Category Archives: Buses and ferries

Trip to Shikoku in 2015 spring – Part 1, taking Orange Ferry from Osaka to Toyo port.

2015 spring Japan trip 338

When I went back to Japan in this past March, I wanted to visit my friend’s grave in Iyo-Saijo, Shikoku. I though it was a great chance to travel Shikoku. But my 6 years old daughter and my wife were with me. My trip is usually very busy and squeeze the things as many as I can. But at this time, I had to make easy and slow itinerary.

In this post, I would like to show you my trip to Shikoku in spring, 2015. I hope this trip report to give you some idea about travel with small kids. Continue reading

Japan Rail Pass will not cover any highway bus service soon.

Overnight highway bus service, Dream
Overnight highway bus service, Dream is very valuable overnight service between Osaka/Kyoto/Nagoya and Tokyo

According to Japan Rail Pass official site, Japan Rail Pass that will be exchanged after April 1, 2013 will not cover any JR Highway bus services any more.

  • Sapporo – Otaru
  • Morioka – Hirosaki
  • Tokyo – Nagoya – Kyoto – Osaka (Daytime highway service)
  • Tokyo – Nagoya/Kyoto/Osaka (Overnight service “Dream”)
  • Osaka – Tsuyama
  • Tokyo – Tsukuba center

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How to access to Kusatsu Onsen. Japan Rail Pass covers all part of trip to Kusatsu

Yubatake (湯畑=hot springs field) is the landmark in Kusatsu. ©Visual Gunma/©JNTO

There are so many hot springs in Japan. Kusatsu Onsen is located in northern part of Gunma. It is well known as one of the most three famous hot springs in Japan. Other two are Arima Hot Springs in Hyogo and Gero Hot Springs in Gifu.

In this post, I would like to share the information about access to Kusatsu Onsen with you. Continue reading

How to take Tokyo Monorail or Keihin Kyuko for late arrival and early departure at Haneda

If you arrive at Haneda by Tokyo Monorail, the station is located at same level as departure floor. (C) JP Rail
If you arrive at Haneda by Tokyo Monorail, the station is located at same level as departure floor. (C) JP Rail

Since I have received many inquiries regarding late arrival and early departure at Haneda on my previous post, How to access from Haneda airport to downtown Tokyo, I show you more detailed time schedule and how to get on Tokyo Monorail and Keihin Kyuko at Haneda Airport. Continue reading

How to access to Takachiho by bus. How much can we use Japan Rail Pass?

Takachiho Gorge and Manai Falls (C) JP Rail

Takachiho (高千穂) is known as the land of Japanese Mythology (日本神話). There are lots of shrines and places that are related to Mythology. And also Takachiho Gorge is one of the “Must-See” spot in southern Kyushu area.

I visited there in mid March, 2012. I would like to share my experience with you. I hope this will be helpful for your trip to Takachino. Continue reading

Another idea of overnight transfer to Hokkaido, using ferry service between Aomori and Hakodate

Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry
Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry

In this website, the pages of overnight trains, such as Twilight Express, Cassiopeia, Hokutosei and Hamansu, are very popular. You can save time and money to take an overnight train. I understand why it is so popular. However as I explained you about reservation in the post “How to reserve seat”, we do not have any online reservation to get a seat or berth before departure. I already explained about the alternatives of several overnight trains in the following links:

Alternatives of Overnight train Twilight Express
Alternatives of Overnight train Cassiopeia and Hokutosei

But these alternatives on the above links are not enough. I think most of travellers are very stressful because they cannot reserve a seat before departure. Now I would like to share the information about another option to get Hokkaido by overnight transfer. It is the ferry services between Aomori and Hakodate. It is not covered by Japan Rail Pass. But the fare starts from 1710 yen and they have a midnight ferry service too. It may be considerable for some of the travellers. Let’s see the details. Continue reading

How to access from Kansai airport to downtown Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe

JR Limited Express Haruka is one of the popular way from KIX to get Osaka.
JR Limited Express Haruka is one of the popular way from KIX to get Osaka.

Kansai airport is the international airport in Osaka. It is the closest international airport to Kyoto, Nara and Kobe too. There are many ways to get downtown Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. In this post, I give you basic information about the route to major spots in Osaka. I also have another links below to tell you about Kansai airport. Continue reading

Japan Railways is the best way to access Mt. Fuji? How much can we use Japan Rail Pass to go to Mt. Fuji?

Tokaido Shinkansen and Mt. Fuji ©Akira Okada/©JNTO
Tokaido Shinkansen and Mt. Fuji ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

As you know, Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan. Sometimes we can see it even from downtown Tokyo. And when you travel to west from Tokyo by Shinkansen, you will be able to see this beautiful shaped mountain through the window on your right side.

