Japan is an ultra-modern country. You will be spoilt for choice for transport during your visit to Japan. You will have the choice, depending on how much you want to pay and what you want to do (hop on a plane …? or a long journey by train looking at the countryside), etc Japan has an excellent network of trains and planes for long journeys but within towns and cities you will choose between, bus, underground, bicycle or your own two feet!
If you want to see the country, you must invest in a Japan Rail Pass. For 28 300 ¥ (£180) for 7 days, 45 100 ¥ (£287) for 14 days, and 57 700 ¥ (£367) for three weeks, you have unlimited travel throughout the Japanese rail network. For children between 6 and 11 years old, you will pay half price. You cannot travel on some Shinkansen (high speed trains) with this pass, but you can use all the buses and boats covered by the Japan Rail (JR) network.
Remember to buy the pass in the UK, as it will be too late to get it once you are there!
Although the metro is far more convenient in Tokyo or Osaka, the bus is the best option in the other towns and cities of the Japanese archipelago. You buy tickets on the bus, and the driver announces the names of stops to avoid (usually) any misunderstanding.
Japanese towns are very well served with large, clean ultra-modern underground networks. Although you must avoid rush hour, it remains the most convenient way to get around big cities. A ticket costs around 250 ¥ (£1.60), but the fare depends on the distance travelled.
You drive on the left and with the road signs in Japanese,it is not exactly the easiest solution. If you still want to risk it, you must hold an International Driving Permit.
Although a car is useful in certain areas (particularly Shirakawa-gô), your local agency will be happy to find you driver guide.
Japanese taxis are undoubtedly the cleanest and shiniest in the world . The doors open and close automatically, and the left inside corner of the windscreen is lit up when the taxi is free.
But beware, when you arrive at Tokyo or Osaka airport, it is better to catch a train or a bus. Otherwise, as the airports are quite far away from these two towns, these journeys will cost you a small fortune (around £150)!
These are very convenient to use nearly everywhere outside Tokyo and Osaka, which are just too big (the Japanese capital city covers an area around 3 times the size of London), and they can be hired quite easily for around 1 000 ¥ (£6.50) a day.
Unless you have a large budget and not much time to visit, the plane is far less economical than a JR Pass and far more polluting! However, there is one exception, if you want to go to Okinawa, the plane is probably a better option, rather than the 46 hour ferry journey which also costs more than the plane (40 000 ¥ contre 25 000 ¥ en moyenne, soit £255 contre £160).