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How to use alphanumeric ID system for stations in Tokyo

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After reading your article from April 2016 about alphanumeric IDs for stations in Tokyo, I have been trying to do route searches using both the three-letter station codes and the alphanumeric station IDs with little success. On one website, TYO and UEN weren't recognized, but SGW and KWS were. Then, when I search for JY17 (Shinjuku) to A13 (Nihonbashi, Asakusa Line), a list of four stations popped on the latter, including Arashiyama Station in Kyoto (also A13). JR to JR works OK, for example JY10 to JK10.

My question is, are there any tips or recommended apps or websites for a foolproof route search in Tokyo? For example, directing a client to go to "G05" is a lot easier than spelling out Akasaka-Mitsuke, especially when they are coming from KS41 (Narita Airport Station T2). Or are the non-JR lines just a hopeless problem? 

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Hello there,

I think it is unlikely that you will be able to do route searches with just the alphanumeric codes. Because the various private rail companies and the JR lines that operate in Tokyo (and the rest of Japan) are not integrated, they wouldn't recognize each other's codes.

I don't know what online route finders you have been using, but we generally recommend Hyperdia and Jorudan. For both of these you will need to input the station name. In the case of Hyperdia, after you have typed a few letters the route finder will automatically bring up a list of suggestions from you to choose from, so you rarely need to type out the full name. Hyperdia also allows you to narrow down your search terms to different types of train, JR or private etc...

I hope that helps!

Best wishes,



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Thanks, Michael!

Jorudan and Hyperdia are the two I've been running tests with. Hyperdia doesn't even recognize the three-letter station code for Tokyo (TYO), while Jorudan gives a long list of suggestions that mostly start with "J". 

How does this new system "make things super clear for foreign visitors" as your article claims? The crowd coming for the 2020 Olympics are already getting stiffed on ticket prices, meals and hotels, so unless a forthcoming intelligent (free) app is included in their travel packages, this new ID system is mostly just icing on a stale cake.

It hasn't eased a single thing for me, and I find myself on rails nearly every day. I hope this lights a fire under somebody's rump. 


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