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Transportation

Getting around in Japan can be a little confusing at first, but once you get used to it you’ll find that it is fairly advanced, and quite convenient. The most popular form of transportation in Japan is via the trains and subways, though you’ll find the bus system is also quite extensive, especially in Tokyo. If you’re going somewhere the bus and train system don’t reach, you hail one of Tokyo’s many taxis, as well.

Trains / Subway

Description One of the most unique things about Japan is its advanced system of trains and subways. You can find a train going to just about anywhere in Japan. Except for cases of emergency, trains are always strictly on time in Japan. In Tokyo, the web of lines and transfer stations is so dense that it can be pretty daunting at first. However, once you start travelling around a bit and get the hang of it, you’ll find it to be an incredibly convenient mode of transportation.

Taxi

Description Taxis are another convenient way of getting around Japan. Large to moderately sized stations all have a taxi pickup area, so finding a cab is as simple as finding a station. There are also taxis driving along the streets, but usually only on major roads in Tokyo. Taxi drivers rarely speak any English, so make sure you know the name of the place you want to go in Japanese. Taxis can also get expensive fairly quickly, so try and go as far as possible using trains and buses.

Bus

Description The bus system in Japan is generally overshadowed by the trains, but it is a great system in its own right. Buses in large cities, such as Tokyo, usually cost a flat rate of 200 yen, no matter where you get off. In more rural areas, the fee depends on how far you go. On these buses, you’ll find a ticket dispenser when you get on the bus which corresponds with where you got on. Bring the ticket up to the front when you get off, and drop it in the coin slot with the coins.

Airport Access

Description There are a number of options available for getting to and from the airport into Tokyo, or elsewhere. The most common way to get to and from the airport is by trains. Narita International Airport is a bit of a ways from Tokyo, so be prepared for up to an hour long train ride into Tokyo, depending on where you’re going. There are also a number of buses that commute to and from Narita. However, buses have to contend with traffic, so they’re a little less reliable than trains.

Shinkansen

Description Shinkansen is the name of the bullet trains in Japan. These trains move very quickly with few stops, making them ideal for those looking to travel long distances in Japan. Theoretically, one could take the Shinkansen from the very northernmost tip of the mainland down to the southern island of Kyushu, though at that point it would probably be cheaper to take a plane. When getting a Shinkansen ticket, be aware that there are more expensive tickets for assigned seating, and cheaper tickets for free seating cars.
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