Japan is not cheap. Generally. But Japan also offers quite a lot of packages – so if you do know where to go, you’ll find plenty of deals.
My current favorite? The bus pass. JPY18,000 for 5 days of travel.
The 5 days need not be consecutive, and they can all be booked online (all cancellable up til before departure I think). That makes it JPY3,600 per day. In one day, you can book up to two buses. (I usually use the bus for a >5 hour bus ride, and nobody wants to spend an entire day in the bus. Hence I usually just book one bus ride per day.)
Now, is it cheap? Depends on the route you wanna take. For example, I took the bus to Hiroshima – normal price is JPY21,000ish one way. But I just used one day’s slot from my pass. Pretty good deal, right?
- Buy the pass online. You have a couple of options on what to buy (links at the end of the site)
- You’ll make your account when you buy the pass, and just go to “My Page” at the upper right. You’ll then see the screen below. Just click “BusPass Management”.
3. Your bus pass will then be on the screen. Select “Search the target routes” and I think it should be pretty straightforward from there. DO NOT ENTER YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION. If you get asked to pay, highly likely that you are booking from a different part of the site, in which case you are not using your bus pass.
4. You will receive an email confirmation. Scroll to the bottom of that message – that Japanese message is what you will show to the bus driver.
- They say this is limited to non-Japanese passport holders, but it’s not like they ever checked. The website is not available in Japanese though, so maybe that is their filter?
- Willer vs JBL bus pass: The main difference is that JBL covers way more companies and thus more routes and bus types. I definitely think that JBL is better than the Willer pass. However, the Willer pass is cheaper AND valid for 3 months. The JBL is only valid for one.
For Willer Relax Buses:
For Takayama Lines and to have access to different bus types