Getting Around - Internal Travel
All Nippon Airways, Japan Air System
and Japan Airlines (JL) and many other airlines
are part of an extensive network serving Japan proper and its islands.
Tokyo’s domestic airport is Haneda (HND).
A monorail service operates from Hamamatsu-cho to Haneda. One international
airline, China Airlines, serves Haneda. Additional international
flights to and from Haneda are made via Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka or
Tokyo airports. Primary routes are Tokyo–Sapporo; Tokyo–Fukuoka;
Tokyo–Osaka; and Tokyo–Naha. Tickets can be bought from
automatic machines at Tokyo International Airport’s domestic
departure counter and also at Osaka International Airport.
There are frequent services made by high-speed boat,
ferry or hydrofoil to Japan’s
islands. Widely used routes include Tokoyo–Hokkaido
(in the north) and Tokyo–Okinawa (in the
Major sea routes include Awaji
Island: Akashi– Iwaya; Shodo Island: Himeji–Fukuda,
Takamatsu–Tonosho; and Okayama–Tonosho; Takamatsu–Tonosho;
Shiraishijima and Manabejima Islands: Kasaoka–Shiraishijima–Manabejima;
Ikuchijima and Omishama Islands: Mihara–Setoda. Bullet
train services frequently travel to ports.
The Japan Railways Group (JR) operates one of the
best rail networks in the world, and is heavily used for both business
and pleasure. Express and ‘limited express’
trains are best for intercity travel. Very frequent services
operate on the main routes.
The fastest trains are Shinkansen, the
‘Bullet Trains’, these have compartments
for wheelchair passengers, diners and buffet facilities. Supplements
can be purchased on the three classes of express train and in ‘Green’
(1st-class) cars of principal trains, for which reservations
must be made.
Additional types of train include Tokkyu (Limited Express),
Kyuko (Express), Kaisoku (Rapid Train)
and Futsu (Local Train). For short-distance trains,
tickets can only be purchased at vending machines outside train
stations. For timetables, route maps, fares and reservations, see
online (web site: www.japanrail.com).
The Japan Rail Pass, an economical pass for foreign
tourists which must be purchased before arriving in Japan,
can be purchased from Japan Airlines (JL
users only) or authorised travel agents and agencies. It
is good for use on all trains except the new Nozomi super express
trains, and also on Japan Rail buses and Japan Rail ferries. A Japan
Rail Pass brochure is offered from the
Japan National Tourist Organisation (see Contact
A 7-day basic pass currently costs ¥28,300. Travellers who do not have a Japan
Rail Pass, there is a range of other discount schemes available
including a 10 per cent discount at any JR Group Hotel.
Additional rail passes include the JR East
Pass, JR Kyushu Rail Pass, Kansai
Area Pass JR West Rail Pass and the Sanyo
Area Pass. For information about other discount fares,
contact the Japan
Driving in Japan is confusing for those who cannot
read the language as it will be difficult to understand
the road signs. Traffic in cities is usually congested.
The traffic drives on the left in Japan. The Keiyo
Highway, Tohoku Expressway, Meishin Expressway and the Tomei Expressway
connect Japan’s major Pacific coastal cities, passing through
An International Driving Permit is required
to drive in Indonesia.
Public transport is very well developed,
efficient yet quite crowded. The
underground systems and privately operated suburban rail services,
which serve all the main cities, are quite convenient but best avoided
during rush hours. Tokyo also has an excellent network of
Buses can be complicated and should be used with
someone who knows the system. Otherwise visitors should
get precise details of their destination from the hotel. Fares systems
are automated, however passes may be available. On buses, payment
can be made on leaving.
All of Japan’s biggest cities have subway
Tokyo has two underground systems: the
Teito Rapid Transit Authority (TRTA) operates the
Eidan Subway and has eight lines, and the Tokyo Metropolitan
Government (TBTMG) operates four lines. A range of tickets
can be purchased including a monthly open pass, 1-day open ticket,
14 tickets for the price of 10, and a Tokyo Combination ticket;
this can be purchased 6 months in advance and allows the passenger
unlimited travel on the subway, JR rail and Toei buses for one day
within the 6 months.
Kyoto also has its own subway system containing
2 major lines: the Karasuma and Tozai lines.
Kyoto Sightseeing Passes can be purchased allowing
unlimited rides on buses and the underground.
Taxi: These can be expensive,
especially in rush hour (07:30-09:30 and
17:00-18:00). There is a minimum charge for the
first 2km (1.2 miles) and there is a time charge in slow moving
traffic. It is recommended for visitors to have prepared the name
and address of their destination in Japanese writing, together with
the name of a nearby landmark; a map may also be helpful. Hotels
will provide this service.