Popular means of transportation in Japan and important notes
Japan is a country known for its developed and diverse transportation system. With a wide range of transport options such as buses, trains, shinkansen (bullet trains), and taxis, traveling during travel can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.
However, if you learn in advance how to use these means of transport, you can save time and money.
1. Trains and subways
The train system in Japan can be complicated for first-time visitors to Tokyo or Osaka. Here are some important tips for using trains in Japan:
- Learn and download or print tram maps for the cities you'll visit during your travels.
- Use apps like Google Maps or Yahoo Japan to look up schedule information and mix transportation. Information about train times in Japan is very accurate, so make sure you don't delay.
- If you travel a lot by train, buy an IC Card to save time buying tickets for each trip. An IC Card is a rechargeable card that can be used to pay for public transport and shopping at vending machines, convenience stores, and more.
- If you intend to travel wider, consider purchasing a Japan Rail Pass. This is a tourist-only ticket. Before deciding to buy, compare the total fare you plan to pay with the price of the Japan Rail Pass.
The bus system in Japan is well developed, especially in big cities. For short distances and close proximity to sightseeing places like Kyoto, taking a bus is a reasonable option. Here are some notes when using buses in Japan:
- Get on the bus from the back door and get your ticket from the machine next to the door. There will be a number on the ticket, which is the fare. Compare the number on the ticket with the electronic board on the front of the car to see how much you need to pay. Put the ticket and the correct amount in the money box next to the driver. Be prepared with enough change to pay as the driver may not have enough change to pay it back.
- If you use IC Card, swipe the card once when getting on the bus and once before getting off the bus. The fare will be automatically deducted from your card.
- If you want to travel more comfortably, buy a Free Pass. With this ticket, you can ride any bus within the validity period of the ticket.
- Always obey traffic lights. Vehicles in Japan often move fast, so if you don't obey the light signals, you can put yourself and others at risk.
- In Japan, pedestrians usually walk on the left side.
- When you want to cross the street, press the orange button on the traffic light. Wait about 2-3 minutes for the traffic lights to change color, allowing pedestrians to pass. If there is a yellow strip in the middle of the road, it is for the visually impaired, avoid entering or standing there.
Taxis in Japan are expensive, so they are usually only used for short distances or when public transport is not possible. Here are some notes after using a taxi in Japan:
- Pay attention to the sign on the front of the taxi. The red sign shows that the vehicle is empty, while the blue one shows that the vehicle is occupied.
- Car doors are usually automatic doors. Wait until the door is fully open before approaching the vehicle.
- You can pay by cash, credit card or IC Card.
With the above notes in mind, you will have an easy and time-saving travel experience during your trip in Japan. Be prepared in advance and learn about the transportation system thoroughly to avoid wasting time and money unnecessarily.