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Transportation in Japan and the Best Ways to Travel Within Japan | Planes vs Trains

From its bustling cities to its scenic countryside, Japan has something to offer every type of traveller. From fish markets to luxury shopping, from hiking to all night karaoke - Japan has it covered!


When it comes to travelling in Japan, the two most popular modes of transportation are planes and trains. Both options have their pros and cons, and which one to choose ultimately comes down to personal preference, budget, and the type of trip you plan to have.


In this blog post, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of travelling in Japan on planes and trains.



Pros of Travelling by Train in Japan


  1. Convenience: Trains are a convenient and reliable way to travel in Japan. The country has an extensive rail network that covers almost every corner of the country, making it easy to reach even remote areas.

  2. Cost: Travellers visiting with a tourist visa are also able to purchase discounted travel with a Japan Rail Pass or Japan Rail Regional Pass, meaning there's a chance for traveller's to save money if they plan their train travel carefully.

  3. Speed: Trains in Japan are incredibly fast, especially the Shinkansen or bullet trains. They are the fastest way to travel between major cities, with trains running at speeds of up to 320 km/h.

  4. Comfort: Japanese trains are famous for their comfort, with spacious seats, air conditioning, and even vending machines on board. You can sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey.

Click here to buy your Japan Rail Pass

(available for travel all over Japan)


Click here to buy your Japan Rail Regional Pass

(available for specific regions in Japan)


Cons of Travelling by Train in Japan


  1. Cost: Train travel in Japan can be expensive, especially if you want to use the Shinkansen or other high-speed trains. However, there are cheaper options, such as local trains or overnight sleeper trains.

  2. Crowds: Trains in Japan can be crowded, especially during rush hour or peak travel periods. You may have to stand for long periods or deal with overcrowded trains.

  3. Timetables: Relying on trains in some rural areas can be difficult due to the limited train timetable. In fact, some rural lines in Japan only offer services a few times a day! Be sure to check the train schedule carefully when travelling in rural areas so you don't end up stranded.

  4. Limited Flexibility: While trains are convenient, they do operate on a strict schedule, and you need to plan your trip accordingly. If you miss a train, you may have to wait for the next one, which can be frustrating.



Pros of Travelling by Plane in Japan


  1. Speed: If you are short on time or want to cover long distances quickly, flying is the best option. Japan has a well-developed network of airports that connect major cities and regions, making air travel a convenient option.

  2. Comfort: Modern planes in Japan are equipped with comfortable seats and advanced amenities such as personal entertainment systems, Wi-Fi, and in-flight meals. You can enjoy a comfortable journey without any hassles.

  3. Scenic Views: Flying in Japan can provide stunning views of the landscape and coastlines. You can enjoy aerial views of Mount Fuji or the cities such as Tokyo or Osaka.

  4. Cost: While flying can be expensive, there are budget airlines in Japan that offer affordable flights such as Peach and Jetstar Japan. If you book in advance (or during a sale), you can often find great deals on airfares.



Cons of Travelling by Plane in Japan


  1. Limited Access: While there are many airports in Japan, they are not always conveniently located, and some cities may not have airports at all. This can limit your ability to visit certain destinations. Travellers will most likely still need to make use of public transport to get from the airport to their final destination.

  2. Security Checks: Air travel in Japan involves security checks, which can be time-consuming and tedious. You will need to arrive at the airport well in advance of your flight, and there may be long lines to pass through security.

  3. Luggage Restrictions: Low cost airlines in Japan have strict baggage restrictions, and excess baggage fees can be quite high. Travellers may need to pack light or pay additional fees if travelling with a lot of luggage.


Should I Travel by Train or Plane in Japan?


Both planes and trains offer unique advantages and disadvantages when it comes to traveling in Japan. Ultimately, the best mode of transportation depends on your travel style, itinerary, and budget.


If you are short on time and want to cover long distances quickly, flying may be the best option. However, if you want to experience the beauty of the Japanese countryside, enjoy a slower pace, and don't mind dealing with multiple transfers when travelling large distances, then travelling by train may be the best option for you. Otherwise, if you're someone who gets easily overwhelmed, why not join a tour of Japan and have someone else take care of the trip planning on your behalf?


Whichever way you choose to see Japan, we hope you have an amazing trip!



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19 comments

19 Comments


Guest
Jun 30, 2023

Great breakdown! When I visited we took the bullet train, reg. train, and small local trains. I couldn't believe how much rail they use to get around!

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Guest
Jun 24, 2023

Such a helpful article. Really appreciate how you’ve explored all the pros and cons. I’m saving this for my next trip there!

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Guest
Jun 23, 2023

This is such informative guide and will be very helpful for my future trip. I really liked how you added in the pros and cons.


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Lisa
Lisa
Jun 24, 2023
Replying to

Thank you! I hope you enjoy your trip :)

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9patch
Jun 23, 2023

You're right, traveling by train is super convenient in Japan. I was shocked how different it was from South Korea.

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Lisa
Lisa
Jun 24, 2023
Replying to

How did you find the transport in South Korea? What's the best way to get around when travelling long distances?

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Guest
Jun 22, 2023

For me there are way more advantages of traveling by train than disadvantages. It's such a great idea to use the JR pass, but if in Japan, it would be also amazing to enjoy aerial views of Mount Fuji!

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Lisa
Lisa
Jun 24, 2023
Replying to

You'll be able to get view of Mt Fuji from the shinkansen when passing by, but seeing it from the plane window is definitely cool!

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