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Other Transportation

Subway

SubwayNine big cities in Japan have subways.
The subways of 8 cities are municipal transport facilities, and Tokyo have municipal subway and a private railway "Tokyo Metro".
In 6 cities, some lines of JR or private railways leads directly to these subways.

By the 1960s, streetcar was the main transportation of each city.
After that the cars increased rapidly in the cities, so the streetcars became a nuisance on the street.
Each city has promoted the construction of subway, so the streetcars have disappered from the cities.
Now subway is the most important transportation.

Probably I think you feel that the station name is too long to memorize it.
So in some cities they have expressed each station name in one character of alphabet and number.
You had better only memorize the number, so you can't mistake the station where you want to get off.

Tokyo Metro      Toei Transportation Information : Municipal transportation of Tokyo
Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau
Nagoya Municipal Transportation Bureau
Sapporo City Transportation
Sendai Municipal Transportation Bureau
Yokohama Municipal Transportation Bureau
Kyoto City Bus & Subway Information Guide
Fukuoka city subway

Route bus

Fare box of route busThe main public transportation other than railroad and subway is route bus.
Most of the large or small cities have a network of the route bus.
And to the sightseeing spot, route bus is operated from the center of the city or the main railroad station.

Almost every route bus run without conductors on board.
Just before the bus arrives at the stop where you want to get off, push a buzzer in the bus. And the driver brings the bus to a stop there.

In most cases, you must pay the fare at the driver. But there are two systems to pay.

One is that you pay the fare when you get on the bus.
Usually, this system is the route of flat rate.

Another is that you pay the fare when you get off the bus.
In many cases, you get on through the rear door. At that time, you pick up a small numbered slip from a machine.
When you get off the bus, you pay the fare corresponding to the number. The fare table is shown at the door.
(You should pay with exact fare in coins and bills.)

Long distance bus

Bus terminalThere is the network of expressway all over the country. So many bus companies run long distance busses.
Recently they use large and comfortable cars, and set the fare lower than JR.

Between big city and faraway local city, many nightly-buses run.
If you want to move during the night or to travel economically, this is the very available transportation.
But the seat of the bus is narrower than train and the space is confined, so you may feel the weariness.

Willer Express : Cheap express bus company.
Japan Bus Online : Book Express & Sightseeing bus in Japan!

Streetcar

Streetcar in MatsuyamaStreetcar is one of the public transportation in relatively-great city.
But most large cities have taken off the streetcar by the 1970s because of a nuisance to running cars.
(At that time, most of Japanese people had no reason to doubt that energy crisis came.)

Now the following cities have streetcar.

Sapporo / Hakodate / Tokyo / Kamakura and Fujisawa / Toyohashi / Toyama / Fukui / Otsu / Osaka and Sakai / Okayama / Hiroshima / Matsuyama / Kochi / Nagasaki / Kumamoto / Kagoshima

The way to pay the fare is not much difference between streetcar and route bus

Taxi

TaxiIf you want to move quick to your destination in the city, the taxi is one of the best choice. Japanese taxis are now known as the world's safest and most comfortable.

Some taxis are waiting for you around main railway stations, airports, downtown, sightseeing area, big hotels and so on.

And in the city, you can catch a running free taxi by lifting your hand.
I think you can easily recognize whether a car is a taxi.
The body is colorful and a lamp is on the roof.
Additionally, the licence plate of general car is white background, but the one of taxi is green background.

Basically the door of taxi is automatic. The driver operates to open and close the door, so you had better not touch the door.
Recently nonsmoking taxis are increasing. In 2007, Nagoya city and some prefectures (Kanagawa, Nagano, Oita, Gifu) banned smoking on all taxis in their area. If you are a smoker, please mind your manner.

Generally you pay for the fare in cash, but you can pay by credit card if there is the sign on the taxi.

Rent a car

Cars keep to the left. If you can drive a car, it is a good idea to rent a car and travel in Japan. You can effectively travel and it increases your freedom of activity.

However, Japanese law requires that you must hold the "International Driving Permit" to rent a car in Japan.
And it must be issued under the 1949 Geneva Convention on Internatioal Road Traffic. (not 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic !)
If you are a Taiwanese, you can rent a car by Taiwanese driver's license and necessary document issued by Taiwan government since September 2007.
If you plan to rent a car, prepare the necessary procedures early.

The service offices of car rental company are around airports and railway stations. And they are in big cities.
To rent a car, it is assured to make a reservation via internet before you start off on a journey. Of course, it's possible to go directly to the office, but you may not get your favorite car in that case.

There are global car rental companies and Japanese car rental companies in Japan.

The following Japanese companies have English pages in their websites.

Nippon Rent-A-Car  TOYOTA Rent A Car  Times Car Rental

Next car rental companies are global and have many offices in Japan.

Hertz  Budget

In Japan, you must drive on the LEFT side of the road.
So if you always drive on the right in your country, watch the traffic especially when you turn.
In addition, drivers and front-seat passengers are required to use seat belts at all times.
Children aged 6 or younger are required to be seated in a "child-seat".
And the use of mobile-phone while driving is prohibited.
Needless to say, you shouldn't absolutely drink and drive.



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