Better than the bullet train – How to travel Japan on a budget


This is my faaaaavorite way to travel around Japan and I think they deserve more people that use them. I’m not sponsored or affiliated with Willer Express but I’ve caught 10+ night buses with them and I love it. Just please don’t go with the cheapest option cuz it wasn’t a fun ride hahahahaha I’ll never get that night’s sleep back.

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  1. Calvin Abad says:

    **cough** Japan Rail Pass…

  2. Creative Ginge says:

    Really helpful! Thanks.

  3. オートミールIlikeoatmealmorethanyou says:

    when you book a ticket with willer for the night bus how do you get your ticket? do they email it and you print it out, mail it to yuo, or have a reservation code via email, or pick it up in person? :’) i would love to know!! 😀 Thank you!!

  4. Stephanie Sanchez says:

    Are there companies with bathrooms on the bus? I can’t hold my water in my old age lol!

  5. Paddy Ocampo says:

    Hi Hannah! Thanks for the video, you practically answered our questions with taking the night bus trips.

  6. I'm Lookiting! says:

    Coming to Japan this Summer and will definitely be traveling by night bus, thanks to your informative video! Thank you!

  7. H351gbgone says:

    I will be looking forward to go nagoya from tokyo using the willer bus

  8. Izziebiz says:

    Yeah, I booked ivideo and used your code for my upcoming trip. ❤️

  9. David Dang says:

    Your videos are very useful! I’ gonna be visiting japan in a month and it’s good to know where i can save some extra money. Thank you for providing such value! 🙂 Greetings from Germany

  10. Stephanie Sanchez says:

    oops.. forgot to ask: should i consider JR pass if i suspect only excursion/day trip is Kyoto and I’m otherwise in Tokyo whole remainder?

  11. Stephanie Sanchez says:

    1. you are gorgeous! 2. thank you for this vid. 3. did u feel safe on bus/at the stops? It’s looking mighty appealing vs bullet train. 650.00 for me and companion? Hmmm, that’s a lot of spending money in Shin-Okubo LOL!!!!!!!! I can get a lot of shaved ice for that! I opted for Shinkansa (sp?) b/c I wanted to save time/not lose it but if we’re over night and wake up elsewhere, it’s a win! I shall look up Kyoto/Nara/Gion now!!!!!!!

  12. sailorfan86 says:

    What about the Bus Pass?

  13. DeadUnicorns27 says:

    Do they announce each destination so you don’t miss it? I’ve been on a Willer bus but it was a Mt. Fuji tour so I didn’t encounter that experience.

    • Currently Hannah says:

      Yep they’ll announce it and note where you’re getting off at so they can count the numbers

  14. Lisa Budiharjo says:

    Hi hanna. What size of luggage did you bring when traveling using willer night bus (relax new type)? Is there any max size of luggage?

  15. WhoaNellyJake says:

    Three words:



  16. Monik Fairina says:

    Great info Hannah! I rode in that kinda exact seat on my last trip from Tokyo to Osaka. it’s easy to book. Seat was comfy enough to sleep in. The ride was smooth, it stopped at a rest stop in the morning (my oh my, cleanest rest stop toilet i’ve ever encountered). Def a good choice if you’re on a budget travel, it’s like half the price of a Shinkansen ticket (plus you save budget for 1-night accomodation)

  17. Y&S FOOD! says:

    Good movie! Hereabouts at Y&S FOOD! we like to run across this amazing content. We produce Travel & Food shows as well, world wide, and therefore we are constantly seeking for inspirations and also vision. Thank You.

  18. Emily Clearwater says:

    Hannah’s Filming tip!!! You’ve got a rather harsh shadow on the right side of your face. If you don’t want to put an artificial light (or don’t have one) on your right side, make use of the natural light coming from your window, by putting something white (like a sheet of white cardboard) just out of shot. It will act as a natural reflector and lighten up the other side of your face 😀
    Hope this helps! 😀 (also, a great photography trick)

  19. Pavel Adamek says:

    My crush on this amazing filmmaker (yes) is getting stronger. Or is it “worse”?


