Travel, Teach, Live in Japan
Transportation in Japan is generally expensive, and traveling around Japan could be a big part of your budget. If you are up for it, a good way to save both your money and your time is using a night bus. Night buses are popular with travelers who are on a limited budget, or backpackers. It's cheaper than bullet trains (although JR passes are quite worth it, if used enough), but more importantly, it saves hotel expenditures, as well as the time spent lodging statically.
For the luxury traveler there are executive night buses as well. These provide reclining seats that are very comfortable to sleep in. Every seat is also equipped with a private television, and some buses facilitate internet access. These buses are not as cheap, but remember that you would still be saving on the hotel and time.
However, if you are looking to hang on to every penny (after all, Japan is not a cheap destination), and wish to keep transportation expenses at a minimum, there are less expensive night buses too. After all, sleeping in a night but is not that different from sleeping in an economy seat on a plane - think about how long your flight is to Japan. If you are good with economy seats on airplanes, and do manage to somehow fall asleep, you do not need to worry about missing your stop. The night buses have 4 to 5 scheduled stops in the area before reaching their final stop. The bus conductor informs the passengers which stop it is as well.
Booking tickets in advance and/or online could provide further discounts - usually up to two percent. Ticket sales often begin one month prior to the departure date. It's usually a good idea to book in advance anyway, since these buses can fill up quickly.
Some bus companies in Japan include Kansai Bus and Star Express.
Josh Shulman, Author of All-You-Can Japan www.smartjapantravel.wordpress.com