Japan Transport Guide

Hands down, the bullet train or Shinkansen is the best way to get around Japan. But there’s also an efficient bus system, ferries connecting islands and plenty of places where you can hire a bicycle, car or motorbike. You can also fly to various cities around the country too.

How to get around Japan

Train travel in Japan is awesome – it’s super fast, convenient and comfortable too. Japan has an extensive rail network with over 20,000 kilometres of tracks across the country. It’s a good idea to organise your Japan Rail pass before you leave so you can take advantage of sweet discounts. Rail passes offer an unlimited amount of travel for a specified period on bullet trains and some rail lines, buses and ferries. With thousands of islands, Japan has a pretty remarkable network of ferries. Larger ferries can transport cars and include incredible amenities like public baths and restaurants. You can, however, reach any of the 4 main islands by car or motorbike as they are all connected by bridges or tunnels. There are plenty of places all over the country where you can hire cars with most rental companies located around train stations and ferry piers. Japan also has a pretty awesome network of long-distance buses. They’re not as quick as the bullet train, but the fares are cheaper and they reach some locations that trains don’t service. Most Japanese cities have their own bus network too, although it can be quite tricky to use because many of the stops are written in Kanji. Many cities also have trams with the advantages of bus and train travel in one.