Public Transportation in Japan: Getting to Your Event Venues

When clients approach us to help them organize business events in Japan, one of the first steps is figuring out the location and venue. Oftentimes central Tokyo is the first choice, followed by other major cities such as Osaka and Kyoto. When it comes to moving between multiple event venues, or airport pickups, JTB Meetings & Events by JTB Communication Design (JCD) often provide private transportation services. But especially with larger-scale events, clients from abroad are often worried about transportation and accessibility. When attracting attendees from all around, the venue needs to be easy to reach. And although arranging private transportation is ideal for some, depending on the type of event that may not be feasible for you. For this reason, we would like to shed some more light on the Japanese public transportation system, to show you how in most cases it is something you will never have to worry about at all in Japan!

event venue Japan public transportation Bullet Train System in Japan
Japan takes a lot of pride in its world famous shinkansen bullet trains, and for good reason. Since the 1960s these high-speed trains have been expanded and continuously improved. The shinkansen bullet train network in Japan now connects from northern Hokkaido all the way to Kagoshima in the far south. The maximum speed of these trains in normal operation is 320km per hour (200mph) and including some starts and stops, the 500+ km journey from Tokyo to Osaka takes around 2.5 hours.

Without going into all the exact details, what is most important to know is that it connects all the most major cities of Japan with extremely fast, smooth, and safe rides. In fact, it is often noted that despite the long distances shinkansen cover, the average delay of trains is less than 1 minute per train. A number that is quite staggering for virtually anyone from outside of Japan. So if you are attending an event in Tokyo first and have another business meeting in Osaka or Kyoto that you cannot be late for, the shinkansen will guarantee you will get where you need to go on time! On top of that, if you are planning incentive trips and want to cover as much of Japan as possible, shinkansen can likely also be more time-efficient than domestic air travel. Moreover, from an eco-friendly standpoint we recommend the shinkansen as well. It really is a two-birds-with-one-stone solution as it saves time and contributes to the environment.

event venue Japan public transportation Train and Subway System in Japan
While the shinkansen is the best option for covering long distances, when it comes to more local travel, trains and subways have you covered for the most part. At least when you are near any sizable urban center, various lines intersect and flow into each other smoothly, guaranteeing you can get nearly anywhere with ease. Nationwide you will find more than 8500 stations, hundreds of them in the Tokyo area. Moreover, Japan leads the world by far in terms of train usership. In 2013 46 of the world’s 51 busiest train stations were situated in Japan. Shinjuku Station is number one, with at its peak an average of 3.6 million people passing through daily. If you look at the Tokyo area railway line map it can seem overwhelming at first, but once you get a grasp of the system it is a fascinating marvel of human engineering and technology. More importantly, especially compared to many other urban centers, it is punctual, safe, clean, and affordable.

Other Public Transportation in Japan
With all that said for the train system, Japan is a big country, as well as mostly covered in mountains. To fill in the gaps that train lines do not cover, especially in the countryside, Japan has countless of bus operators as well. There are many long-distance buses that can get you directly to popular tourist destinations without the need to transfer multiple trains. Also, you can sacrifice some time to save money if needed, and instead of the shinkansen you can opt to take an express highway bus from Tokyo to Osaka which will take around 8 hours. There are luxury overnight bus options as well, giving you a comfortable experience similar to a first class flight! Additionally, with Japan being an island nation, for a limited set of destinations ferries can be an alternative and interesting option as well.

event venue Japan public transportation Lastly, for local inner-city transport, it’s not just trains either of course. For many people a 10-minute walk from a train station can be too far to get to where they are going. Local buses, monorails, and in some cities streetcars all work to fill in the gaps in the cities to make things even more accessible. There are countless options to get from A to B and you can plan to find the most efficient and smart route to take with the help of online tools such as Google Maps. If you are organizing an event anywhere in Japan’s major cities, accessibility should likely be the least of your worries!

Bringing Your Event to Japan
We hope this article gave you a good idea of how convenient Japan truly is. While obviously the most central location in Tokyo will be the most accessible, looking at other cities, or even slightly more outside major cities, can be totally feasible. This opens your options up to many of Japan’s more unique venues. Depending on your type of event, there are venues all around the country that can impress your attendees and foster unforgettable event experiences in Japan. Let us help you find your most ideal event venue, and never worry about accessibility issues. Feel free to contact us here to discuss your future event options in Japan. Also, if you come to Japan for business and want to make the most of your trip, don't hesitate to ask us about optional tours that can be arranged through our JTB Group, the largest travel agency in Japan!

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