Category Archives: Private Local Buses

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

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

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.

How to access from Haneda airport to downtown Tokyo

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

Narita airport (成田空港) is more well known as the international airport. But Haneda airport (羽田空港) opened new terminal in this past October. Many flights was started to operate.

Haneda is located in Metro Tokyo 23 municipalities. It 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 and Airport Limousine bus.

*We have a good news and a bad news for Japan Rail Pass user. A good news is, as of October 21, 2010, Japan Rail Pass can be used for Tokyo Monorail. A bad news is that you cannot turn in the pass at Haneda airport because there is no Japan Railway station. So you can use Monorail to Haneda airport after you already turn in the pass. You cannot use Monorail right after arrival at Haneda with no extra charge by the pass.

JR Pass exchange place, JR East Travel Service Center is next to Tokyo Monorail ticket gate. There exist a big sign. (C) JP Rail

(Revised)
Japan Railway add Haneda airport monorail station to exchange the pass. So you can start to use Japan Rail Pass right after you arrive at Haneda in Japan! But the window open between 7:45 and 18:30. I am afraid most of Japan Rail Pass users arrive at Haneda in early morning or late night. Shinagawa station is the closest location to Haneda airport. Please check the list of the exchange place at Japan Rail Pass official site.


View Haneda Airport Access in a larger map

But Haneda airport allow only midnight and early morning for international flight. So if you arrive Haneda so late, you may not get downtown Tokyo by train. Let’s see the details, such as fare, schedule and route, about three ways, Tokyo Monorail, Keihin Kyuko Railway and Airport Limousine bus.

How to find the station at Haneda airport

Actually it is quite simple. When you exit from Immigration and Custom area, you will see the hall, like the picture below.

You will see Limousine bus ticket counter on your left hand side.

If you want to take a limousine bus, you will see the ticket window when you exit from Immigration and Custom. It is same location at the exit. But midnight bus services are very very limited. (C) JP Rail.

Just keep going straight from the exit. Both Tokyo Monorail station and Keihin Kyuko station are just a few steps away from the exit.

Tokyo Monorail station will be on your left hand side. (C) JP Rail
Keihin Kyuko station will be on your right hand side. (C) JP Rail

Once you exit from Immigration and Custom, it takes less than one minute to get the station. Many station staffs are there to help you how to buy a ticket and find a direction. And also there exist lots of signs and most of signs are shown in four languages, Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean. You won’t miss it.

Tokyo Monorail
Tokyo Monorail

Tokyo Monorail (東京モノレール)

Tokyo Monorail connects Haneda airport with Hamamatsucho (浜松町). Adult fare is 470 yen and child fare is 240 yen. If you already turn in Japan Rail Pass, you can take it with no extra charge. It takes 18 minutes by the fastest train, “Haneda Express”. It takes 23 minutes by local train. Haneda Express stops only Hamamatsucho, Haneda Airport International Terminal, Haneda Airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Tokyo Monorail operates every 3 or 4 minutes during daytime and 5 to 10 mintues during early morning and late night. The first departure is 04:58 from Haneda to Hamamatsucho. The last departure is 00:01 from Haneda to Hamamatsucho. Please check the most updated schedule on Tokyo Monorail website.

Hamamatsucho is three stations away from Tokyo station. If you want to take Shinkansen after arrival at Haneda, you have to take Yamanote line (山手線). I recommend you to use Keihin Kyuko Railway because they take you to Shinagawa (品川). You can easily transfer to Shinkansen there. If you stay at the major hotel in downtown Tokyo, you may take Airport Limousine bus.

