Japan Rail Buses

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Local buses covered by the Japan Rail Pass

The JR Pass includes the services of local buses, spread throughout Japan, allowing access the JR local bus lines operated by JR Hokkaido, JR Tohoku, JR Kanto, JR Tokai, JR Shikoku, JR Kyushu, Nishinihon JR Bus and Chugoku JR Bus. These buses are easily recognizable by the JR logo on the front of the bus. The fast highway buses are not part of this list.

Buses amenities

  • Wider and softer lazy-boy style seats.
  • 40° seat reclining angle.
  • Multi-angle footrest.
  • Larger legroom.
  • Large luggage space.
  • Seats with individual radios
  • Snacks offered on the Kyushu lines.
While the Japan Rail Pass serves all the main routes for tourists, many people still prefer to discover the secrets of Japan, buried deep into the heart of the country. More often than not, small towns and villages are only accessible by local buses, running as punctually as all the transportation in Japan. However, the payment process of the local bus tickets differs from most standardized methods, which is why we provide a brief description of the process below.

How to use the local buses

  1. Remember to enter the buses from the back doors. The entrance is always at the back, as well as the ticket machine. The exit doors are located at the front of the buses.
  2. Located close to the back doors is a ticket machine, from which you should take your ticket. The ticket will allow you to later determine the total cost of your trip, depending on which your final stop is. If you are using a transport card such as the IC card, then you should simply touch the card to the designated sensor.
  3. An electronic display located above the driver’s cabin will show the following stops together with the corresponding fare of each one.
  4. If your stop is the next one, you need to press any of the buttons, located on the sides of the bus, in order to inform the driver that you wish to get off.
  5. The time to pay your fare is when exiting the bus. If you do not have exact change, look for the change machine, which should help you get more small coins.
  6. When exiting, put your ticket and the exact fare into the designated box, located close to the driver. If you are using an IC Card, touch the card to the sensor located close to the driver.
The process mentioned above does not apply to all buses in Japan. In the big cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto you will pay a single flat fare, which means that no matter how far you go, you will always pay the same price.