Transportation2

And hereunder has some more information.

Hokkaido

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, No3 and No4) from Tokyo to northern island, Hokkaido. Please note that Asakusa is easy access to Ueno compare to Tokyo. It is 5 minutes metro from Asakusa to Ueno, and 7 minutes train from Ueno to Tokyo.

No.1. FOR JAPAN RAIL PASS HOLDERS
Hokkaido Shinkansen has Hayabusa run up north to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto from downtown Tokyo. It takes much longer with the Shinkansen called Komachi, Tsubasa and Toki via detour routes with more hours required.

Tokyo/Ueno => (Hayabusa or Hayate) => Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Tokyo/Ueno => (Komachi) => Akita => Shin-Aomori - Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Tokyo/Ueno => (Tsubasa) => Shinjo => Akita => Shin-Aomori => Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Tokyo/Ueno => (Toki) => Niigata => Akita => Shin-Aomori => Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto

Limited Express (Tokkyu in Japanese) called Super-Hokuto or Hokuto links between Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto and Sapporo.

Hakodate <= > Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto <=> Sapporo

Some timetable example can be referred below, but please study JapanRouteFinder for daily departure precise timetable.

Tokyo 06:32 => (Hayabusa) => 10:58 Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto 11:09 => (Super-Hokuto) => 14:41 Sapporo
Tokyo 08:20 => (Hayabusa) => 12:20 Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto 12:34 => (Super-Hokuto) => 16:04 Sapporo

About 6 hours with 1 transfer, normal fare would be JPY27,760 without the JR Pass.

No.2. AIR
Skymark? or Peach? or JetStar? or SPRING JAPAN?
For those who would like to enjoy over-sky-Japan trip, especially the wonderful departure moment from Haneda Airport (as well as landing onto this Tokyo bay airport = HND), such great view over Tokyo downtown (both night and day). Mt.Fuji could be caught in your bird eyes as well.

If you were purchasing international flight together with JAL (and partner of ONE WORLD, American, British, Cathay, Finnair, Qantas and more) or ANA (and partner of STAR ALLIANACE, Austrian, Air Canada, LOT, Lufthansa, NZ, SAS, Singapore, Swiss, Thai, United and more), there are also special fare for inner-Japan travel (about JPY10,000 one way direct). If you'd fly from Hokkaido (Sapporo) to Okinawa (Naha), it is great fare per mile especially for Frequent Flyers. CTS - OKA is 1,397 miles (100% basic mile). For such domestic long distance, Premium Class is highly recommended.

Peach, SPRING and Jetstar also fly to Hokkaido from Narita Airport (not Haneda Airport) which is convenient if your previous international flight landed onto Narita, and actually much cheaper than Skymark, around JPY3,000 - JPY6,000 one way for hand luggage travelers.

No.3. FERRY
(Tokyo =>) Ooarai => Tomakomai (=> Sapporo)
This is the major Pacific Ocean route for truck drivers, and for students especially for summer holiday (late July and whole August). Certain month has special discount fare as low as JPY10,260 one way including both bus rides from downtown Tokyo to Ooarai port as well as from Tomakomai port to Sapporo.

(Osaka/Kyoto/Tsuruga =>) Niigata => Akita => Tomakomai (=> Sapporo)
This is the major Japan Sea (East Sea) route for truck drivers, and also for students. Tsuruga (north of Kyoto) - Tomakomai (Hokkaido) one way could be as low as JPY9,970 (seasonal special discount ticket).

Niigata => Otaru (=> Sapporo)
Japan Sea (East Sea) side has also Otaru based (much closer/nearer to Sapporo compare to Tomakomai). This over night ferry costs only JPY6,680 one way. Both ports are accessible to respective JR station by connecting local bus.

No.4. BUS and FERRY (combination tickets)
BUS (Ueno => Aomori) then FERRY (Aomori => Hakodate)
Tsugaru Kaikyo is the straight between main island (Honshu) and Hokkaido. There used to be a ferry service operated by Japan National Railway (JNR, former JR). Since JR opened rail-under-the-sea in 1988, private ferry companies took place for the on-wave-transportation. On March 26th 2016, Hokkaido Shinkansen started up for Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, very first Shinkansen system in the northern island history. Tokyo - Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto takes about 4 hours direct. Otaru - Niseko (Kutchan) - Sapporo have to wait until 2030. By the same time most probably even earlier year around 2027, Tokyo - Nagoya will run Mag-Lev, the floating train at 505km/hr.

Anyway, if you love being on long (and cheap) rides, JPY6,500 is the hot deal from Ueno to Hakodate via Aomori. Ueno is 2km west of Asakusa, 3km north of Tokyo. How would you like to enjoy the Ainu island?

Kanazawa

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, and No3) between beautiful traditional million-rice-town Kanazawa and one of the biggest city in the world, Tokyo.

