Location: Places >> Central Asia >> Japan >> I Rearry Rike Japan
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Hitch Hiking in japan
Posted June 26th, 2007 - 11:05 am by from The Hague, Netherlands (Permalink)
Hey guys/girls,

This summer i'm going to Japan (jeeeaaaaj) and before I start studying for 6 months in Tokyo I would like to travel around with my thumb.
Does anybody here have experience with hithing in Japan or tips or anything else concerning Japan? basically any info is welcome so let me know! and if some people here feel like meeting, even better!


Posted June 26th, 2007 - 5:34 pm by from South Lake Tahoe, United States (Permalink)
hitchhiking in japan is usually pretty safe, but it's a LOT easier in rural areas, and much more so if you have relatively good Japanese language skills.

a friend of mine tried to hitch out of Tokyo and barely made it 40km... though i easily hitched and had some excellent experiences in Hokkaido.

i met some great and generous people; one guy who even gave me money for food even though i protested. it was his form of repaying good karma he received while biking across japan after college.

that said, however, it's not always easy to get rides if you're foreign. one thing that might help is if you write in large kanji characters the name of the place you're trying to go. i just used a page in my notebook, but cardboard works too. the fact that you wrote in japanese can charm people who otherwise wouldn't stop.

don't expect many people to stop in big cities like tokyo, or osaka. some truckers might, if you go to the highway entrances (kou soku)

some japanese you should know before you go:

nosete kurete, hontou ni arigatou gozaimasu (thanks so much for giving me a ride)

[town name] e ikitaindesu kedo (i would like to go to [town])

[town name] no hou ni mukatte imasu (i am heading to [town name])

[town name] no [place] made ikereba shiawase desu

(i would very much appreciate it if you could take me to a [place] in [town name]. example of place: eki (train station), basu tei (bus station), suupaa (super market), etc.)

koko|asoko|tsugi no kado ga ii desu (here|there|the next light will be fine [to let me off])

hidari (left)

migi (right)

masugu (straight)

hmm.. i can't think of anything else.

have a great time!


Posted June 29th, 2007 - 11:19 am by from The Hague, Netherlands (Permalink)
Wow, Thanks!

although my japanese skills are still very very very basic, it's improving by a few words a day. Thanks for the sentences, i'm pretty sure they are gonna help me soon!
thanks for the tips!


Posted December 25th, 2007 - 10:56 pm by from Vancouver, Canada (Permalink)
Hey Sannie!
Just read your post and I was curious to know if you did any hitch hiking, and how it went. I've hitched rides through Europe and the Americas but I heard there were very few hitch hikers in Japan. I'll be in Japan for 6 months starting in January and I thought of going to the Sapporro Snow Festival, maybe hitch hiking back to Tokyo afterwards. As I leave with a working holiday visa, I can't get a JR Pass and I know it can get pricey to go long distances. Anyway, thanks for any info you think would be helpful.

Posted January 2nd, 2008 - 9:28 am by from The Hague, Netherlands (Permalink)
Hey Melanie!

In the meanwhile i've hitched quite a lot in japan and I would definitly recommend it! the only thing that might be important is speaking some japanese atleast. when i first started i dint speak any japanese but i still could get around quite well, but i think im quite good in communicating in strange ways haha.
good spots are service areas on the highways and the way to the high way. I got picked up always under 30 minutes and at good spots in less then 10 minutes to give you an indication. the people i know here who hitch hiked also had good experiences however nobody is gonna pick you up when you are wet and dirty, but that counts for most places.
and for the girl thing. I think japan is one of the most safest countries but just keep in mind the logical rules. if somebody doesnt look reliable dont get in and dont hitch at night etc. etc.

for hithhiking in japan there are also some nice articles to be find on the internet (wikitravel is one) unfortunately my laptop crashed so i cannot get you the links.. but i would suggest some random surfing to read peoples tips and experiences.
else the seishun juhaichi is great value for your money if you have the time and are in japan during the school holidays (see wikitravel)

if you have any more questions just post here or send me an email. wish you good luck and a great time in Japan!!!

Take care,

Posted January 4th, 2008 - 2:33 am by from Vancouver, Canada (Permalink)
Thanks a lot for the articles, at the same time encouraging (very easy to cover distances) and discouraging (good luck getting to the S/A) but in all, I'm sure I'll figure out something. Also the Seishun 18 sounds really good.
I'll be in Tokyo soon, and I think it'd be great to meet up for coffee if you want. I'd love to hear about your road adventures!..
My Japanese is still rather limited, but I'm hoping to learn by leaps and bonds!..
Thanks again. :)

Posted January 23rd, 2008 - 9:14 pm from Okegawa, Japan
This member profile has been deactivated

Posted May 31st, 2008 - 1:46 am by from Atsugi, Japan (Permalink)
I am very suprised that you were able to hitch hike also. I have never seen a hitch hiker in the 22 years of living here.

Posted April 4th, 2009 - 12:14 pm from Kenmare, Ireland (Republic of)
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Posted October 3rd, 2009 - 7:46 pm by from Baton Rouge, United States (Permalink)
I'm glad you got some good hitches in Japan!

I can also report that hitching is great in Japan! I too have stories of awesome Japanese people showering me with gifts and doing everything humanly possible to help me out! I got picked up twice without even sticking out my thumb! People just saw me with my big pack and asked where I was going...

I suggest bringing some kind of little gifts along also. Japan is a gift culture. I brought a big pack of my photography prints in cheap 4x6 size. Costs like $0.08 these days and people love them. Any thing else compact like this would be great for a traveler to pay back the awesome kindness of people in Japan.

If you're out in the rural areas, hitching on teh highways is easy. I never used a sign -I just stuck my thumb out and also gave a decent bow to each passing car (haha!) If you're in heavily populated areas the Expressway is probably your best option. Taking a cheap local train to get out of the metropolis is an option too. Getting on to the expressway in the first place usually takes a little longer, and good spots are fewer... but someone will stop, it's only a matter of time. Once you're onto the expressway make sure you ask to get dropped off at a "service area" which is like a big rest area only accessible (usually) from the express way with some food stands and restrooms. It's super easy to get a ride from these places, and you can hop from service area to service area with speed and ease. I hitched about 1/3rd of Japan in one day doing this (thankfully, since my visa was about to expire, haha.)

While you're hitching check out some of the WWOOF Japan hosts. I met some great people hitching from farm to farm in the country side.

Mata ne!