Express busses are bad news

Posted by in Mike's blog

“Express” is the wrong adjective for Japan’s highway busses.

We have been told by a few friends that express busses are an “affordable alternative” to train travel. Unfortunately, these busses also mean giving up a few of the nicer luxuries that come with riding the rails…

Aside from not having the freedom to move around from car to car or seat to seat whenever we please, highway “express” busses are especially prone to TRAFFIC JAMS.

We foolishly chose to begin our trip to Kyoto & Tokyo on an express bus. On the way, we ran into a giant screaming bunny who had gone berserk. Our beloved cute playful daughter was nowhere to be found. Being trapped on the bus morphed her into an angry child. She made sure that not one of the 40 other passengers had a chance to sleep, especially not the 2 girls in the seat in front of us whose chairs she insisted on kicking throughout the trip.

While driving down the highway toward the halfway point between Fukui and Kyoto I noticed a rather discouraging electronic billboard. It read: 1km = 5分 (minutes).

As if that wasn’t enough, the day before we boarded (but after we had purchased our tickets), I did a little bit of research and I discovered that while the express bus from Fukui to Kyoto is cheaper than the express train – also called the “thunderbird” (for real)…it’s MORE EXPENSIVE than local trains that under normal circumstances would take only 30 more minutes. With traffic, the bus is as slow as or slower than local trains. We arrived in Kyoto 1 hour late, and when we got there we discovered that the bus stop is on the side of a highway, a 10 minute walk and 4 subway stops away from Kyoto station 🙁

On the way home from Tokyo, we took a “night bus” for 8 hours, which is exactly what it sounds like. Our night bus wasn’t equipped with a bathroom, and it stopped every 2ish hours for bathroom breaks at rest stations. Each stop meant blaring interior lights. The Bunny managed to sleep well, we weren’t as lucky.

The moral of the story is: TAKE THE TRAIN.