Return to Life in Japan section


How much does it cost to buy or rent a bicycle?

The price will depend on the type of bicycle you’re thinking of buying, its condition, where you’re buying or renting it from, etc, and can range anywhere from 45,000 to 20,000 yen and higher.

I am thinking of buying/renting a bicycle. Where is the best place to go?

There are any number of different options available to you. You may either buy or rent a bicycle from any one of the bicycle shops in the local area. You can also buy or rent a bicycle from ALC (please ask before arrival) or ask a fellow classmate. Many students when they leave ALC entrust their bicycles to friends to sell to new students. Be sure to check around.


How do I book a taxi in Japanese?

I want to book a taxi. What number should I call?
What happens if I don’t have a mobile phone or a contact number to give them?
The operator does not know the names/location of ALC accommodations. What should I do?
I would like to book a taxi from my accommodation to the Station. How do I say that in Japanese?

If you need to book a taxi, please use one of the taxi company telephone numbers provided on arrival. We usually use a company called Meitetsu. Our staff are available to assist.


I don’t speak any Japanese. Will I be able to get around and use the trains?

Almost all trains and train stations in Aichi have signs in both Japanese and English. Other English information includes schedules, track information, destinations, etc. On all Shinkansen trains, as well as on an increasing number of local trains, automated announcements regarding the line you’re riding, its destination(s) and other useful information made in both Japanese and English.

Are there any special rules I need to pay attention to while riding the trains in Japan?

With the exception of Shinkansen trains, where you can eat, drink or smoke (smoking is allowed only in designated cars), try to refrain from doing any of this on other trains. Nobody wants to have something accidentally spilled on them, or be forced to smell what you’re eating. If you have a cell phone, switch it to Manner Mode (silent/vibrate) while riding on the train. Also, if you’re sitting in a priority seat for the elderly or disabled, which are located at the ends of the car and very clearly marked, be absolutely sure to offer your seat to those who they are intended for.

Is there some kind of train pass available for routes between Nagoya and Okazaki?

You do have the option of purchasing a pass that will allow you to travel between two stations, in increments of either one, three or six months, however, these passes are geared more towards daily commuters, and unless you’re planning on traveling long distance on a daily basis, these passes are not necessarily cost effective.

What station do I have to go to in order to transfer to a Shinkansen train?

Depending on where you’re headed in Japan, you can transfer at either Mikawa-Anjo, Nagoya or Toyohashi station. If you’re going in the direction of Kyoto or Osaka, transfer at either Mikawa-Anjo or Nagoya station. If you’re going in the direction of Tokyo, transfer at Toyohashi station. Please note that the Nozomi, the fastest Shinkansen, does not stop at Toyohashi station. If you wish to take the Nozomi to Tokyo, you’ll have to double back to Nagoya station and board a Nozomi there.

What do I do if the ticket machines are already closed? How do I buy a ticket home?

Some smaller stations sometimes close their ticket machines and have no staff while the trains are still running. In that event, after you board the train, if one of the train conductors walks though the train, let them know the station you got on, and where you’ll be getting off. They can sell you a ticket on the spot. If you don’t see a train conductor before you arrive at your destination, simply walk up to the gate and let the station staff know which station you came from and pay there. It is really easy, and good language practice.

Return to Life in Japan section