Transportation in the Country side and far-away areas of Japan

by TripleLights travel specialist

The vast majority of tourists visiting Japan, decide to take the "golden route", visiting mostly Tokyo, Kyoto, and the surrounding areas. Because of that, information on transportation in those areas is available easily. In this article, I want to address the best ways of transportation in places such as Hiroshima, Okinawa, Hokkaido, and other country-side areas of Japan.

Transportation in the Country side and far-away areas of Japan

Transportation in the country-side of Japan

Contrary to the transportation in Tokyo and around, you can't move around so easily using subways and trains in the country-side of Japan. You can use trains from region-to-region but to move from one tourist spot to the other, you will mostly have to rely on buses, taxis, ferries or a private car.

Hiroshima
If you are visiting a big city such as Hiroshima, you can easily get there by train and take the bus, a taxi or walk to the main tourist spots. While in Hiroshima, you can also take the ferry to visit the sacred island of Miyajima also known as Itsukushima.


Hokkaido
Traveling to Hokkaido will require you to take either an airplane from one of the local airlines such as JAL or ANA (view more details here), or to take the Shinkansen (bullet train).
While traveling inside Hokkaido, you will have to rely on trains and mostly buses. Taxis and private cars are the only options in some areas.


Okinawa
If you are visiting Okinawa, you will need to take an airplane, since it is an island considerably far from the Japanese mainland.
Okinawa doesn't have any trains, and apart from public transportation such as monorail, bus, and taxi, they also have rental vehicles: cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.


Other country-side areas such as Gunma
If you decide to go to these other areas of Japan, you can arrive in most regions or near them by train, but you will mostly need a taxi or a car to drive around, since not even most public buses will be able to take you everywhere.
The top recommendation is to rent a car and hire a tour guide.

 

Transportation in the Country side and far-away areas of Japan

Japanese law on Transportation and Guides
Currently, it is prohibited by the Japanese law, for tour guides to drive their customers in their own cars. They need a special taxi license which takes a long and difficult process to acquire.

For that reason, it has become quite pricey to ride taxis and hire private guiding services with a car.

But if you need to tour by car, the most recommended way is to hire and drive a car by yourself, then you can drive your family, friend and your tour guide anywhere with no problem.

 

How much is a car with a driver / guide?

 The prices vary from 150USD and 500USD depending on your group size, the tour duration and the inclusion of a guide.

You can see here: Kyoto carsNara CarsOsaka Cars

Transportation in the Country side and far-away areas of Japan

Cheapest option: Renting a car with an International License

How can I rent a car?
The average rental fees are around 5000 yen for a 24-hour period if you are hiring a sub-compact car. For a compact car, it would be 7500 yen. Mid-sized cars 10,000 yen, 15,000 yen for full-sized cars and 20,000 yen for vans.
Keep in mind that rates are sometimes increased during peak seasons.

You will need a special permit to drive in Japan. Foreigners can drive in Japan with an International Driving Permit (IDP) for a maximum of one year, even if the permit is valid for a longer period.

International driving permits are not issued in Japan and you should obtain yours from your home country in advance. The permits are usually issued through your country's National Automobile Association for a small fee.

It is important to note that Japan only accepts the International Driving Permit based on the 1949 Geneva Convention. Please check if your country is in the list of the countries that are parties to the convention through this link.

Although it may seem complicated, it is quite simple to make your IDP and it is recommended for people who want to drive in Japan. Also, driving in Japan is not as difficult as one would imagine due to the English hand and the language. The roads are friendly, organized and simple to navigate.

In the USA, the IDP is issued by the American Automobile Association and the National Automobile Club, please check their websites to learn how to take your permit.

  
But should I hire a guide?

Absolutely! This entire area is full of history and mystery, a local guide will most certainly make your trip much more meaningful and memorable. Every corner of these cities have a story or a hidden interesting thing that you can only learn about with a professional tour guide, so please, absolutely hire a tour guide and have a wonderful time creating beautiful memories in Japan.

