Travel within Japan
Japan's two main domestic carriers are Japan Airlines (JAL) - which merged with and Japan Air System (JAS) in 2002 - and All Nippon Airlines (ANA).
Some basic one-way fares as of 2002.
Tel: (0120) 25 5971 (Toll Free)
Tel: (0120) 029 222 (Toll Free)
Japan By Rail
Japan Rail Pass
Not able to be purchased inside of Japan, so must be purchased overseas and be reserved within 3 months of intended use.
To qualify for this, before coming to Japan, you must show you will be a temporary visitor to Japan. Show passport.
Prices in Japanese yen.
The pass also entitles the bearer to a 10% discount on JR Group hotels.
Purchase a Japan Rail Pass
JR East Area Pass
The JR East Area Pass gives you unlimited use of the following services throughout Eastern Japan (Tokyo and areas to the North and East).
Prices in Japanese yen.
Another option is the Flexible 4-Day Pass which entitles you to unlimited travel on any four consecutive or non-consecutive days within a month of the date the pass was issued.
JR West Sanyo Area Pass
The JR West Sanyo Area Pass gives you unlimited use of the following services throughout the Sanyo region (Osaka, Okayama, Hiroshima and Hakata area).
Prices in Japanese Yen.
Youth 18 Tickets
Some Japan Rail Pass Reservation Offices
USIT CAMPUS (LONDON) TEL 020-7730-7285
Kintetsu International Express (Europe) B.V. (FRANKFURT) TEL (069) 1381-0510
Intia-Keskus Ltd. (HELSINKI) TEL 096803180
Kintetsu International Express (SPAIN) S.A. Madrid TEL (91) 559-5112
Seoul Travel SVC (SEOUL) TEL 822-755-9696
NTA Travel (HONG KONG) Co., Ltd. TEL 852-2721-1348
Diners World (SINGAPORE) TEL 65-292-5522
JTC Thailand (BANGKOK) TEL 66-2237-7498
Sen Travel (TAIPEI) TEL 8862-2100-1986
JTB International (Canada) Ltd. (VANCOUVER) TEL 604-688-0315
JTB International (Canada) Ltd. (TORONTO) TEL 416-367-5824
JTB Corp. USA Inc. (TORRANCE) TEL 310-618-0961
JTB Corp. USA Inc. (SAN FRANCISCO) TEL 415-986-4764
JTB Corp. USA Inc. (NEW YORK) TEL 212-698-4919
JTB Corp. USA Inc. (NEW JERSEY) TEL 201-288-5007
Bahrain International Travel (BAHRAIN) TEL 253315
Al-Rashed International Travel Co. (KUWAIT) TEL 2461538
Saudi Tourist & Travel Bureau (DHARAN) TEL (3) 8641792
Saudi Tourist and Travel Bureau (JEDDAH) TEL (2) 6674405
U.A.E. Al Futtaim Travel and Tourism (DUBAI) TEL (4) 228-5470
U.A.E. Albadie Travel Agency (ABU DHABI) TEL (2) 632-3142
Long-distance Highway buses are a possibility if you don't have a Japan Rail Pass and there are routes between most major cities with the terminus usually the main rail station. There are also night services which leave around 10 or11pm.
Typical one-way fares for JR buses:
City buses usually charge a flat-fare around 200 Yen but routes and times can be difficult to decipher and they stop running fairly early in the evening.
Traveling by ferry in Japan, while slow, can be pleasant and relaxing, alternative to other means of transport. The main routes of practical use to visitors would be from Osaka/Kobe (on Honshu) to Beppu/Oita (on Kyushu), Niigata on the Japan Sea coast to Otaru/Sapporo (Hokkaido), Sendai to Tomokomai in southern Hokkaido and the ferry route connecting Japan with Korea.
Ferry reservations are necessary at weekends and on public holidays.
Economy fare: 7,030 Yen
Economy fare: 5,250 Yen
All ferry services are daily except Niigata-Otaru (No Monday service).