No.1. FOR JAPAN RAIL PASS HOLDERS
a: Hokuriku Shinkansen has Kagayaki (two meanings in Japanese, Shining as well as Ceramic of Kaga = Kanazawa's prefecture name before) and Asama both run up to Kanazawa, and soon to Tsuruga and Kyoto. Much convenient rather than ANA flight for Komatsu which takes 40 minutes to Kanazawa station.

b: Limited Express (Wide View Hida) via Nagoya Tokaido Shinkansen
For JR PASS holders, this is by all means the most picturesque major line via Takayama
Kanazawa => Toyama => Takayama => Nagoya => Tokyo
This Limited Express called Wide View Hida has, as you assumed, has such a great view along Hida River between Mino-Oota and almost all the way to Takayama (precisely, the river goes through Takayama is called Miyagawa which joins to Jintsuu River and finally to the bay of Toyama). Especially those who can reserve the most front seat, wish you enjoy the train driver's view. There are 10 train service everyday between Nagoya and Takayama, but only 4 trains between Takayama and Toyama.

Shinkansen from Nagoya to Tokyo has every 6 minutes freaquent train (all 16 cars with capacity 1,323 seats). Nozomi is the fastest takes 1hour and 45 minutes, Hikari is a bit slow takes 2 hours, and Kodama is the slowest Shinkansen takes 2 hour and 50 minutes between Nagoya and Tokyo.

Nozomi (Hope) : What goes/runs/travels faster than Hikari (light). We shall better to have Nozomi to live, especially after the hopeless events/news around the world. 1 hours and 45 minutes. JPY10,560 (unreserved). Every 5 minutes, which means that how many passengers travel between Nagoya and Tokyo? No wonder JR Central is making maglev train.

Hikari (Light) : The fastest object runs in the universe. 2 hours. JPY10,560 (unreserved). There are 2 trains every 1 hour. Not JR but discount ticket shop like Access Ticket in Yaesu exit of Tokyo main station sells good price at around JPY10,000 for Tokyo => Nagoya.

Kodama (Sound) : Speed of sound is used to be representative of fastness. 2 hours and 50 minutes. JPY8,500 on Ordinary Car (2nd class, three-seats-aisle-two-seats) or JPY9,500 on Green Car (1st class, two-seats-aisle-two-seats). Platt Kodama is discounted coupon ticket.

No.2. HIGHWAY BUS
Highway Bus direct between Kanazawa and Shinjuku, and this www.highway-buses.jp recommends all in one including Shirakawago, Takayama, Matsumoto.

www.kousokubus.net/JpnBus/en

www.alpico.co.jp/en/

No.3. SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Kanazawa and Tokyo with best minimum 8 changes as shown below. JapanRouteFinder would support finding your best time tables.

Kanazawa 06:52 - 07:55 Toyama 08:18 - 10:14 Takayama 10:24 - 14:02 Gifu 14:08 - 15:27 Toyohashi 15:41 - 16:15 Hamamatsu 16:21 - 19:04 Atami 19:09 - 20:58

Kamikochi, Matsumoto

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, and No3) between Japan Alps and Tokyo

No.1. FOR JAPAN RAIL PASS HOLDERS
a: JR Chuo Line has picturesque view both sides as it runs through mountains.

b: One of the best view with switch-back style railways? Tokyo/Ueno => Nagano => Matsumoto has the route where Shiki-Shima also runs (between Nagano and Matsumoto). If you are interested in back-and-forth experience while you are onboard, please purposely take local train, but not limited express which goes passing through the zig-zag.

No.2. HIGHWAY BUS
Highway Bus runs not only Matsumoto but Kamikochi which is very useful for hiking and climbing. Indeed, Kamikochi is the entrance of Japan Alps.

https://highway-buses.jp/

www.alpico.co.jp/en/timetable/kamikochi/r-tokyo-kamikochi/

No.3. SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Matsumoto and Shinjuku/Tokyo/Ueno with best minimum ONLY 1 time change as shown below. JapanRouteFinder would support finding your best timetable.

Matsumoto 05:43 - 09:24 Takao (rapid train goes to Shinjuku and Tokyo every 10 minutes)
Matsumoto 06:32 - 10:03 Takao (rapid train goes to Shinjuku and Tokyo every 10 minutes)

Tsumago, Magome, Narai

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, and No3) between beautiful traditional walk Nakasendo and Tokyo.

