Basis for J-Hopping
Transportation cost is the biggest headache for budget travellers. Here
are some solutions to save on your transportation expenses. Also, there are
many ways for Japan hopping depending on your situation.
Japan Railway Pass
If you plan to travel to Japan for longer than a week and visit places in different regions
, buying a Japan Railway Pass is
a very good way to save on transportation expenses.
It allows unlimited use of JR trains, buses and ferries including Shinkansen
lines within the period of validity.
Please note JR Passes can only be bought outside of Japan and it is only for
I am envious because Japanese cannot buy this pass. Actually, it is
really good value. For example, when you make a round trip between Osaka
and Tokyo by Shinkansen, it costs 27,500 yen. Meanwhile, a JR Pass for
7 days costs 28,300 yen. It is obvious how valuable the pass is.
Please refer to the link for the details.
Japan Rail Pass official site
Seishun 18 Kippu
Seishun 18 Kippu is a seasonal pass for JR local trains.
Availability period for the pass is only 3 times a year during school vacation
You can take a local train up to 5 times with the pass.
Shinkansen or Express trains can not be used. You can buy the
pass at any JR stations.
Basically Seishun 18 Kippu is good for those who can stay in Japan longer and
want to save money as much as possible.
Please check the details for the following link:
Seishun 18 Kippu page by JR East
Seishun 18 Kippu page by Japan-Guide.com
Other Nationwide and regional train passes :
Japan-guide.com collect information on most things.
They are doing a really good job for visitors, I think ...
Using highway buses is also a good way for budget transportation.
JR Group has a big highway bus network between most major cities.
You can see their website (Japanese only)
One bus company (123bus.jp) has a English website.
Also, some of other major bus companies have some highway bus lines.
You can see them from the link below:
Highway bus database by Nihon Bus Association
Using highway buses is originally cheaper than JR trains. Especially
some major lines such as between Kyoto and Tokyo tend to be cheaper (the
cheapest range of that is less than 4,000 yen). Many of Highway bus lines
go overnight. You can save daytime and the lodging cost.
Airline companies offer some exclusive passes only for foreign visitors
Oneworld Yokoso/Visit Japan Fare by JAL
Star Alliance Japanese Airpass by ANA
Visit Japan Fare by ANA
These airpasses are not for unlimited use like JR Pass, but it is fixed
fare per any domestic flight (10,000-13,000 yen). You have to purchase abroad
as well as JR Pass.
If you are planning to visit Okinawa or Hokkaido in your travels, it would be a good option.
Some other smaller airline companies have a cheaper fares for their particular
routes such as:
Tokyo-Hokkaido region by AirDo
Tokyo-Kyushu region by Skynet Asia Airways
For the other things, this link is very helpful:
As Japan consists of many islands, shipping is one of the most important
There are many ferry companies and it is kind of difficult to narrow the
Japan-guide.com once again delivers some great information.
In my experience, using ferry is a good option in the following routes:
Kansai area - Hokkaido
Kansai area - Kyushu area
Tokyo - South Kyushu area
Chugoku area - Shikoku area
Many people say it is not difficult to hitchhike in Japan.
I think it is
true. If you travel to a remote area and it is not convenient to use public
transportation, hitchhiking is a very good option. I have travelled to the
far countryside of Hokkaido by hitch-hiking and I didn't have any trouble in meeting gentle drivers who stopped for a sleazy stranger.
It may be a little difficult for a travelling between big cities.
Usually hitch-hikers wait a little before the approach of the expressway. I am no big fan of that while you can get many other budget
options for transportation between big cities.
Lastly, although Japan is said as one of the safest countries of the world,
violent crimes by crazy people are increasing these days.
Please enjoy hitchhiking at you own risk.
Please refer to Wikitravel for hitch-hiking in Japan
Beautiful countryside, varied scenery
If you are a motorcyclist, I am sure you can enjoy riding in Japan with
beautiful countryside and varied scenery. Especially, it must
be a paradise for off-road riders. It is not very easy to bring
your motorcycle into Japan, though. However, you can, of course, if you
Information to travel by motorbike in Japan by Chris
Overseas motorbiking forum by Horizonsunlimited website
Around 70% of Japan is mountain side and travelling across Japan by bike
is kind of tough. But some people do this and it is definitely worth it.
Maybe it is the best way for J-Hopping. You can stop whenever you want
and see whatever you like on the road. You can save transportation expense.
Please refer to the link:
Japan Cycling Navigator
When you make a day trip in the city, biking is a very reasonable and convenient
Some hotels/hostels have rental bike service and you can use it forless than
1000 yen / day.
Walking from city to city is not a very popular way for J-Hopping.
There is an important old way mail route called "Tokaido". The
route is between Tokyo and Kyoto. In the Edo period, many people used
to walk this way for the business trip. You can follow the old route and
experience how old people made a tough trip.
Another chance for a walking travel is to make a Japanese pilgrimage.
I haven't tried it yet but it must be beautiful !
About general information for Japanese Pilgrimages
The most famous pilgrimage trip is of Shikoku's 88 Temples
If you are travelling with a group, renting a car may be a good option.
A compact car can be rent from 5,000 yen or so a day.
For the further information, please refer to Japan-guide.com site (again