Transportation - JAPAN


Japan has the most sophisticated transportation system in the world. Buses, subways, and trains snake throughout, creating a complex maze that can take one everywhere, quickly and economically.
How to get to Japan
  • By Air
  • By Sea
    • Pusan-Shimonoseki
    • Pusan-Fukuoka
    • China
    • Taiwan
    • Russia-Hokkaido
    • Russia-Fushiki(Takaoka)
How to get around

How to get to Japan

Most people fly to/from Tokyo, Narita International Airport, although Kansai International Airport in Osaka should be considered another main gateway to Japan.
There are, of course, some other international airports in Japan.
It is also possible to get to Japan by sea from South Korea, China, Russia and Taiwan.
By Air
Check routes and fares of flights to Japan at EXPEDIA.

By Sea

The Pusan-Shimonoseki ferry route is the cheapest route between South Korea and Japan, and no doubt, one of the most popular as well. The Kampur Ferry Service's vessels Kampu or Pukwan leave Pusan at 6 p.m. and arrive in Shimonoseki at 8:30 a.m. the next morning. Availability: Daily
The JK Line Hydrofoil is an ultra-fast hydrofoil service. The journey which takes just three hours costs about US$120 single, and US$220 return.
The Camellia-line ferry service takes around 15 hours from Pusan to Fukuoka at a cost of US$85 single, US$120 return. Availability: Daily
There is a weekly ferry service that connects Shanghai to Osaka/Kobe. The ferry's destination alternates each week between Osaka and Kobe. The journey takes two days. A second class ticket on this Japan-China International Ferry Service costs about US$180.
There is another weekly ferry service called the Shanghai Ferry, which connects Osaka and Shanghai. Tickets are similarly priced. There are also ships from Nagasaki to Shanghai every Thursday. Visitors wanting to go to Tanggu (near Tianjin) from Kobe could get on the ship that leaves Kobe every Thursday at noon. The ship reaches Tanggu the following day. Economy and first class tickets cost US$200 and US$300 respectively. You can get your tickets in Tianjin from the shipping office (Tel: 31-2243) at 89 Munan Dao, Heping District. In Kobe, the office is at the port (Tel: 078-321-5791).
Ishigaki, Miyako, Keelung and Kaohsiung. If you are travelling to any of these cities, you can take the weekly ferry service, which operates between Taiwan and Okinawa.
Sometimes, the route goes via Ishigaki and Miyako in Okinawa Prefecture. The Taiwan port alternates between Keelung and Kaohsiung. Departure from Okinawa is on Thursday or Friday; departure from Taiwan is usually on Monday. The trip takes 16 to 19 hours.
Korsakov, Russia to Wakkanai (Hokkaido), Japan
Korsakov is at the very southern tip of Sahkalin Island, which is next to the Russian mainland, but far from either Vladivostok or Khabarovsk. I don't know why you'd want to go there. Wakkanai is at the very far northeast tip of Hokkaido, a very long way from Tokyo, and even very far from Sapporo!
The Higashi Nihon Kai Ferry company runs ferries on this route two or three times a week between early May and mid-October. In July and August they run Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from Wakkanai and Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays from Korsakov, but the days vary. They leave at 10:00am from both ends, arriving at Korsakov at 17:30 and Wakkanai at 13:30. (There is a 2 hour time difference). The trip takes 7.5 hours.
The fare is ¥20,000 in second class; ¥25,000 in first; and ¥30,000 in special class. Round-trip fares are just ¥10,000 more for each class.

Vladivostok, Russia to Fushiki (Takaoka), Japan
Vladivostok is on the Japan Sea, near Korea and China and is at the terminus of the Russian section of the Trans-Siberian Railway, at the far eastern extreme of Siberia. It is a one-week train ride to Moscow, leaving every odd-numbered day. Takaoka is not too far from Kanazawa on the Japan Sea coast; the actual destination port is called Fushiki.
The FESCO company runs ferries from Vladivostok Saturdays at 18:00 (6pm), arriving in Fushiki on Mondays at 9:00am. It returns on Wednesdays at 18:00, arriving on Friday at 9:30 am in Vladivostok. [Warning: the Fesco page seems to only work well with Internet Explorer.]
The fare is about ¥28,000 cheapest to ¥88,000 for the most expensive. I don't have any more detailed information at this time. The same company reportedly runs another ferry from Vladivostok to Niigata city.

How to get around

Its railway network alone enables travelers to go anywhere in Japan. Punctuality is the rule and trains roll up to platforms on time to the second. Note that trains in cities during the rush hour (from about 7am to 9am) can be extremely overcrowded!! Don’t plan to travel with your big baggage during the time in the big cities!!
Buses and taxis travel everywhere in town. Subways in large cities, such as Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, also enable travelers to go anywhere in the cities.
Ferries and boats connect Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe to Kyushu and Hokkaido.
All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines are two major carriers. Shinkansen (bullet trains) are slightly cheaper than airplanes and often faster. Shinkansen can get right into city centers, while airports are in inconvenient places.
If you have a Japan Rail Pass, you can take any fast trains and local trains of JR lines and it’s MUCH cheaper than flying.
By Air
Airlines in Japan
Flying is also an efficient way to travel from the main islands to the smaller islands.

Airlines in Japan
Japan Airlines is a major international carrier and also has a domestic network linking the major cities. JAL Group includes JALways for international leisure services, JAL Express for international and domestic low-cost services, Hokkaido Air System, J-Air, Japan Air Commuter, Japan Transocean Air and Ryukyu Air Commuter for domestic feeder services.