No.1. FOR JAPAN RAIL PASS HOLDERS
a: Two mountain lines, Limited Express Shinano on Chuo-West-Line and Limited Express Azusa on Chuo-East-Line are recommended. For JR PASS holders, this is by all means the most picturesque major lines via Shiojiri (or Matsumoto)
Nakatsugawa => Nagiso => Narai => Shiojiri (=> Matsumoto) => Kofu => Shinjuku/Tokyo
You'd understand why Kisoji is among mountains!

b: The Shinkansen via Nagoya is the fastest and convenience.
Narai => Nagiso => Nakatsugawa => Nagoya => Tokyo

Shinkansen from Nagoya to Tokyo has every 6 minutes freaquent train (all 16 cars with capacity 1,323 seats). Nozomi is the fastest takes 1hour and 45 minutes, Hikari is a bit slow takes 2 hours, and Kodama is the slowest Shinkansen takes 2 hour and 50 minutes between Nagoya and Tokyo.

Nozomi (Hope) : What goes/runs/travels faster than Hikari (light). We shall better to have Nozomi to live, especially after the hopeless events/news around the world. 1 hours and 45 minutes. JPY10,560 (unreserved). Every 5 minutes, which means that how many passengers travel between Nagoya and Tokyo? No wonder JR Central is making maglev train.

Hikari (Light) : The fastest object runs in the universe. 2 hours. JPY10,560 (unreserved). There are 2 trains every 1 hour. Not JR but discount ticket shop like Access Ticket in Yaesu exit of Tokyo main station sells good price at around JPY10,000 for Tokyo => Nagoya.

Kodama (Sound) : Speed of sound is used to be representative of fastness. 2 hours and 50 minutes. JPY8,500 on Ordinary Car (2nd class, three-seats-aisle-two-seats) or JPY9,500 on Green Car (1st class, two-seats-aisle-two-seats). Platt Kodama is discounted coupon ticket.

No.2. HIGHWAY BUS
Highway Bus direct between Magome and Shinjuku, and this http://time.jrbuskanto.co.jp.e.wn.hp.transer.com/bk06020.html has timetable. 288km post is Chuodo Magome bus stop which is only 2km nice walk already started to MagomeJuku.

No.3. SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Nakatsugawa, Nagiso, Narai to Tokyo. JapanRouteFinder would support finding your best time tables.

Nakatsugawa => Nagiso => Narai => Shiojiri => Kofu => Takao => Shinjuku/Tokyo
Narai => Nagiso => Nakatsugawa => Nagoya => Hamamatsu => Atami => Tokyo

Takayama

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, and No3) between beautiful mountain town Takayama and Tokyo downtown.

No.1. FOR JAPAN RAIL PASS HOLDERS
a: Limited Express (Wide View Hida) via Toyama Hokuriku Shinkansen
For JR PASS holders, this is by all means the easiest and the fastest way to travel between two places (Takayama and Ueno/Tokyo).
Takayama => Toyama => Ueno/Tokyo
11:00 => 12:26 / 12:58 => 15:22/15:28
13:15 => 14:44 / 15:11 => 17:22/17:28

b: Limited Express (Wide View Hida) via Nagoya Tokaido Shinkansen
For JR PASS holders, this is by all means the easiest and the fastest way to travel between two places (Takayama and Shinagawa/Tokyo).
Takayama => Nagoya => Shinagawa/Tokyo
09:38 => 12:04 / 12:37 => 14:33/14:40
12:33 => 15:04 / 15:37 => 17:33/17:40

The Limited Express called Wide View Hida has, as you assumed, has such a great view along Hida River between Mino-Oota and almost all the way to Takayama (precisely, the river goes through Takayama is called Miyagawa which joins to Jintsuu River and finally to the bay of Toyama). Especially those who can reserve the most front seat, wish you enjoy the train driver's view. There are 10 train service everyday between Nagoya and Takayama, but only 4 trains between Takayama and Toyama.

Shinkansen from Nagoya to Tokyo has every 6 minutes freaquent train (all 16 cars with capacity 1,323 seats). Nozomi is the fastest takes 1hour and 45 minutes, Hikari is a bit slow takes 2 hours, and Kodama is the slowest Shinkansen takes 2 hour and 50 minutes between Nagoya and Tokyo.

Nozomi (Hope) : What goes/runs/travels faster than Hikari (light). We shall better to have Nozomi to live, especially after the hopeless events/news around the world. 1 hours and 45 minutes. JPY10,560 (unreserved). Every 10 minutes or less, which means that there are 6 or more trains every 1 hour.

Hikari (Light) : The fastest object runs in the universe. 2 hours. JPY10,560 (unreserved). There are 2 trains every 1 hour. Not JR but discount ticket shop like Access Ticket in Yaesu exit of Tokyo main station sells good price at around JPY10,000 for Tokyo => Nagoya.

Kodama (Sound) : Speed of sound is used to be representative of fastness. 2 hours and 50 minutes. JPY8,500 on Ordinary Car (2nd class, three-seats-aisle-two-seats) or JPY9,500 on Green Car (1st class, two-seats-aisle-two-seats). Platt Kodama is discount coupon ticket.

