More and more of these machines now have a button in the upper right hand corner for English, especially in the bigger cities.
Here at Miura Kaigan May 30, 2011, Kanji/kana only displays,
and even if I can figure out some names of places due to some very basic knowledge of Chinese hanzi, they are NOT the same and hanzi has none of the kanas (the Japanese character sets katakana and hiragana respectively).
I’m totally lost here.. Luckily a Japanese customer service rep. is always ready to help…
I told a rail road employee at the booth – Yokosuka and he helped me press the right buttons for a ticket!
Often there are big display boards above with how much a ticket cost from the station you are on to the station you want.
Easiest of course is to charge up a Suica or Pasmo card and just swipe at the gates.