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Japan Transportation - The Needed Basics

Japan Transportation – The Needed Basics


Japan Transportation – The Needed Basics for Tourists

Exploring any country requires a travel guide, either in the form of a book, a person, or a blog to point out the places that are a must-see. And when traveling here, Japan transportation are the best ways for getting around the cities and country.

Another requirement is of a basic understanding of the language that the locals speak, so you can at least order food without stumbling and ending up with something completely un-edible.
But I admit, it sure is fun trying!

Kiyomizu Dera temple in Kyoto , Japan

Kiyomizu Dera temple in Kyoto , Japan

One more essential requisite for travelling to and exploring a country, especially one as diverse as Japan, is having knowledge of the available transport options at your destination.

Without this knowledge, you will be lost the minute you step off the plane.

If you are lucky enough to have a private car coming to pick you up from the airport, kudos, but if not, then you have come to the right place where I will guide you through the many Japan transportation options that are available to a tourist in Japan.

Japan Transportation – An Extensive System Mapping Throughout The Country

Tokyo Train Station

Tokyo Train Station

Japan is well-known and famous for its highly extensive options of transport, that are found everywhere in the country – even the small cities. Other than the vast and efficient train systems that run in the country, there are also various other transportation options which are just as attractive choices as the bullet train if you are a tourist.

Within metropolitan areas and between large cities, the public transportation system of the country is efficient and organized. The local population favors the system not only for the convenience it offers but also because of the qualities that are characteristic of the nation i.e. its punctuality and the awesome service.

Japan Transportation – Traveling by Train

The four major islands of Japan are connected by a vast and reliable network of trains. For visitors, nothing is more convenient than travelling around Japan by train. Following are the types of trains you should know about before embarking on the journey.

  • Local Train: stops at every station.
  • Rapid Train: skips some stations.
  • Express Train: stops at even fewer stations. Japan Railways charge a separate fee, in addition.
  • Limited Express Train: stops at major stations. The fee is between 500 and 4000 yen, in addition the base fare.
  • Super Express Train: is only operated by Japan Railways, and runs on separate tracks. The fee is between 800 to 8000 yen, in addition to the base fare.
Shinkensan Speeding Along

Shinkensan Speeding Along

Japan Transportation – By Boat

The nation is connected with ferry services scattered throughout the island. There are two benefits of using ferries for transport:

1) You can easily get from one place to another

2) You can discover new places

The schedule of this service varies in the price of the ticket – from travelling and arriving between adjacent islands in two hours, to making 1½ day trip for the same route.

Most ferries carry cars, bikes, and motorcycles too.

Typical Highway in Japan

Typical Highway in Japan

Japan Transportation – By Bus

In almost every Japanese city there is bus service; however, it is usually not a good option for foreign travelers. However, in many of the tourist towns, buses especially for tourists often run from the main railway station. Cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto even run tours in English, for its foreign visitors.

Travelling in Japan is not so difficult once you understand all the various options at your disposal. Travel safe!

My absolute favorite method of Japan transportation travel is by train.

It is very easy once you get the system down (be sure to check out my article on riding the bullet train in Japan). In major cities, the subway lines are owned and operated by multiple companies making switching difficult as each company only produces a map for their lines!

This means walking up to 4 maps possibly and writing down which stations to change on.

But, it’s part of the excitement and the adventure! Bus’s are great, too, but it is best to do your homework before you go. There isn’t much English posted around so best to try planning your route before hand. When I went skiing in Nagano several years ago, I had to take 2 trains and 2 bus’s. But a little planing beforehand, everything was super fun!



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