No.2. HIGHWAY BUS
Highway Bus direct from Takayama to Shinjuku has 5 buses a day. All day bus, but summer time has night bus. JPY6,500 one way, takes 5 hours and 30 minutes.
Bus from Takayama to Matsumoto is for those who would like to enjoy stopping over at Matsumoto (and Kita-Alps, North-Alps, for example, Kamikochi), you may take one of 4 buses a day from Takayama to Matsumoto (JPY3,250 one way). Matsumoto is directly connected by JR trains to Shinjuku (and some all the way to Tokyo).

No.3. SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Takayama and Tokyo with best minimum 5 changes as shown below (please note that usually needed 6 - 7 times transfers). JapanRouteFinder would support finding your best time tables.

Takayama 04:44 - 07:31 Gifu 07:37 - 09:02 Toyohashi 09:13 - 09:48 Hamamatsu 09:52 - 11:02 Shizuoka 11:13 - 12:41 Atami 12:49 - 14:44 Ueno

Kyoto, Nara, Himeji, Kobe, Osaka, KIX, Koyasan

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, No3, No4 and No5) between two most major cities of Japan.

Actually, apart from following 5 options, you may also be interested in JTB Japanican Tours . It is package deal including Nozomi round trips plus Sheraton Miyako Hotel (for example) starting JPY24,800 per person for two ways Shinkansen + 3 nights at the Sheraton without meal, based on two people on same itinerary with two-person-room. You would like to make self-organized-tour? Then, below shows the way to make your journey wonderful and personal and traditional, what's the reason to stay Sheraton while you visit far east Asia, Japan (^_^)

No1. SHINKANSEN (bullet train, super express)
In Japanese language, it is directly translated as New-Main-Line (Shin-Kan-Sen). There are 9 lines operated by 5 JR companies throughout Japan, and one of which is called Tokaido Shinkansen connecting Tokyo and Shin-Osaka via Kyoto since 1964. The year 2030s will start CHUO LINEAR Shinkansen or SuperConducting Mag-Lev (Magnetic Levitation) between Shinagawa (Tokyo) and Nagoya, then will be extended to Shin-Osaka (Osaka) possibly not via Kyoto but only via Nara.

Nozomi (Hope) : What goes/runs/travels faster than Hikari (light). We shall better to have Nozomi to live, especially after the hopeless events/news around the world. 2 hours and 30 minutes. JPY13,870 (unreserved). Every 10 minutes can travel 1,323 people (200 green seats + 1,123 2nd class seats) to west, which means that there are 6 or more trains every 1 hour.

Hikari (Light) : The fastest object runs in the universe. 3 hours. JPY13,870 (unreserved). There are 2 trains every 1 hour. Not JR but discount ticket shop like Access Ticket in Yaesu exit of Tokyo main station sells good price! For example, Kobe for JPY14,000, Osaka for JPY13,000, Kyoto for JPY12,600, Nagoya for JPY10,000.

Kodama (Sound) : Speed of sound is used to be representative of fastness. 4 hours. JPY10,500 (Platt Kodama).

No2. HIGHWAY BUS by JR
There are more than 10 buses a night and a day each direction. Some of the buses are Josei-Sen-Yo which is female only bus. 8 - 9 hours. Price ranges JPY3,500 (four seaters, two-aisle-two) - JPY10,800 (two seaters, one-aisle-one).

Night bus : Starts JPY3,500 one way which is tight and not that comfortable. Comfortable seat on highway bus can be experienced with Precious Class, Advance Class, Premium Seat, Super Seat, Gran(d) Seat with one-aisle-one configuration, you will love this privacy and semi-compartment international business class experience!

Day bus : Starts JPY3,600 or JPY5,000 or JPY7,300 (discount applied if purchased on-line with credit card).

No.3 HIGHWAY BUS by PRIVATE BUS COMPANIES
Other than JR bus mentioned above (No2), there are several private bus operators including Willer Express. 8 - 9 hours. Price varies from JPY3,000 to JPY11,800 one way.

No.4 SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Kyoto and Tokyo with minimum 5 transfers. JapanRouteFinder would support finding your best time tables.

Example-1

Tokyo 05:20 => 07:27 Numazu 07:31 => 08:29 Shizuoka 08:30 => 09:42 Hamamatsu 09:44 => 11:46 Ogaki 12:12 => 12:46 Maibara 12:50 => 13:43 Kyoto (and to Osaka, Kobe, Nara, Himeji and more)

Example-2

Tokyo 08:38 - 10:29 Atami 10:35 - 11:50 Shizuoka 12:03 - 13:15 Hamamatsu 13:21 - 13:55 Toyohashi 14:03 - 15:32 Ogaki 15:37 - 16:12 Maibara 16:18 - 17:12 Kyoto (and to Osaka, Kobe, Nara, Himeji and more)

Example-3

Tokyo 10:37 - 12:15 Atami 12:35 - 13:48 Shizuoka 14:01 - 15:15 Hamamatsu 15:20 - 15:54 Toyohashi 16:02 - 18:11 Maibara 18:18 - 19:12 Kyoto (and to Osaka, Kobe, Nara, Himeji and more)

No.5 See Mt.Fuji from sky above (via airplane window)
This short flight route can be done under JPY8,000 even with B787-900. LCC flies much cheaper from/to Narita Airport (as low as JPY4,000!). As title says, the most spectacular benefit of flying this route is to capture the crater top of Mt.Fuji from the sky. Even airport is raining wet, you may be able to see it above cloud when flying over, yes, the mountain with ocean of clouds. When sunrises/sunsets, it would add the wonderful color into your vision of life. Let's aim high (^_^) For KIX (Kansai Airport) user, you may consider several useful discount passes at www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/airport_passes . For NRT (Narita Airport) please hit Keisei Railway or JR TOKYO Wide Pass .

Kumano Kodo

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, No3, No4 and No5) between the World Heritage Trail and the capital city. Here's also got useful Map1 and Map2.

No1. SHINKANSEN (bullet train, super express)
In Japanese language, it is directly translated as New-Main-Line (Shin-Kan-Sen). There are 9 lines operated by 5 JR companies throughout Japan, and one of which is called Tokaido Shinkansen connecting Tokyo and Shin-Osaka since 1964. The year 2030s will start CHUO LINEAR Shinkansen or SuperConducting Mag-Lev (Magnetic Levitation) between Shinagawa (Tokyo) and Nagoya, the floating train similar to Shanghai Pudong Airport Access (made in Germany).

Tokyo <=> Shin-Osaka <=> KiiTanabe (or Kii-Tanabe)
Limited Express Kuroshio (green car has 2-aisle-1 with 1 facing ocean)
Tokyo <=> Nagoya <=> Shingu
Limited Express Nanki

Regardless Shin-Osaka or Nagoya which station you'd transit, all three types of Shinkansen (Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama) links Tokyo direct.

Nozomi (Hope) : What goes/runs/travels faster than Hikari (light). We shall better to have Nozomi to live, especially after the hopeless events/news around the world. Every 6 minutes can travel 1,323 people (200 green seats + 1,123 2nd class seats), which means that there are 6 or more trains every 1 hour.

Hikari (Light) : The fastest object runs in the universe. There are 2 trains every 1 hour. Not JR but discount ticket shop like Access Ticket in Yaesu exit of Tokyo main station sells good price! For example, Shin-Osaka for JPY13,000, Nagoya for JPY10,000.

Kodama (Sound) : Speed of sound is used to be representative of fastness. 4 hours to Shin-Osaka for JPY10,700 or 2 hours 50 minutes to Nagoya for JPY8,500 (Platt Kodama).

No2. HIGHWAY BUS by JR
There are more than 10 buses a night and a day each direction (for each route of Osaka and of Nagoya). Some of the buses are Josei-Sen-Yo which is female only bus. 8 - 9 hours to Osaka. Price ranges JPY3,500 (four seaters, two-aisle-two) - JPY11,000 (two seaters, one-aisle-one). Or 6 - 7 hours to Nagoya. Price ranges JPY2,500 (four seaters, two-aisle-two) - JPY7,500 (two seaters, one-aisle-one).

Daytime bus between Tokyo and Nagoya takes "only" 5 hours via New ToMei Highway with great view ahead of you including Mt.Fuji. One way could be as low as JPY2,500.

No.3 HIGHWAY BUS by PRIVATE BUS COMPANIES
Other than JR bus mentioned above (No2), there are several private bus operators including Willer Express. Price varies and about the same as JR Highway Bus.

No.4 SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Tokyo and Nanki area (south side of Kii Peninsula) with usually needed 9 - 10 times transfers via Osaka or 5 - 6 times transfers via Nagoya, let's enjoy local atomosphere in each station (^^) JapanRouteFinder would support finding your best time tables.

Tokyo 05:20 - 07:27 Numazu 07:31 - 08:29 Shizuoka 08:30 - 09:42 Hamamatsu 09:44 - 11:46 Ogaki 12:12 - 12:46 Maibara 12:50 - 14:13 Osaka 14:23 - 15:51 Wakayama 16:15 - 17:18 Gobo 17:20 - 18:02 KiiTanabe 18:45 - 21:32 Shingu

Tokyo 05:20 - 07:27 Numazu 07:31 - 08:29 Shizuoka 08:30 - 09:42 Hamamatsu 09:44 - 11:11 Nagoya 11:37 - (extra 510yen has to be paid on train) 12:54 Taki 13:16 - 17:04 Shingu 17:13 - 20:02 KiiTanabe

No.5 See Mt.Fuji from sky above (through airplane window)
This short flight route can be done as low as JPY11,000 one way with Embraer regional jet. Haneda <=> Nanki Shirahama has daily flights to grasp the great shinto forest view from JAL windows, plus Mt.Fuji of course! Even airport is raining wet, you may be able to see it above cloud when flying over, yes, the mountain with ocean of clouds. When sunrises/sunsets, it would add the wonderful color into your vision of life. Let's aim high (^_^)

It is around 20 minutes bus ride between Nanki Shirahama airport and JR Shirahama station.

Naoshima

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, No3, No4 and No5) between modern architect city of Tokyo and the art island of Naoshima in Kagawa (although, Okayama is rather easy to access).

No1. SHINKANSEN (bullet train, super express)
In Japanese language, it is directly translated as New-Main-Line (Shin-Kan-Sen). There are 9 lines operated by 5 JR companies throughout Japan, and one of which is called Tokaido Shinkansen connecting Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, and called Sanyo Shinkansen connecting Shin-Osaka and Hakata (Fukuoka). Through trains go beyond both lines, actually it is as seen as one consecutive line from Tokyo all the way to Hakata (via Shin-Osaka). Naoshima is nearby Okayama which is between Shin-Osaka and Hiroshima.

Hakata <=> Hiroshima <=> Okayama <=> Shin-Osaka <=> Kyoto <=> Tokyo

Okayama station is the terminal for the bridge line called Seto-Ohashi-Line (gateway for Shikoku island for the 88 pilgrimage). There are Hikari Shinkansen trains every hour from Tokyo to Okayama which takes about 4 hours. The fery port is called Uno (not Ueno), sometime there are direct trains from Okayama, but sometime has to change a train at Chaya-machi.

Okayama => Chaya-machi => Uno
Okayama => Chaya-machi => (through the bridge) => Shikoku island

And here's the ferry information between Uno and Naoshima. There is also a ferry service between Kobe and Takamatsu via Shodoshima.

No2. NIGHT TRAIN SUNRISE
The JR Pass cannot be used for the sleeper (berth) class, but this night train SUNRISE connects Tokyo and Takamatsu via Okayama has some "normal" seats (carpet floor) which JR Pass holders can take without surcharge. They should not be called "seats" but anyway, it is worth to check your itinerary so that you can maximize your time in Japan. Good thing about the SUNRISE bound for Tokyo is that you will see beautiful sunrise over Pacific Ocean between Atami and Yokohama.

Takamatsu, (no, Chaya-machi does not stop), Okayama, Atami, Yokohama, Tokyo

And here's the ferry information between Takamatsu and Naoshima (Miyanoura). There are both slow ferry and fast boat.

One thing you should dare not to miss is the park, Ritsurin Koen in Takamatsu, perhaps the 2nd best Japanese garden park in Japan, yes, some even says that the Yugen and Miyabi style is beyond the 3 major famous parks (Kairakuen, Kenrokuen, Korakuen). Now you asked "so, whichi is the best?" the answer might be Adachi Museum Garden in Yonago, actually the night train SUNRISE stops.

No.3 JETSTAR (GK JJP)
Other than JR trains mentioned above, there is the LCC connects directly between Tokyo (NRT) and Takamatsu (TAK). Usually JPY4,990 one way can be booked very easily, but watch out for the holiday season, well, still far less expensive than JAL and ANA. Now, LCC called Spring Airlines (9C) has direct flights between Takamatsu(Gaosong) and Shanghai.

No.4 SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Simply saying, this ticket is only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Tokyo and Takamatsu (more or less 13 hours), as well as Tokyo and Uno (more or less 13 hours).

Tokyo 05:20 - 07:27 Numazu 07:31 - 08:29 Shizuoka 08:30 - 09:42 Hamamatsu 09:44 - 11:46 Ogaki 12:12 - 12:46 Maibara 12:50 - 15:16 Himeji 15:34 - 15:53 Aioi 15:56 - 17:02 Okayama 17:15 - 18:12 Uno => Ferry to Naoshima

Tokyo 05:20 - 07:27 Numazu 07:31 - 08:29 Shizuoka 08:30 - 09:42 Hamamatsu 09:44 - 11:46 Ogaki 12:12 - 12:46 Maibara 12:50 - 15:16 Himeji 15:34 - 15:53 Aioi 15:56 - 17:02 Okayama 17:12 - 18:05 Takamatsu => Ferry to Naoshima

No.5 Ferry between Tokyo and Tokushima (south of Takamatsu in Shikoku island)
This overnight ferry actually goes beyond Shikoku from/to Kyushu island (Kita-Kyushu).