Economy fare: 9,020 Yen
For further details on other routes and services contact:
Taxis are everywhere in Japan and can be flagged down from anywhere. However, they are not cheap. Fares vary little throughout the country, though Tokyo is the most expensive. Flag fall is 710 yen for the first 2km in Tokyo. After that it is 90 yen for every 288m. There is a 20% surcharge between the hours of 10pm and 5am.
Car hire is definitely an option to consider if you are planning to spend a lot of time exploring the countryside, but not really worth it in the big cities. An international license is required and members of an automobile association qualify for reciprocal rights with the Japan Automobile Association (JAF).
Toyota/Hertz Rent A Car (0070 8000 10000/ 0120 4898 82 English Toll Free).
Nissan (0120 00 4123 Toll Free)
Avis/Japaren (0120 812439 Toll Free)
Orix (0120 00 0543 Toll Free)
To save you time and the hassle of trying to work out the cost of fares, fumbling with unfamiliar coins and lining up at crowded ticket vending machines, travelers are strongly advised to buy a pre-paid pass for trains and subways in major Japanese cities such as Tokyo and Osaka.
The Suica is an acronym for "Super Urban Intelligent Card", a rechargeable smart card that can be used on most JR lines nationwide and on all subway lines and buses in the Tokyo metropolitan region. It is issued in East Japan (i.e. the Kanto region) but is interoperable with the Icoca card (see below) issued in West Japan (the Kansai region).
Suica is available in three forms:
Suica is also an electronic money card and can be used to pay for goods in a growing number of stores.
A rechargeable smart card able to be used on all train and bus transport in the Tokyo metropolitan region. It superseded the subway-only Passnet card in March 2007.
The varieties of Pasmo card are basically the same as the Suica card (see above), but with one extra feature: it is possible to subscribe to an automatic top-up service whereby the card is topped up by 3,000 yen from the user's credit card whenever the charge remaining drops below 2,000 yen.
For the traveler to Japan, unless you are staying solely in Tokyo, the Suica card, able to be used nationwide as well as throughout Tokyo, is the better option. Also, buying a Suica card at Narita airport gets you a cheaper ride on the Narita Express.
Like Suica, Pasmo is also able to be used as electronic money. Usable in stores that accept Suica.
(NB. JR Rail passes are valid on the Tokyo Yamanote loop line, but not on any subway lines).
The Icoca card is an IC smart card used on the JR West network in western Japan (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, etc.). It is interoperable with the Suica card (see above) and can therefore be used on the JR East system in Tokyo and in Sendai. Back in Kansai, the card is also good on all private railways - Hankyu, Keihan, Kintetsu, etc. - as well as the Osaka subway system.
The literal meaning of Icoca is "IC Operating CArd," but in Japanese iko-ka means "Shall we go?" When you enter or exit a station, you just pass the card close to the reader; it is not necessary to touch it.
The Icoca card can be purchased at all JR stations where the card is in use. A card costs 2,000 yen and requires a refundable 500 yen deposit. You can purchase a commuter pass for a predetermined amount of time, or pay as you go (i.e., add, say, 10,000 yen to the card and then use it until that amount is gone-- and then recharge). Many stations now have small, convenient recharging machines.
In addition to a children's Icoca (for children in elementary school), there is also a Smart Icoca, which allows you to charge travel, etc., to a credit card.
Icoca is also an electronic money card and can be used to pay for goods in many convenience stores and from vending machines.
Pay 000 yen for a pre-paid card, which allows you 300 worth of journeys on Osaka's subways, buses and NewTram lines. If in doubt, ask at the ticket wicket for help in purchasing your travel card.
Tokyo | Kyoto | Fukuoka | Hakone | Hiroshima | Ibaraki | Kamakura | Kobe | Nagasaki | Nagoya | Nara | Niigata | Nikko | Oita | Okinawa | Osaka | Saitama | Sakurajima | Sapporo | Sendai | Shizuoka | Shodoshima | Toyohashi | Tsukuba | Yokohama