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Who Needs Cars When Japan’s Public Transportation Is Awesome

Growing up in Middle Tennessee, it was hard getting around without a car. I never was able to get a license because of my eyes, so I was totally dependent upon others to get around. On top of this there wasn’t much to speak of in terms of public transportation. There were a few busses and taxi services, but if you didn’t have a car you were out of luck. Imagine my great surprise when I came to Japan for the first time in 2010 and rode an actual train! I found a mobility and freedom I never had back home. For the first time in my life I could go anywhere I wanted whenever I wanted, and I saw some awesome things. Japan is a beautiful country and you don’t need a driver’s license to experience it.

Who needs an art museum when I’ve got…

japanese rice fields

Do you like nature? Have you ever seen those travel photos of scenery and thought to yourself “Wow! There’s no way a place is that beautiful.”? The beauty of Japan that you see in the magazines is only the tip of the iceberg. If you want to see the beautiful parts of Japan, simply hop a ride on a train. Some fantastic scenes can be viewed from the windows of Japan’s many trains. The above image was taken in Fukushima Prefecture going north on the Jouban Line. I find the rice fields to be breath-taking, especially in the fall when the fields are ready to harvest.

To Kyushu and beyond!

Japan’s public transportation system if very well connected and makes it possible to traverse the whole length of the country without ever sitting behind the wheel. Last year my wife and I went on a trip from Tokyo to eventually Fukuoka. During the weeklong trip, we rode several trains and buses. One place we stopped at was Kamikouchi, a stunning nature reserve. This slice of heaven can be accessed solely using busses and trains. If you live in Matsumoto City in Nagano Prefecture all you need to do is take a one-and-a-half-hour bus ride and you’re there. If you live near Shinjuku you can also catch a bus bound for this jewel affixed atop mountains.

japanese mountain scenery