Domestic Transportation in Japan

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Means of Transport Recommended in Town

The bigger towns have a well-developed metro system and taxis are available everywhere. Taxi lights show green when they are free, and red when they are not. Most taxi drivers do not speak English. Ask the hotel to write the address in Japanese.
The metros of Tokyo and Osaka are among the most extensive in the world. In the ranking of the 10 best metro systems in the world, Tokyo’s is in 5th position. Destinations and information are written both in Japanese and in English.
Maps of Urban Networks
Map of the Tokyo metro
Map of the Osaka metro
Urban Transport Agencies
Find an Itinerary
Google map lets you find an itinerary in all the largest urban centers in all the countries in the world.
Taxi Companies
Japanese association of independant Taxi drivers (Japanese Only)
Japanese association of Taxi Tokyo Kojin (Japanese Only)

Transportation From Airport to City Centre:






Car Rental
Tokyo Narita International Airport 65 km / 41 miles JPY 30 000 / 60-90 min JPY 3000 / 90 min JPY 1000 / 75 min Available
Osaka - Kansai Intl (KIX) 38 km / 24 miles JPY 15 000-18 000/~50 min JPY 400 / 45 min JPY 900 / 40 min Available
Nagoya - Chubu Centrair Intl (NGO) 32 km / 20 miles JPY 13000 / 30-40 min Available 28 min -

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

The train remains the most suitable means of transport for foreigners. The Japanese rail network is efficient and modern. It has recently been equipped with a high speed line (shinkansen) which travels at 185 miles per hour and links Tokyo with the other main economic centers in the country. The Japan Rail Pass allows you to travel at a lower cost. The following sites will give you further information about the Pass: the Japan Rail Pass website, the information pages on the national tourism website. Domestic air travel is quite expensive, but it is practical when you are traveling with a lot of baggage. The Japan Guide summarizes the different means of transport in Japan.
Rail Companies
Japan Railways Group


Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Jalways Major yes Yes
Japan Airlines Major yes Yes
All Nippon Airways Major yes Yes
Jetstar/Jetstar Asia/Valuair low cost no Yes

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


Traveling By Yourself

The road network is good and modern throughout the country. The roads are safe. But tolls on motorways are expensive, traffic conditions on the roads are congested and car rental prices are high. It is particularly recommended that people who do not have an excellent knowledge of Japanese do not go out on the roads by themselves, given that all road signs are in Japanese.
Driver's License
Foreigners can drive in Japan with a recognized international driving permit for up to one year after entering the country. Japan recognizes only international driving permits which are based on the Geneva Convention of 1949. Click here to visualize the list of signatory States.A few countries, including Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland, however, issue international driving permits, which are based on different conventions. The international driving permits issued by those countries are not valid in Japan. Instead, holders of a French, German or Swiss driver's license can drive in Japan for up to one year with an official Japanese translation of their driving licenses to be obtained from the respective country's embassy or consulate in Japan. People from other countries, whose international driving permits are not recognized by Japan, must obtain a Japanese driving license in order to drive in Japan. A Japanese driving license is required for all drivers, who are staying in Japan for more than one year.
Conditions For Renting a Vehicle
The minimum age is 18. Rental costs are very high.
Rental Agencies
Association of Japanese car rental agencies (Japanese Only)
Tolls or Taxes
Motorways are subject to tolls and the rates are very high.
The Japan Guide website describes the motorway network and tariffs.
Road Maps
Map of Japan
Find an Itinerary
Live search maps
Traffic Conditions Online
Parking Facilities
In Japan, some automatic parking structures store your car in designated spaces. Some of them are multi-level, some are single-level.

Rules of the Road

Minimum Driving Age
Side of the Road For Driving
Speed Limits
49 to 62 miles/h on express-ways or motorways, 18 to 24 in town and 31 to 37 everywhere else.
Safety Belts
National Roads Organizations
The national road transport Bureau
Japan Automobile Federation
Drive a car in Japan

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