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Japan Info - Getting Around

Trains in Japan

One of the best ways to travel in Japan, is by train. The country has an elaborate system of trains, from hi- speed “Bullet Trains” to excellent public transportation in the cities, that makes “getting around” fairly simple and safe.
Trains in Japan are absolutely on time, clean and modern and all train- stations are absolutely worked out, to the detail.

Here are a few things, you should know, when traveling by train in Japan.

  • in every station, you will see a number of lines, indicating, where the doors of the stopping train will be located. Line up behind the line that indicates your train...like everybody else will do. Just pay attention to one simple fact: one color is indicating the “women only”- wagons of the train.
  • avoid “rush hour” (8 – 9 am and from 5 pm) in Tokyo as much as you can. Most of the trains will be packed with people and it can be a frightening experience, to be pushed into the train by special personal, that there ONLY for this purpose.
  • if you have to travel during “rush hour” and you don't get a seat (...and you almost 100% won't!), try to stand directly to the left and right of the door. It is the safest place and makes sure, you will not be “stampeded” into the ground at every station.

If you are a bit of the adventurous kind, here are 8 advice, how to get a seat during “rush hour”.

  • 1) Stand in front of already sitting people!
    If they get up...you are THERE!
  • 2) Block the space!
    If someone gets up, “guide” him/her with all you have, in the direction you want him/her to go, blocking “opponents” from getting “your” seat!
  • 3) Know your game!
    You have to be in the right spot at the right time. Know the popular stations! If a lot of people exit, it is your chance to get a free seat, before the masses enter the train again.
  • 4) Ignore sleepers!
    People who sleep on tightly packed trains will probably go very far...even to the last station. It is useless, to wait for them to get up.
  • 5) Observe children!
    Small children will not be likely to travel far. Stand in front of them...and wait! The same goes for school- children- they are likely to get off the train in larger numbers ...and more quickly than adults.
  • 6) Observer the elderly!
    Old people most likely are also not traveling far. They almost certainly give you the chance for a “quick” seat!
  • 7) Observe the luggage!
    A person who was lucky enough to get a seat, will most probably store the bags in the overhead- compartment. People who are holding bags are likely to get off the train sooner, than the ones with the luggage safely stowed away.
  • 8) Books really do make you clever!
    If a seated person is reading a book...then stops and puts the book away...that is the person, you want to stand in front off! There is a tricky part, though! That person might close the book and fall asleep...in that case...see advice No. 4!
  • be aware of the specifications made for different trains. “Local” trains will stop at every station, “express” trains will only stop at important stations and “rapid” trains only at main stations.
  • Mobile phones have to be switched off!

Planes in Japan

The biggest airports in Japan are Narita International (Tokyo), Kansai International (Osaka) and Central Japan International (Nagoya).

Japans two major airlines are All Nippon (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL). Both carriers provide services to over 50 destinations inside of Japan, with smaller carriers adding to the number of available destinations.

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