Transportation in Japan
Japan has the most sophisticated transportation system in the world. A taxi can be hailed easily and quickly from virtually any train or subway station in the cities. Buses, subways, and trains snake throughout, creating a complex maze that travels everywhere quickly and economically. You will find most everything in Japan to be immaculately clean, and the area of public transportation is no exception. From taxis, with spotless white seat covers and drivers wearing white gloves, to the famed shinkansen bullet trains, with luxurious seats and dining cars, travel in Japan by public transportation is enjoyable, safe, and efficient. Punctuality is the rule, as trains roll up to platforms on time to the second, so don’t be late! And don’t be surprised during very busy times if transportation personnel on the platforms assist you by helping to gently push everyone into the crowded trains so that the doors will close (remember Tokyo has over 20 million people)!
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If you are travelling to the larger cities, a renting a car in Japan would probably be more of a hindrance than a convenience. Parking is a rare commodity, as space is so precious in Japan, and therefore very expensive and inconvenient. Furthermore, the roads are all toll roads, so you will be required to pay to drive on them, stopping periodically at booths along the way to make your payment. Traffic is very heavy, unless you are outside of the big cities, so again, an automobile does not really make sense when compared with the public transportation system, which runs virtually everywhere at a far less cost and hassle. Also, in Japan you drive on the left side of the road as in England – not an easy thing to get used to. If you do decide you would like to rent a car, you will need an international driver’s license. Most of the major rental car companies do exist in Japan, and you can inquire with your hotel as to the closest and most convenient one should you really need to rent a car.