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Express, Rapid & Local Trains in Japan
We have already established that Shinkansen and limited express trains are both go-to options when it comes to intercity travel. But if you don't plan to travel far or think of going to a destination not covered by high-speed trains, the best option is to take one of the Japanese trains meant for the job.
There are three main types of Japan's trains not included in the "high-speed travel" category - express, rapid, and local. They come in a great variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, but one glance is usually enough to see that a train belongs to the group. While Shinkansen and limited express trains give a vibe of modernity, intensity, and sharpness, the short-distance trains seem charmingly old-fashioned.
The main reason why the trains of the group are not the wisest choice for traveling anywhere further away than a 30-minute ride is their slow travel times. The reasons for that are quite simple. Firstly, they just can't boast an impressive top speed (clearly, not the best-case scenario when you need to travel through the whole country).
Secondly, as you know, the trains in Japan are divided into five main categories, depending on the number of stations they service. Express, rapid, and local trains boast a much wider coverage than their high-speed brothers in arms, with express trains making more stops than limited express trains, but less than rapid trains. Local trains are the slowest of the bunch, as they stop at every train station along the way.