All Nippon Airways is the smaller of the two major airlines in Japan, the other being Japan Airlines
ANA Group also includes its regional airline, Air Nippon, charter carrier, Air Japan, and Air Next and a low-cost carrier based at Fukuoka Airport which handles flights for ANA. Airlines operates scheduled passenger services on Japan's regional routes and international charter flights to Seoul.
Routes: Haneda(Tokyo)-Naha(Okinawa), Haneda(Tokyo)-Asahikawa, Haneda(Tokyo)-Kobe, Haneda(Tokyo)-Sapporo, Haneda(Tokyo)-Fukuoka, Kobe-Naha(Okinawa), Kobe-Ibaraki, Fukuoka-Naha(Okinawa)

Air Do operates inexpensive flights from Tokyo (Haneda Airport) to several destinations in Hokkaido, and from Sapporo to multiple secondary airports across the main island.
Routes: Tokyo-Sapporo, Tokyo-Asahikawa, Tokyo-Hakodate, Tokyo-Memanbetsu, Sapporo-Sendai, Sapporo-Fukushima, Sapporo-Niigata, Sapporo-Toyama, Sapporo-Komatsu

Fuji Dream Airlines
Route: Shizuoka-Sapporo/Shinchitose, Shizuoka-Komatsu, Shizuoka-Fukuoka, Shizuoka-Kumamoto, Shizuoka-Kagoshima, Matumoto-Sapporo/Shinchitose, Matsumoto-Fukuoka, Fukuoka-Sapporo/Shinchitose

Starflyer operates inexpensive flights between Tokyo (Haneda Airport) and Kitakyusyu, and between Tokyo (Haneda airport) and Osaka (Kansai airport).
Routes: Tokyo-Kitakyusyu, Tokyo-Osaka

IBEX Airlines operates from Itami Airport in Osaka to Sendai airport.
By Land
The services range from small local lines to the shinkansen super-expresses (bullet trains) which is a symbol of modern Japan.

Shinkansen also known as "the bullet train" is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by four Japan Railways Group companies. It links most major cities on the main islands and Kyusyu at speeds up to 300 km/h (186 mph). Test runs have reached 443 km/h (275 mph) for conventional rail in 1996, and up to a world record 581 km/h (361 mph) for maglev train sets in 2003.
If you are interested in watching the test run of maglev trains, go to JR Tokai Maglev Train Test Center in Yamanashi prefecture.
The network comprises the Tokaido Line, Sanyo Line, Tohoku Line, Nagano Line, Akita Line, Yamagata Line and Joetsu Line.

JR東日本 (JR East Japan Railway Company)
JR西日本 (JR West Japan Railway Company)
JR東海 (JR Central Japan Railway Company)
JR九州 (JR East Japan Railway Company)
JR北海道 (JR Hokkaido Railway Company)
Japan Rail Pass
For travelers from abroad, the Japan Rail Pass represents great value and convenience. The Pass is only valid for foreign visitors to Japan and is available for purchase only outside Japan. It has unlimited use within the term of validity for JR and the buses and ferries that cooperate with JR.

Type Green Ordinary
Duration Adult Child Adult Child
7-day 37,800 YEN 18,900 YEN 28,300 YEN 14,150 YEN
14-day 61,200 YEN 30,600 YEN 45,100 YEN 22,550 YEN
21-day 79,600 YEN 39,800 YEN 57,700YEN 28,850 YEN
Local Trains and Subways
Check the time tables, the routes and the fares at JORUDON or HYPERDIA.

Highway Buses cost you much less than air planes and shinkansen (bullet trains).
Willer Express operates long-distance routes; Tohoku area (Aomori, Morioka, Sendai, Fukushima), Hokuriku/Shinetsu area (Niigata, Kanazawa, Toyama), Kansai area (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Himeji, Shiga ), Kyushu area (Hakata, Kokura), Kanto area (Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa), Tokai area (Nagoya, Toyota, Toyohashi, Okazaki), Chugoku/Shikoku area (Hiroshima, Okayama, Ehime)
Check the time table, the routes and the fares at Willer Express .

JR Bus Kanto

Local and short-distance buses are available in most towns, but it is usually the most difficult public transportation system for foreign travelers. The routes are complicated and the names of the destinations are written in Japanese. It’ll be better to talk to the driver or the conductor to make sure if the bus is going to your destination and ask them to let you know which bus stop you should get off at.

Matsumoto Electric Railway Co., Ltd operates several routes in Nagano.

Niho bus operates several routes to major sights in Koshinetsu area.
Routes: Takayama-Shirakawa-go / Kanazawa, Takayama City Line, Hirayu Onsen- Kamikochi, Hirayu Onsen/Honoki Daira-Norikura, Hirayu / Shin-Hotaka.
It also has several long distance routes between Kansai area and Koshinetsu as well as Kanto area and Koshinetsu.
Routes: Tokyo (Shinjuku Nishiguchi)-Hirayu Onsen-Takayama, Nagoya-Takayama, Takayama-Kyoto/ Osaka, Takayama-Shirakawa-go/ Kanazawa, Takayama / Shin-hotaka- Hirayu Onsen-Matsumoto, Takayama/Okuhida-Toyama(JR Toyama Station, Toyama airport)

Raku bus operates many long-distance routes from major cities in Kyushu and many routes in Kyushu.

Tokyo Subway Map
Osaka Subway Map
Nagoya Subway Map
Hiroshima Street Car Map

What you need in Japan and before/after in Japan

Things you need once you are in Japan!?
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