    Nice guide vlog…liked it…and that fly wanna show her face too on camera

  21. Kitty George says:

    I use Air between the 2 cities. It costs less than $70 if you book in considerably advance. The cheapest one is for early bird but you are made to wake up very early in the morning by jet lag anyway.

  22. YS Tong says:

    Great video! I’ve been to Japan quite a few times already (and next trip in a month’s time yay!) and we mostly rent a car to get around. It’s still my preferred way (even with the super expensive tolls) to travel but i have to admit, the buses I’ve caught are quite comfy too.

    Just off topic. Would you be able to find out when the Tokyo Halloween parade is? I’ll be in Tokyo from the 30th but I feel that i will have missed it…

  23. Khris Handumon says:

    Earplugs. It’s earplugs. 😉

  24. かな says:

    Wow very Beautiful♡

    As Japanese, i am glad u made a lot of video of japan♡

  25. temperatechimp says:

    And here I was thinking of a triple-decker purple-painted vehicular magical monstrosity, with actual beds, bewitchments, a fossil for a driver aaaand a talking Rasta shrunken head, lol!

    Errr, you mean ‘earplugs’? 😉

  26. veryfunguy says:

    Nice tip. I bought the JR Rail Pass and all trips are taken care of. By the way, were you in Don Quixote in Akihabara on Fri? Not sure if it was you and just wanted to say hi.

  27. RS says:

    Your plans looks so good !

  28. No No says:

    Never again taking the night train.
    I had a terrible tour from Hakone to Tokyo. The bus was overloaded with people. They were even seated on small seats in the middle. At each station they had to stand up and let people get out of the bus. All were in their sweaddy hiking clothes. Not a good smell. The women next to me was farting the whole trip and a woman in the row before “lost her lunch” (u know what I mean). And of course we list one and a half our in the Tokyo traffic jam. I was so lucky when we finally arrived at Shinjuku. Never again. There is no better thing than the Shinkansen. I really love the comfortable seats. The extra dollars are really well invested.
    But nice video. Like always. Keep on filming.

    • Currently Hannah says:

      Hakone to Tokyo isn’t too long of a bus ride. Are you sure it was overnight bus? It sounds just like a regular tour bus in Japan in which case it doesn’t sound like fun but it’s also completely different to overnight buses. Maybe give it another shot; you might be surprised!

  29. Fei Xiao says:

    I like the way the wifi ads was inserted. So very natural:)

  30. Xarna Chanel says:

    I love Willer Express so much! X

  31. Isaac Haring says:

    Best part of the video, “Everyone has their gifts!” Small laugh, hair flick! 😂👌

  32. c0284 says:

    Thank you 😀

  33. Jenny O'Driscoll says:

    Thanks for this video! I would never have considered a night bus. This sounds actually not so bad. When did you film this on the bus? Did you get a chance to film it while it was parked and empty? Why do I wonder this? Who knows.

  34. madisoned says:

    I used WillerExpress to go from Kyoto to Tokyo last year. It was sooooo nice! Ticket was very reasonably-priced and they can go on sale. Bus was nice, clean, and on time. Outlet works. Everyone was nice and quiet. Why can’t Greyhound and Megabus in the U.S. be like this?

  35. King says:

    Not sure if it’s true, but I heard you can still get a JR pass even if you live in japan so long you hold a non-Japanese passport.

  36. Luke Wong says:

    (σ゚∀゚)σ..:*☆ 哎哟不错哦

  37. ALIVIAlive says:

    This was a really long ad….

    • Currently Hannah says:

      I’m not sponsored or affiliated. I just really like their service and it just so happens to be one of few (if not the only one) bus service that has a website in English.

  38. Y&S FOOD! says:

    Amazing video recording! Sitting here at Y&S FOOD! we love to notice this form of content. We produce Travel & Food shows as well, all over the world, and therefore we are continually seeking inspirations and also vision. Thank You.

