Give and Take: Cost and Comfort
When workers in Tokyo get their well deserved breaks such as Golden Week, many tend to travel to other parts of Japan; some go to visit relatives, others for relaxation and excitement. However, regardless of the reason, domestic travel can be an expensive endeavor.
A one-way ticket to Osaka from Tokyo will run about 14,000 yen, making your wallet almost 30,000 yen lighter in travel expenses alone! But don’t fret. There are other options but you will need to sacrifice some convenience and comfort to reap the benefits.
Overnight buses are great ways to get around Japan’s major cities on the cheap. There are three major types of buses. The cheapest one can get you all the way to Osaka for about 4000 yen in 8 hours. Unfortunately there is no restroom on board, meaning the bus will need to make periodic stops. If you are a light sleeper, this bus is to be avoided. There isn’t much leg room and the announcements that accompany the stops will have you waking every few hours.
The second tier bus improves the experience by having an accessible restroom. This allows for fewer stops so that the driver can rest. But the most expensive bus (6,000 yen plus) is obviously the most comfortable. In addition to the restroom and fewer rest stops, there are only 3 seats per aisle with more leg room per person. This makes for an easier sleep without medical aid.
There is one catch to all of this: You’ll need to speak Japanese to decipher and navigate through the websites to get the best rates. To make things easier however, links to some of the best rates are provided below. Enjoy the uncomfortable ride knowing that your wallet doesn’t need to go hungry. Just don’t go competing for seat space with me.