So, you’re in Japan for a while, and of course you want to see the country?
Most people immediately think Shinkansen – the bullet train. The bullet train is great, it’s fast, convenient and simple. Also great if you have a JR Pass.
Buy without the railpass, it is expensive, and many young travellers are on a budget. So what about some alternatives?
Often time, domestic flights are cheaper than the bullet train. For example, taking a flight from Osaka to Tokyo is cheaper by air, just be sure to book in advance.
If you have enough time in your hands, you can get anywhere by local trains. Looking at my trip for Hiroshima tomorrow, local trains, despite taking 5 hours longer, is half the price, and often allows you to see more of Japan’s beautiful scenery.
There are many private coach companies in Japan, and taking an overnight is the cheapest. It also saves on accommodation for one night. I personally use Willer Express. They offer a deal to customers outside of Japan (as in book outside of Japan), of 3 non-consecutive journeys for a very low price.
An amazing website I found, called Hyperdia.com conveniently displays all of this information to you, all you need is to say when and where. It displays rail, air and coach all in one, giving you information on times, prices and where to change. You could easily use it to plan one journey from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the South.