The Longest One-way Ticket

What is the longest one-way ticket?

NHK BS broadcast from May 6 to June 23, 2004 a live program featuring a railway travel of JR lines with a ticket called Saicho Katamichi Kippu.

Saicho Katamichi Kippu (最長片道切符), or the longest one-way ticket is the one-way ticket issued by a railway operator that has the longest route traveled in terms of the fare calculation kilometer. While every railway operator has its own longest one-way ticket, it generally refers to the one issued by JR Group Companies that have succeeded the railway network of the Japanese National Railways (JNR) and calculate fares by aggregating the fare calculation km of the route of each group company traveled.

Ryokaku Eigyou Kisoku (旅客営業規則) of JR Group, or Passenger Service Rule (Rule) provides that a one-way ticket is issued for a one-way travel on a section where the route for fare calculation is continuous. The continuous route terminates at a station where the route completes a loop or turns back. Accordingly, the longest one-way ticket is the one-way ticket that has the longest route in terms of the fare calculation km between the starting and terminating stations, among those routes eligible for one-way tickets, or drawn with one stroke without duplication irrespective of the shape of the route.

Travel with the JNR/JR longest one-way ticket

Railway travel enthusiasts in Japan regards the travel with the longest one-way ticket of JR as an ultimate railway travel as well as the Kanjo trips and many people have tried the travel.

As far as known, the first JNR travel using the longest one-way ticket was accomplished in 1961 by a team of four embers of University of Tokyo Travel Club[1]. They traveled a journey of the 12,145.3 km from Kaigata (海潟) station of Furue line (古江線) in Kagoshima to Hiroo (広尾) station of Hiroo line in Hokkaido in 25 days. (Both Furue and Hiroo lines were abandoned since then.) Its record is found in a book "Nihon no Hakken" (日本の発見), or Discovery of Japan, published by Chuo Koronsha (中央公論社) in 1962.

Late Shunzo Miyawaki (宮脇俊三), a respected railway travel writer, made the 13,267.2 km longest one-way trip in 1978 from Hiroo to Makurazaki (枕崎), Kagoshima and wrote a book on "Saicho Katamichi Kippu no Tabi" (最長片道切符の旅) published by Shinchosha (新潮社) in 1979. This was his second book following "Jikokuhyo 20,000 km" (時刻表2万キロ) on his Kanjo trip and made the longest one-way ticket known by ordinary people, not only among Noritetsu (乗り鉄) or train riding buffs.

Mr. Takaya Kasai (葛西隆也), when he was a master's course student and a member of rail fan club at the University of Tokyo in 2000, made the route search by mathematically strict methods using a computer together with his co-researcher. Then Mr. Kasai traveled their searched 11,925.9km route between Wakkanai (稚内) and Hizen-Yamaguchi (肥前山口) with the funds contributed by his friends. The process of the route search and travel is reported in his web page (Japanese).

Route and length of the longest one-way ticket

The route and length of the longest one-way ticket of JNR/JR changed from time to time, as the JNR/JR network saw many changes by opening and discontinuing railway lines. In 1960 and 70's the total length of the ticket was increased as many new lines were opened. Some loss-making lines were discontinued during 1960 and 70's, but almost all of the discontinued lines were what is called Mochosen (盲腸線), literally “a cecal line”, or a dead end line that did not affect the route of the longest one-way ticket.

The longest one-way ticket of JNR was longest for about one week between June 23 and June 30, 1982. On June 23, 1982 Tohoku Shinkansen (東北新幹線)opened and on July 1 Nihori ferry line (仁堀航路) was discontinued. By the closure of Nihori ferry, which ran between Nikata (仁方) station of Kure line and Horie (堀江) station of Yosan line, Uko ferry line (宇高航路) between Uno (宇野) and Takamatsu (高松) became only one route connecting Honshu with Shikoku and the JNR lines in Shikoku were no longer the route traveled by the longest one-way ticket[2]. Thus the total length of the ticket was substantially reduced.

Enforcement of JNR Reform Law in 1981 made many local line discontinued or transferred to third sector companies. The discontinued or transferred lines were extended to those consisting the network such as Nayoro line (名寄線) and the total length was further reduced. Recently, the transfer of conventional lines parallel to Shinkansen to third sector affects the route and length of the ticket.

Route search

In old days the search for the longest route was made by manual calculation depending on experience and intuition. In their route search in 1961, Tokyo University Travel Club members divided the route into six blocks and the member tried to find the longest one-way route within the respective block assigned to him. The routes of the respective blocks were then combined. Hokkaido and Kyushu could be easily be divided because there were only one route between Honshu and Hokkaido (Seikan ferry=青函航路) or Honshu and Kyushu (Kanmon tunnel=関門トンネル). They divided Honshu into four blocks by drawing vertical lines in such a place where the number of railway lines crossing the vertical line is less.

In the model chart only one route either (a) or (b) can be used to move from Block A to Block B. Thus, Block A and Block B is divided by the vertical (red) line. In Block A the two longest routes passing either (a) or (b) are considered. So are in Block B. Then the two longest routes of Blocks A and B are combined and the longer of passing either (a) or (b) is selected.

In 1980's attempt to use computers for the longest one-way route search started. But using a computer in a route search was not necessarily intended to obtain the answer in mathematically strict way. The questioned problems were often simplified by putting several assumptions, such that the route starts in Hokkaido and terminates in Kyushu, or vice versa, that is not mathematically verified.

Mr. Kasai made the route search in both "integer programming" and "all search"methods. His work is unique in that they can mathematically demonstrate that the route searched is the longest among all the potential routes eligible for the one-way ticket. He used in the all search method the same approach of dividing the entire route into several blocks, in more mathymatically strict way, as Tokyo University Travel Club members had adopted in 1961.

