Captain's Run Japan

Guide For Rugby Fans
What you need to know about
transportation to travel smart in Japan

There are a wide variety of transportation methods in Japan. To spend your time and money wisely, combine different transportation methods, including airplane, Shinkansen, train, ferry, car and bicycle.

  • 1. Airplane: the fastest mode of transportation for long-distance travel

    You may need to take domestic flights while traveling to rugby stadiums on the Japanese islands of Hokkaido or Kyushu. There are two major domestic airlines, JAL(Japan Airlines)and ANA (All Nippon Airways), as well as smaller budget airlines. Although JAL and ANA cost more than most budget airlines, they have advantages, including higher luggage allowances, better in-flight services, and the ability to receive miles through collaborations with other international airlines. On the other hand, if you prioritize cost over these service, it is best to purchase a flight with a budget airline. If you are considering a flight to destinations on the main island of Honshu, such as Kyoto or Osaka, we recommend comparing flight costs and times with Shinkansen as well.

    Domestic Airlines

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  • 2. Japan’s signature Shinkansen

    Airplanes and Shinkansen will be your primary form of long-distance transportation between the RWC 2019 host sites. Japan’s Shinkansen are internationally famous and one of the most popular transportation methods among international visitors. Shinkansen are fast-speed railways run by JR (Japan Railways) groups that connect major cities conveniently and quickly. There are different Shinkansen lines including Tokaido/Sanyou, Tohoku, Joetsu, Hokuriku, Yamagata, Akita, Hokkaido and Kyushu/Sanyou. Shinkansen trains used on each line have different specs and designs. For example, Shinkansen running on the Tokaido/Sanyou are Type N700 (Nozomi, Hikari, and Kodama), while those running on the east side of Japan, such as the Tohoku Shinkansen, are Type E.
    A Shinkansen provides comfortable interior seating where passengers can eat ekiben (a boxed lunch sold at stations) or buy a beer and snacks from a food cart while enjoying the scenic views of rural Japan.
    A JR Pass can cut costs when traveling by Shinkansen.

    Shinkansen

    JR Pass

    Click here to reserve Shinkansen Ticket & Packages

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  • 3. Other frequently used trains

    Non-Shinkansen JR trains are called zairai-sen (conventional train lines), a name that indicates that these types of trains existed before Shinkansen. Zairai-sen are categorized as futsuu (local), kyuukou (express) and so on. Famous train lines in Tokyo like the Yamanote Line and Chuo Line are also run by JR. Japan has shitesu (private railroad) companies, as well as the publically operated JR groups. Since shitetsu trains connect city centres and the suburbs, many Japanese people use them to commute to work or school. They are an indispensable mode of transportation for those visiting sightseeing spots and RWC 2019 host sites.

    Japanese Trains

    Guide to Japanese Train Tickets

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  • 4. Use subways for convenient transpiration

    Subways are efficient and especially useful while travelling short-distances. Japanese subways are becoming more and more tourist friendly by adding support services for foreign-language speakers, including audio directions on subway platforms and multi-language message boards inside the trains. Subways in Tokyo have a designated color for each subway line and give each train station a number that can be easily remembered.

    Japan Subway Association

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  • 5. Use a bus for cost-effective transportation

    Buses in Japan can be broadly categorized into local and highway buses. Buses are especially useful when traveling to sightseeing spots or stadiums that are far away from the nearest station, making walking troublesome. Bus company operations differ from one another. For example, one company may require passengers to pay their fare when boarding the bus, while another company may employ a system where passengers pay while disembarking the bus. Highway buses are a reasonable option when travelling from Tokyo to major cities like Osaka or Kyoto, considering airplane and Shinkansen fares are often expensive. As you would imagine, these buses have longer travel times, which is why night buses—a red-eye where you board the bus late at night and arrive at your destination the following morning—are popular. Buses are worth using if you are looking to save money on travel expenses and accommodations. There is no need to worry about using the bathroom, since these long-distance buses have their own private lavatory.