  39. rudicci says:

    I was wondering where you were little one.
    2 Questions: 1) How “Affordable” ¥5,000 or ¥10k are for an average japanese?
    2) What has been the longest (k)night bus ride you have ever endured? I can barely sleep in my bed. Can’t imagine 6 hours on a hairdryer chair.
    #BeanFamily #WeNeedBlackOuts

    • rudicci says:

      Thanks H! For some youtubing reason I never got this notification. Hope you are good over there little one. #ComeBack

    • Currently Hannah says:

      1. ¥5000 – ¥10,000 for an average Japanese person is fairly… reasonable I think? I’m no expert but I’ve heard Japanese people say that the Shinkansen is expensive but worth it, whereas night buses are a much cheaper option.
      2. The bus to Fukui was almost 12 hours long so I got a lot of work done on that trip (fun fact: it’s actually when I made my channel intro!) and got a good sleep in there too.

  40. ザム says:

    Thank you Hannah. This was very informative and helpful. Tokyo to Osaka in around 6 hours is not that bad. I have taken a bus ride for 8 hours ^_^;;

  41. Misokatsu Pangolin says:

    Some buses have three seats per row divided by curtains for people who feel uncomfortable sleeping next to strangers.
    Some buses also have slippers so you can take off your shoes without your feet touching the floor.
    Some buses that don’t have a bathroom make regular stops at rest stops (even night buses), which might wake up people who are trying to sleep.

  42. Agne B. says:

    My boyfriend and I will be visiting at the start of December, and we still haven’t decided our mode of travel (we definitely considered the JR Rail Pass, since we’re trying to visit as many areas as we can during our time). This is very helpful, thank you!

    • Agne B. says:

      Ah gotcha. Thanks for the input / advice!

    • Currently Hannah says:

      I’d say if you’re doing a lot of travel all over then the JR rail pass is more cost efficient. The night bus is great for an occasional trip.

  43. Krieghandt says:

    LoL, they pick you up around 9 or 10 when you’re not doing anything. Well, if I stayed awake during the day like you do, that might be true 🙂 But night buses sound like a bargain. Tolls being what they are in Japan, renting a car for long trips is not cost effective.

    • Currently Hannah says:

      Haha well I guess it depends how you like to travel. I don’t party very hard so I don’t do much after 10pm haha

  44. Cindy DeMarche says:

    Very helpful information! Love your videos! 💖

  45. Mobster says:

    Another EXCELLENT vid Hannah! Thanks for making the time and effort. You’re a natural. Don’t stop. EVER. NEVER, EVER, EVER. Just. Don’t. Even…. (never)…

  46. hash1z says:

    Hey Hannah, i’d like to ask you something, how well do you speak Japanese?

  47. InMyShoes says:

    Thank you, the video was really helpful! I’m definitely gonna use that bus next year in Japan! 😊

  48. jay d. says:

    Did this from Tokyo to Toyama. Didn’t get to sleep soundly cause the temp. of the aircon was a bit high. the seat was comfy though. Would travel on these again since the price are really cheaper than Shinkansen.

  49. rarefaction curve says:

    Very informative and useful. Thanks, Hannah!

  50. ABC_123 says:

    I never heard of this when it came to traveling by bus in Japan. You always hear about flying and the bullet train. Thank you so much for helpful information! The Willow relax seat looks actually comfy and really like the idea of a head cover. =)

  51. Rockout52 says:

    Hi Hannah, i’ve nearly watched every one of your video’s, much better than any other travel video’s, very addictive. I notice one problem you have occasionally, flat batteries whilst out filming, I recommend you get the Anker PowerCore II 10000 ultra compact portable charger, it will charge all of your devices using USB, it will charge your GoPro up to 7 times, here in the UK its £25, well worth it if your out all day or longer filming. xx

  52. Seth K Johnson says:

    Earplugs? Congratulations on nearly 75,000 subs!😄

  53. Belus Traveller Foreign Once says:

    Great points thank you so much, Excited for Japan, It’s better than walking, 😁, Be Safe Peace Belus Traveller

  54. zedamex says:

    I like how the bus seats just like like adult sized prams/strollers. Turn adult humans into babies!!!

