How to get around Japan?

As you see in the heading picture, the public transport is completely understandable! 😀

Upon first sight, you may feel a bit lost. A lot of signs are just in Japanese and you need to search really carefully to find an English sign! Don’t get desperate though! 🙂 The computer has an English option as well. What I found tricky was to recognize how much it costs to get from one station to another by a public transport. I had to google it. I am going to show you a brief guide to better oriented in a Japanese public transport and what are the types of tickets.


JR Rail Pass – available for all foreigners. You need to buy it in advance or in Japan but with a surcharge of 13%.  This pass provides you unlimited travel on JR trains and Shinkansen except for Nozomi and Mizuho and some other express and local trains. Types – 7, 14 or 21 day.

Travelling by Shinkansen? Lots of trips? Yes, it can be worthy to purchase it. If you just stay in Tokyo though, you probably won’t need it. The benefit is that you don’t need to always purchase a ticket and be stressed that you don’t have small coins or waste time by searching where do you need to go and calculating how much it costs. You just use it and go. It is required to take your passport with you for each travel. Before purchasing a JR Rail Pass, you should consider how much do you plan to use a public transport to see if it is worthy for you.

Recommended time for online purchase is one month before you arrive in Japan to be sure that you have received the voucher which you will exchange in Japan. They will send it by post and it takes time.  Then you will activate the pass in Japan within 90 days from exchanging.

Classic paper ticket – available in a ticket vending machine. You need to have some small cash.

Suica – prepaid card for JR lines and metro, trains, buses, monorail, price around – 29 AUD, already loaded, deposit 500 Yen (5,5 AUD), then just top up with min 1000 Yen (11AUD)

Pasmo – similar, can be also used as an electronic money in stores, parking lots, and coin lockers

Bus in Kyoto –

Tickets are paid when you get off. However, I recommend you to buy a one-day unlimited pass for 500 Yen (if you plan to visit more temples in one day and travel around, it is definitely worthy). You can buy it directly on a bus or in Kyoto City Bus Management Center and other selected area.

Tip! All Shinkansen bullet trains have a storage space for your luggage at the back of each wagon (behind the last seats). Purchasing food is available on a train but it is OVERPRICED. Buy food in advance at a kiosk in the station or somewhere else.

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2 thoughts on “Public transport in Japan

  1. Hi Diana
    Thanks so much for sharing and letting me look at public transport in Japan in a different way, I saw a documentary where there were (“people Pushers”) that push you in to squeeze you into the last space and I was horrified.
    Glad your post has made me see it from different perspective.

  2. Yeah, I saw the pushers as well.:-) When you travel during the peak hours in Tokyo, it is really crowded in a public transport.

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