    Local buses, on the other hand, connect smaller zones and provide convenient transportation for local residents. Local bus operations also differ between one another, including whether you board from the front or the back, and whether you pay while getting on or getting off. Payment can be made by cash or IC card. It is better to prepare coins for bus fares since they may not have change for 5,000 or 10,000 yen bills. If you can master local buses, you can pursue true local Japanese experiences!

    Highway Bus

    Local Bus

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  • 6. Rental cars: the best way to set your own itinerary

    The advantage of using a rental car is that its greater transportation range lets you travel freely. Also renting a car with family or friends may help reduce travel expenses. Highway rest stops in Japan often sell a wide variety of local delicacies and souvenirs. Although you’re likely to find something you like simply by dropping in on any rest stop, it may be worth researching beforehand and choosing the stops you find most interesting. After all, when you’re driving, you’re the boss.
    To rent a car in Japan, you need to have an international driver’s license (IDP). This cannot be issued in Japan, so you have to acquire it in your home country in advance.

    ※While Belgium, France, Germany, Monaco, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Taiwan don’t issue IDP licenses, anyone from these countries can rent a car in Japan as long as you satisfy certain requirements. These include submitting your license with a Japanese translation at the JAF (Japan Automobile Federation), an embassy or a consular office in Japan. Make sure to confirm the requirements for your country before traveling.
    ※Note that some stadiums may implement travel and parking limitations on private cars near the stadium on game day.

    Renting a car in Japan

    Driving a car in Japan

    Click here to rent a car

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  • 7. Enjoy Japan’s unique, beautiful scenery by ferry

    Ferry travel sets the mood for sightseeing.We recommend one or two-day ferry trips.Consider this trip: boarding a two-day cruise to the famous hot-spring town of Beppu in Oita prefecture after watching a rugby match in Osaka?
    If you board the ferry from Osaka in the early evening, it will arrive in Beppu the following morning. Then you can enjoy a full day of sightseeing and hot spring bathing. When traveling from Beppu, on the other hand, the ferry departs in the morning and arrives in Osaka around 22:00. This ferry makes it easy to save on transportation and accommodation costs while using time effectively.
    The highlight of the seaway between Oita and Osaka is the Seto Inland Sea, which stretches between the island of Shikoku and the mainland of Honshu. There are three connecting bridges—Akashi Kaikyo Ohashi Bridge, Seto Ohashi Bridge and Setouchi Shimanami Kaido. From the ferry that departs from Osaka, you can see their illuminated night view up close, while on the ferry departing from Beppu you can enjoy the magnificent natural landscape with more than 700 islands dot the blue waters of the Seto Inland Sea. If you have a few days until your next match, consider arranging a trip with ferry travel.

    Ferry trip from Osaka to Shikoku,Kyushu

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  • 8. The more you ride, the more you’ll love it!


    Renting a bicycle is a convenient option when traveling between small cities and towns. Since the fare is flexible—with by-the-hour, half-day or one-day options—you can use rental bicycles casually.
    The Shimanami Kaido is a popular cycling course among international tourists. It is about 70 kilometers long and connects Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture with Imabari in Ehime Prefecture. Although it might take a novice cycler 8 to 10 hours (※) to complete, it is not a demanding ride since cycling lanes are installed throughout the route. It is a good idea to start your cycling trip from Onomichi and arrive at the Imabari-side by dusk, so you can enjoy the sunset views on the Seto Inland Sea from Kurushima Kaikyo Ohashi Bridge. The feeling of achievement after completing a 70-kilometer ride will make the experience even more special. You can also enjoy visiting the islands along the route, since each island has its own distinct landscape, history, culture and local products. You can drop off your rental bicycle at an island along the way, so make sure to plan ahead and decide what time of day you want to start.

    Cycling Shimanami Kaido

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