|Access to the area:
By plane: Airports in Osaka, Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima,
Yamaguchi-Ube, Takamatsu, Matsuyama, Oita. Except for Matsuyama,
Kobe and Osaka, it takes almost an hour to reach the city centre
from the airports. The main international airport is Kansai
International Airport south of Osaka, but some of the other
airports have international flights too, mainly to nearby Asian
countries. Early (online) reservation or traveling around your
birthday will make charges much cheaper; check the English homepages
of the main airlines, ANA and JAL.
By train: Shinkansen trains run along the mainland (Honshu)
coast of the Seto Inland Sea. If you have a Japan Railway (JR)
Rail-pass, this is the most convenient mode of transport - if
not, it is still convenient but expensive. The areas introduced
on this homepage all center on a major Shinkansen or other JR
railway station. Different types of Shinkansen trains stop at
different stations. Nozomi and Railstar are the fastest, Kodama
the slowest - they spend most of the time waiting at stations
for the faster trains to pass by. Frustratingly, they cost the
same for unreserved seats, but Nozomi can't be used with a rail-pass.
You can also cross over to Shikoku by train from Okayama over
the Seto Ohashi Bridge.
ship: Long-distance ferries connect Osaka/Kobe with Matsuyama
(Shikoku) and Beppu / Oita (Kyushu) - a leisurely and cheap
way to travel and take in the beauty of the landscape at the
By bus: Highway buses run between Osaka and most major
cities in the area.
Inside the area:
By train: Unlike the large cities where you can find
an abundance of railway companies, you have to mainly rely on
JR trains. On Shikoku and Kyushu, use express trains for longer
distances. The local lines on the Honshu side follow the coastline
more closely than the Shinkansen, sometimes offering beautiful
views from the window. The main line running East-West is the
JR Sanyo line. 5-ticket sets for one-day travel on local trains
are available at certain times of the year (Seishun Juhachi
11500\ for a booklet)
ship: Ferry and high-speed boat lines in the Seto Inland
Sea area are a maze, as every island has several ports, many
small companies share the market and there is almost no English
information. Easiest to use are the large ferries and high-speed
boats that cross between Honshu and Shikoku, like the line connecting
Hiroshima and Matsuyama. But don't be afraid of using the smaller
lines to the islands, as they will give you a unique experience
of the area - just allow extra time for checking twice and getting
lost! Ferries are very cheap and allow for cars and bicycles;
high-speed boats can be expensive.
water-taxi (Kaijo takushi ):
If you travel in a group and want to move from one island to
the next, sometimes water taxis are the fastest and not so expensive
option. Ask at tourist offices or accommodation.
By bus: Local bus lines are even more confusing than
boats. In some cities, you will need a bus to reach the port
from the station. Highway buses are convenient to cross the
two bridge systems without train connection: from Kobe to Awajishima
and further on to Tokushima on Shikoku, and from Fukuyama across
the Shimanami Kaido to Imabari on Shikoku (see Mihara/Onomichi
By streetcar: In Okayama, Hiroshima, Takamatsu and Matsuyama,
streetcars are a cheap and easy way to move around.
By bicycle: Many cities and islands offer bicycle rental.
Especially on the islands, with little traffic and almost no
public transport, this is a nice way to get around.
Japanese traffic guide by Jorudan co.: gives you train and flight
times, sometimes also buses and ferries.
Kansai Kisen Ferry for ferries from Osaka/Kobe to Matsuyama
Highway Buses at Japan-guide.com: