Ground Transportation for Japan

Options for traveling within Japan for a 21-day period


  1. Car
  2. Train / Bus / Air
  3. Other Options
  4. Estimate of total ground travel expenses


Cost of Car Rental is $633.49 pickup and drop off in Nara.

Car rental for under 25


Traveling by car is not recommended in large cities such as Tokyo, as there is a lot of traffic, little parking, and very good public transportation.  However, travel by car is great for rural areas in Japan without great public transportation.  However, if you are traveling far distances, Japan’s trains are much cheaper.  Also, Japan’s cars are built like the UK’s cars.  All the cars drive on the left and the driver sits on the right side.  I think I would be very freaked out driving a car like that. ‘

My travel book Lonely Planet: Japan has this to say about automobile travel.  “In some parts of Japan driving is really the only efficient way to get around unless you have a good touring bicycle or fancy long waits for buses each time you need to make a move.”


Train / Bus / Air

Shinkansen or bullet train passes

The bullet train is useful for traveling long distances very quickly

21-day pass is 59,350 Yen = $530.17

JR Rail pass for regular trains

Trains are more widespread than the bullet train, but slower.

21 Day passes for train pass is $530

Bus Passes only offer up to 5 days for $150 or 7 days but only Monday to Thursday for $150.  So, this is not the best mode of transport.

Other options

For travel within cites bike rentals are typically $10 per day.

Ferries travel between the island for widely varying fees, depending on the length of the ride.  A ride from Tokyo to Kitayushu on the South Island of Japan in $170 dollars.

In Tokyo there is a Passmo card, which is a card that you preload with money that you can use to ride the Subway, inner city buses, or as a payment method in stores.

A subway ticket typically costs $1.70 to $3 depending on the distance or the ride, but a Tokyo Subway 72-hour Ticket is $15x7 = $105

Estimate of total ground travel expenses

JR Rail Pass = $530


Bullet Train Pass = $530

Metro Pass = $150

Car Rental = $985.62


The total cost of traveling within Japan for a three-week period is...  1,665.62

Submitted by Ryan Clarke on 3/8/19.