Transport

International Flights to Japan

Japan is easily accessible from the UK and continental Europe with over one hundred direct flights every week to four of Japan’s 22 International Airports. You will arrive at either Narita (Tokyo), Kansai (Osaka), Nagoya, or Sapporo. All other destinations within Japan can be reached quickly and conveniently using the country’s extensive network of rail, bus and domestic air services.

We work with a wide range of airlines including British Airways, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, KLM and Air France. Domestic departures and stopovers can also be included. Simply provide us with your preferred UK departure airport and we will arrange your ideal holiday to suit your requirements.

Indirect International Flights to Japan

Indirect international options from London usually involve a stop/change in the home hub of the airline, for example: Emirates fly from London to Narita and Osaka with a stopover in Dubai for 3 hours. Air France fly from London to Narita and Osaka with a stopover in Paris of 2 hours. Cathay Pacific fly from London to Narita, Osaka, Nagoya and Sapporo with a stopover in Hong Kong of 2 to 3 hours. There are many other airlines to choose from with stop overs en-route. These flights inevitably take a bit longer, but can on occasion work out to be the most cost-effective.


Trains

The railway system in Japan has a high reputation for punctuality and safety.

The price varies depending on the distance you travel, as well as the type of train you catch and class of seat you need. Tickets for short distances are available from ticket machines that are installed at each train station, whereas those for long distances and reservations are dealt with at ticket offices at major stations.

To use the train, first purchase a ticket at a vending machine or ticket window. Your ticket is punched by hand at the gate, or inserted in a punching machine. Please keep the ticket since it must be handed in at your destination. If there is no fare chart in English, buy the cheapest ticket indicated on the vending machine, and pay the difference due at the fare adjustment office at your destination station before you go through the exit turnstile.

Most stations display station names in both Japanese and English on platform signboards. The name of the station is in large letters in the centre of the sign; names of adjacent stations appear below or to either side.

Most if not all trains stop operating around midnight.

Japan Rail Pass Information

Shinkansen Bullet Train

The shinkansen has several lines. The Tokaido-Sanyo shinkansen, which links Tokyo and Hakata, is the most travelled. The Tohoku shinkansen links Tokyo and Hachinohe (Aomori Pref.), the Johetsu shinkansen links Tokyo and Niigata, the Nagano shinkansen links Tokyo and Nagano, and the Kyushu shinkansen, links Shinyatsushiro and Kagoshima Chuo.

Night Trains

Due to the high-speed that people can travel around Japan by bullet trains, increasing competition from low-cost airlines and cheaper overnight buses, the number of night trains in Japan has decreased. However, there are still a number of them operating on the main island of Honshu, and services linking to Shikoku and Hokkaido. Seats on night trains are covered by the JR pass (please note that all night trains have seats), but the pass does not cover shared or private compartments. You have to pay for these separately, along with the (limited) express fee of around 3,000 yen, and in some instances, other fees.The most popular night train for travellers tends to be the routes to Hokutosei and Cassiopeia, that run from Ueno Station in Tokyo, to Sapporo in Hokkaido.


Public Buses and Chartered Coaches

Public bus and chartered coach, are convenient and comfortable ways of travelling in Japan, especially in the mountainous regions. Our specialist will highlight how best to see the area and the mode of transport that works best for your tour.


Taxis

Taxis are widely available and can take you to addresses written in Japanese, or on business cards. If the red light in the lower left corner of the windshield is lit, then the cab is free and it can be flagged down. Be careful when approaching a taxi’s left rear door: it is opened and closed automatically by the driver.


Subway

Subway lines are available in all major cities, and provide prompt, efficient transportation. The JR Yamanote-sen loop line in Tokyo and the Osaka Kanjo-sen loop line, both circle the city centres. In Tokyo, JR rates start from 130 Japanese yen, subway fares at 160 Japanese yen for Tokyo Metro and Toei (Metropolitan) lines, and both increase with the distance travelled. Almost all stations have vending machines for tickets, and automatic ticket-checking machines at their entrance/exit gates.


Car Hire

With the convenience of driving on the left, renting a car in Japan offers a unique type of adventure, allowing you to visit the more remote locations. Many road signs are in English and cars have SAT NAV as standard. Please visit our Self-Drive Holidays for further details on car hire in Japan.


Luggage Forwarding

This reliable service, where you can forward your luggage to your next accommodation or  airport, is common practice in Japan. This allows you the convenience of travelling to more remote locations, with just an overnight bag. Please enquire for further details.


Walking and Cycling

Many of our tours involve walking as it is the most suitable  way to see attractions. Japan’s excellent public transport is occasionally used during some of the tours, so you will need to walk to get from hotels, stations and places of interest.

Guided cycling tours are available in most cities. These leisurely rides provide excellent viewing opportunities not found with other travel methods. For the more adventurous, why not try some of the cycling routes found in the more remote and mountainous regions.