Choice of Shinkansen and conventional lines between Kokura and Hakata

There is ambiguity in interpreting the Rule whether both the Shinkansen and conventional lines between Kokura and Hakata can be used by a One-way Ticket. The interpretation is not unified among the JR Companies and this affects the route selection of the Longest One-way Ticket.

JR Hokkaido, JR Shikoku and JR Kyushu increased the basic fare in January 1996, and the Shin-Shimonoseki = Kokura = Hakata section of San'yo Shinkansen and San'yo and Kagoshima Lines became independent lines as far as the fare calculation is concerned. But the Rule provided that both lines are regarded as the same line with respect to the conditions for issuing tickets. Thus a Round-trip Ticket for a round trip between Tokyo and Hakata with one-way on board Shinkansen and returning by Blue Train. This also applies in determining the continuous route eligible for one-way tickets. However, as an ambiguous provision was inserted in the Rule, there was a room for interpreting the both Shinkansen and conventional lines can be included in a one-way ticket under certain conditions[3].

In 1980 Mr. Kasai traveled with his longest one–way ticket the route of Kokura (Shinkansen) Hakata (Kagoshima line) Yoshiduka (Sasaguri and Kashii lines) Kashii (Kagoshima line) Nishi-Kokura shown in the left chart below, while a friend of Mr. Kasai who accompanied him in traveling this section was oblidged to use Consecutive Ticket as he could not buy a one-way ticket.

The NHK route did not use the both lines in the section, as seen in the right chart below.

Mr.Kasai's Route (2000)
NHK Route (2004)

Change of the JNR/JR Longest One-way Ticket Route

The author traced the changes of JNR/JR longest one-way ticket route since 1961 when the first attempt was made by Tokyo University Travel Club members. Integer programming was used as Mr. Kasai did, but with less powerful PC using the Microsoft Excel solver according to the method of Mr. Hideaki Kondo shows in his web (in Japanese). This is the first publication on the search of the longest one-way ticket route using Excel solver. The changes of the route and length are summarized below. Route maps are shown by clicking the links in the table.

Until March 30, 1987 both directions Kyushu to Hokkaido and Hokkaido to Kyushu were eligible for the one-way ticket. After March 30, 1987 when the longest route took the shape of 6, a 6-letter route, only one direction has become possible. Between March 30, 1087 and March 31, 1988 the longest route started at a atation in Kyushu and ended at Otoineppu, Hokkaido. Only the Hokkaido to Kyushu route has become eligible since April 1, 1988. Letters s and l in the table below show the starting and ending stations, respectively.

