As an English Teacher working in Japan I move around by train. I used to drive my car around however found that in most cases the trains are faster and much, much cheaper.
Most train companies (perhaps all now) offer monthly rail passes or Teiki as they are known here. The railways do of course also sell single tickets for single rides however if you are using the same line to move between the same places on a regular basis the monthly pass is the way to go. As an example of just how cheap and useful these I offer my own ICOCA rail pass for you to think about. I pay 11,970 yen for my monthly Japan rail pass.Whenever I want to catch the train to work I just scan my pass and enter the station. My pass allows me to make unlimited trips, for a period of one month, back and forth between Kyobashi in Osaka and Kawanishi in Hyogo. It also allows me to get on and off the train at any destination between those two locations. Fast, convenient and cheap.
I teach English at two schools. One is in Osaka, Fukushima and the other in Osaka, Kyobashi. I am lucky that Fukushima is accessible by the same line as Kyobashi and that I pass Fukushima to go to Kyobashi. Therefore I buy a Teiki to travel between Kawanishi (my home station) and Kyobashi then I can use the one rail pass to both of my English teaching locations.
The money this pass saves is amazing. Let’s look at this week. Monday I took the train from Kawanishi to Fukushima to greet people in front of the station and offer them some advertising material. A single ticket for this trip is 320 yen. Then I move from Fukushima to Kyobashi to do the same work. This trip would have cost 130 yen. Then I came back to Fukushima to lock up the school. 130 yen. Then I went back home for an afternoon nap, 320 yen. That evening I went to Fukushima to teach English conversation, 320 yen and back home again after I finished another 320 yen. Total for the day 1540 yen. I did the same trips on Tuesday and Wednesday. Today I did not do the morning run and so will only have 320 each way going to Fukushima English school and home, so 640 yen today. As such had I had to buy single tickets, one at a time, this week I would have already spent 5260 for four days. Therefore in 4 days I have recovered 44% of the initial 11,970 paid for the pass. Now this month has 30 days and I can use this pass even on my days off so you can imagine just how much this Teki will save me over a month.
It takes a little bit of time to make the application at the station yet I assure you the Japanese rail Pass system is fantastic.