Friday, March 16, 2012


Japan has wonderful transportation, which makes it quite possible to live without a car. Here is how we started out this winter...

Stroller rides everywhere

Japan is well known for its wonderful train system.

There are many different types of trains for cargo to express passenger trains, with a complex network that goes nearly anywhere. We are lucky and can walk to a train station from our home. Many people bike to the train stations. They leave their bikes unlocked because theft is not a problem here. Something to think about when traveling with children, strollers are allowed on the trains at no cost, and children are free up to age 6 as long as they're not occupying a seat for an adult. However, it may be difficult to get to the train you need with a stroller. To get from track to track, you must go up a stairway that crosses to the correct track...

Stairway for crossing tracks

The commuter trains travel 30-200km/hr (30-125mph) average about 80 mph here, whereas the bullet-train, Shinkansen (or "Shin") travels up to 300 km/hr (186 mph). This makes travel easier, yet nearly as quick (no wait time) as traveling long distances by plane. Here is a link with more great information on the Japanese train system:

There is also a a good network of buses, plenty of taxi cabs, car rental companies, and ferries between ports. Many people also ride bicycles, particularly in the summertime. The one thing that hinders people from forgoing car purchases is the weather. (The current exchange rate isn't helping much either.) We finally decided on a car about a month and a half here, which I would have happily delayed longer if it weren't for RAIN. With children and grocery needs, almost everyone has at least one car. Luckily, on a military base, with quickly changing orders, vehicles sell cheap as move dates approach. Here's our "new" fun ride...

Mitsubishi RVR 2L Turbo

And yes, we'll surely still be walking and biking most places daily.

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