Riding a River Bus

If there is one thing many people who have visited Japan can agree on, it’s that the Land of the Rising Sun is a country like no other. There are many things that make Japan unique in its own way – some a westerner might find odd, funny, quirky or even downright different. As a visitor to Japan, there are literally thousands of things one could do in the country to spend time in an enjoyable manner.

One of the things that stands out in Japan is the efficiency and effectiveness of its public transportation system, heralded as the best in Southeast Asia by a significant margin. Not only is it reliable, spread widely throughout the entire country, it is also extremely safe and as environmentally friendly as currently possible. Japan boasts a huge variety of things to do in its outdoors, and as odd as it may seem, one of the interesting things to experience in the Japanese outdoors is to ride one of their more unique forms of public transportations.

Busses, taxis, trains, trams and even jeeps are rather common in many countries throughout the world and are commonly accepted as the general forms of transportation. Few countries however have a developed and active ferry system – ferries used for local transportation and not long distance travel.

Making use of its status as an island nation an an abundance of bays and rivers, Japan has its own River Bus system. As the name implies, boats and ferries are used as if they were busses, ferrying people from point A to B for a small fee – exactly how a bus works in any other instance, only that this one rides on water instead of concrete.

Tokyo especially makes use of this system as the ferry companies are able to use very convenient routes at speeds that ordinary land transportation would not be able to hope to match. Simply the fact that there’s very little traffic on the sea and rivers gives the river busses an edge.


The River Busses generally cover distances used by trains, with one-way rides lasting between 20 minutes to an hour of travel time. Depending on the route, this could take twice as long on conventional transport. The boats have observation decks to take advantage of on a nice day, as well as panoramic glass windows on the inside to see the city of Tokyo was one commutes along the river.

First image by japan-guide.com

Second image by prafulla.net

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