Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Japan 2017: Kansai to Kanto ~ Traveling through the Overnight Bus

There are two regions in Japan that is famous to tourist: Kansai and Kanto.  Kansai is where Osaka and Kyoto is located, while Tokyo is in Kanto region.  These regions are 500 kilometers apart.  We wanted to go to both areas and so we included it in our itinerary.

Traveling from Kansai to Kanto region by Shinkansen will take 4 hours; 3 hours if you take the Nozomi Shinkansen, the fastest Shinkansen in Tokaido line.  This Shinkansen ride costs JPY14450 (kids below 6 years old are free).  I am not very keen in spending JPY14450 (x2, the hubby and me) for this ride and so we searched for an alternative.   And luckily we found one: traveling by bus.

Traveling from Kansai to Kanto region by bus will take more than 9 hours.  The cost of the bus ride will depends on what type of bus you will take.  It can range from JPY5900 to JPY 12000 (kids below 6 years old are free but if you want to buy them a seat, they are charged half the price). 

Our overnight bus arrived just in time. 

We chose the overnight bus from Kyoto to Tokyo (you can opt for the day bus if you like).  The cost was JPY6000 for adult and JPY3000 for Neo.   We booked the overnight bus online at – I suggest you use this website for booking as they have a lot of bus choices and they are in English language.

There are three things we were able to save when we traveled via overnight bus.

1.    FARE.  Bus fares are so much cheaper than Shinkansen fare.  Shinkansen cost JPY14450 for each adult; overnight bus cost JPY6000 for each adult, and JPY3000 for our little boy.

Overnight Bus
JPY 14450 x2 adults = JPY28,900
JPY 6000 x2 adults = JPY12,000
JPY 0 for Neo = 0
JPY 3000 for Neo = JPY3,000
Total = JPY28,900
Total = JPY15,000

That’s JPY13,900 monetary savings for us! J

2.    OVERNIGHT HOTEL STAY.  We were able to save an overnight stay when we traveled via the overnight bus.  We slept during the travel time of 9 hours on the bus. 

We saved around JPY4000 – JPY5000 for an overnight stay.

3.    TIME.  We were able to save our precious time when we traveled via the overnight bus.  We spent the whole day touring Kyoto and Nara instead of traveling by day. 

When you are traveling by overnight bus, please do take note of the following:

·         Buses leave on time.  Not a minute before and not a minute after.  Make sure you are there before the scheduled departure so you can settle properly.  To be safe, 15 minutes before is an ideal time.

·         Check the departure area.  When booking for an overnight bus, make sure to check where it will depart.  Not all Willer buses depart at Willer Station.  Some depart on parking spaces that may not be very ideal for you.

Our overnight bus station is in front of JR Kyoto Station.

·         Check the bus inclusions.  Cost of buses varies because of inclusions and seat details.  Not all buses have toilet and luggage allowance.  If you have a lot of luggage with you, you have to check if the bus you are booking allows check in of luggage.  If you have bladder problems, you might want to book a bus with toilet.

Luggage tag. 

·         Check the seat details.  Seat details vary per bus.  More costly buses has wide seat, electrical outlet, leg rest, foot rest, wi-fi, blanket, and 3 seats in a row.  Japan overnight buses travel with a rule that women are seated together.  So if you are a couple, and you don’t fancy traveling seated with strangers, you may want to book a 3-seater bus (we did). 

The overnight bus that we book was a 3-seater bus, with privacy curtain, electrical outlet, foot rest, leg rest, blanket, and rest room.

Neo has his own seat and was able to rest properly. 

·         Be time conscious.  The overnight bus we rode was very thoughtful to ensure we have an overnight rest.  The bus was dimly lit.  It has curtains in the front row as well as the windows.  No noise can be heard on the bus.  The driver drove the bus with caution (not kaskasero).  We were able to sleep well.  And we woke up just a minute before we entered the Shinjuku Bus Station.  The bus arrived on schedule and we barely had time to stretch.  Be time conscious as you don’t want the driver and conductor to wake you up all in your morning glory. Haha

We didn’t have any issues when we traveled using the overnight bus.  In fact, I highly suggest you use this in case you want to travel from Kansai to Kanto region.  


  1. Sis, I wonder how long you planned this trip? Kasi parang prepared na prepared lahat e. Kudos to you! :)Napangiti ako sa buses leave on time. Bawal talaga Filipino time doon, maiiwan talaga! lol.

  2. 9 hours travel is really long pero makakatipid ka naman. Transportation in Japan is always on time, kaya sorry na lang talaga kung ma-late ka. We took bus from airport to hotel and vice versa.

    1. We didnt mind the 9hours travel. we were comfortably sleeping the whole time and nakatour agad kami the next day :)

  3. If I have learnt of this earlier, I would definitely considered it. During our Japan trip last year, we decided to forego Osaka as it was such a long trip and I figured a waste of our travel time. It was a perfect excuse though to plan a return, which we did earlier this year. A total of 12 days in Japan for our 2 times visit pero kulang pa din. Thanks for sharing. This ia very helpful.

    1. The days we spend in another country, no matter how long or short, will always be not enough no? We went to Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Tokyo but still I feel like, kulang pa din. Hokkaido naman! hahaha

  4. Oh nice we've never tried the bus in Japan. Is it also available from Osaka to Tokyo? We only stayed in Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara kase so we didn't really need to travel far. Just a few hours in the train. I was nervous kase it might be too tedious with my 2 year old so we didn't explore farther cities. Maybe next time! :)

    1. There are more overnight buses that travels from Osaka to Tokyo than that from Kyoto to Tokyo. We just chose that route since we wanted to visit Kyoto too.

  5. I like the idea of the overnight bus. At first, I have hesitations as here in our country, some buses do not have comfortable seats which you could adjust. Second, the idea of sleepijg in public is not at all my kind of thing. I can be paranoid as someone would get your things while sleeping. From your experience, it is totally different and worth the try.

    1. The Japanese culture is very different. I can leave my things anywhere without anyone getting it. hahaha


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