Table 1 - Change of the Longest One-way Ticket Route since 1961
Date Change Total Km Railway Ferry Route
1961/04/13 Furue Line's Furue = Kaigata section opened 12166.2 11965.2 201.0 [Hokkaido] Hiroo (Hiroo) Obihiro (Nemuro) Takikawa (Hakodate) Asahikawa (Soya) Shin-Asahikawa (Sekihoku) Kitami (Chihoku) Ikeda (Nemuro) Attoko (Shibetsu) Naka-Shibetsu (Shibetsu) Shibecha (Senmo) Abashiri (Yumo) Naka-Yubetsu (Nayoro) Nayoro (Soya) Otoineppu (Tenhoku) Minami-Wakkanai (Soya) Horonobe (Haboro) Rumoi (Rumoi) Ishikari-Numata (Sassho) Soen (Hakodate) Iwamizawa (Muroran) Date-Monbetsu (Iburi) Kutchan (Hakodate) Hakodate [Honshu and Shikoku] (Seikan Ferry) Aomori (Ou) Kawabe (Gono) Higashi-Noshiro (Ou) Odate (Hanawa) Koma (Tohoku) Morioka (Yamada) Kamaishi (Hanamaki) Hanamaki (Tohoku) Kogota (Ishinomaki) Ishinomaki (Senseki) Sendai (Senzan) Uzen-Chitose (Ou) Akita (Uetsu) Sakamachi (Yonesaka) Imaizumi (Nagai) Akayu (Ou) Fukushima (Tohoku) Iwanuma (Joban) Taira *a (Ban'etsu-to) Koriyama (Ban'etsu-sai) Niitsu (Uetsu) Shibata (Hakushin) Niigata (Echigo) Yoshida (Yahiko) Higashi-Sanjo (Shin'etsu) Naoetsu (Hokuriku) Itoigawa (Oito) Matsumoto (Shinonoi) Shinonoi (Shin'etsu) Toyono (Iiyama) Echigo-Kawaguchi (Joetsu) Shin-Maebashi (Ryomo) Oyama (Tohoku) Asaka-Nagamori (Suigun) Mito (Joban) Abiko (Narita) Matsugishi (Sobu) Naruto (Togane) Oami (Boso-to *b) Awa-Kamogawa (Boso-sai *c) Soga (Boso-to *b) Chiba (Sobu) Akihabara (Tohoku) Kanda (Chuo) Yoyogi (Yamanote) Shinagawa (Tokaido) Tsurumi (Tsurumi) Hama-Kawasaki (Nanbu) Tachikawa (Chuo) Shinjuku (Yamanote) Tabata (Tohoku) Nippori (Tohoku via Oku) Omiya (Kawagoe) Komagawa (Hachiko) Kuragano (Takasaki) Takasaki (Shin'etsu) Komoro (Koumi) Kobuchizawa (Chuo) Hachioji (Yokohama) Higashi-Kanagawa (Tokaido) Kodu (Gotenba) Numadu (Tokaido) Kakegawa (Futamata) Shinjohara (Tokaido) Toyohashi (Iida) Tatsuno (Chuo) Shiojiri (Chuo) Nagoya (Kansai) Kameyama (Kisei) Wakayama *d (Wakayama) Takada (Sakurai) Nara (Kansai) Tennoji (Osaka-kanjo) Kyobashi (Katamachi) Kidu (Kansai) Tsuge (Kusatsu) Kusatsu (Tokaido) Gifu (Takayama) Toyama (Hokuriku) Tsuruga (Obama) Nishi-Maiduru (Miyadu) Toyooka (San'in) Kyoto (Tokaido) Amagasaki (Fukuchiyama) Tanikawa (Kakogawa) Kakogawa (San'yo) Okayama (Uno) Uno (Uko Ferry) Takamatsu (Kotoku) Sako (Tokushima) Awa-Ikeda (Dosan) Tadotsu (Yosan) Horie (Nihori Ferry) Nikata (Kure) Mihara (San'yo) Hiroshima (Geibi) Shiomachi (Fukuen) Fukuyama (San'yo) Kurashiki (Hakubi) Niimi (Kishin) Higashi-Tsuyama (Inbi) Tottori (San'in) Hoki-Daisen (Hakubi) Bicchu-Kojiro (Geibi) Bingo-Ochiai (Kisuki) Shinji (San'in) Iwami-Masuda *e (Yamaguchi) Ogori *f (San'yo) Nishi-Ube*g (Ube) Ino (Onoda) Onoda (San'yo) Asa (Mine) Shomyoichi *h(San'in) Hatabu (San'yo) [Kyushu] Moji (Kagoshima) Kashii (Kashii) Umi (Katsuta) Yoshiduka (Kagoshima) Hakata (Chikuhi) Imari (Matsuura) Sasebo (Sasebo) Haiki (Omura) Isahaya (Nagasaki) Tosu (Kagoshima) Haruda (Chikuho) Nogata (Ita) Kaneda (Itoda) Gotoji *i (Hida-Hikosan) Ita *j (Tagawa) Yukuhashi (Nippo) Jono (Hida-Hikosan) Kawara (Soeda) Soeda (Hida-Hikosan) Yoake (Kyudai) Kurume (Kagoshima) Kumamoto (Hohi) Oita (Nippo) Miyakonojo (Kitto) Yoshimatsu (Hisatsu) Yatsushiro (Kagoshima) Sendai (Miyanojo) Satsuma-Okuchi (Yamano) Kurino (Hisatsu) Hayato (Nippo) Nishi-Miyakonojo (Shibushi) Shibushi (Furue *k) Kaigata *l
1962/06/10 Hokuriku Line shortened by rerouting of Tsuruga = Imajo section 12159.1 11958.1 201.0  
1962/07/18 Tsukuda Station opened on Tokushima Line 12148.2 11947.2 201.0 .....Sako (Tokushima) Tsukuda (Dosan) Tadotsu.....
1963/04/28 Boso-to Line shortened by rerouting of Chiba = Hon-Chiba and Toke = Oami section 12147.8 11946.8 201.0  
1963/05/08 Nichinan Line's Minami-Miyazaki = Kitago section opened 12183.6 11982.6 201.0 .....Minami-Miyazaki (Nichinan) Shibushi (Shibushi) Nishi- Miyakonojo.....Hayato (Nippo) Kagoshima (Kagoshima) Nishi-Kagoshima (Ibusuki *m) Nishi-Ei
1963/10/31 Ibusuki-Makurazaki Line's Nishi-Ei = Makurazaki section opened 12203.8 12002.8 201.0 .....Nishi-Ei (Ibusuki-Makurazaki) Makurazaki
1963/12/01 Kagoshima Line's Yoshiduka = Hakata = Takeshita section and Chikuhi Line's Hakata = Chikuzen-Monoshima section shortened by rerouting 12203.3 12002.3 201.0  
