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, right? I love it more than flying, tbh! I enjoy being on trains too but my experience with fast trains were less enjoyable. 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!
When in Japan, I only take Willer Express. Their buses are comfy, clean, and safe to travel on. Not that I don’t trust other bus lines but because I’ve had a great experience riding them the first time I went to Tokyo back in 2015. Drivers are courteous and helpful too! You don’t need to worry about getting your heavy bags in the bus’ storage area, the driver will put your bags in and get them for you when it’s time to. Think first class service. Yep, that kind. I’ve never 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. Just want to stress, however, that Japanese people in general are trustworthy and efficient so any bus lines will actually do.
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!
Safe and happy travels, traveleras!
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‘Til next time! Xoxo