Facts of Japan - Transportation
Japan has such a great infrastructure in transport management and it spends a lot on this section as well. There are four major transport systems in Japan. They are the Rail Transportation, Road transportation, Air transportation and Marine Transportation.
The first railway in Japan was built in 1872 between Tokyo and Yokohama. In Japan, railways are the primary means of transportation. Between cities the high speed mass transportation system is operated. Between metropolitan cities, the commuter movement happens through railways only. The six Japan Railways Group Companies, known as JR Group, basically cover most of Japan. The seventh one exclusively carries freight. There are other services as well like private companies, regional governments and some companies that are funded by both the regional governments and private companies. There are almost 16 private companies operating the private railways.
The total railway coverage is 23,670.7 km. Most of the tracks are electrified in Japan. And the network is well connected and well managed one in the world.
Fukuoka, Kyoto, Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Sendai, Sapporo, Yokohama and Tokyo have subway systems. In addition to this, many of the cities have mono rail and streetcar networks.
Shinkansen, known as Bullet trains, are the high speed trains. Japan operates almost 250 bullet trains every day The N700 serious Nozomi are the fastest trains with a speed of 300 km per hour. The punctuality of trains is unmatched. The trains on the conventional line run relatively slow at a speed of 160 km per hour.
Now a local train means a train that stops at every station. A fare ticket is enough for these trains. But the other trains, Rapid, Express and limited express (which is faster than the Express) need some surcharges. The operators usually use names for trains for reservation instead of train numbers.
The railways account for the largest percentage of carriers in Japan.
Japan has almost five kinds of roads that come under different agencies. They are City, town and village roads, Perfectural roads, general national highways and National expressways. The roads of Japan cover almost 1,203,600 km in Japan.
The road transport has been growing so well since 1980 because the quality of the national roads is outstanding. These buses have deluxe seating and the fares are quite low as well. Then the bus service is being operated during nights too when the rail and the air services are limited.
In fact, traffic congestion is so high and it really causes potentially serious problems in the urban areas. The need for high standard networks are being developed and constructed to improve the dependability and reliability of the expressway services in Japan. Apart from these, the international logistics needs are being explored and considered to keep the Japanese roads competitive. Better access to ports and airports are provided. Construction of bypasses and transport nodes take top priority in Japan.
The road transport has been governed by certain set of policies by the Government which guide provides a guideline for the transport agencies in Japan.
Firstly, the ring roads provide urban infrastructure and reduce the traffic congestion. They also reduce CO2 emission as well to provide a better environment for the road users.
Of course, bypasses are the best alternative to ease the traffic congestion.
Nearly 70% of the major harbors and airports are accessible from the expressway interchanges. This is being improved to reach a level of 90%.
The transportation nodes and all station squares are being improved to ensure the smooth transit of pedestrians, vehicles, bicycles and public transportation. The public transportation is encouraged by the Government in order to reduce the private transport users.
With all these facilities the road transportation in Japan is gearing up to the next generation road users with the perfect road transportation network.
The decrease in road fatalities clearly indicate the growing safety and infrastructure in the road transportation in Japan.
The Air transportation in Japan was so restricted before World War II. But after the foundation of Japan Air Lines (JAL), the air travel to domestic and international has increased so much and it is now it is set to take precedence than the other transport systems in Japan.
Tokyo is the primary center for all the air traffic and it connects every city by air. The next big one is Osaka. The other major airports are in Sapporo, Nagoya and Fukuoka. The growth in phenomenal that even the airports in the artificial islands near Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe are finding it hard to ease the air traffic.
There are currently 97 airports in Japan. The major international airports are the Narita International Airport, Kansai International Airport and Chubu Centrair International Airport. The Tokyo Airport is the domestic hub.
The Japan Airlines and the All Nippon Airways (ANA) are the main airlines. There are other major operators available as well. The Tokyo airport with its expansion has opened an international terminal as well. The Tokyo airport is supposed to handle 407,000 landings and departures now.
The fares are set by the carriers now. But the government can veto it if the fares are high.
With high standards of safety and security and a service that is truly outstanding, the Japan’s air transportation is bound to compete with any airlines in the world today.
Japan has the waterway that spans around 1770 km. Japan has 22 major sea ports and have designated them as special important ports. Japan has an amazing fleet of 662 ships. The variety of these ships and the number of ships are : 146 Bulk ships, 13 Chemical tankers, 49 cargo ships, 16 bulk combination, 45 liquefied gas, 25 container, 9 passenger, 214 petroleum tankers, 2 passenger & cargo combination, 48 roll on and off ships, 22 refrigerated cargos, 60 vehicle carriers and 9 short sea passenger ships.
It is of importance to note that all the small islands are also linked to the main island by bridges and tunnels. So boats might not look the best option if time is limited. For the smaller Islands, boats are the primary option. However, there are jet ferries and hovercrafts available for this purpose. But they really cost more.
In addition, there are slow cargo boats available as well. Though the fare is cheaper, they are less frequent.
There is another kind of ferries called inter-city ferries. They are affordable.
There are classes in the boats. The first class can be comfy while the second class is general and basic.
The prices for the long distance boats are bit higher than the discounted air fares. This is also a reason for the decline in marine transport in Japan.
There are many ferries that connect Honshu and Hokkaido. The other ferries connect the Okinawa Island with Kyushu and Honshu as well. All the smaller islands are connected to main islands by these ferries.
There are many international ferries to Japan. Though the time takes is long in these travels, the experience is worth experimenting. The countries that are connected are:
Korea : The ferries that connect Busan to Fukuoka, Shimonoseki and Osaka.
China : From Shangai it connects Osaka and Kobe. Then Tianjin it connects Kobe. From Qingdao it connects Shimonoseki. From Suzhou it connects Shimonoseki.
Taiwan : From Keelung it connects to Ishigaki and Naha.
Russia : From Sakhalin it connects to Wakkanai. Then there is Russia to Japan via Sakhalin as well. From Vladivostak it connects to Takaoka.
The service in this marine transportation is good and friendly. The hospitality of the crews is truly amazing.
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