When traveling within Japan, we recommend that you use the train as your primary means of transportation.
In Japan, there are many subways and local train lines, not only in large cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, but also in Hokkaido, Shikoku, Kyushu, and every rural areas. The local train is a popular style of travel for those in the know, allowing you to travel while taking your time to view the scenery of the Japanese countryside. Japanese trains are safe, punctual, and comfortable, especially for family trips.
*Have you arranged for the Japan Rail Pass, which allows unlimited rides only for travelers from overseas? If you have not, please refer to this page for the merit, usage, and arrangement method.
But, of course, there are places that cannot be reached by train to the final destination. This article describes transportation options other than trains and how to arrange them.
Table of Contents
The Taxi Situation in Japan and How to Arrange Taxis
Cabs are always available at major airports, train stations, and tourist attractions throughout Japan. Fares are accurate and cannot be cheated as they are metered.
If you want to call a cab at a place and time convenient to you, you can use a taxi dispatch application such as Uber or GO. Of course, the front desk of hotels and inns can also make arrangements for you.
The best way is to charter a cab. Cab charter plans are also called “Kanko Taxi”（sightseeing cabs） in Japanese.
With a “Kanko Taxi,” The driver will guide you to recommended places, and you can leave your luggage inside the cab even if you have more luggage after shopping. The more people you have in your party, the cheaper the per-person fare will be. And in Japan, tipping is not required. For family trips, “Kanko Taxi” are the best choice.
There are various cab charter plans available. Please search here for charters for sightseeing and transportation in famous areas.
Klook is headquartered in Hong Kong and operates the world’s leading destination booking website. They offer a full menu of Japanese charter cab services.
If you want more information than that, search online in Japanese for “観光タクシー” after arriving at your destination in Japan, and you will probably hit on a domestically-oriented plan. If you find a plan that interests you, inquire directly or consult the front desk of the hotel where you are staying.
Having trouble communicating in Japanese? There are devices that have been talked about for their high accuracy in translating difficult Japanese. Please click here for more information.
Car Rental Situation and Arrangement in Japan
Limited to those who like to drive and are confident in their driving skills, but…
If you want to travel around Japan with your family in comfort, renting a car is the most effective means of transportation. If you have small children or elderly parents, a rental car is especially ideal, as it offers more flexibility than a cab and allows you to have the family space all to yourself.
If you are planning to visit Hokkaido, a car (rental car) is the best way to get around. The roads are wide and straight, making it ideal for a comfortable drive.
In Japan, highways connect from one end of the country to the other, from east to west, north to south, so it is not impossible to travel throughout Japan by car. During the cherry blossom season in spring and the autumn foliage season in fall, beautiful Japanese scenery can be enjoyed up close. In addition, throughout Japan there are “Michi-no-Eki,” free rest stops for road travelers where local foods, specialties, and crafts of the area can be purchased. In addition, major road sites are well stocked with hotels and inns with free parking or auto campgrounds.
Car rental agencies are located near airports and train stations. It may be possible to make arrangements on the day of your visit, but you should always make reservations in advance at popular tourist destinations.
Car rental arrangements can be made here!
Ferry Situation in Japan and How to Arrange
Traveling around Japan by ferry is also a great way for families to see the sights. As an island nation, Japan has a wide variety of ferries and boats. Long-distance ferries, especially those with a one-way trip of 300 km or more, are as comfortable as luxurious hotels, with stylish observation rooms and lounges. Private rooms with bunk beds, Japanese-style rooms, luxurious suites, large room types for groups, and recently, rooms for pets are available.
The long-distance ferry is barrier-free and equipped with elevators. Moving around the ship is no problem at all, even with a baby stroller. There is no need to carry large luggage on board, and if you get sleepy, you can return to your cabin for a nap. Ships are recommended for family trips because you can travel long distances without any burden.
Currently, 15 routes and 37 large ferries operate from Hokkaido to Kyushu. Typical routes are as follows
- Tokyo – Shikoku (Tokushima) – Kyushu
- Nagoya – Sendai – Hokkaido (Tomakomai)
- Osaka – Kyushu (Beppu) (Kagoshima)
- Kobe – Kyushu (Miyazaki)
- Hokkaido (Otaru) – Kyoto (Maizuru)
There are also many other routes, including short- and medium-distance ferries that sail between islands or across the shore, and sightseeing ferries (cruise tours) that sail around tourist spots.
Some ferries can be searched and arranged through the following services.
Domestic Air Route Situation and Arrangements in Japan
Japan has about 100 airports and nearly 30 airlines.
Airplanes are the best way to travel from the northern end (Hokkaido) to the southern end (Kyushu and Okinawa) of Japan’s long north-south axis, or to remote islands that would take much longer to reach by boat.
If you are arranging domestic flights in Japan, please use Skyscanner to find the lowest price.
LCCs are popular, with some routes offering lower fares than the Shinkansen. However, for family travel, we recommend choosing one of the three major airlines: Japan Airlines JAL, All Nippon Airways ANA, or Skymark. They serve many routes and have a large number of flights, so you can be flexible. They are also more comfortable than LCCs, with wider seats, meals, drinks, amenities, and in-flight entertainment such as movies and music.
If you wish to travel by private jet or helicopter, or sightsee from the sky, please use this concierge desk. Of course, you can consult with us about airline tickets (including LCC), various transportation arrangements, lodging arrangements, original tour arrangements, and more.
This desk is operated by JTB, Japan’s largest travel agency, and is a concierge service exclusively for customers from abroad. The salon is located in Ginza, Tokyo, but can also be reached by e-mail.
Now, let’s plan to make your vacation in Japan the best experience ever!