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Bus

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.

Cheaper operators with large networks include Willer Express. You can book seats on Willer and other reputable operators through the company's Japan Bus Lines service (http://japanbuslines.com).

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.

Bus Costs

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.

DestinationFare (¥)Duration (hr)
Aomori700011
Hiroshima860012
Kanazawa55008
Kōbe540010
Kyoto54008
Nagano3200
Nagoya4100
Nara5980
Osaka5400

Japan Bus Pass

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.

Duration (days)

Mon-Thu (¥)

All days (¥)

310,00012,500
512,50015,000
715,000-