A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Use a Highway Bus
This mode of transportation is perfect for budget travelers.
Compared to Shinkansen bullet trains and planes, highway buses may take longer to get there. But they're cheaper, so they're a great way to keep your travel costs down.
We'll use the JR Bus Kanto highway bus service as an example to explain how to use highway buses to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto.
First off, visit the JR Bus Kanto website at www.jrbuskanto.co.jp. To use the English-language version of the website, click the "English" button at the top of the page.
Confirm that everything is being displayed in English.
Click on "Book/Purchase Tickets," which is highlighted in red in the photo above.
You'll be taken to the "Check Seat Availability” screen.
Choose your departure location. If you click on the area highlighted in red in the photo, a drop-down list will be displayed.
Select "Tokyo" from the drop-down list.
Choose your destination. If you click on area highlighted in red in the photo, a drop-down list will be displayed.
Select "Kyoto" from the drop-down list.
Route options will be displayed.
Choose your route. If you click on the area highlighted in red in the photo, a drop-down list will be displayed.
Let's select a night bus that departs from Shinjuku. Click on "(Night bus) Tokyo/Shinjuku⇔Kyoto/Osaka/Kobe."
Choose your bus stop. You choose the bus stop you're departing from first, so click on the area highlighted in red in the photo and a drop-down list will be displayed.
Since we're departing from Shinjuku, click on "Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal" on the drop-down list.
Now choose the bus stop you'll be getting off at. Click on the area indicated and a drop-down list will be displayed.
We want to go to "Kyoto Station," so click on "Kyoto Sta." on the drop-down list.
Decide what day you wish to depart by clicking on the calendar icon indicated by the arrow.
A calendar will be displayed. If you want to go ahead a month, click on the icon indicated by the arrow.
If you want to go back a month, click on the icon indicated by the arrow.
Once you click on your departure date, the date in the highlighted field will change.
Once you have selected all the necessary items, click on the "Search" button.
At the bottom of the booking screen, you'll see a list of bus departures for which you can purchase tickets.
From the highlighted area, click the option that most closely matches what you're looking for. Items shown in light gray text against a gray background are items for which there are no tickets available.
You'll be taken to a passenger information screen, so fill out the details in the highlighted area.
Once you've filled everything out, click on the "Confirm" button.
Check the information, and if everything looks correct, agree to the terms of service and put the check mark.
The "Reserve" button will darken and you'll be able to click on it, so click on it.
A confirmation e-mail will be sent to the e-mail address you gave, so check your Inbox once you see the confirmation screen.
Click on the URL (indicated by the arrow) in the e-mail.
You'll be taken to the payment screen, so enter your credit card information in the highlighted area.
Once all the details have been entered, click on the "Confirm" button. After payment has been confirmed, you'll receive a payment confirmation e-mail, so confirm your reservation number. You'll be able to see your boarding ticket on the website. When you board the bus, either give the driver/conductor a printout of your online boarding pass, show them the online boarding pass using your smartphone, or show them the ticket you bought from the ticket machine.
Now, you’re ready to use a highway bus. Happy traveling!