Japanese trains often get all the love, but we’re a fan of their buses too. And if you’re keen on living the slow life while also experiencing the Japanese countryside, boy do we have the perfect activity for you. The Yagi-Shingu Bus, which has been in operation since 1963, is Japan’s longest local bus route. Making a total of 168 stops throughout its 6 and a half hour journey, the bus travel close to 170 km, or roughly 100 miles, all without riding any highways.
There are only three buses per day that travel the Yagi-Shingu route and the first one departs at 9:15am from Yamato Yagi Station in Nara. The bus then slowly makes its way south down Nara prefecture and into Wakayama prefecture, arriving at its final destination, Shingu Station, at around 3:47pm.
The Yagi-Shingu Bus makes a total of 3 bathroom breaks along the way, where passengers can get off to stretch their legs and pick up some local delicacies, or even explore and catch a later bus. For example, at the Gojo Bus Center you can score a local specialty called kakinoha-zushi, which is particularly beautiful in the fall.
The official website also recommends getting off along the way at Hotel Subaru (for their natural hot springs) or Totsukawa Murayakuba (also for hot springs but also a museum featuring local folklore). Of course, we recommend riding the entire bus in a single day, which by-the-way will cost you 5350 yen.