Japan Australia Pages

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Japan Rail Pass

Japan’s rail services are one of the best in the world. They are extremely efficient and go just about everywhere in Japan. If you plan to do a lot of travelling in Japan then you should consider the Japan Rail Pass. The pass allows for unlimited travel on the national JR network, including the shinkansen (bullet trains) excluding the Nozomi superexpress.

This pass can only be purchased outside of Japan and will save you travel money in Japan.

If you plan, like most tourists to travel the Golden Route of Tokyo – Kyoto – Osaka – Hiroshima it is well worth looking at this pass. You must be travelling in Japan under the visa status of “temporary visitor” to be eligible.


The pass must be purchased outside of Japan, and once in the country, be validated at a JR Travel Centre (located everywhere in Japan). When validated, reservations can be made at any Green Window at major stations.

The Japan Rail Pass comes in two varieties, one for each class of service, Standard (普通車) and Green car (グリーン車) also called first-class. The pass is time limited with three time periods available.

Japan Rail Pass Prices 







Note: Children aged 6-11 travel at half the above prices

Check out the Japan Rail Pass website for more details and information.

If you already live in Japan then you might want to check out one of the regional area passes such as the JR Kanto Area Pass

I’d love to hear from you if you have used any other passes and can recommend them to our followers. Please leave a comment below.

26 comments:

  1. This is one of the best travel deals for tourists, provided - as you say so clearly - you plan to travel a lot.

    Also be careful that you don't activate it too soon, for example, don't use it for local travel in Tokyo itself. Wait until you really start heading towards the horizon. ^^

    I wish foreign residents in Japan could buy it too! Lucky tourists! :(

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Rurousha, That's a good tip! Don't activate it straight away unless you are planning a long distance trip. Have you looked at the JR Kanto Area pass for for residents in Japan? It is a pretty good deal :)

      John

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    2. JR Kanto Area Pass? I didn't know about that! I just know the (also excellent) Seishun 18 Kippu. OK, let me go Google! ;)

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    3. No need to Google, I've left a link above, which explains the JR Kanto Area Pass and has all the details.

      John

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  2. Yes, it's a great deal. It's too bad that I live here and can't get one (^_^)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Thomas, Yeah, it can save you serious money, especially on those long distance trips. There are some good regional passes for those who live in Japan. Have you looked at any of these?

      John

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  3. Thanks for the info. amazing deals. I'll be checking deals for the regional passes. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Steve, There are some great deals to be found. Definitely keep an eye out for those regional passes.

      John

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  4. Apart from JR pass, there are other regions passes that offers great deals too, esp if one doesn't plan in covering different regions in one visit.

    JR pass is a very good deal. The only downside for us (if you can call it that), is that we tend to go overboard in trying to milk all its worth out of the pass and cover a lot of places... like taking a midnight train from Osaka to TOkyo then off to Hakodate. ;p

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    1. Thanks Lina, Yeah, I know what you mean. You always want to get the most out of the pass. The regional passes are good and there are new deals happening all the time. You just need to keep an eye out for them :)

      John

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  5. I`m with Rurousha on this one ... lucky tourists! I`ve never had the privilege of using a rail pass and really wish I could. Anyway, they are a great way to save money and they make travelling around the country so much easier. But as you pointed out JA, we do get the regional passes, which is a little better than nothing ... /sigh!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Rohan, The regional passes are a good option for those of us living in Japan. Some other good ones are:

      JR Seishun 18 Kippu, which allows for unlimited travel on local and rapid (kaisoku) JR trains nationwide.

      Kansai Thru Pass, which allows for unlimited travel on non-JR trains, subways and buses in the Kansai region (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe).

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  6. I'm still unsure which pass to buy.. I'm in Japan for 14 days but my main travel dates are within 7 days (Tokyo>Kyoto>Osaska>Tokyo).

    Tokyo - 4 days
    Kyoto - 2 days
    Osaka - 2 days
    Tokyo - 6 days

    Is it better for me to

    1) Buy the 14-day JR pass and use everywhere?

    or

    2) Buy the 7-day JR pass to do the main bit of our travelling (Tokyo>Kyoto>Osaska>Tokyo) and then buy tickets separately for travel within Tokyo?

    Also, are the first class JR passes worth it??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Beau, The Japan Rail Pass is best for long distance trips. Travel within Tokyo would be better with a one-day JR train pass for 730 yen (about USD$9). First Class will more than likely guarantee you a seat and a bit more leg room, but standard class is very good.

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    2. Thanks for the info, you've made my decision easy! :)

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    3. Not a problem Beau, All the best for your trip and please feel free to stop by any time :)

      John

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    4. I'm currently in Kyoto and using my 7day JR pass to get between major cities :) I did grab a 1 day pass last week to go to akihabara. Thanks for your help again!

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    5. No Worries, Beau, Glad to help and its good to see that you are enjoying Japan. The one day passes are good for the major cities. How was your experience on the bullet train?

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  7. It will really help the travelers if they are acquainted on these means of transportation. It is more convenient to ride a train since there is no hassle and traffic. Japan rail pass can be considered by the travelers.

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    1. Thanks Danica, It definitely is a must if you plan on doing a lot of travelling in Japan.

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  8. Hi & Help!
    I am just going to Tokyo - 5 days there - what should I buy to get around?

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    1. Hi Danielle, We were in Tokyo about 2 weeks ago and just got around with a one day JR pass on the Yamanote Loop line for about 730 yen, or via the subway. We stayed in Asakusa, which is not too far away from most of the hot spots.

      John

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  9. Hi John, great post! I know how hard it can be to quickly and succinctly explain the JR Pass system. On our site we developed a nifty little map (on our Japan Rail Pass Page) to help explain the different passes. As you might guess we get a lot of questions about the JR Pass. If you have a similar question to Beau above then it's almost always better to get the JR Pass than local tickets. There are also JR East, JR West, JR Hokkaido, JR Shikoku passes (and more). BTW, I'd be happy to answer any follow up questions :-)

    Cheers,

    Christian Thurston
    JTB Australia

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Christian, Appreciate the positive feedback and thanks for the extra info :)

      John

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