Making a place more accessible is possible by studying the terrain or booking accommodation in the heart of the city. You can save on this effort and of course money, if you understand the different modes of transport and how to get by different routes in the city.
For starters, Japan’s network system is well-connected and punctual. One needn’t worry about delayed trains, long queues and disruption of service because of the country’s strong emphasis on timeliness and rapidness. There are many types of public transport – flights, buses, metro, trains, and ferries that are popular.
- Buses- City buses are a convenient mode of transport if you reside in rather offbeat places in the country. Frequent bus lines run from Tokyo to Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama and other places around the country. Since sign boards may not be in English, you can make use of the Navitime Bus Transit App to check for the bus schedule and routing.
- Metro lines- Traveling within the city has become much easier with the Metro trains that ply every 6-7 minutes. Metros are a good alternative to the congested roads in Japan and provide fast and efficient service. Subways come with a Green Car option that can make for less cramped and comfortable seating areas.
- Trains– Trains are by far the easiest and most efficient way to go places. Train maps could appear confusing at first because of the complex routing and intersecting junctions. Memorizing the colors for each line can help you navigate stations and stopovers. Five main types of trains ply in Japan- Local trains, Express trains, Rapid trains, Limited Express Trains, and Bullet trains (Shinkansen).
While each of these trains follows a fundamentally different purpose, understanding which train to take is important. Local trains stop at every station and there are periodic announcements in English for the next station. Rapid trains, on the other hand, stop at limited stations to speed up the journey. Express and Limited Express Trains stop only at major stations and charge an extra fee, but that is only because it is the fastest way to get from one major station to another. Bullet trains move at a speed of 200 mph and are quite a sophisticated means of travel, offering spacious seating and snack carts en route.
- Ferries– Japan being an island nation makes it natural for ferries to chart a unique travel experience. Ferries are a cheaper alternative to flights, providing overnight journeys between destinations with accommodation, food, and beverages on the way. There are day and overnight ferries transporting people and freight point-to-point. There are different classes of accommodation and you can choose one suitable for your budget.
So there you have it, the different ways to commute in Japan. Consider getting yourself bus or JR passes, these are pretty handy if you plan on exploring the slightly undiscovered parts of Japan. These passes not only guarantee a cheaper travel cost but also can be purchased for a shorter period, making them a convenient option. We hope that this article covered the major points to keep in mind while traveling in Japan. Bon Voyage!