1964/10/01 Tokaido Shinkansen opened 12334.7 12133.7 201.0 .....Kogota (Rikuu-to) Shinjo.....Sakamachi (Uetsu) Shibata (Hakushin) Niigata (Echigo) Kashiwazaki (Shin'etsu) Niitsu (Ban'etsu-sai) Koriyama (Tohoku) Fukushima (Ou) Yonezawa (Yonesaka) Imaizumi (Nagai) Akayu (Ou) Uzen-Chitose (Senzan) Sendai (Tohoku) Iwanuma (Joban) Mito (Suigun) Asaka-Nagamori (Tohoku) Oyama (Mito) Tomobe..........Shinagawa (Tokaido) Tokyo (Tokaido Shinkansen) Odawara (Tokaido) Numazu (Gotenba) Kozu .....Higashi-Kanagawa (Tokaido)Tsurumi.....Omiya (Takasaki) Kuragano (Hachiko) Hachioji.....Kofu (Minobu) Fuji.....Tatsuno (Chuo) Kobuchizawa.....Takasaki (Joetsu) Echigo-Kawaguchi (Iiyama) Toyono (Shin'etsu) Naoetsu (hokuriku) Itoigawa (Oito) Matsumoto (Shinonoi) Shiojiri.....
1965/03/01 Passenger service started on Kansai Line's Yao = Sugimotocho section started. 12344.6 12143.6 201.0 .....Yao (Kansai [Hanwa-kamotsu]) Sugimotocho (Hanwa) Tennoji.....
1966/03/10 Urushio Line's Urushio = Shimo-Yamada section and Kami-Yamada Line's Kami-Yamada = Buzen-Kawasaki section opened. 12383.5 12182.5 201.0 .....Haruda (Chikuho) Iiduka (Kami-Yamada) Buzen-Kawasaki (Hida-Hikosan) Gotoji *i (Gotoji) Shin-Iiduka (Chikuho) Nogata (Ita) Ita *j.....
1966/09/30 Nemuro Line extended by rerouting of Ochiai = Shintoku section 12383.7 12182.7 201.0  
1966/10/20 Tazawako Line's Akabuchi = Tazawako section opened 12592.2 12391.2 201.0 .....Aomori (Tohoku) Koma (Hanawa) Odate (Ou) Kawabe.....Higashi-Noshiro (Ou) Akita.....Amarume (Rikuu-sai) Shinjo (Ou) Omagari (Tazawako) Morioka.....Kogota (Ishinomaki) Ishinomaki (Senseki) Sendai (Senzan) Uzen-Chitose (Ou) Yonezawa (Yonesaka) Sakamachi.....Fukushima (Tohoku) Iwanuma.....
1967/10/01 Passenger service of Kansai Line's Yao = Sugimotocho section discontinued 12582.3 12381.3 201.0 .....Yao (Kansai) Tennoji.....
1968/05/25 Sasaguri Line's Sasaguri = Keisen section opened 12592.3 12391.3 201.0 .....Yoshiduka (Sasaguri) Keisen.....Kurume (Kagoshima) Hakata (Chikuhi) Imari (Matsuura) Sasebo (Sasebo) Haiki (Omura) Isahaya (Nagasaki) Saga (Saga) Sedaka (Kagoshima) Kumamoto.....
1968/09/01 Tohoku Line shortened by rerouting 12610.7 12409.7 201.0  
1969/10/01 Hakodate Line (Osamunai = Ino section) and Hokuriku Line (whole line) shortened, and Minobu Line (Fuji = Tatebori section) extended by rerouting 12589.0 12388.0 201.0  
1969/12/01 Kusatsu Line extended by rerouting of Tebara = Kusatsu section 12588.8 12387.8 201.0  
1971/08/29 Tadami Line's Tadami = Oshirakawa section opened 12652.7 12451.7 201.0 .....Amarume (Uetsu) Sakamachi (Yonesaka) Yonezawa (Ou) Shinjo.....Sendai (Tohoku) Koriyama.....Koide (Tadami) Aidu-Wakamatsu (Banetsu-sai) Niitsu (Uetsu) Shibata (Hakushin) Niigata (Echigo) Kashiwazaki (Shin'etsu) Miyauchi (Joetsu) Echigo-Kawaguchi.....
1972/03/15 San'yo Shinkansen's Shin-Osaka = Okayama section opened. Wakayama Line's Tainose = Wakayama section opened, and Tainose = Kiwa section closed 12745.8 12544.8 201.0 .....Wakayama (Wakayama) Tainose.....Shin-Osaka (San'yo Shinkansen) Nishi-Akashi (San'yo) Kobe (Tokaido) Amagasaki.....
1972/06/19 Sassho Line's Shin-Totsugawa = Ishikari-Numata section closed 12658.3 12457.3 201.0 .....Obihiro (Nemuro) Furano (Furano) Asahikawa.....Fukagawa (Hakodate) Iwamizawa (Muroran) Numanohata (Chitose) Naebo (Hakodate) Kutchan (Iburi) Date-Monbetsu (Muroran) Oshamanbe.....
1972/09/09 Osumi Line's Kaigata-onsen = Kokubu section opened 12757.7 12556.3 201.0 .....Shibushi (Osumi) Kokubu (Nippo) Miyakonojo.....
1973/04/01 Musashino Line's Fuchu-honmachi = Shin-Matsudo section opened 12899.7 12604.9 201.0 .....Tabata (Tohoku) Akabane (Tohoku via Oku) Nippori (Joban) Shin-Matsudo (Musashino) Minami-Urawa.....
1973/04/09 Negishi Line's Yokodai = Ofuna section opened 12804.1 12603.1 201.0 .....Ofuna (Negishi) Yokohama.....
1973/09/01 Ise Line opened and designated as an Article 69 Tokutei-kukan 12795.1 12594.1 201.0 .....Kawarada (Ise) Tsu.....
1973/09/09 Chitose Line rerouted 12792.7 12591.7 201.0  
1974/03/01 Yoto Line's Ekawazaki = Wakai section opened 12955.3 12754.3 201.0 .....Tsukuda (Dosan) Kubokawa (Nakamura) Wakai (Yoto) Kita-Uwajima (Yosan) Horie.....
1974/07/20 Kosei Line opened 13032.0 12831.0 201.0 .....Kusatsu (Tokaido) Yamashina (Kosei) Omi-Shiodu (Hokuriku) Maibara (Tokaido) Gifu.....
1975/08/31 Sanko Line's Hamabara = Kuchiha section opened 13188.8 12987.8 201.0 .....Himeji (Kishin) Higashi-Tsuyama (Inbi) Tottori (San'in) Hoki-Daisen (Hakubi) Bicchu-Kojiro (Geibi) Bingo-Ochiai (Kisuki) Shinji (San'in) Gotsu (Sanko) Miyoshi (Geibi) Shiomachi (Fukuen) Fukuyama (San'yo) Kurashiki (Hakubi) Niimi (Kishin) Tsuyama (Tsuyama) Okayama.....Hiroshima (San'yo) Ogori (Yamaguchi) Masuda (San'in) Nagato-shi (Mine) Asa (San'yo) Hatabu.....