A tour guide can also help you learn about the local train and bus systems, give you tips on where to eat in the best local places, help you with Japanese translations and teach you anything you want to know about Japan.

 

Need help planning your trip to Tokyo ?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Tokyo, You can send me a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Tokyo


24 Oct 2017

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Tokyo

“ A great guide for a great tour ”

Excellent
15 hours ago Traveler: Samuel -   Tour Guide: MAYUMI

Mayumi has all the qualities of a great and professional guide: her punctuality, knowledge about Tokyo, flexibility and her sweet personality make her one of the best guide we ever had.
read more

“ "An Eye-opening Experience" ”

Excellent
20 hours ago Traveler: Chai -   Tour Guide: Kaoruko

Kaoruko is the BEST guide we've ever had! She is very warm and friendly, super informative throughout the whole tour. She made sure that everyone is together at all times as Japan can be quite hectic at times and her hospitality is top-notch! Very passionate and genuine as well as being aware with our needs. Definitely would recommend her to anyone who is interested, you'll surely enjoy the tour e...
read more

“ INSIDE NAKAGIN ”

Very Good
1 day ago Traveler: Robert -   Tour Guide: Showcase

My partner and I enjoyed our private tour of the Capsule Tower interior. The guide was friendly, the English was good and useful information was provided.
read more

“ Nobu was Great ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Daniel -   Tour Guide: Nobu

Nobu was a great tour guide. He showed us around to some key places in the Tokyo area. Fun day with a knowledgeable and neat guide.
read more

“ Wonderful! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Nicole -   Tour Guide: Makiko

We spent the day with Makiko and she tailored our trip to all the sites we were interested in seeing and adjusted our trip based on the weather. She also made great suggestions about other places we should see/things to do on our other days in Tokyo. We highly recommend her and it was such a pleasure meeting her.
read more

“ Tokyo Half Day Highlights ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Caroline -   Tour Guide: Makiko

I enjoyed a wonderful morning with Makiko! She was very knowledgeable and spoke excellent English. She understood I wanted to see as much as possible in a short time and delivered.
read more

“ Wonderful time in Tokyo ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Vivian -   Tour Guide: Mack

We had an amazing time with Mack. He is very friendly and approachable and was very flexible to attend our wishes. Highly recommended for sure.
read more

“ Lovely, patient, and skillful. ”

Excellent
3 days ago Traveler: Family -   Tour Guide: YUKIKO

Yukiko taught an origami lesson to three children, 8,10, and 12 years old. She was wonderful! She began with simple objects and moved to increasingly complicated creations as the kids caught on quickly through her patient and skillful instruction. She wore a kimono which they also loved, and really enjoyed their time with her. I'd highly recommend Yukiko to any family!
read more

“ TOTAL SATISFACTION!! Covered a variety of sights and experiences with our charming and fun guide ”

Excellent
3 days ago Traveler: Sonja -   Tour Guide: MAYUMI

Mayumi San is a lovely, fun person with great English and knowledge about Tokyo. My 17 year old son and I spent 2 fantastic days ( Mon and Wed) being taken about Tokyo by Mayumi. The first day was in typhoon weather but still thoroughly enjoyable, due to Mayumi’s delightful personality and the thrill of being in this awesome city. She changed the schedule to better suit the weather and we ended...
read more

“ Wonderful Day in Tokyo ! ”

Excellent
3 days ago Traveler: Sharis -   Tour Guide: Yuki

I came to Japan as a solo female traveler and figured it would be a good investment to tour the Tokyo area with a local, and I do not regret doing it with Yuki one bit. I spent about half a day with him and we went to the Tsukiji Fish Market, Akihabara, Meji Shrine, Asakusa and the Senso-Ji Temple. He was extremely accommodating (met me at my hotel and traveled with me back) and knowledgeable on t...
read more

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started