Foodie and wanderluster from the Philippines.
Forget Shinkansen. I know most travelers talk about getting the JR pass and taking the bullet trains to and from other cities. But, if you have the luxury of time and want to really see and experience Japan, take the bus! This is your best alternative when you’re on a budget and want to make the most of your trip.
I mean, who doesn’t love road trips? I love it more than flying! I enjoy being on trains too but my experience of fast trains in Italy convinced me that bus trip is still my fave of all transport when traveling. Trains are faster, that’s for sure. However, faster means less sights to see and more popping ears. And you all know, this one hurts!
I have always raved about how I love taking the bus more than the Shinkansen around Japan to friends. And when in Japan, I only take Willer Bus.. Their buses are comfy, clean, and safe to travel on. Drivers are courteous and helpful too! You don’t even have to worry about your bags and how to get them when you reach your destination city. The driver will get the bags for you. Think first class service. Yep, that kind. I’ve never even experienced that in other countries. Also, they offer bus passes if you are traveling to multiple cities. I suggest you take this if you want to save huge. Click on that link to find out more.
First off, let’s find out how long each trip is gonna take if you’re doing our itinerary: Nagoya – Tokyo – Osaka – Nagoya.
– Nagoya to Tokyo is just 4-5 hours.
– Tokyo to Osaka will roughly take 10 hours but feels shorter when you’re enjoying and riding a comfy bus.
– Osaka to Nagoya will take about 1.5 to 2 hours.
The fare for these routes would range from ¥2500 to ¥5800 per trip. Make sure to book early so you can get discounts. Plus you earn points which you can use for your next travel to Japan. Like I said, they have an all-routes, Mon-Thurs, 3-day bus pass which costs only ¥10000, a 5-day pass for ¥12500 (the price of 1 Shinkansen ride!), and a 7-day pass for ¥15000. If you want an all-routes, all-day pass, you can get them too for a slightly higher price. See the link above for more info.
Why take the bus?
Below you will find Top 5 Reasons why I love going around Japan by bus.
1. Toilets at Bus Stops
Japan is obsessed with their toilets. This is the only country where you’ll find technologically-advanced restrooms. At bus stops, you’ll find the most well-equipped and state-of-the-art restrooms you won’t find anywhere else in the world. And boy, their toilets will put five-star hotel toilets around the world to shame. It’s a delightful experience.
2. Beautiful Sights
Feast your eyes on Japan’s beautiful landscapes. You’ll see more cities, mountains, bridges, tunnels, valleys, Japanese villages, and many more! Things you won’t see if you fly or take the Shinkansen.
3. Food at Bus Stops
It’s amazing what you can find at bus stops. Be ready to taste Japan’s local treats. A true Japanese gastronomic experience.
4. A Sight of Mt. Fuji
When going to Tokyo from Nagoya, you’ll get a full glimpse of Mt. Fuji from a good distance, which is even more beautiful and majestic during winter! How cool is that?
5. Luxurious Buses with Comfy Seats
There’s no place in the world with buses as comfy as Japanese buses. What you’re in for: reclining seats, foot rests, bottle holders, sunvisor-equipped seats, courteous and helpful drivers, and on-time departures and arrivals. Oh, I haven’t even talked about their night buses. That one is a must-try too! You’ll see what I mean when you try it.
This is my nephew. If you’d ask him what his fave part of all our bus trips is, it’s ice cream!
To sum it all up, bus trips are convenient, they take you to the fanciest bus stops with all the high tech toilets and stuff, they give you the most exciting and best experiences, and they’re way cheaper!
You can also try other bus companies like JR Bus, Keisei, Japan Bus Lines, etc. Read more of them on Japan Guide. Click those links if you want to compare prices or learn more.
Safe and happy travels, traveleras!
Please feel free to comment, ask any questions, or suggest topics. I’ll try to answer as quickly as I can.
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‘Til next time! Xoxo