Get a clear image of transportation in Japan!
Japan has one of the most thorough rail networks in the world, and that network is constantly expanding. It is highly automated, drivers are punctual and train lines reach to all corners of the country. Furthermore, there are various types of train travel to choose from, including high speed Shinkansen (bullet trains) that reach speeds of 330 km/hr (205 mph), special limited expresses, regular expresses, overnight trains, local trains, subways, sightseeing and historical trains and even streetcars.
Ticket machines are fairly straightforward, and some even have an English interface option. For regular tickets, first consult the route map located nearby and determine how much it will cost to get to your destination. Next, insert money (coins or bills, although some machines won’t accept large bills) and push the corresponding fare button, which will either appear on a screen or on buttons that light up once the money is inserted.
When you go through the ticket gate, put your ticket into the slot and pick it up on the other side. When leaving the ticket gate at your destination, the ticket will not be returned to you as you leave. If you try to leave a ticket gate, but it closes because your have not paid the proper fare, take your ticket to the fare adjustment machine (which usually has an English language option), put the ticket in and pay the balance shown on the screen to receive a new ticket, which can be used to leave through the ticket gate.
When riding streetcars, you usually enter the vehicle through the rear door and pay into a fare box next to the driver when you get off. Unlike standard trains, which base the fare on distance traveled, streetcars often have a single, set fare for any distance.
Your trip may include a prepaid rechargeable IC transportation card. To use this card just touch it to the IC pad on the ticket gate to enter and then again when existing. The screen on the ticket gate will display the balance remaining on the card. If the balance runs out then you can recharge with the nearby machine. Most have English instructions but if you need help just ask the station employee.
Visitors who enter Japan with a ‘temporary visitor status’ (in other words, as tourists) are eligible for the JR Rail Pass, which allows unlimited use of JR trains, including most special expresses and Shinkansen bullet trains (with the exception of the ‘Nozomi’, ‘Mizuho’ and ‘Hayabusa’ though you can use ‘Hikari’ and ‘Kodama’). There are 7, 14 and 21 day passes in ordinary and green class (first class). When at a JR station, please note that certain ticket gates are staffed with station employees, and you are required to show your pass to the employee rather than use the automated ticket gate as usual.
Your tour will include a JR Rail Pass if it makes economical sense and your Japan travel expert will let you know.
Please note that during crowded periods you cannot be guaranteed a seat on a specific train. The periods when seat reservations are particularly difficult to secure are as follows:
* December 30 to January 4 (New Year Season)
* May 1 to May 6 (Golden Week)
* August 11 to 20 (Obon)
Buses allow access to some less populated places that trains do not reach. All seats for highway buses must be reserved ahead of time, and tickets are handed to the driver upon boarding the bus. The JR Rail Pass can be used with JR highway buses. Your tour organizer will have details as your airport pick up or hotel meet and greet will hand you the required tickets.
There are also local and tourist buses in certain cities. For example, it is often much easier to get around Kyoto by city bus, and Nara has a loop line bus for tourists that goes around to many of the popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Depending on the city, you will enter the bus through either the front or the back (just watch what other passengers do if you are unsure), and while some buses have set fares, others determine the fare based on distance traveled. Airport buses are convenient because it can be easier board a single bus rather than make train transfers with heavy luggage in tow.
The tours featured throughout our website are intended to give you ideas for what's possible when you travel with us. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created individually by one of our specialists to match your tastes and budget.
It was our first trip to Japan. Working with Jeff was a pleasure. His knowledge of the country and local contacts were very helpful. Choice...
Working with Jeff at Rediscover Tours was a wonderful experience. He helped me plan a 10 day trip of a lifetime to Japan with my mother...
I would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank you for the marvelous vacation we recently enjoyed in Japan. The entire experience exceeded...
Years after years we have selected the best specialists about Japan. They have at least lived a minimum of 10 years in the country. They are here to answer all your questions and to make your tour just the way you want it.
Jeff was born in a south suburb of Chicago named South Holland and lived in Japan for 14 years. He now lives in Commerce Township, Michigan with his wife Yoshimi, son Shota, and daughter Mina. He enjoys playing with his kids, volunteering with his daughter’s marching band, cycling and training & teaching Aikido.
Michiyo was born in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture though currently lives in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Her main passions in life is traveling all around the world and enjoying their cultures.
Noriko was born in Nagoya. During her childhood she moved around Japan following her father’s office transfer. She especially liked her time in Shizuoka, facing Mt Fuji. She now lives in Minoo (in the suburb of Osaka). Noriko graduated from Hiroshima university. She’s been to Malaysia, Thailand and Europe (Germany and Bulgaria). Her hobbies are hiking, reading and surfing.
Great trips don't just happen It takes a lot to create a truly memorable holiday. You can rely on us to make your trip a perfect Japanese Experience
This is your trip. Together we will design it just for you.
Your interests will be front and center.
We handle your specific requests. We will inform accommodations, guides and partners of any meal requirements, allergies or disabilities you may have.
Your Japan expert has lived in Japan for many years or is Japanese.
We know the hidden treasures of Japan.
Because most of our staff live in Japan we are always aware of what’s happening in Japan. Throughout our network of partners we get first-hand information that will benefit your trip.
They add a whole new depth to your Japanese tour.
Our local guides are extremely professional and knowledgeable.
Your guide will listen to you, give you suggestions and show you sights you want. They are also very flexible and can make on the fly changes to fit your style, mood, weather and crowds.
Our office in Japan is here to assist you.
Rediscover Tours has been organizing travel to Japan since 2000.
You will arrive in Japan feeling safe and comfortable knowing that all the details have been taken care of and that our Japan office is just a phone call away. Indulge yoursefl!