I'm organizing few days in Japan and I would like to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto during the night.

In a previous question I asked for a good connection. I finally decided to use an overnight bus.

Does someone know if Willer Express is reliable?

For reliable I mean: can I be sure that the bus will be there or may I lose my money? Do they respect the time-table, at least for the departure?

  • I remember the name of this bus company from looking for buses in Japan, but I'm not sure if I ended up using them or not. I can say that Japanese buses in my experience are extreme sticklers to rules. They shut off ticket sales in advance and you can't buy a ticket if you just show up no matter how much space is on the bus. I can't imagine them ever overbooking or being late for reasons under their control. I found these strict rules incompatible with my travel style in the end. Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 18:28

3 Answers 3


I've not been to Japan, so did some searching for links that may help you decide.

Here's a blog post which provides an in-depth description of what they thought of the service, and it sounded pretty good.

There are video reviews of the bus service on Youtube.

Their first class seats look INCREDIBLE.

And from comments on The Thorn Tree and more, it sounds like the quality of seat depends on the bus (like the first class ones above), but nobody seems to have had a problem with reliability. And this is Japan after all, if you're not reliable, you aren't going to last long....


Willers express services are great . Exactly on time ! They stop every 1-2 hours on the way too ! Great bus .

I was travelling with Willers express recently , see pictures and other info on my post :

Willers Express Bus

  • Your link is not working any more.
    – drat
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 1:10

I totally advise against using their services. Check out the following website:


Simply put, unless your only concern is money and you are fine with unexpected traffic jams, inconvenient boarding locations (10 mins walk from any nearest train station) and being treated rudely simply because you are foreigners (they treat Japanese nicely) then take it.

  • 1
    He asked if they were reliable though, not whether the service was cheaper or rude ...
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 0:56
  • 2
    I've never been treated rudely by Willer Express or any other bus company in Japan. I can't say the same for several other countries. Then again I would consider a 10 minute walk to be short and convenient. Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 4:00
  • I disagree with you. I took this bus from Tokyo to Kyoto and vice-versa. The trip was good and they were kind. The bus stop in Tokyo is 5 min from the main train station. In Kyoto it is just in front of the main trains station.
    – Maverik
    Commented Jul 22, 2013 at 17:03
  • 10 minutes walk was based on Japanese pace without luggage to pull around and if you know exactly where way to head. It feels especially long because firstly, we saw JR bus boarding point to be right in front of the station for Umeda and as the boarding point was not visible from the station, we had to search for it and wasted quite some time because of that. The boarding points that I am referring to are Shinjuku and Umeda. Alighting points are closer to stations though.
    – Kaifei
    Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 22:46
  • Dead link. If you can remember any of the content, you might want to edit it in, otherwise this answer is now pretty much useless.
    – AakashM
    Commented Sep 5, 2014 at 10:10

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