JAPAN RAIL PASSINFO - TIPS - ROUTES
A Travel Guide For The Japan Rail Pass.
The Japan Rail Pass offers great value for money for those who want to get to know this unique country full of breathtaking landscapes and its extraordinary culture. It is a cost-effective way to travel on Japan’s extensive rail network, while enjoying the diverse landscape that passes by.
What is the Japan Rail Pass?
The Japan Rail Pass (also called JR Pass) is a highly discounted multi-ride ticket valid on all trains on the JR network, including the Shinkansen high-speed trains and Narita express trains. You can choose between a 7, 14, or 21-day total validity.
Who can use the Japan Rail Pass?
Everyone except Japanese citizens living in Japan can use the Japan Rail Pass. There are certain special regulations for citizens living outside Japan.
Where can I use the Japan Rail Pass?
The Japan Rail Pass is valid on all JR Express trains, all express and local trains on JR lines, JR regular buses, the JR Miyajima ferry, and airport transfers such as the Narita Express and Haruka Express. All Shinkansen high-speed trains are also included, except for the Nozomi and Mizuho trains.
The Japan Rail Pass can be used on 7, 14, or 21 consecutive days in Green Class (1st class) or Standard class. The Japan Rail Pass is offered by the six companies of Japan Railways Group (JR Group), including
- JR Kyushu
- JR Shikoku
- JR West
- JR Central
- JR East
- JR Hokkaido
The Japan Rail Pass can also be used for the Tokyo Monorail.
These Shinkansen high-speed trains can be used with the Japan Rail Pass:
- Tohuku Shinkansen
- Kyushu Shinkansen
- Joetsu Shinkansen
- Nagano Shinkansen
- Yamagata Shinkansen
- Akita Shinkansen
- Sanyo Shinkansen
- Tokaido Shinkansen
- Hokuriku Shinkansen
You can travel either in Standard or Green Pass/ First Class.
The green-colored cars, aptly named “Green Cars”, are characterized by a four-leaf clover next to the entrance doors on the side of the 1st Class car. Usually, the doors are located at the front of the train, so they are always easy to find. Advantages of the JR Rail Green Pass are:
- A spacious and comfortable seat in the air-conditioned carriages of all JR lines. All you have to do is reserve your seat free of charge in advance (you can do this the same day or the day before)
- Spacious carriages in the insulated front section of the trains which are more comfortable than Standard Class
- Complimentary Oshibori (small towel, which can be warm or cold depending on the season) are sometimes offered
- Free drinks & magazines
JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)
With the JR EAST PASS, you can travel between Tokyo and the northeast of the main island. Unlimited travel throughout the Tohoku area, including the use of the 5 Shinkansen Super Express Lines (also known as Bullet Trains). The JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) allows you to travel on 5 days within the 14-day period from the date of issue (flexible 5-day use).
JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)
The JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) is ideal for travel between Tokyo and the central area of the main island. You can travel indefinitely within the entire Nagano, Niigata area, including the use of the 4 Shinkansen Super Express Lines (also known as Bullet Trains). The JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) allows you to travel on 5 days within the 14-day period from the date of issue (5-day flexible use).
Hokuriku Arch Pass
With Hokuriku Arch, you travel between Tokyo and Osaka, including popular stops such as Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Kansai, Fukui, Kanazawa, Toyama, Haneda, and Narita. The Pass allows you unlimited travel between Tokyo and Osaka as well as the stops in between, including the use of the Hokuriku Shinkansen. You can use the Hokuriku Arch Pass for 7 consecutive days from the date of issue. The date of the issue refers to the collection date for the passes purchased abroad.
Hokkaido Rail Pass
You can travel on all JR Hokkaido trains (except the Hokkaido Shinkansen) and visit major destinations such as Sapporo, Hakodate, Otaru, and Asahiyama. With the Hokkaido Rail Pass, you can use all JR Hokkaido trains (except the Hokkaido Shinkansen). This includes reserved and unreserved seats in regular class on JR Hokkaido Express, Express trains, commuter trains, and special trains (limited express/express/commuter). The Hokkaido Rail Pass allows you to travel on 3, 5, or 7 consecutive days or 4 flexible days within 10 days.