Kita-Kyushu <= (JPY6,900) => Tokushima <= (JPY9,720) => Tokyo
Kita-Kyushu <= <= <= <= <= <= (JPY14,260) => => => => => => Tokyo

It is JPY1,460 about 2 hours JR local train ride between Tokushima and Takamatsu.

Shimanami Kaido

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, No3, No4 and No5) between Tokyo and the mecca of bicycle.

No1. SHINKANSEN (bullet train, super express)
In Japanese language, it is directly translated as New-Main-Line (Shin-Kan-Sen). There are 9 lines operated by 5 JR companies throughout Japan, and one of which is called Tokaido Shinkansen connecting Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, and called Sanyo Shinkansen connecting Shin-Osaka and Hakata (Fukuoka). Through trains go beyond both lines, actually it is as seen as one consecutive line from Tokyo all the way to Hakata (via Shin-Osaka). ShimanamiKaido is right at Shin-Onomichi (Shinkansen station) or much closer to Onomichi (local line station) between Okayama and Hiroshima.

Hakata <=> Hiroshima <=> Shin-Onomichi <=> Fukuyama <=> Okayama <=> Shin-Osaka <=> Kyoto <=> Tokyo
Onomichi station and Shin-Onomichi station is connected by this local bus.

There are only 2 Hikari Shinkansen a day which connects DIRECT between Fukuyama and Tokyo area including Shin-Yokohama. And hereunder has some useful links to make your bicycle trip

No2. NIGHT TRAIN SUNRISE
The JR Pass cannot be used for the sleeper (berth) class, but this night train SUNRISE connects Tokyo and Okayama which has connecting trains to Fukuyama and Shin-Onomichi as well as to Fukuyama and Onomichi. SUNRISE has some "normal" seats (carpet floor) which JR Pass holders can take without surcharge. They should not be called "seats" but anyway, it is worth to check your itinerary so that you can maximize your time in Japan. Good thing about the SUNRISE bound for Tokyo is that you will see beautiful sunrise over Pacific Ocean between Atami and Yokohama.

No.3 JETSTAR (GK JJP)
Other than JR trains mentioned above, there is the LCC connects directly between Tokyo (Narita) and Matsuyama. Usually JPY4,990 one way can be booked very easily, but watch out for the holiday season, well, still far less expensive than JAL and ANA.

No.4 SEISHUN 18 KIPPU
Simply saying, this ticket is only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,410 one way between Tokyo and Onomichi (more or less 13 hours)

Shinagawa 05:50 - 06:45 Atami 06:49 - 09:18 Hamamatsu 09:24 - 11:32 Ogaki 11:42 - 12:17 Maibara 12:20 - 14:47 Himeji 15:03 - 15:23 Aioi 15:25 - 17:56 Onomichi

No.5 Ferry between Osaka and Toyo in Ehime (where free shuttle bus connects Imabari in Ehime)
New ferry just installed in 2018. Comfortable room with shared bath or private bath. English page has it all here at this page.

Kyushu

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, No3 and No4) between Tokyo and Kyushu, the entrance for South Korea (to the north) or for Okinawa and Taiwan (to the south).

No1. Easy Comfortable Flight (ANA or JAL) and LCC (Low Cost Carrier)
There are everyday 50 - 60 flights up and down between Fukuoka itself and Haneda Airport. Narita Airport also connects dozens a day!

Fare varies from JPY4,990(LCC) to JPY56,390 (Premium Class) one way. The cheapest must be booked 2 -3 months in advance, and it tends to be sold out within 30 minutes every promotion day. No one pays for the normal fare except government related business trip, but now wise traveler would pay half of the tariff with stock benefit which you may be able to purchase at discount ticket shop in Kanda, Ueno, Asakusa and Shimbashi. It is worth to get the normal fare ticket with stock benefit (50 percent discount) so that your travel can be very flexible (refundable, reroutable, change-reservation-possible, no limitation, no stress).

Unlike NRT, HND, NGO, KIX, ITM, Fukuoka Airport (FUK, oh, did not mean that) is short walk distance from/to Hakata central station, very convenient.

No2. Bus (Nishitetsu Bus, JR Bus Kanto, Willer Express, Nishi Nihon JR Bus, JR Kyushu Bus)
More than 1,000km distance has night bus from/to Shinjuku in Tokyo, yes the longest journey inside Japan is run by Nishitetsu Bus. Bus terminal is right attached to JR Hakata station.

No.3. FERRY (Ocean Trance, Meimon Taiyo, HanKyu, Sunflower, Tokyo Kyushu Ferry)

Welcome to the far east islands, or you may say, far western edge of Pacific Ocean. These casual ferries are the most rich, in a way, of transportation method to fulfill Japan. You may consider taking one of them between JR Pass and Rent-A-Car, please.

