JR operates long-distance buses between Tokyo and other major cities (JR Bus Network). Though travel takes longer, the fares are cheaper than Shinkansen train fares. Other bus companies provide bus travel between major cities as well.

Highway Buses

Highway buses run mainly on expressways. There are many bus services linking cities to cities or cities to tourist spots. Traveling by highway bus is generally less expensive than by air or rail. Highway buses are also called long distance buses or overnight buses (they run at night).

By using the contact information that we provide here as a reference, please contact each bus company information centre for further information such as how to book tickets.
Bus Routes and Fares

You can purchase tickets or ask for information at any ticket offices of JR stations (for the routes run by JR affiliated bus companies) or travel agencies. In addition, below are a list of selected web sites providing English information about various bus services in Japan.*

*The information on this website is provided for reference only. Please be sure to check directly with the bus company when planning your trip.

Nihon Bus Association

This site provides a database by which you can check nationwide express bus services. An English version is also available.

JR Bus Kanto

This is limited to the highway buses of JR Kanto (departure or arrival at Tokyo). The timetable and detailed information on vehicle types etc., are available in English.


Visitors who intend to drive in Japan should note the following:

On main roads most major destinations are sign-posted in English. In rural areas this may not be the case. If you are planning to drive in more remote areas, it is advisable to purchase a reliable English-Japanese road atlas before you depart. Companies such as Shobunsha and Kodansha publish these atlases.

Driving in Japan is on the left. Parking can be difficult to find in some urban centers. An International Driving Permit is required. Tolls are levied on expressways and other major routes. Toll charges will depend on how far you wish to travel and which roads you intend to take. Example: Tolls for one route from Tokyo to Kyoto cost approximately ¥4,770.

The Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) publishes an English guide to driving in Japan called “Rules of the Road”. These are available at JAF offices throughout Japan. For further information go to the JAF website or contact the International Affairs Department of JAF on Tel. +81 (0)3 3436 2811 / Fax. + 81 (0)3 3588 6055.

A Metropolitan Expressway map in English is available within Japan from the Metropolitan Expressway Public Corporation:

Metropolitan Expressway Public Corporation
Address: Nittochi Bldg 9F, 1-4-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8930
Phone: +81 (0)3 3539 9259
Fax: +81 (0)3 3503 7678

International Driving Permit

If you wish to drive a car while in Japan, you must obtain an International Driving Permit prior to departure. You will also need to be in possession of your national license while driving in Japan.

In Canada, International Driving Permits are issued by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). For additional details please consult the CAA website.

Car Rental

Car Rental services are available in most large and medium-sized cities as well as at airports and major train station, with international driver’s licenses recognized. You will be required to produce your International Driving Permit when renting a car in Japan.


Rental prices may vary from company to company. Average rates for 24 hours rental with unlimited mileage are as follows:

SizeYen per day
Sub-compact (1000-1300cc)5,000 - 11,100
Compact (1500-1800cc)9,000 - 13,500
Intermediate (2000cc)14,000 - 30,000
Standard (3000cc)29,500 - 31,000

The above rental charges do not include fuel costs. Fuel in Japan costs approximately 100 yen per liter.
*This information is provided for reference only, please be sure to check directly with the rental car company to confirm rates.

Rental Companies

Companies offering vehicle rental at various locations throughout Japan include:

BudgetCanada: 800-268-8900
Japan: 03-5776-1542
HertzCanada: 1-800-654-3001
Japan: Toll-free 0120 489 882
Japan: Fax 03-3533-4060
Times Car RentalGlobal Customer Desk Phone: 81-50-3786-0056
Nippon Rent-A-CarPhone: 81-3-6859-6234
Toyota Rent-A-CarToll-free: 0800-7000-815
Phone: (03) 5954-8020