minutes. Most attractively, multiple shinkansen lines run to and from Omiya Station, allowing for easy day-trips to Central Japan and beyond – with Nagano only 55 to 65-minutes from Omiya using services on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Around the station, there is a good selection of 4 and 3-star hotels, along with mid-range and budget options. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Omiya Station Area’ hotel page.
PRIVATE CHARTERS & TOURS IN CENTRAL JAPAN
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Got a question about visiting Central Japan from Omiya and Tokyo? Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get planning together!