*If you want to see Mt. Fuji on Shinkansen, when you reserve the ticket for Tokaido Shinkansen, try to get D which is isle side, or E which is window side unless you travel as party of 3. The seat configuration on Shinkansen is 3 (A,B,C) + 2 (D,E). (If you take Green seat, C and D are the right place to see it.) Even if you travel to opposite direction (from Osaka to Tokyo), the seat configuration is same. D and E are always on the mountain side.

Of course Mt. Fuji is one of most popular destination for the tourists. We have several choices to enjoy Mt. Fuji. Let’s see how much you can use Japan Rail Pass to get Mt. Fuji. Continue reading

Save time and money! Overnight transfer between Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka

Overnight bus service "Dream"
Overnight bus service Dream

Additional info on March 3, 2013.
Japan Rail Pass official site announced express bus service will be no longer available for Japan Rail Pass that will be exchanged after April 1, 2013. Please be careful that Overnight highway bus “Dream” will not be covered by Japan Rail Pass.

If you want to save the time and save your money to stay hotel, overnight transfer is the perfect solution. Especially most of travellers transfer among three major cities, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. We have several ways to take overnight transfer among these cities by Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see how we can transfer.

Continue reading

How to access World Heritage Shiretoko by railway. Japan Rail Pass can be used to access there?

Shiretoko Pass is the highlight of Shiretoko peninsula. (C) JNTO
Shiretoko Pass is the highlight of Shiretoko peninsula. (C) JNTO

Shiretoko is one of UNESCO World heritage site in Japan. Shiretoko cannot be accessed by only rail, you need to take the bus from the station. You have two way to access to Shiretoko. The first one is from Abashiri(網走) via Shiretoko-Shari(知床斜里). The other one is to access from Kushiro(釧路). The nearest station is Shiretoko-Shari(知床斜里). So if you want to save the money, take Abashiri via Shiretoko-Shari route. Let’s see the time and extra cost.


View How to get Shiretoko in a larger map

Access from Abasiri via Shiretoko-Shari

This is most popular route to access Shiretoko. Shiretoko-Shari is 40 minutes away from Abashiri by the local train. Abashiri can be accessed by Limited express train “Okhotsk” from Sapporo where is the biggest city in Hokkaido. But we only have 4 trips of express train from Sapporo. And one more trip is added in Ryuhyo (Drift ice) season. This seasonal train is called “Ryuhyo Limited Express Okhotsk no Kaze”. This express train is operated by the different type train set from regular trains. Please see the details on Ryuhyo Limited Express Okhotsk no Kaze.
Then you need to take a local train to get Shiretoko-Shari. There are also only 9 local trains from Abashiri to Shiretoko-Shari. It is very limited access by rail. In Drift ice season, there are some additional train between Abashiri and Shiretoko-shari too. This train is called “Ryuhyu Norokko train”. This train is designed for Drift ice watching from the train. Please see the details about this train at Ryuhyo Norokko train.

If you stay in Sapporo, your sample itinerary is the following;
07:21 Depart from Sapporo by Ltd Express Okhotsk 1
12:46 Arrive at Abashiri
13:25 Depart from Abashiri by the local train
14:12 Arrive at Shiretoko-Shari
14:20 Depart from Shiretoko-Shari by bus (operated by Shari Bus company)
*This website is in Japanese only.
15:10 Arrive at Utoro

If you stay in Abashiri, your sample itinerary is the following;
06:41 Depart from Abashiri by the local train
07:22 Arrive at Shiretoko-Shari
08:00 Depart from Shiretoko-Shari by bus (operated by Shari Bus company)
*This website is in Japanese only.
08:50 Arrive at Utoro

These itineraries are based on 2010 summer schedule. If you travel in winter time, the bus service is very limited. The bus fare is 1,490 yen from Shiretoko-Shari to Utoro one way, from Utoro to Rausu at 1,310 yen, and some bus take you to directly to Rausu from Shiretoko-Shari at 2,410 yen.

Utoro(ウトロ) is located in the west coast side of Shiretoko Peninsula. It is the gate town to go around Shiretoko. You can access to Shiretoko Five Lakes, Kamuiwakka Falls and Shiretoko Pass from Utoro. And also you can access to Rausu(羅臼), the east side of Shiretoko Peninsula, via those sightseeing spot. It takes another 50 minutes from Utoro to Rausu.

Access from Kushiro

You can access to Kushiro from Sapporo by Limited Express Super Ozora. We have 7 trips from Sapporo to Kushiro. So it is a bit more convenient than Abashiri. You can access to Rausu from Kushiro by bus. It takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes. We have four trips in weekdays. But we only have two trips in weekend. By the way, this bus line is the longest operated local bus in Japan.

