Japanese Vocabulary list: Trains (電車) and related terms

By | June 24, 2016

Who doesn’t love trains, especially children? Even if you don’t love them, living in Japan (or other big cities) pretty much forces them to use them, so this list of train-related words is sure to be of use.

  • 電車 (densha): train   [this word is written with the Kanji for “electricity” and “car”, and thus is generally used to refer to electronic trains]
  • 〜本 (~hon): counter for trains [一本、二本、三本, etc….] (ippon, nihon, sanbon, etc)
  • 列車 (ressha): train [more general meaning than 電車 and can extend to non-electronic trains, though arguably sounds more formal than 電車]
  • 乗る (noru): to ride  [use に particle after the train, if specified]
  • 降りる (oriru): to get off [typically use を, though から is also possible]
  • 乗り換える (norikaeru): to change trains
  • 乗り遅れる (noriokureru): to miss a train
  • 乗り過ごす (norisugosu): to miss a train
  • 鉄道 (tetsudou): railroad
  • 鉄道会社 (tetsudou gaisha): railroad company
  • 銀河鉄道の夜 (ginga testudo no yoru): Great famous novel by Kenji Miyazawa (“Night on the Galactic Railroad”)
  • 地下鉄 (chikatetsu): subway
  • 駅 (eki): train station
  • 駅員 (ekiin): station attendant (note: “san” is often added to this)
  • ターミナル駅 (taaminaru eki): terminal station  (where tracks end)
  • 改札口 (kaisatsuguchi): ticket gate
  • 切符 (kippu): ticket [sometimes written in Hiragana as きっぷ]
  • 乗車券 (joushaken): train ticket
  • 通る (tooru): to go through something [use を with what is being passed through. Ex: a person through a gate, a train through a tunnel]
  • 通過する (tsuuka suru): to pass through
  • 通過駅 (tsuukaeki): a station that is passed through without stopping at
  • 時間表 (jikanhyou): time table (can be for train times at the station or something else)
  • 掲示板 (keijiban): bulletin board (can refer to informational, digital boards in stations, but also can refer to internet forums)
  • 行き先 (ikisaki): destination (of a train, etc.)
  • 目的地 (mokutekichi): destination (literally “target location”)
  • 出発 (shuppatsu): depart [can be a noun as is, or as averb with する]
  • 出発進行 (shuppatsu shinkou): equivalent of “all aboard!” when a train is starting to move
  • 到着 (touchaku): arrive  [can be a noun as is, or as averb with する]
  • ホーム (hoomu): platform which you walk on before getting on or off a train
  • 汽車 (kisha): steam train
  • 機関車 (kikansha): engine / locomotive
  • 路面電車 (romen densha): streetcar [runs on a track]
  • シュッシュポッポ (shusshu poppo): one way to describe the sound of a steam train moving
  • ガタンゴトン (gatan goton): one way to describe a modern (electric) train moving
  • 車両 (sharyou): [train] car
  • 架線 (kasen): overhead electrical wire
  • 線路 (senro): train track
  • 踏切 (fumikiri): train crossing
  • 遅延 (chien): delay (like when a train is late)
  • 停車 (teisha): a (train) stop
  • 普通列車 (futsuu ressha): a normal train that stops at each station
  • 特急列車 (tokkyuu ressha): high speed train that skips stops to get somewhere faster
  • 夜行列車 (yakou ressha): night train
  • 女性専用車両 (josei sen’you sharyou): train car which only women can ride (can be just 女性専用車)
  • 運転席 (untenseki): place where the person driving the train sits
  • 運転士 (untenshi): person who drives the train
  • 休止 (kyuushi): halting/suspension of operation for something, for example running of a train
  • 電車オタク (densha otaku): “train nerd” or someone who is really crazy about collecting, playing with, and/or studying about trains
  • 新幹線 (shinkansen): bullet train, speed train
  • 連結 (renketsu): linking or coupling of trains
  • 脱線 (dassen): derailment [sometimes used for trains, but also used metaphorically to refer to a conversation, etc.]
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4 thoughts on “Japanese Vocabulary list: Trains (電車) and related terms

  1. Densha93

    This list is quite interesting and I really thank you for sharing this.
    I just wanted to check 新幹線 for which you did a typo mistake as shinkansAn instead of Shinkansen.

    Again, thank you for the list! 😀

    1. locksleyu Post author

      Thanks very much for the comment! You are right, that was a typo. I just fixed it.

  2. Rey

    Great list! Btw Train attendant is ekiin (san).
    How do locals say “one ride” or “no transfer necessary” in japanese?

    1. locksleyu Post author

      Thanks for pointing out my typo, I corrected it.

      One way to say “No transfer necessary” is “乗り換え不要” (norikae fuyou)


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