Alleviating your concerns about studying and living in Japan.
Useful information for living in Japan.


Traveling in Japan

Traveling in Japan
Traveling during your studies in Japan is a fantastic way to become more acquainted with the country’s people and culture. There are also many ways to make your way around the country and differing methods come with different monetary and time costs. For long distance travel, options to consider are air, bus, and train travel. Regardless of which you choose, there are advantages and disadvantages to each method of travel.


Travel by Air

Travel by air is fast and great for travel over long distances within Japan and even to other parts of Asia. Japan has two major airlines and several low-cost and middle-cost carriers (LCC and MCC) to choose from and each carrier has a number of routes to get you to where you want to go.

Major Airlines

  • All Nippon Airways(ANA)
  • Japan Airlines(JAL)

Middle-Cost Carriers

  • AIR DO
  • Skymark Airlines Co., Ltd.
  • Star Flyer Inc.
  • Solaseed Air

Low-Cost Carriers

  • Peach Aviation
  • AirAsia Japan
  • Jetstar
  • Spring Airlines
Advantages Disadvantages
  • Some airlines have mileage plans
  • Short travel times
  • Discounts for booking in advance (varies by airline)
  • In-flight service available (varies by airline)
  • Airfare can fluctuate depending on the season
  • Requires travel to and from an airport
  • It can take time to get through security and to the boarding gate
  • Some airlines may have additional luggage fees



Travel by Bus

Use of an express, highway, or night bus is definitely the most inexpensive options available to those looking to travel over a long distance in Japan. There are many major and regional bus companies that travel all over the country offer fares that are sometimes more than half the price of an airplane or train.

  • JR Bus
  • Willer Express
  • VIP Liner
  • Sakura Kankō
  • Nishitetsu Bus
  • Keiō Bus
  • Tōhoku Kyuko Bus
  • Hankyū Bus
Advantages Disadvantages
  • Reasonable Prices
  • Many Routes Available
  • Travel Overnight (Night Buses)
  • Chances to buy souvenirs at stops along the way
  • Wi-fi and entertainment services available (varies by company)
  • Discounts for advance purchase of tickets (varies by company)
  • Long travel times
    • Travel times are dependent on traffic
  • Many rest stops
  • No in-ride service
  • Possible fees for extra luggage



Travel by Train

The train infrastructure in Japan is very streamlined and easy to use. Particularly in the case of travel from a place into a major city center, it is easy to transfer from express and high-speed train lines to local train lines and to your final destination. Mid to long-distance train travel can be done in a number of ways but the most common is probably via express and high-speed (bullet) trains.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Many trains throughout the day
    • If you miss your train, you may be able to simply ride the next one (varies by company)
  • Well networked train systems all over Japan make for easy transfers
  • In-ride service (varies by route and company)
  • Prices can be high
    • Fare prices generally do not change by season
  • You are responsible for carrying your own luggage
  • Seats can fill up during travel seasons



Travel Agents

Booking tickets and even accommodations through travel agents (both in person and online) is very common in Japan and buying packages through an agent may save you some money. There may also be some discounts that are not necessarily available when booking directly through a travel carrier. If you are booking train tickets, some travel agents may even be able to present you with your ticket that same day. This is a very good option who will need to book a hotel room in addition to their travel ticket. Some major travel agencies are as follows:

  • H.I.S.
  • J.T.B.
  • Rakuten Travel
  • Hankyu Travel International
  • Nippon Travel Agency
  • Kinki Nippon Tourist

Some schools even have special travel agencies for their students on campus.


Student Discounts

With a student ID, you may be able to take advantage of student discounts with some travel carriers. At others, additional documentation may be required before you can pay student rate fares.

The most common instance of this is when booking tickets on an express or high-speed train with Japan Rail Company (JR). If you are traveling more than 100km one-way, you are eligible for a 20% fare discount on express and high-speed trains with the presentation of your student ID and a Student Travel Discount Voucher. The voucher is issued at the school at which you study and you may only claim a set number per year.


It’s Up to You

Though there are many options, the final decision is yours and depends on your budget and other preferences. If you’d prefer to travel a longer distance in a short amount of time, a plane might be right for you. If you’re traveling a mid to long distance and want to enjoy the scenery along the way, maybe a train is the way to go. If you’re somebody that can sleep well on a moving vehicle and want to simply wake up at your destination, a bus might be all you need (saving that few extra thousand yen is a nice plus too). Whatever the case may be, have fun and, most importantly, safe travels.


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