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Saturday, September 5, 2015

How to Get Around in Japan

I apologize for the lack of posts on my blog in the last week or two. There should be no excuse but I've been busy. One of the things I've been busy with is getting my husband a new car. In New Orleans, it is necessary to have a car because it's not easy to get around on bikes or safe enough to walk and the public transportation isn't the best. So I'd like to take this time to discuss transportation in Japan.


Japan is the total opposite of New Orleans, and probably America in general, when it comes to transportation. There are not many people in Japan who own cars, for several reasons. One being that the traffic is really bad. Two, there are a ton of tolls on the expressways in Japan. And three, there's just not enough room to park cars in Japan. Sometimes cars can't even be used. Some high schools in Japan will not allow their students to arrive at school in a car. Cars are just not as convenient in Japan.


Taxi cars have the same problem as everywhere else. It's going to be expensive. It's good for a desperate time when all other means of public transportation is not running. It's great to experience a taxi drive though. Most of the taxi cars have doors that open and close automatically. Once you get into the taxi you will notice the cleanliness inside. The seats have covers on them and the taxi driver will be wearing white gloves. It all feels fancy.


Next are trains. There are shinkansen which are bullet trains. These trains go really fast and cut travel time in half from ordinary trains. Shinkansen are great for people on a time constraint or are doing a lot of traveling from far distances. There are passes you can buy in advance for the shinkansen. The passes are worth buying if you plan to travel through Japan a lot. Other than shinkansen, there are regular trains that go to different cities in Japan. Buying the tickets from the machines can be difficult at times but there is usually a help desk that can guide you through the process if you ask.


They remind me of trains in a way. The tickets are bought in the same manner as a train. I've only used the subway once in Japan. I'm from the south so I've never really experienced a subway before so I never really used it Japan. Think of it like a bus, but underground and no traffic.


This is my favorite mode of transportation. The bus is best used when you're staying in one city. Using the bus is cheaper than using a taxi and you'll get to be a part of the Japanese society. It's usually about 250 yen for adults which is pretty cheap. If you plan to go around the city, using the bus multiple times, it might be in your best interest to obtain a bus pass. You can inquire about a bus pass at the train station. If you plan to use the bus or any of the above modes of transportation you should know some rules of etiquette. It is polite to stay quiet on the bus in respect for other people's time. That means no talking on the phone or talking to your friends next to you in a loud voice. If there are seats available you may sit but don't take up the priority seating for older people and pregnant women;that is considered extremely rude. That is my favorite form of transportation to use in Japan.


The most popular form of transportation in Japan is a bicycle. There are more bicycles than cars in Japan. Bicycles are convenient to use because there's no sitting in traffic and it is cheaper in the long run. Bicycles are like cars in Japan which means it has laws. There's no drinking while riding a bicycle. Another law for the bicycle is there can't be a passenger riding. These two laws exist for the safety of the people and pedestrians in the area. If you're riding a bike don't be alarmed if a policeman stops you. He'll be asking to see some kind of bike license. This is common in Japan to make sure who the bike belongs to. Just like cars, bicycles have parking spots. There are bike rakes on every major street corner or populated area. If your bicycle isn't parked properly it can be thrown into bike jail which is a yard of bikes taken due to rule breaking. Most people don't retrieve their bikes because they will be admitting to breaking the law. Sadly, bicycles would not be the way to go for me because I don't know how to ride one. Never could learn to ride one. I would get too scared of the height, being off the ground, and the balancing required for riding a bike. I prefer walking or using the bus.


It's not a bad idea to walk to places in Japan. There are a ton of benefits to walking. One, you'd be able to get to see places you would have missed if you rode a bus or subway. Two, it's good for you. Three, you can interact with people you come across. I love walking in Japan. You will discover so many great places you never intended to find. If you do plan to walk I suggest wearing comfortable shoes.

That's it for this post. I hope you enjoyed the informative side of it. I will be getting back into the groove of things again. Once again, like always, thank you for reading my blog. I hope to make this grow into something great. Please support me!

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