Driving & Owning a Car
If you’re interested in driving, or you must drive to get to work, please look at our guide to driving in Japan. You can find it here.
What is available and what you use will depend on your placement and habits. Ask those who live around your area for more information. There is also a lot of information about Japanese transportation in English on the internet, including maps and timetables. A favorite among JETs is http://www.hyperdia.com, this site will give you up to date train schedules, maps and fares for all trains in Japan. It is available in English, Japanese and Chinese.
Like most things, the ticket and schedule systems for transportation will be intimidating at first, but mastering them will be a great asset and save a lot of time and headaches. Learning a few words in Japanese and asking staff for help, as well as using internet resources to prepare and doing dry runs will all help your travels run smoothly.
|Train||電車 (or 列車)||でんしゃ (or れっしゃ)||densha (or resha)|
|Commuter Pass||定期券||ていきけん||teiki ken|
If you use the same route more than 20 times a month, a commuter pass is usually worth buying. You are allowed unlimited use between two designated stops and you can get on/off anywhere between the two stops. Passes are available for various times, usually sold in monthly increments. They are available for JR trains, inner-city street cars, and buses in most areas, as well as a combination in some cases. Check the Internet for more info, but the best option is to call or go to a sales window for more information. Larger train stations usually have staff that can speak sufficient English to answer questions. For riding the bus or streetcar, PASPY cards will give you a 10% discount, and they are convenient. Buy them on any bus or streetcar. See more information below under the Buses section.
In most urban areas there is some kind of discount booth or vending machine where you can buy cheaper bus, train, ferry, shinkansen, and even plane tickets. In Hiroshima city there are many counters, including one near Sun Mall, across from Hiroshima Station, and several along the Hondori. In Fukuyama it is across from the bus information center tucked between the row of shops to the East. Discounts are usually 1-5%, and sometimes more. These discount booths also offer postage stamps and tickets to concerts and sporting events at a discount as well.