Japan travel guide




Japan Travel Guide

Getting Around Japan

Getting around Japan can be an exciting experience in itself. Japan possesses one of the most exceptionally developed transportation systems in the world. The rail service comprehends virtually all possible destinations. Besides, there is a national highway service and domestic air service. Public transportation such as taxis and buses offer links twenty four hours a day in the cities, while ferries link up Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe with the main ports of Hokkaido and Kyushu.

Getting Around Japan by Car

Tokyo has many transportation options, we can say that a rental car isn't very useful, it's like a nuisance. Practically, many lifelong Tokyo residents never learn to drive.

In Japan, cars transit on the left hand side of the road. Check your route with anticipation, because road signs may not have alphabet lettering. All expressways are toll roads. Traffic regulations are very rigid and orderly. Availability of road atlases in English is limited.

Getting around Japan by Taxi

Taxis are very costly in Japan particularly in Tokyo, beginning at 660 for the first two kilometers with an increased of 80 for each 274 meters. The tariffs usually were standard, but in the year 1997 the regulations were informal, and there is now some difference. However nobody shops around, and in spite of the cost, taxis are quite common, so you may have a long wait if you wave one away.

Taxis can be called easily on most main streets most times of the day, except the one time when everyone wants one-just after midnight when the trains stop running. At this time, it may be worth going to a taxi stand outside a train station or major hotel.

Some taxis will be averse to receive foreigners at that hour, because drunk Japanese businessmen are more likely to give a large fare to a remote suburb. If you're out with Japanese people, let them call the taxi.

It's very essential to have the name and address of the site you're going written out, particularly in Japanese. Few taxi drivers speak English; if you can't make them understand where you're going, they won't pick up you. For some places you may also need to provide them directions, however not to major tourist spots. In Japan, the ancient system of addresses is not easy, inclusive for experts. If a taxi driver says he's lost, he's not trying to evade you, maybe he's surely lost.

Japan Bus system

Japan enjoys of a complete system of long-distance buses (chokyori basu), including night buses among main cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. The tariffs are generally more economical than the train, but the buses are slower and the traffic can be a problem, even on the expressways, Japan's fastest roads, usually during peak travel periods. Most bus journeys commence and finish next to or near the main train station. For journeys over two hours, there is generally at least one rest stop along the way.

Tokyo has a comprehensive bus system, but for tourists, this is not useful because the drivers don't know English and all the stop signs are in Japanese. The buses can get caught in traffic, while the trains and subway don't. If you wish to take a bus for some motive, so to reach a distant factory or office building, obtain very detailed instructions from your contact and be sure to tell the driver the name of your stop.

JAPANESE Railway system

The railway system in Japan has a high distinction for punctuality and safety. Trains are the principal way of transport in Japan and are very expensive. If you repeatedly travel among with the same station you can either buy a 1, 3 or 6 month season ticket or buy a book of tickets which gives you eleven tickets for the price of ten. Tickets for little distances are provided in the ticket machines that are established at each train station whereas tickets for long distances and reservations are dealt with at ticket offices at major stations.

To use the train, first acquire a ticket at a vending machine or ticket window. After, your ticket is perforated by hand at the wicket or inserted in a punching machine. You should keep the ticket since it must be returned at your destination.

If you can't find fare a chart in English, purchase the cheapest ticket estimated on the vending machine and pay the difference due at the tariff adjustment office at your destination station before you go through the exit wicket.

Almost all stations display station names in both Japanese and alphabet lettering on platform signboards. The station's name is in huge letters in the center of the sign; names of adjacent stations appear below or to either side. Most if not all trains stop operating around midnight.

Getting Around japan by Bike

Albeit you're unlikely to want to use a bicycle around the grimy, traffic-clogged streets of Japan's major cities, in the smaller towns and countryside a bike is a fantastic way to get from X to Y while seeing plenty en route. Outside of the main island, Honshu, Traveling by bicycle is a very traditional activity over the long summer vacation with students. Hokkaido particularly, is a cyclist's fantasy, with splendid roads through often stunning scenery and a network of ultra-cheap (but basic) cyclists' accommodation.

In several tourist towns you can rent bicycles from outlets beside or near the train station. Youth hostels usually rent out bicycles too, generally at the most competitive rates.

Domestic Ferries in Japan

Japan is a country with several islands; it is naturally home to an extensive network of domestic ferry routes.

While Japan's four main islands, Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, are linked with each other by bridges and tunnels, most smaller islands can only be reached by ship. But even among the main four islands, ferries can be an interesting, if not peculiarly fast alternative to trains, buses and airplanes.

Several domestic ferries transport people, vehicles, cargo and baggage. While shorter routes are supplied by small ships, able to carry a couple of cars and a few dozens of passengers, large liners are employed on longer routes.

Bigger ferries can transport hundreds of vehicles and passengers and are normally equipped with a range of amenities such as public baths and restaurants. Some come close to being luxury liners.

Useful travel phrases
Useful Travel Phrases in Japan
Shinkansen Shinkansen
Limited express train tokkyu
Express train kyuko
Rapid train kaisoku
Ordinary train futsu
Reserved seat shitei-seki
Unreserved seat jiyu-seki
Non-smoking seat kin'en-seki
Green car guriin-sha
One-way katamichi
Return ofuku
Seishun Juhachi-kippu Seishun Juhachi-kippu
Shuyuken shuyuken
Multiple purchase ticket kaisuken
Discount ticket shop kinken shoppu

Driving schools

Driving schools in Japan

Driving schools teach driving, and road safety.
In the driving schools directory you will find information about road safety, driving knowledge, vehicles and equipment.
A driver training course or high-school driver education program approved by the provincial government can teach you the skills, and attitudes you need to be a safe, and responsible driver.

Traffic schools

Traffic schools in Japan

Improve your driving skills and possibly get a ticket dismissed or your insurance premium reduced. Taking a traffic schools course can also earn you a discount on your car insurance premiums. And, of course, if your driving skills just need a tune up, you can sign up to improve your driving techniques.

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