Photo: CARA LAM
travel

Insider travel tips for beginners exploring Japan

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By Cara Lam

So you’ve come to work in Japan and are now wondering how to travel around this dynamic country in the most cost- and time-efficient ways? Great, let’s brainstorm together. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of traveling by train, car, bus and plane. We’ve even included insider tips for cheap accommodation and helpful forums for your trip planning.

Save big bucks on transportation

Domestic travel isn’t always cheap in Japan — especially when a lot of the mainstream discounts available for trains are only for people with a tourist visa (for example, the widely-known Japan Rail Pass). However, there are a few train passes that residents can use. The JR Wide Pass allows up to three consecutive days of unlimited travel on the shinkansen (bullet train) and local trains around Tokyo and the Kanto area for ¥10,000. The Seishun 18 Ticket allows for unlimited local and rapid train rides across Japan for five consecutive days and is ¥11,850.

People living in Japan tend to avoid using the shinkansen if possible because the expensive tickets can drain your money pretty fast. For example, riding the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto with a reserved seat may take only 137 minutes, but it costs ¥13,910.

If you do decide to ride the shinkansen during popular holidays such as Golden Week in May, be prepared to stand all the way to your destination if you don’t have a reserved seat. I stood for five hours from Niigata Prefecture up north to Aomori Prefecture. I definitely would have spent a few more thousand yen notes to buy a reserved seat had I known!

Another option is to slow down and baby step it on the local trains — a good way to save money, get closer to local communities and see more of a region than you would zipping through it on a limited express or bullet train.

Click here to read more.

© GaijinPot

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2 Comments
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Being a foreigner in Japan has no perks that I can think of. If would be nice if we could buy a Japan rail pass. We could explore more of Japan which in turn would help us understand Japan more, and maybe...just maybe help with our Japanese skills too?

(OK...am I stretching it a bit?)

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Of course if they offered packages to foreigners who live in Japan, then you'll have groups of people who say it's discrimination because then it runs on the assumption that foreigners who live in Japan don't understand japan and can't speak Japanese.

People living in Japan tend to avoid using the shinkansen if possible because the expensive tickets can drain your money pretty fast. For example, riding the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto with a reserved seat may take only 137 minutes, but it costs ¥13,910.

There are many packages and discounts available to people who live in Japan. JTB/HIS and all the major tour agencies offer Shinkansen and hotel discount packages that are much cheaper.

You can get a Shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto for 9900 yen at the travel agency. Others you can get a roundtrip ticket plus hotel for the same cost as just the roundtrip ticket.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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