10 Reasons why Japan is so great – No. 2 Public transport

In no particular order in my, ‘Why Japan is so great’ series of posts, I want to praise the public transport in Japan which I have always thought brilliant. Having taken a train from Bristol to Cardiff at the weekend (approximately 44 miles) and travelled back on a Sunday with replacement coach and a couple of extra changes with a journey time of 1h40, this has only added to my adoration of Japan and its public transport. Just to give you an idea, it takes 96 minutes to travel from Tokyo to Sendai by Bullet train – that’s a journey of about 230 miles…..and on a Sunday!

Japan just does transport so well. As well as the subway and local train line, everyone knows about the Shinkansen (AKA Bullet train). The trains link up with local funicular railways, cable cars, bus, ferry and more allowing you to get from A to B in the time and manner you expected and planned for – an absolute pleasure. The vast majority of public transport runs on time with trains on the busy Tokyo lines running to the hundredth of the second of their scheduled time. That’s how good they are. Public transport is rarely delayed without extremely good reason and it is quickly back on its feet.

As well as running on time, public transport is very clean and comfortable making the experience as a whole, a very nice one. Once you have sat in your seat, the ticket conductor will bow and request to see your ticket, followed by another bow and a ‘thank you’ as he leaves the carriage. They will be followed by very pleasant staff with a trolley-full of goods from hot and cold drinks, to snacks and Bento boxes to toy models of the trains themselves. A very pleasant ordeal indeed.

Whether you are travelling super-sleek Bullet train passing Mt Fuji at high speed or cute little ‘chug-chug’ trains with names like ‘Seaside Liner’ that take you at  a leisurely pace along coastal routes, it is just nice.
We plan thousands of Japan travel itinerary a year and I am happy that we specialise in travel to Japan. It probably doesn’t sound like much, but the public transport is partly why Japan is so great. It goes on my list anyway.

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5 Responses

  1. I just got back from Japan yesterday & I can tell you that the good old JR is one of the things I miss the most. I drove my car for half hour today and it was so alien feeling…


  2. I absolutely adore the train system in Japan. and I have found public transportation very good in the various cities. Of course the subway/train system in Tokyo is fantastic.

    I have used the public buses on rural roads in various parts of Honshu, and on Kyushu, for instance, with great pleasure. The bus drivers are polite and helpful. One actually stopped on the road across from my hotel, so that I didn’t have to walk from the station 1km further. [of course, being a little old lady with a suitcase may have helped].


    • I love these stories. You always hear of people with a million different stories from their time in Japan. I have had similar experiences to you Simone during my time in rural Gunma. They are all great little experiences and part of the reason why Japan is so great.
      In the UK I find it hard to get change for a £5 note from a bus driver! Everywhere should have those little change machines next to the bus driver!


  3. […] food and public transport I have already mentioned. I have not even muttered anything about taxis with doors that open and […]


  4. […] come away enthusing about the people, culture, country, transport, food and more, just as I have in this series of posts. I have barely mentioned the magic of sitting in an outdoor hot spring bath overlooking the snow […]


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