Japan is a fun place to travel in. Plain and simple. It’s also a lot different than it was for me in the US. In the US everyone just drives places. If it’s really far you take a plane. That’s really about it. Of course in certain cities you have subways and other forms, but in most places in the country they don’t have those. Japan however has country wide, reliable public transportation systems. On top of that they also have many different forms of public transportation. Let’s get to it
- Trains – They work amazingly well in Japan. People say the average time that trains are late in Japan is 12 seconds. I don’t know if I can say that, I have been late a few times thanks to trains, but overall yes they are extremely reliable. Prices are reasonable, sometimes kind of expensive; sometimes they are pretty decent deals. That generally depends on the place and kind of train. The biggest selling point in my eyes, besides the facts that trains just simply work is that they are fun. I love sitting by the window watching the beautiful scenery of Japan flow by. There is something so tranquil and peaceful about it.There are also various kinds of trains. Depending on what type it is depends on how fast it will get to a location and how many times it will stop. The bullet trains 新幹線 don’t stop very often and go fast, while the local 普通 trains stop at every stop until their final location. In between those two there are plenty more. Trains generally run all over the country, but there are certain prefectures and locations were they aren’t as common or useful. Case and point is that trains are dope, hop on em.
- Subway – The subway systems are usually only found in the bigger cities, but they are extremely useful. Sometimes you can even buy an all-day pass which allows you to ride the subway (and sometimes buses) as many times as you want during that day and all you have to pay is an upfront 500円. That is around 5 US dollars for an all-day pass. Sometimes they are more like 8 US dollars, depends on the day and place. The subway usually comes very often, and while it does it pretty packed in there, it is still kind of cool. But to be honest if I lived in the city I know I would be annoyed with so many people haha. Still subways themselves are nice and work well. Next point.
- Buses – I don’t ride buses in the US. Besides school field trips in middle school that is. Where I’m from though no one uses them, they just aren’t that useful. The US is just too big and the public transport is just not very reliable. Japan is a different story though. While buses are usually the most prone to being late due to traffic (compared to trains), they still usually come exactly on time or within the next few minutes. They aren’t too complicated to understand (except where they are going lol, kinda important). Paying is generally simple especially if you have an IC card which is basically a debit card for public transport. You can’t always use it on buses though. Otherwise you pay when you leave the bus by inserting coins. That’s for the local buses anyways.They also have highway buses and night buses. The highway buses are meant for the long distance travel and generally are better deals than trains for that long distance stuff. Even better are the night trains which run at night and usually are the cheapest. They are designed so you can sleep on the bus and wake up at your destination. They aren’t the most comfortable, but they are an experience in themselves. For those buses you usually buy a ticket before you ride and present it when you get on.
- Airplane – This one doesn’t need an explanation. Most people are used to this one, but that being said there is some advice I can give. If you find yourself in Asia try flying on an LCC (low cost carrier). I personally like Peach airlines, because the tickets I have gotten have been very cheap in comparison to other, bigger airlines. They are super nice when traveling small (relatively) distances from one side of Japan to the next or even to a nearby country. That’s about it. Japan has nice airports too.
- Boats and trams – I’m grouping these together because they aren’t the most common or practical, but they can be options. Certain cities have a tram, such as Hiroshima. I actually didn’t ride it, but hey it looks cool give it a try. Boats on the other hand I have used a few number of times here. Some places are easiest to access by getting a ferry there. Japan is an island after all so many of the fun places are by the sea. They have lots of smaller islands you can visit (which I really recommend) and you will need a ferry to get there. It is also just a fun way to spice up your journey if you through it into the mix.
- Bicycle – This one usually is going to be just for the shorter distances which you probably didn’t even need to hear, yet some people will take them to go to cities an hour or so away. Bicycles are very common in Japan and you will see them a lot more than in America. At least where I am from anyway. They are very convenient and also a great workout so don’t forget about them either.
Traveling in Japan really is great. Having trains and such make it so easy to just hop on and go somewhere. There have been many times I was just bored and boarded (lol I’m funny) a train and got off randomly to visit a small town I’ve seen countless times while going elsewhere. It’s something that feels so unique to me and I really appreciate having the ability to do that here. I’ve never enjoyed traveling this much before. It just feels like the country was designed to be travel friendly. Come check it, peace.