Shikoku Rail Pass
With the Shikoku Rail Pass, you can travel around the small island, which is known for its 88 temples and beautiful landscape. The Shikoku Rail Pass includes travel on all trains. The Shikoku Rail Pass can be used on all six railway lines in Shikoku, including reserved and unreserved seats on express and scheduled trains on the JR Shikoku Line and Tosa Kuroshio Line, Iyotetsu Line, Tosaden Line, Asato Line, and Kotoden Line. With the Shikoku Rail Pass, you can travel on 3, 4, 5, or 7 consecutive days.
Kyushu Rail Pass
Kyushu is Japan’s third-largest island and lies southwest of the main island Honshu. With the Kyushu Rail Pass, you can discover destinations all over Kyushu. The Kyushu Rail Pass can be used on limited express trains of Kyushu Railway Co. in normal reserved and non-reserved seats, and on normal trains of Kyushu Railway Co. in the area designated for the Pass. The Kyushu Rail Pass allows you to travel for 3, 5, or 7 consecutive days.
Northern Kyushu Rail Pass
Kyushu is Japan’s third-largest island and lies southwest of the main island Honshu. With the Northern Kyushu Rail Pass, you can explore destinations throughout the northern part of Kyushu. The Northern Kyushu Rail Pass can be used on limited express trains of Kyushu Railway Co. in normal reserved and non-reserved seats and on normal trains of Kyushu Railway Co. in the area designated for the Pass The Northern Kyushu Rail Pass allows you to travel for 3 or 5 consecutive days.
Southern Kyushu Rail Pass
Kyushu is Japan’s third-largest island and lies southwest of the main island Honshu. With the Southern Kyushu Rail Pass, you can explore Southern Kyushu and its many attractions. The Southern Kyushu Rail Pass can be used on limited express trains of Kyushu Railway Co. in normal reserved and non-reserved seats and on normal trains of Kyushu Railway Co. in the area designated for the Pass. The Southern Kyushu Rail Pass is available as a 3-day Consecutive Pass.
ROUTES FOR THE Japan RAIL PASS
Japan’s Culinary Delights
How does it work?
1. Order: Order your passport in just a few steps. The standard delivery time is two working days. You can buy the Japan Rail Pass in different ways:
- At a foreign representative office of Japan Rail
- Over the counter in Japan
After the successful receipt of your order, you will receive an e-mail confirmation including a tracking number. If you click on the link in this e-mail, you will have access to all relevant delivery information such as the delivery date and delivery time.
2. Reception: Print the Japan Rail Pass voucher because you will need a physical copy of the JR Pass voucher to exchange it in Japan.
3. Redeem: Visit one of the Japan Rail exchange offices in Japan. Exchange the voucher for the current Japan Rail Pass.
4. Start of travel: You can now discover Japan on the national JR trains of your choice. Automatic entrance barriers have been installed at many JR stations. When passing through the automatic entrance barrier, insert the JAPAN RAIL PASS into the ticket insertion slot at the entrance of the barrier. After passing through the barrier, the Railpass is issued again at the other end.
With the Japan Rail Pass, you can use regional bus lines of JR bus companies (except some local lines), such as:
- JR Hokkaido Bus
- JR Bus Tohoku
- JR Bus Kanto
- JR Tokai Bus
- West Japan JR Bus
- Chugoku JR Bus
- JR Shikoku Bus
- JR Kyushu Bus
The use of the Miyajima Ferry (JR-WEST) is also included in the Japan Rail Pass.
Children receive a 50% discount on the price of a standard or Green Pass/ First Class ticket. The discount applies to children between 6 and 11 years of age. Children under 6 travel free of charge if they do not occupy a seat and are accompanied by an adult holding a Japan Rail Pass.
Good to know
All Japan Rail Pass holders can reserve a seat on the JR train of their choice. However, the reservation must be made in advance (before boarding the train).
Free internet access is available at many stations.
Mobile vendors on some Shinkansen, express and other trains sell “Ekiben” lunch boxes (with local Japanese specialties), snacks, and drinks. These are often also available in shops in stations and many stations have a selection of restaurants and vending machines.