  55. Noevilea says:

    I once had a nice young lady asking me to go visit her in Fukuoka. I wasn’t aware that was a place and thought she was being rude and abusive so I stopped talking to her. About a year later I realized it was the name of a part of an island. I felt like an idiot. I like Asian ladies that`s *LADIES* not “lady-boys:

  56. Larry 306 says:

    You are a special young lady Hanna … Thank you..

  57. ForeverKiah says:

    These are cool. I’m curious though, Do the drivers wake you up when you arrive at your drop off location? How do you make sure you don’t keep sleeping?

    • Abby Rose says:

      I guess you could maybe set an alarm on your phone while you’re charging it next to you?? Though i dont know how polite that is hahaha

    • Currently Hannah says:

      Hmmm I have no idea haha I usually wake up around the time or well before it anyway so I’m not sure but I’m sure they would. They’ve got a list of how many people get off at which stop so they’d probably notice.

  58. Wilson May says:

    Thumb up. Thanks for the tips 😃😃

  59. Kevin Cardoza says:

    Looks like a great option but I’m already eating the JR Pass cost because I’m the type of person who could never fall asleep on a bus and who is a cranky baby if I don’t get a full night’s sleep.

  60. easyifyoutry says:

    wonderful Japan. totally safe bus travel, 2 drivers and I do they still get off the bus and bow to passengers when they get off?

  61. Avocado Pirate says:

    Why can’t they provide that hoody thingy in airplanes? Nice video.

  62. R FlorezD says:

    Good stuff. We are still undecided we there to visit Hawaii or Japan. Everyone says Japan but I dunno.

  63. Gaming Paradise says:

    Do most of the Japanese speak English ?

  64. kijima satoshi says:

    This is really great information for travelers from overseas ! it would be better to introduce also bus station where it is next time because it would not be easy to find for foreigners.

  65. Steve Rowe says:

    You are so cute and informative. Thanks for another great Video!!!

  66. Tom Welfringer says:

    As a tourist you can get the JR Pass, cost about 280€ for two weeks and you can use ALL Jr trains including Shinkansem 😉

  67. CedricHarvey says:

    First from south Africa hay hannah much love please give some tips for my channel I started 2017 but i find it hard to grow consistently thanks

  68. Ernest Fiestan says:

    I’m planning to visit Osaka again next year and wanted to go to Tokyo for a day or 2 and I came across willer express (while researching) and taking the night bus saves 1 night at a hotel 🙂 I love this kind of detailed travel tips videos! Thank you so much for making this Hannah 😀 <3

  69. Dirt Diver says:

    4:08 there was no fly, this was post traumatic stress from living in Australia, seek help

    • Noevilea says:

      Go for a swim in that dirt river. Our flys are nothing compared to the hoop snakes and drop bears that help to keep the tourist number down.
      We layer them in vegemite and Whalaa – a feed fit for any starving hoop snake or drop bear. They also tend to home in on that noise that identifies a fresh new feed – *click click oh rook iz ou-of fo-cuss*  Commonly heard taking about Flied lice and bar-b-cue pok.

  70. roddy222 says:

    Good information, especially those on a budget or a family, the night bus would be the way to go. I personally love the shinkansen and work out my “solo” travel plans well before I go to see if buying the JR Pass works out cheaper for my visit. The thing is, you can see a lot of the country from the shinkansen, even if it go’s by really fast. Cheers.

  71. Yumo Fitness says:

    Sleeping anywhere IS A GIFT XDDDDD <3 Thanks Hannah for this <3

    • Noevilea says:

      You got that right. As an insomniac for 38 years I look at people passed out in admiration of their depth of sleep. It creeps people out if they wake up but I don’t go hunting them in their bedrooms to look at them. Just happen to have had a few situation where people have passed out. Sleeping fascinates me. It`s just a pity I cant get my share.

  72. taz kempf says:

    Woah, they are really small seats! Hannah you are like size 10 Australian and are touching the sides of both seats. Not sure how a typical Australia or American would be able to fit in those seats.

    • Currently Hannah says:

      Yeah they are a little narrow for sure. Wide enough for me to lie sideways and spread out a little but definitely not a spacious seat. There are wider options if you need them 🙂

  73. Lin Nyunt says:

    It looks like your end screen doesn’t have your subscribe or other video thumbnails to click on.