1977/12/11 Kesennuma Line's Yanaidu = Motoyoshi section opened 13260.7 13059.7 201.0 .....Ichinoseki (Ofunato) Kesennuma (Kesennuma) Maeyachi.....
1978/10/02 Musashino Line (Shin-Matsudo = Nishi-Funabashi) opened 13267.2 13066.2 201.0 .....Nishi-Funabashi (Musashino) Shin-Matsudo (Joban) Nippori (Tohoku via Oku) Akabane (Akabane) Ikebukuro (Yamanote) Shinjuku (Chuo) Nishi-Kokubunji (Musashino) Minami-Urawa.....Haijima (Ome) Tachikawa (Nanbu) Hama-Kawasaki (Tsurumi) Tsurumi (Tokaido) Shinagawa (Yamanote) Yoyogi (Chuo) Kanda (Tohoku) Akihabara (Sobu) Kinshicho (Sobu) Tokyo (Tokaido Shinkansen) Odawara (Tokaido) Numadu (Gotenba) Kodu (Tokaido) Chigasaki (Sagami) Hashimoto (Yokohama) Hachioji.....
1980/09/25 Chuo Line shortened by rerouting of Shinano-sakai = Fujimi section 13267.0 13066.0 201.0
1980/10/01 Passenger service started on Shinagawa = Shin-Kawasaki = Tsurumi section of Tokaido Line 13269.9 13068.9 201.0 .....Tsurumi (Tokaido via Shin-Kawasaki) Shinagawa.....
1981/10/01 Sekisho Line opened 13361.1 13160.1 201.0 Samani (Hidaka) Tomakomai (Muroran) Numanohata (Chitose) Chitose-kuko (Sekisho) Shintoku.....Iwamizawa (Hakodate) Kutchan.....
1981/11/01 Senseki Line shortened by rerouting of Nishi-Shiogama = Rikuzen-Hamada section 13360.9 13159.9 201.0  
1982/05/17 Chuo Line's Shiojiri = Seba section and Shinonoi Line's Shiojiri = Hirooka section shortened by rerouting 13360.3 13159.3 201.0  
1982/06/23 Tohoku Shinkansen (Omiya = Morioka) opened 13423.7 13222.7 201.0 .....Sendai (Tohoku Shinkansen) Fukushima (Tohoku) Iwanuma (Joban) Taira *a.....*the route upto Sendai..... Maeyachi (Ishinomaki) Kogota (Rikuu-to) Furukawa (Tohoku Shinkansen) Sendai
1982/07/01 Nihori Ferry closed 12724.6 12611.6 113.0 .....Nishi-Maiduru (Maiduru) Ayabe.....Tanikawa (Fukuchiyama) Fukuchiyama (San'in) Tottori (Inbi) Higashi-Tsuyama (Kishin) Himeji (San'yo) Okayama (Tsuyama) Tsuyama (Kishin) Niimi (Hakubi) Kurashiki (San'yo) Fukuyama (Fukuen) Shiomachi (Geibi) Bicchu-Kojiro (Hakubi) Hoki-Daisen (San'in) Gotsu (Sanko) Miyoshi (Geibi) Hiroshima.....
1982/09/29 Chuo Line's Agematsu = Kiso-Fukushima section shortened by rerouting 13360.1 13159.3 201.0  
1982/11/15 Joetsu Shinkansen opened. Iida Line shortened by rerouting of Ugusu = Hiraoka section. 12782.3 12669.3 113.0 .....Niitsu (Shin'etsu) Nagaoka (Joetsu Shinkansen) Niigata (Echigo) Kashiwazaki (Shin'etsu) Miyauchi.....
1983/03/22 Chikuhi Line's Yamamoto = Karatsu and Karatsu = Nijinomatsubara sections opened, and Hakata = Meinohama and Nijinomatsubara = Yamamoto sections closed, and Imajuku = Meinohama section shortened by rerouting 12591.4 12478.4 113.0 .....Kokura (Nippo) Jono (Hida-Hikosan) Kawara.....Kurume (Kagoshima) Minamata (Yamano) Satsuma-Okuchi (Miyanojo) Sendai (Kagoshima) Kagoshima (Nippo) Hayato (Hisatsu) Yoshimatsu (Kitto) Miyakonojo (Nippo) Kokubu (Osumi) Shibushi (Nichinan) Minami-Miyazaki (Nippo) Yukuhashi (Tagawa) Tagawa-Ita (Ita) Nogata (Chikuho) Orio (Kagoshima) Kashii (Kashii) Umi (Katsuta) Yoshiduka (Sasaguri) Keisen (Chikuho) Haruda (Kagoshima) Tosu (Nagasaki) Kubota (Karatsu) Yamamoto (Cikuhi) Imari (Matsuura) Arita (Sasebo) Hizen-Yamaguchi (Nagasaki) Isahaya (Omura) Haiki (Sasebo) Sasebo (Matsuura) Imari
1983/07/05 Chuo Line's Okaya = Midoriko = Shiojiri section opened 12592.7 12479.7 113.0 .....Taira *a (Ban'etsu-to) Koriyama (Ban'etsu-sai) Niitsu (Shin'etsu) Nagaoka (Joetsu Shinkansen) Niigata (Echigo) Kashiwazaki (Shin'etsu) Miyauchi (Joetsu) Echigo-Kawaguchi (Iiyama) Toyono (Shin'etsu) Naoetsu (Hokuriku) Itoigawa (Oito) Matsumoto (Shinonoi) Shinonoi (Shin'etsu) Takasaki (Joetsu Shinkansen) Echigo-Yuzawa (Joetsu) Shin-Maebashi (Ryomo) Oyama (Tohoku) Asaka-Nagamori (Suigun) Mito (Joban) Tomobe.....Tatsuno (Chuo) Okaya (Chuo) Shiojiri (Chuo) Tajimi.....
1983/07/26 Hakubi Line shortened by rerouting of Ikura = Ishiga section 12591.5 12478.5 113.0  
1985/04/01 Katsuta, Soeda and Urushio Lines closed 12567.2 12454.2 113.0 .....Tagawa-Ita (Tagawa) Yukuhashi (Nippo) Minami-Miyazaki (Nichinan) Shibushi (Osumi) Kokubu (Nippo) Miyakonojo (Kitto) Yoshimatsu (Hisatsu) Hayato (Nippo) Kagoshima (Kagoshima) Sendai (Miyanojo) Satsuma-Okuchi (Yamano) Minamata (Kagoshima) Kurume (Kyudai) Yoake (Hida-Hikosan) Buzen-Kawasaki (Kami-Yamada) Iiduka (Chikuho) Shin-Iiduka (Gotoji) Tagawa-Gotoji (Itoda) Kaneda.....Kashii (Kagoshima) Yoshiduka.....
1985/09/30 Tohoku Line's Akabane = Musashi-Urawa = Omiya section opened 12593.5 12480.5 113.0 .....Nishi-Funabashi (Sobu) Akihabara (Tohoku) Nippori (Joban) Shin-Matsudo (Musashino) Minami-Urawa (Tohoku) Tabata (Yamanote) Shinjuku (Chuo) Nishi-Kokubunji (Musashino) Musashi-Urawa (Tohoku) Omiya.....Kanda (Tohoku) Tokyo.....
1986/08/01 Fukuchiyama Line shortened by rerouting of Namaze = Dojo section 12591.7 12478.7 113.0  
1986/11/01 Iburi Line closed 12535.2 12422.2 113.0 .....Kutchan (Hakodate) Oshamanbe.....
1987/01/10 Miyanojo Line closed 12499.4 12386.4 113.0 .....Sendai (Kagoshima) Minamata.....
1987/03/14 Osumi Line closed 12441.2 12328.2 113.0 .....Shibushi (Shibushi) Nishi-Miyakonojo (Nippo) Kagoshima (Kagoshima) Minamata (Yamano) Kurino (Hisatsu) Yatsushiro.....
1987/03/15 Futamata Line transferred 12426.4 12313.4 113.0 .....Kakegawa (Tokaido) Shinjohara.....
1987/03/20 Yumo Line closed 12247.5 12134.5 113.0 .....Shintoku (Nemuro) Attoko (Shibetsu) Naka-Shibetsu (Shibetsu) Shibecha (Senmo) Abashiri (Sekihoku) Shin-Asahikawa (Soya) Nayoro.....Fukagawa (Hakodate) Takikawa (Furano) Furano (Nemuro) Takikawa.....
1987/03/27 Shibushi Line closed. Ise Line transferred 12178.8 12065.8 113.0 .....Kawarada (Kansai) Kameyama (Ise) Tsu.....Minami-Miyazaki (Nippo) Nishi-Miyakonojo.....
1987/03/30 Haboro Line closed 11925.5 11812.5 113.0 l Otoineppu (Tenhoku) Minami-Wakkanai (Soya) Nayoro (Shinmei) Fukagawa (Hakodate) Takigawa (Nemuro) Furano (Furano) Asahigawa (Soya) Shin-Asahigawa (Sekihoku) Abashiri (Senmo) Shibecha (Shibetsu) Naka-Shibetsu (Shibetsu) Attoko (Nemuro) Shintoku (Sekisho) Oiwake (Muroran) Numanohata (Chitose) Shiroishi..... Sasebo (Matsuura) Higashi-Yamashiro s
1988/01/31 Yamano Line closed 11879.3 11766.3 113.0 .....Miyakonojo (Kitto) Yoshimatsu (Hisatsu) Hayato (Nippo) Kagoshima (Kagoshima) Yatsushiro.....
1988/03/13 Kaikyo Line opened. Shin-Fuji Station opened on Tokaido Shinkansen. 11956.6 11956.6   .....Goryokaku (Esashi) Kikonai (Kaikyo) Nakaokuni (Tsugaru) Aomori.....Kinshicho (Sobu) Tokyo (Tokaido) Shinagawa (Yamanote) Yoyogi (Chuo) Kanda (Tohoku) Akihabara.....Tsurumi (Tokaido) Yokohama (Negishi) Ofuna (Tokaido) Kodu (Gotenba) Numadu (Tokaido) Fuji (Minobu) Kofu (Chuo) Hachioji (Yokohama) Shin-Yokohama (Tokaido Shinkansen) Odawara (Tokaido) Mishima (Tokaido Shinkansen) Shizuoka.....
1988/04/01 Matsuura Line Transferred 11813.2 11813.2   .....Haiki (Sasebo) Omachi s (or Haiki (Omura) Isahaya (nagasaki) Hizen-Shiroishi s)
1988/04/30 Shinonoi Line shortened by rerouting of Akashina = Saijo section 11812.5 11812.5    
1988/08/31 Kami-Yamada Line closed 11785.5 11785.5   .....Buzen-Kawasaki (Hida-Hikosan) Tagawa-Gotoji (Gotoji) Shin-Iiduka (Chikuho) Nogata.....
1988/12/01 Keiyo Line's Shin-Kiba = Minami-Funabashi, Chiba-Minato = Soga and Ichikawa-Shiohama = Nishi-Funabashi sections opened 11793.8 11793.8   .....Soga (Keiyo) Ichikawa-Shiohama (Keiyo) Nishi-Funabashi.....
1989/03/05 San'in Line shortened by rerouting of Saga = Umahori section 11792.2 11792.2    
1989/03/11 Katamachi Line shortened by rerouting of Osumi = Nagao section 11792.1 11792.1    
1989/04/20 Fukuen Line shortened by rerouting of Kawasa = Bingo-Mikawa section 11790.7 11790.7    
1989/04/30 Shibetsu Line closed 11653.7 11653.7   .....Higashi-Kushiro (Senmo) Shibecha.....
1989/05/01 Nayoro and Tenhoku Lines closed 11580.2 11580.2   s Samani (Hidaka) Tomakomai (Muroran) Numanohata (Chitose) Chitose-kuko (Sekisho) Shintoku (Nemuro) Higashi-Kushiro (Senmo) Abashiri (Sekihoku) Shin-Asahigawa (Soya)Nayoro (Shinmei) Fukagawa (Hakodate) Asahigawa (Furano) Furano (Nemuro) Takigawa (Hakodate).....(Sasebo) Hizen-Yamaguchi l
1989/10/01 Tagawa, Ita and Kaneda Lines transferred 11545.4 11545.4   .....Jono (Nippo) Yukuhashi.....
1990/03/10 Keiyo Line's Tokyo = Shin-Kiba section opened 11562.7 11562.7   .....Abiko (Joban) Shin-Matsudo (Musashino) Minami-Urawa (Tohoku) Akabane (Tohoku) Ikebukuro (Yamanote) Tabata (Tohoku) Akihabara (Sobu) Sakura (Narita) Narita.....Minami-Funabashi (Keiyo) Tokyo (Tohoku) Kanda (Chuo) Yoyogi (Yamanote) Shinjuku .....Shitte (Nanbu) Kawasaki (Tokaido) Shinagawa (Tokaido via Shin-Kawasaki) Tsurumi.....
1991/10/22 Nemuro Line shortened by rerouting of Shimanoshita = Furano section 11567.5 11567.5    
1995/09/04 Shinmei Line closed 11454.0 11454.0   s Wakkanai (Soya) Shin-Asahikawa (Sekihoku) Abashiri (Senmo) Higashi-Kushiro (Nemuro) Shintoku (Sekisho) Oiwake (Muroran) Iwamizawa.....
1997/03/22 Ban'etsu-sai Line shortened by rerouting of Bandai-Atami = Joko section 11453.4 11453.4   .....Iwaki (Joban) Mito (Suigun) Asaka-Nagamori (Tohoku) Oyama (Mito) Tomobe.....Okaya (Chuo) Kobuchizawa (Koumi) Komoro (Shin'etsu) Takasaki (Joetsu) Koide (Tadami) Aidu-Wakamatsu (Ban'etsu-sai) Niitsu (Shin'etsu) Nagaoka (Joetsu Shinkansen) Niigata (Echigo) Kashiwazaki (Shin'etsu) Miyauchi (Joetsu) Echigo-Kawaguchi (Iiyama) Toyono (Shin'etsu) Naoetsu (Hokuriku) Itoigawa (Oito) Matsumoto (Shinonoi) Shiojiri.....
1997/10/01 Hokuriku Shinkansen opened. Shin'etsu Line's Yokokawa = Karuizawa section closed and Karuizawa = Shinonoi section transferred 11473.5 11473.5   .....Iwaki (Ban'etsu-to) Koriyama (Ban'etsu-sai) Niitsu (Shin'etsu) Nagaoka (Joetsu Shinkansen) Niigata (Echigo) Kashiwazaki (Shin'etsu) Miyauchi (Joetsu) Echigo-Kawaguchi (Iiyama) Toyono (Shin'etsu) Naoetsu (Hokuriku) Itoigawa (Oito) Matsumoto (Shinonoi) Nagano (Hokuriku Shinkansen) Takasaki (Joetsu Shinkansen) Echigo-Yuzawa (Joetsu) Shin-Maebashi (Ryomo) Oyama (Tohoku) Asaka-Nagamori (Suigun) Mito (Joban) Tomobe.....Okaya (Chuo) Shiojiri.....
2001/04/01 Iida Line shortened by rerouting of Kawaji = Tokimata section 11473.4 11473.4    
2002/10/21 Hokuriku Line shortened by rerouting of Morimoto = Higashi-Kanazawa section 11473.3 11473.3    
2002/12/01 Tohoku Shinkansen's Morioka = Hachinohe section opened and Tohoku Line's Morioka = Hachinohe section transferred 11180.7 11180.7   .....Hachinohe (Tohoku Shinkansen) Morioka (Yamada) Kamaishi (Kamaishi) Hanamaki (Tohoku) Kitakami (Kitakami) Yokote (Ou) Akita (Uetsu) Sakamachi (Yonesaka) Yonezawa (Ou) Shinjo (Rikuu-to) Kogota (Tohoku) Ichinoseki (Ofunato) Kesennuma (Kesennuma) Maeyachi (Ishinomaki) Ishinomaki (Senseki) Sendai.....
2004/03/13 Kyushu Shinkansen opened and Kagoshima Line's Yatsushiro = Sendai section transferred. Osaka-kanjo Line deleted from Article 70 Tokutei-kukan. 11161.2 11161.2   .....Sendai (Kyshu Shinkansen) Shin-Yatsushiro.....
2007/03/18 Wakayama line shortened by rerouting of Yoshino-guchi = Gojo section. 11160.8 11160.8    
2010/03/13 Musashi-Kosugi station opened on Tokaido branch line. 11157.0 11157.0   .....Tachikawa (Nanbu) Musashi-Kosugi (Tokaido) Shinagawa (Tokaido) Kawasaki (Nanbu) Shitte (Nanbu) Hama-Kawasaki (Tsurumi) Tsurumi.....
2010/12/04 Tohoku Shinkansen extended to Shin-Aomori and JR East Tohoku line's Hachinohe = Aomori section transferred to Aoimori Tetsudo. 11146.7 11146.7   .....Aomori (Ohu) Shin-Aomori (Toohoku Shinkansen) Hachinohe.....
2011/03/12 Kyushu Shinkansen Hakata = Shin-Yatsushiro section opened. 11183.2 11183.2   .....Haruda (Kagoshima) Hakata (Kyushu Shinkanse) Shin-Tosu.....
2012/12/22 Kesen'numa BRT line commenced as a "temporary" step of restoration 11183.2 11127.9 55.3 ・・・Kesen'numa (Kesen'numa BRT) Yanaizu (Kesen'numa) Maeyachi.....
2015/03/14 Hokuriku Shinkansen extended to Kanazawa and Shin'etsu and Hokuriku lines sections pararell to Shinkansen transferred to third-sector railway companies. Operating kilometer of Senseki line shortened. 11136.2 11080.9 55.3 .....Echigo-Kawaguchi (Iiyama) Iiyama (Hokuriku Shinkansen) Itoigawa.....Toyama (Hokuriku Shinkansen) Kanazawa
2015/05/30 "Senseki-Tohoku line" service commenced with the new 0.3 km connecting line between the existing Tohoku line and Senseki line. 11222.3 11167.0 55.3 .....Shin-Aomori (Ohu) Kawabe (Gono) Higashi-Noshiro (Ohu) Akita.....Shinjo (Ohu) Omagari (Tazawako) Morioka.....Kitakami (Tohoku) Ichinoseki.....Ishinomaki (Senseki) Takagimachi (Tohoku) Matsushima (Tohoku) Kogota (Rikuu-to) Furukawa (Tohoku Shinkansen) Sendai.....
2016/03/26 Hokkaido Shinkansen opened and JR Hokkaido Esashi line transferred to Donan-isaribi Tetsudo 11140.1 11084.1 55.3 .....Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto (Hokkaido Shinkansen) Shin-Aomori.....
a Renamed Iwaki on 94/12/03
b Renamed Sotobo Line on 72/07/15
c Renamed Uchibo Line on 72/07/15
d Renamed Kiwa on 68/02/01 (The present Wakayama station was then called Higashi-Wakayama.)
e Renamed Masuda on 66/10/01
f Renamed Shin-Yamaguchi on 03/10/01
g Renamed Ube on 64/10/01 (The present Ube-Shinkawa station was then called Ube.)
h Renamed Nagato-shi on 62/11/01
i Renamed Tagawa-Gotoji on 82/11/03
j Renamed Tagawa-Ita on 82/11/03
k Renamed Osum Line on 72/09/09
l Renamed Kaigata-onsen on 72/09/09(Then closed on 87/03/14)
m Renamed Ibusuki-Makurazaki Line on 63/10/31