No.4 SEISHUN 18 KIPPU (the most cheapest way from Tokyo to northern Kyushu, only JPY2,410)
It takes one full day for Seishun-18-kippu (or 5-6 hours Shinkansen rides). JapanRouteFinder shall do, for example, Tokyo 05:00 departure gets you there at Hakata almost 12:00 midnight. You may encounter several local people residing each area with different accent of Japanese language. Slow train is fun which Shinkansen cannot offer.

Okinawa

This column would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, No3, No4 and No5) between Tokyo and the south tropical island. No5 has Taiwan route as well.

No1. Easy Comfortable Flight (ANA or JAL) and LCC (Low Cost Carrier)
There are everyday 50 - 60 flights up and down between the capical city and the southern used-to-be kingdom island. Both major companies have both Haneda route and Narita route, but Haneda Airport has more flights compare to Narita Airport.

Fare varies from JPY6,000 (LCC) to JPY61,310 (Premium Class) one way. The cheapest should be booked 2 -3 months in advance, and it tends to be sold out within 30 minutes every promotion day. No one pays for the normal fare except government related business trip, but now wise traveler would pay half of the tariff with stock benefit which you may be able to purchase at discount ticket shop in Kanda, Ueno, Asakusa and Shimbashi. It is worth to get the normal fare ticket with stock benefit (50 percent discount) so that your travel can be very flexible (refundable, reroutable, change-reservation-possible, no limitation, no stress).

If you were connecting to remote islands from the main island (Naha, Okinawa), for example, Yonaguni, Ishigaki, Miyako, both ANA and JAL has connecting-discount-rule as well. You may get special discount (Star Alliance and One World) for those tickets flying all over Japan, too (only about JPY10,000 for any one segment despite distance, from point A to point B as long as there is a direct flight). Now ANA has Sapporo (CTS) - Okinawa (OKA) one shot flight (the longest distance within Japan, 1397 miles) as well as Tokyo (HND) - Ishigaki island (ISG) which is 1228 miles.

No2. Bus (Nishitetsu Bus, JR Bus Kanto, Willer Express, Nishi Nihon JR Bus, JR Kyushu Bus) and ferry
Mostlikely, you may be interested in stopping over Takayama, Nagano, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Kurashiki, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Beppu, Kumamoto and more!? Without JR Pass, slow bus ride would give you many chances to view Japan sceneries along the way. As slow you go, more you can see, in which way, bus is recommended. Love slow but easy also required? The minimum transfer to the southern ferry port Kagoshima from Tokyo, the shortest route would be Tokyo => Hakata => Kagoshima, yes, just two buses with one transfer. From Kagoshima, there is slow ferry with stopping Kikaijima, AmamiOshima, TokunoShima, OkinoerabuJima, YoronTou and Motobu as well as direct ferry to Naha, Okinawa.

No.3. FERRY (A"Line, Marix Line)
You may get bored while you are slowly travelling to the west and to the south by bus or by train. How about being part of Pacific Ocean? Not only from Tokyo port, but there are also ferry service from Kansai Area (Osaka and Kobe) and the southern most of Kyushu (Kagoshima). Advantage is to float on the sea all the way, benefit is that you can think about your life, or that you don't need to think about any life (for 72 hours from Tokyo to Okinawa). Japan is consisted of some 3000 islands on the north-eastern-edge of Asia. Without ferry ride, you would not cover the country.

No.4 SEISHUN 18 KIPPU (the most cheapest way from Tokyo to Kagoshima, only JPY6,000-ish) or JR Pass plus ferry
It takes two full days for Seishun-18-kippu (or 8 hours Shinkansen rides) plus ferry, which means that it may cost you one night extra at accommodation. Truly lowest cost with consider of accommodation and three-meals would be, as mentioned above at No.1, Peach or Jetstar for JPY6,000-ish one way from Narita direct to Okinawa (OKA). But for rail fan like you, JapanRouteFinder shall do.

No.5 Hopping islands flights
Following airlines have the island hopper routes along the archipelago of Japan, Taiwan, Philippine, Malaysia and Indonesia.

RAC Okinawa : JAL

EVA AIR : Star Alliance

CHINA AIRLINES (not Air China) : Sky Team

PEACH : Japanese LCC

Jetstar Japan : Australian/Japanese LCC

Located between Kyushu and Taiwan, once reigned by local Pacific Ryukyu people, after enormous struggling between China and Japan (Shimazu clan at the time in Edo period) as well as USA and Imperial Japan (WW2), America gave whole chains of islands back in 1972. Done Bali? Cebu? Caribbean? Hawaii? New Caledonia? you may be interested in Miyako, Ishigaki, Iriomote, Yonaguni and Hateruma which are not at all far from the Formosa.

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