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Japan offers a wide range of travel options with transportation systems that are well-organized. Traveling around the country can be a strain on the budget, but expenses can be minimized if you make arrangements ahead of time. Reservations for all forms of transportation are available.

In Japan, the train dominates as the mode of travel even though reasonably priced domestic flights are plentiful. Long-distance bus service is available but impractical given the long travel times. Also, bus fares are not that much cheaper than train or airplane fares.

TRAIN

Traveling by train is usually fast, convenient and comfortable. Services range from small local lines to the express "shinkansen," or "bullet trains," recognized for their sleek white bodies.

Japan Railways (JR) consists of separate railway systems and covers all of Japan, including local services in cities like Tokyo and Osaka. JR also operates buses and ferries, and tickets can combine different forms of transportation.

JR CentralJR EastJR HokkaidoJR KyushuJR West

One of the few travel bargains in Japan is the unlimited travel Japan Rail Pass. These passes must be purchased overseas and cannot be used by foreign residents in Japan. Check types and prices online.

AIR

Japan Air Lines (JAL) is the major international carrier and operates domestic flights between hub cities.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is the second largest international carrier and has more domestic flights.

Japan Air Systems (JAS) offers minimal international flights but offers many domestic routes.

AUTOMOBILE

Japan offers a wide array of bus service from local to long-distance routes. The long-distance services are not usually recommended, but overnight bus services are becoming more popular because they are relatively cheap. Visitors will find most buses in Japan to be spacious and clean.

Renting a car is also an option. You will need an international driver's license and remember that the Japanese drive on the left side of the road.

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