  74. Lin Nyunt says:

    Haha, another pocket WiFi plug! 😂

    I have never done the night bus but always wanted to try it. Cheers for the tips. Plus if you are a tourist, it saves you on a night’s accommodation.

    Shinkansen is my favourite way to travel but like you said, it’s super expensive. I’m keen to check out the seishun 18 ticket too.

  75. The Real Syahir says:

    Your introductions…are getting more… uh…

  76. St Myles says:

    Thank you for sharing. I used to take the greyhound bus in the Unite States when i was a kid from Southern California to Washing state. It was a 15 hour ride, but was actually quite fun to visit cousins in Washington. A couple of books and a lunch pack with 4 stops at bus stations. I ate pretty good. Cheers

  77. Wehan van Zyl says:

    But… but… you can’t see the rice fields from the night bus! 😭

    Awesome post, great advice!

    • Calvin Abad says:

      @Currently Hannah Some places don’t want drones in their airspace.

    • Noevilea says:

      Relatives of Orang-Pendak need their private time for sleeping and nocturnal lurve making too. Give them the fields for one night.

    • Wehan van Zyl says:

      Currently Hannah Always with the good ideas! What are the normal rail networks like? Are there still like old school trains (not like steam train old) around, maybe on more rural routes?

    • Currently Hannah says:

      That’s a good point… but you can travel to places that have rice fields to fly your drone over instead! Haha

  78. Andrew Bristoe says:

    sure beats the greyhound !!!!!yes found trains expensive in Japan flights not much more this seems great alternative australia could do with some

    • Currently Hannah says:

      Yeah the flights are cheap but the cost and time taken for the train trip getting to and from the airport makes it not much better than the Shinkansen (in my opinion).

  79. Hedonists Heaven. says:

    Ooh la la la la. 🤩.💓.

  80. renzo roldan says:

    you at 74k subs i started at your channel since 2.6k subs keep going 🙂 love your vids

  81. The World n Us says:

    We used the night buses in Argentina when we travelled for a about 1 month there. It was the best! We saved so much on accommodation and it was so good waking up in a new place ready to explore.

    Yo Hannah, you might want to look into becoming an affiliate for the JR pass. Even though you can’t use it yourself I’m sure you’d do a great job making a video about the benefits of getting one. There are a few websites offering an affiliate program. Here is an article we wrote on if you should buy a Japan Rail Pass.
    You’ll be able to see which affiliate program we used.

    • Currently Hannah says:

      Oh wow I didn’t know they had an affiliate program! I’ll look into it. Thanks for the link!

  82. michael hernandez says:

    Didn’t know you can actually select where you’re picked up and dropped off with those night busses.

    How about doing a video about renting a car in japan? like can a tourist easily rent one?

    Still going tru to your old videos haven’t quite reached the first yet =j

  83. A Julianto says:

    Night bus is one of the best way to travel Japan, I actually able to slept through the ride 🙂

  84. Vito Capano says:

    Lovely as always. Maybe that flying bug was food for that spider on IG?

  85. Tom K says:

    Very helpful Hannah, was not even aware of Japan rail pass, but now I know! Now I just need a cheap one way overnight bus ride from California to Japan!

  86. Filipe Castilhos says:

    Travelling by bus is the best!

  87. ai H says:

    I see sadness

  88. D Beard says:

    How much luggage do they allow? On your trip how many other towns did it stop at to pick up, drop off passengers?
    Great intro.

    • Currently Hannah says:

      Also it stops at about 3 other stops before going on the long trip.

    • Currently Hannah says:

      Not sure how much luggage is the max but I always travel with a carry on luggage suitcase although I’m sure a large suitcase would be fine too.

  89. Red October65 says:

    You went full A Flock of Seagulls there at the beginning

  90. Turner Wright says:

    Are they a sponsor?

  91. markers and memories says:

    Always been in love with Japan… and with your channel 🙂

  92. Matty the Baker says:

    Great advice

  93. えのき says:


  94. Camera 055 says: