When you travel long distances in Japan (for work, school, to visit family during GW/Obon), do you prefer to use the Shinkansen, fly, or take a highway bus?

I used to travel to Osaka frequently for business. I would always take the Shinkansen. I have taken Willer Express on a few occasions for personal trips. The reasons I preferred Shinkansen were:

  • If I missed my train, another one would come in 10 minutes

  • Having to trek out to Narita is a pain

  • Dealing with airport security is never fun

  • The Shinkansen drops me off in the city center of both cities. Tokyo Station is right in the middle of Marunouchi/Yaesu (the wannabe Nihombashi) and Shin-Osaka is directly opposite Umeda, on the other side of the Yodo River. Haneda is in Ota-ku but Narita is way out in Chiba Prefecture. It takes an hour just to get from Narita Terminal 2 to Marunouchi by Skyliner since it only goes as far as Keisei-Ueno and a change of trains is required (about the same for N'EX); about 1h 15m to Shinjuku and 1h 20m to Shibuya (via N'EX it takes over an hour and a half).

  • Getting to and from Kansai Airport is also inconvenient, though not as bad as Narita. Haruka limited express takes 30 minutes just to get to Tennoji and an hour to get to Shin-Osaka; via a Kansai Airport Rapid train it's an hour to Tennoji and 1h 15m to Umeda. Itami is only served by the Osaka Monorail which sucks (the government is reducing operations at Itami anyway, to encourage more traffic to use Kansai Airport).

  • Nozomi gets me to Shin-Osaka in 2h 30m, flying is at least 4 hours when you factor in security checks and having to travel to and from the airports.

  • Japan's LCCs are terrible quality and I'm surprised that the EU hasn't banned them from serving Europe, like they did to Lion Air in Indonesia (another terrible LCC)

The only downsides to Shinkansen is that Nozomi is almost 30,000 yen for a round trip, and discounts are almost non-existent. However, it's faster (and similarly-priced when factoring in airport transfers) than flying overall, and 4,000 yen one-way is not worth a nine-hour bus trip in unpredictable expressway traffic. The seat classes that don't wreak havoc on your neck and back, like Beaute or Cocoon, aren't much cheaper than flying.

submitted by /u/AllNightNippon
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