How to get on a local bus in Japan

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It’s better to know the usage of transportation in Japan to make your travel easier. I’ll show you how to get on a local bus in Fukuoka today. Even though it was a mistake that I used iPod-touch’s camera for that, you’ll get the least information of transportation in Fukuoka.

Bus stop

The picture is the most basic style of bus stop sign in Japan. In Japan, you don’t have to raise your hand to get on buses. If you’re standing around this bus stop sign (or even just passing by in front of the sign), the bus stops always for you.s-IMG_1501

Bus timetable

The timetable is attached on the most of bus stop signs. For example, green one is showing the weekday’s timetable, orange for Saturdays and pink for Sundays & public holidays. It shows the timetables for each bus numbers so please check the bus route before you get on. Though, the style of timetables might be a bit different in other prefectures.
Nishitetsu bus timetables
The link is for Nishitetsu bus timetables. It can check the current location and arrival time of buses.

Getting on a bus

Each buses show numbers on the front display. There are two doors front and middle, get on the bus from middle door then get off from front.s-2014-11-20 10.31.02 s-2014-11-20 10.34.11

Take a numbered ticket when you get on the bus. You need this numbered ticket to check the bus fare yourself. There must be a ticket machine like in the picture below.s-IMG_1573 s-IMG_1578

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Or touch your IC card on a card reader if you have it. In Japan, it’s convenient to have a prepaid IC card for transportation. Since 2013, major IC cards such as Suica, Icoca and some others are now available to each other in the largest cities in Japan. It can be used for the most of the trains, buses, subways. Also vending machines, and even for shopping.

IC cards are not supported for Bullet trains (Shinkansen 新幹線), limited express trains (特急列車/you can pay for basic ticket fare by IC card), Kyoto city buses (it might be available within this year), airplanes and highway buses. Also, each IC card can be used in a specific area only (for example Nimoca card is for Fukuoka).  It cannot across the regions like traveling from Fukuoka to Osaka.

About IC cards for transportation in Fukuoka

In Fukuoka, there are three types of IC cards, Nimoca(by Nishitetsu), Hayakaken(by Fukuoka city) and Sugoca(by JR Kyushu). IC cards are available at a train or a bus ticket center. Also it can be purchased at some of train ticket machines in some foreign languages.

Sugoca card by JR Kyushu
The link is for Sugoca card by JR Kyushu. Unfortunately, it is only in Japanese. The card price is 2000 yen and that’s including 500 yen for deposit (1500 yen is charged in a card). Recharge limit is 20,000 yen.  You can get back the deposit when you bring your IC card to the place where you can purchase an IC card. However, handling fee of around 220 yen will be subtracted from the balance of the card.
(IC cards below are Nimoca and Sugoca card)s-2014-11-07 11.43.29

Bus fare and destinations

You can check your bus fare and destinations on the display that usually at front side. For example, it’s shown 6 on my numbered ticket and I need to pay 180 yen when I get off at this station.

The destinations are also shown on the display. You can check where we are and what the next bus stop is.

Getting off a bus

Press the button to let the driver know that you are getting off at the next bus stop.s-IMG_1503

Put the fare with ticket in to the machine or touch your IC card on the IC card reader when you get off the bus. If you don’t have exact fare, use exchange machine.  It can use for 1,000 yen (千円) bill, and 500 yen, 100 yen, 50 yen coins. The other bills such as 10,000 yen (一万円), 5,000 yen (五千円), and 2,000 yen (二千円) cannot be used.s-IMG_1587 - コピー

Catching and Getting off Nishitetsu bus
The link is also explaining how to use Nishitetsu bus in some languages.


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