Keihin Kyuko Railway - Airport Limited Express
Keihin Kyuko Railway - Airport Limited Express

Keihin Kyuko Railway (京浜急行)

Keihin Kyuko is one of the major private railway company it Tokyo. We call “Keikyu” (Keihin Kyuko). Keihin Kyuko connects Haneda airport with Shinagawa (品川). Adult fare is 400 yen and child fare is 200 yen. It takes 16 to 18 minutes by the fastest train, “Airport Limited Express”. This express train does not stop any station between Haneda airport stations and Shinagawa. But Airport Limited Express is operated in daytime only. Most of trains are Airport Express. This train stops all stations between Haneda terminal and Keikyu-Kamata. And also it stops at Heiwajima, Tachiaigawa and Aomonoyokocho. It takes 23 to 25 minutes by Airport Express. They operates every 5 minutes during daytime and 10 mintues during early morning and late night. The first departure is 05:23 from Haneda to Shinagawa. The last departure is 23:59 from Haneda to Shinagawa. Kehin Kyuko have one more train at 00:20 from Haneda to Keihin-Kamata in weekdays. Please check the most updated schedule on Keihin Kyuko Haneda Access website.

Shinagawa is one of the biggest terminal stations in downtown Tokyo and Shinkansen stop at Shinagawa. If you want to take Shinkansen that is bound for Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka and many station to the west, you should take Keihin Kyuko. But if you stay at the major hotel in downtown Tokyo, you still think about taking Keihin Kyuko. Because Keihin Kyuko is connected with Toei subway Asakusa line. They operates through the subway line and it directly take you to some of the popular spots in Tokyo, such as Shinbashi (新橋), Ginza (銀座) and Asakusa (浅草). If you stay at the major hotel in other areas in Tokyo, you may take Airport Limousine bus.

Airport Limousine
Airport Limousine

Airport Limousine bus

Airport Limousine takes you most of major hotels in Tokyo. The fare is 600 yen or more. It depends on the destination. For example, the fare to Tokyo station is 900 yen and to Shinjuku station is 1,200 yen. But they charge double for midnight service (departure from 00:00 to 04:59). Please check the details on their website.

And also Keihin Kyuko operates the schecule bus service too. They have a lot of midnight bus service, to Tokyo staion, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Kitasenju, Tachikawa, Tokyo City Air Terminal, and more. Please check the details here.

In case of the light delay

Most of the flights arrive at Haneda in early morning or late night. If your flight suppose to arrive late night, you have to think about access to downtown Tokyo and worry about the flight delay.

I show several sample schedules between Haneda and some places in Tokyo by Monorail and Keihin Kyuko. Please see How to take Tokyo Monorail or Keihin Kyuko for late arrival and early departure at Haneda.

In case of that, unfortunately you do not have many choices. Both Keihin Kyuko bus and Airport limousine bus do not have many midnight buses. Please get the details at Keihin Kyuko Bus website Late night and early morning service. If you miss these buses, the only way is to take the taxi. The estimation of taxi fare to major locations in Tokyo from Haneda airport are following:

to Shinagawa station — 4,800yen to 5,120yen
to Shinjuku station — 8,000yen (fixed rate)
to Tokyo station — 8,000yen (fixed rate)
to Ueno station — 8,0000yen (fixed rate)
to Asakusa — 8,000yen (fixed rate)
to Ikebukuro station — 9,000 yen (fixed rate)
*All above rates include midnight surcharge as of November, 2011. If you take a taxi in daytime, the rates are about 20% cheaper. Please see the details about fixed rate at here.

Thank you, Nich, for telling me about taxi fixed rate.

As you see, it is quite expensive! Unless you want to spend it for the taxi, reserve your hotel as close as the Haneda airport. I recommend you to get the room around Kamata (=蒲田). You can get there by Keihin Kyuko easily. Even if you miss the train, it’s only 6km away from the Haneda airport international terminal. That means the taxi fare will be very reasonable. It costs about 2,800yen to 2,980 yen (midnight surcharge included) There are some standard class hotels around Kamata station at the reasonable rate. You may not know about Kamata. It is not major location in Tokyo. But Kamata has both JR and Keihin kyuko staions. There are many hotels and restaurants. Keihin Kyuko Kamata station is only 5 minutes away from JR Kamata station. So you can take JR train next morning very easily.

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

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