Moving around

Simply put, getting around Japan – whether to major tourist destinations, or to tucked away rural villages – is pretty straight forward.

To find out the quickest, cheapest, longest or shortest routes – you can’t go past 

There are also extensive highway bus services. For information, try the Japan National Tourist Office.

To move about quickly in Japan, the extensive Japan Rail Bullet train network (JR Shinkansen) is the go. The JR network is broken up in to separate companies, each with its own website. Links can be found here. A great alternate to Shinkansen is the ordinary rail system – both JR and private – and highway or local buses.

If you have the time, and inclination for a slower, more social and usually prettier trip, here are my tips:

  • Grab a paper map or use good old Google Maps;
  • look for all the JR or private railway lines heading towards your destination
  • In many cases, lines terminate in mountainous areas
  • Google up the town on the end of the line, and dig around to find out about local buses that can take you across country back to the main line, or even your destination.
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