Travel to Japan
Flying to Japan
Peak travel times to and from Japan are during the cherry blossom season in late March/early April, the Golden Week holiday (late April/early May), the Obon holiday (mid-August) and the New Year holiday (late December/early January).
To Tokyo: from London - 12 hours; New York - 14 hours.
Departure tax is included in air ticket.
Travelling to Japan by Rail
The Trans-Siberian route to Japan is an interesting, if lengthy, trip. Connections can be made daily from London via Harwich or Dover through Europe to Moscow. The Trans-Siberian railway departs regularly from Moscow. Among the many tour operators that organise tickets for this is The Russia Experience (www.trans-siberian.co.uk).
The Japan Rail Pass (www.japanrailpass.net) is the most economical way for international visitors to travel all over Japan by rail. It can be used on all Japan Railways services including the shinkansen (bullet train), except for the super-express Nozomi shinkansen. The next fastest shinkansen, the Hikari, is just as convenient for high-speed rail travel in Japan. There are passes for seven, 14 and 21 consecutive days. Passes must be purchased in advance outside Japan and validated on the day you begin to use the pass.
Driving to Japan
Getting to Japan by boat
There are international ferry services to Japan from Russia, China, Taiwan and Korea. Ticket prices are generally not cheaper than air tickets. The advantage of arriving in Japan by sea would be the chance to view some spectacular scenery.
Major port cities are Osaka (www.osakaport.co.jp), Kobe (www.kobe-meriken.or.jp), Yokohama (www.yokohamaport.org/portal), Shimonoseki (www.shimonoseki-port.com), Fukuoka (port-of-hakata.city.fukuoka.lg.jp) and Naha.
Japan is accessible by sea, and passenger ships include the major ports on their schedules, with the main routes to Japan from China and Korea. Ferries operate weekly from Osaka and Kobe to Shanghai (www.shinganjin.com) and weekly from Kobe to Tianjin, China (China Express Line). For South Korea there's a route between Busan and Fukuoka (www.jrbeetle.co.jp), Busan and Hakata (www.camellia-line.co.jp), and Busan and Shimonoseki (www.kampuferry.co.jp).