If you stay in Sapporo, your sample itinerary is the following;
09:04 Depart from Sapporo by Ltd Express Super Ozora 3
13:03 Arrive at Kushiro
13:50 Depart from Kushiro by bus (operated by Akan Bus company)
*This website is in Japanese only.
17:35 Rausu

If you stay in Kushiro, your can take the first departure at 07:35 from Kushiro. It will arrive at 11:05. We have another two departures in weekdays only at 10:05 and 16:00 from Kushiro. The bus fare is 4,740 yen one way. We have two departures at 06:40 and 12:45 from Rausu everyday. And another two departures at 09:10 and 16:50 in weekdays only.

Sample Itinerary

If you want to enjoy Shiretoko and another sightseeing area in the east part of Hokkaido, take Abashiri via Shiretoko to Kushiro. You access to Lake Mashu, Lake Akan and Kushiro Marsh on the way to Kushiro from Shiretoko or from Kushiro. If you want to see Kushiro Marsh, take the local train from Shiretoko-shari to Kushiro. Please refer one of 7 days sample itineraries, Hokkaido 7 days. If you want to enjoy Shiretoko, save time and not to hesitate to spend extra cost, take the bus from Rausu. You must see Shiretoko both Utoro and Rausu.

Haneda airport access guide and the list of deals

(C)  Yasufumi Nishi/ JNTO
(C) Yasufumi Nishi/ JNTO

Narita airport (成田空港) is well known as the international airport in Tokyo. But many flights arrives and departs at Haneda airport (羽田空港) too in these days.

Haneda is located in Metro Tokyo 23 municipalities. Haneda is way closer to downtown Tokyo than Narita. Please see the map below to find the location of both Narita and Haneda.


View Narita Airport and Haneda Airport in a larger map

Haneda airport is connected with downtown Tokyo by Tokyo Monorail, Keihin Kyuko Railway (a.k.a. Keikyu railway) and Airport Limousine bus. In this post, I will explain about the access between airport and downtown Tokyo. And also I will mention some deals for airport access. Continue reading

Compare many rail services and shuttle bus. How to get downtown Tokyo from Narita airport.

Narita Airport departure floor © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO
Narita Airport departure floor © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO

Narita airport is mostly your gateway to explore in Japan. But Narita airport is not close to downtown Tokyo. You have to think about a transportation to downtown Tokyo. Let’s see which way is the best for you. Continue reading

Visit by Japan Rail Pass! How to access to Lake Towada (Towadako).

Lake Towada (autumn season)
Lake Towada (autumn season)

This lake is one of the most beautiful lake in Japan and most popular destination in Tohoku Area (North part of main island). Especially it has very colorful and amazing view in autumn. JR Tohoku Bus operate the schedule bus to Towadako. This bus service is included in Japan Rail Pass. So you can go there with NO EXTRA charge. Continue reading

How to access to Shirakawago from Takayama, Kanazawa, Takaoka and Toyama.

Very popular scene of Shirakawago from Tenshukaku view point
Very popular scene of Shirakawago from Tenshukaku view point

Shirakawago is known as UNESCO World heritage site and it is very very popular destination among oversea tourist in these days. You cannot access to this village by any train services. But there are many bus routes available from many cities around Shirakawago, such as Takayama, Kanazawa and some more.

In this post, I would like to share the information about access to Shirakawago, basic information of this village and some deals to cover the trip to Shirakawago. Continue reading

How to access to Miyajima from Hiroshima by local train. No extra charge for Japan Rail Pass user.

Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima
Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima

Miyajima is one of the World Heritage site in Japan. It is very popular destination for the tourists.

You can access to Miyajima by Japan Rail Pass with no extra charge. But you have to take a local train and Ferry. I show you some images and explain how to get there. Continue reading

How to access to Cape Erimo (Erimo Misaki) by Japan Rail Pass.

Cape Erimo (Erimo Misaki)
Cape Erimo (Erimo Misaki)

Cape Erimo (=Erimo Misaki=襟裳岬) is located at south end of Hokkaido. There is more than 60m height cliff around the cape and 7km long shore reef to offshore. It is facing the open water of Pacific Ocean. A lot of harbor seals can be seen there.

You can access Cape Erimo by JR local line and bus without any additional charge by JR Pass, but Hokkaido Rail Pass does not cover the bus to Cape Erimo. Continue reading

How to access to Ryusendo (Limestone cave) by Japan Rail Pass

Ryusendo - You can explore the lon cave without any special equipment.
Ryusendo – You can explore the lon cave without any special equipment.

Ryusendo (=龍泉洞) is one of three biggest limestone caves in Japan. It has some crystal clear blue lakes in the cave. You can see three lakes during viewing the cave and third lake is 98m deep. Ryusendo has very well maintained path in the cave. So you don’t worry about any special equipments. Continue reading