Japan has a comprehensive network of long-distance buses, connecting the islands of Honshū, Shikoku and Kyūshū. They're nowhere near as fast as the shinkansen, but they're significantly cheaper. Buses also travel routes that trains don't.
Japan Railways (JR) operates the largest network of highway buses in Japan; it tends to be a little pricier than other operators, but is reliable and buses tend to depart and arrive at train stations rather than bus stops elsewhere in the city.
Most long-haul routes have a night bus option. Premium coaches have quite roomy seats that recline significantly; these can cost almost twice as much as ordinary coaches, but you're still saving on accommodation. They tend to arrive very early, around 6am or 7am. All buses have toilets on the bus.
Typical long-distance one-way fares and travel times out of Tokyo include the following. Early booking often means discounts; prices usually rise on weekends.
|Destination||Fare (¥)||Duration (hr)|
Foreign travellers can purchase a Japan Bus Pass (http://willerexpress.com/st/3/en/pc/buspass), good for travel on non-consecutive days within two months. Only certain routes apply; make sure your itinerary doesn't involve having to double back to one of the hub cities.
All days (¥)