The longest route in 1961 is 22.7km longer than the route traveled by Tokyo University members. The route differs in the Tokyo area as shown in the map below.

Route A Route B Route C
Article 70 of the Passenger Service Rule provides that, if a passenger passes through the route in the zone colored yellow in the map (Tokutei-kukan), the fare is calculated according to the operating km of the shortest route within the zone, irrespective of the route traveled. The Tokyo University members searched the Route A as the longest route, but as the fare is calculated based on the shortest route between Shinagawa and Akihabara, they purchased the ticket according to the Route B which is longer in terms of the fare calculation km. The Article has an exception, however, to the effect that the route actually traveled can be used for fare calculation, if a passenger travels the zone twice. The route C that the autor has searched is as long as Route A and eligible for the fare calculation of the actual route traveled, as it passes the zone twice, first from Akihabara to Shinagawa, and then from Shinjuku to Akabane. The Tokyo University members must not have realized there is another route that was as long as the route they found.

Tentative Longest Route After Great Earthquake

Opening of Kyushu Shinkansen between Hakata and Shin-Yatsushiro on March 12, 2012 increased the length of the longest route for the first time since 1997. The ticket of this longest route cannot be issued due to the interruption of railway lines caused by the East Japan Great Earthquake that occurred on the previous day. The following table shows the longest route for which the ticket is issued as of August 20, 2012 after the substitute bus service of Kesen'numa line started.

Table 2 - Tentative Longest Route as of August 2012
Kesen'numaMaeyachiJREKesen'numa *72.8
IshinomakiSendaiJRESenseki *49.7
KoideAidu-WakamatsuJRETadami *135.2
Total length (eigyo-kilo)10883.5
(s) means Shinkansen.
* includes Substitute bus section.
Since August 2012 the halted sections have been gradually reduced by reopening railway services or starting substitute bus services. In January 2015 JR East started a non-stop substitute bus service between Tatsuta and Haranomachi on Joban line running at a short distance from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Now among the halted sections only Miyako = Kamaishi section of Yamada line is left without substitute bus services. So the tentative longest route runs between Morioka and Kitakami by a 206km shortcut via Hanamaki and Shin-Hanamaki as shown in the map. JR East and neighboring communities agreed on the transfer of Miyako = Kamaishi section to Sanriku Tetsudo after JR East completed the restoration, and when it is transferred the word "tentative" will be deleted.
[1] Among the four members was Mr. Etsuya Washio (鷲尾悦也) who later became President of Rengo (連合), or Japanese Trade Union Confederation. Mr. Washio passed away on February 26, 2012.
[2] While the NHK route extends from Okayama to Shikoku, the trip in Shikoku is an add-on section not covered by the longest one-way ticket.
[3] This is too complicated. For those who are able to understand Japanese, please refer to this page.

The author recognizes that such a longest one-way trip is possible only in Japan due to the very special rule to issue a one-way ticket as shown in JR's Rule on Passenger Tickets. Any information would be appreciated regarding the rule of the route eligible for a one-way ticket in any country of the world.

Revision History

First release: May 24, 2004
Last update: March 28, 2016
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