Arriving by plane
According to payhelpcenter, Japan’s national airlines are Japan Airlines (JL) (Internet: www.jal.com ; information and reservations: Tel: (0180) 222 87 00 (Germany); (01) 502 91 88 88 (Austria); (0844) 88 87 00 (Switzerland)) and ANA – All Nippon Airways (NH) (Internet: www.anaskyweb.com). Japan Airlines only connects Tokyo-Narita with Europe from Helsinki. Many European airlines offer non-stop flights to Tokyo and Osaka. ANA offers direct flights from Frankfurt and Munich to Tokyo.
Lufthansa (LH) offers, among other things, direct flights from Frankfurt to Tokyo Haneda. Swiss (LX) flies direct from Zurich to Tokyo.
British Airways (BA) flies direct from London Heathrow to Tokyo Haneda. There are numerous feeder flights from German-speaking countries to London.
Air France (AF) flies from Paris to Tokyo / Narita and Tokyo / Haneda.
Eva Air (BR) flies to Tokyo via Taipei.
Finnair (AY) flies daily from Vienna via Helsinki to Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.
KLM flies from Amsterdam to Fukuoka. There are very good connections from Zurich and Geneva via Amsterdam.
Frankfurt – Tokyo: 10 hours 55 minutes; Frankfurt – Osaka: 14 hours (with 1 stopover); Vienna – Tokyo: 11 hours 10 minutes; Zurich – Tokyo: 11 hours 50 minutes.
Arriving by train
The trip to Japan on the Trans-Siberian Railway is interesting, but it takes a long time. The train leaves Moscow every day, and after about six days you will reach Nakhodka (the port city east of Vladivostok). From there you take the ship to Niigata.
Arrival by ship
Numerous passenger ships dock in the largest Japanese ports. Ferries offer daily connections from Osaka and Kobe to Shanghai (China) and weekly from Kobe to Tanggu (near Tianjin, China). Connections to Taiwan leave from Okinawa. The Shimonoseki-Pusan ferry operates at night across the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, to South Korea. There are also numerous ferry connections between Hakata and Pusan (South Korea). There are weekly ferry connections to Russia that cross from Yokohama to Nakhoda (near Vladivostok). There are also two weekly connections from Korsakow in Russia to Wakkanai in Hokkaido. Cruise ships call at the Japanese islands on their way to Shanghai and Hong Kong.
In the train stations of the larger cities, seat tickets for Shikansen and express trains, couchette car tickets and other special tickets that require a reservation are sold at ticket counters marked in green. The opening times of these counters are daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. UnderSeat reservations for Shikansen and Narita express trains can be booked in advance via the East Japan Railway Company at www.world.eki-net.com. Seat reservations can only be picked up in the following cities: Tokyo, Narita, Sendai, Morioka, Akita, Yamagata, Niigata and Nagano.
The Hokkaido Shinkansen connects Aomori with Hokkaido via the Seikan Tunnel.
Japan Rail Pass (Internet: www.japanrailpass.net): This tourist pass, which can only be bought before arriving in Japan and is available from various travel companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, from which you first receive an exchange order. which is later redeemed in Japan for the actual passport. A full list is available from the Tourist Office (see addresses) or at www.japanrailpass.net. The Japan Rail Passis valid for 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days. Children between 6-11 years pay half. The pass entitles you to unlimited travel on all train, bus and boat lines operated by JR. (The pass cannot be used on the Nozomi super express train). Other providers charge a surcharge. Refund of the total cost only for unused passes.
For travelers who are only in certain regions of Japan, regional rail passes are available at low prices. The JR-East Rail Pass (Internet: www.jreast.co.jp/english) is valid for the northern regions of Tokyo with the exception of Hokkaido. The JR-West Rail Pass (Internet:www.westjr.co.jp/english) is valid for the regions west of Kansai International Airport and the JR-Kyushu Rail Pass (Internet: www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english) is valid for the entire island of Kyushu.
The Suica Card is available for the Tokyo metropolitan area. This can also be purchased in conjunction with the N’EX ticket for the airport night express.
On the way by ship
There are regular ferry, speedboat and airboat connections from the main island to the smaller Japanese islands. Main routes are:
Awaji: Akashi – Iwaya;
Shodo-shima: Shin-Okayama – Tonosho;
Ikuchijima and Omishama: Mihara – Setoda.
There are ferry connections from Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe to the ports in Hokkaido and Kyushu. Bullet trains run regularly between Tokyo and the major ports. In addition, there are excursion, hydrofoil and hovercraft boats in the seaside resorts and lakes inland.