Alternative Transportation: In some of these places, like Okinawa, Hokkaido, Kamikochi, and near Shirakawago, it may even make sense to rent a car. This is a good idea if you are ordering your pass last minute, or just don’t want to risk forgetting to pack it! The Shinkansen trains stations tend to be HUGE so make sure to budget extra time to get to your train. We always encourage readers to do their own research before making big purchases. Instead, visitors must purchase bus tickets, which can be quite expensive. Another option is to have your JR Pass delivered straight to your hotel in Japan. Budget: Medium, but still trying to be mindful of our spending, Itinerary: Osaka > Mount Koya > Kii Peninsula > Hiroshima > Nara > Osaka > Kanazawa > Takayama > Alpine Route > Matsumoto > Magome > Kamakura > Tokyo**. You should reserve your seats ahead of time at any JR ticket service counter because Shinkansens tend to book up. That means on our two trips to Japan, the JR Pass saved us a combined $1,071. As we explained above, the cost of the 7-day pass is almost equivalent to the roundtrip fare from Tokyo to Osaka. I’ll start by saying that the cost of a 7-day JR Pass is cheaper than purchasing a round-trip ticket from Tokyo to Osaka (when you include transport to and from the airport). You must present this stamp in the JR office to receive your physical Japan Rail Pass. They will look at your pass and wave you through. Lost passes can be returned to a Lost and Found area of the station (yay for kind people!). If you’ve looked at your itinerary and most of the places you’ll be going are not covered on the JR Pass (for instance, you’re traveling only in Okinawa), it wouldn’t make sense to purchase the pass. Language is hardly ever a problem, stations have signs & departure boards in English as well as Japanese… Plus, our passes arrived incredibly quickly, which brings me to our next point... JRail Pass can ship your pass(es) directly to your home. These trains will seem similar to metro trains where you can sit where ever you want on the train. In 2019, we received our JR Pass package in Bali. Roughly the size of California, Japan is a relatively small country, yet it is packed with an uncanny number of places to visit. Our personal opinion: We liked having our JR Pass in hand before our trip, and we activated our pass at the airport. If you have it, you won’t need to pay for individual ticket per journey, which can mean BIG SAVINGS, supposedly. You cannot reserve seats on a local JR Train. Don’t you love that feeling of clicking that “order complete” or “purchase ticket” button? On the Japan Official Travel App, regional trains look just like a local train, but may say “Express Line” or “Limited Express Line”. The simplest way is to say "sue-mee-mah-sen” (sumimasen). This article is a big one, but it has everything you’ll need to know about transportation in Japan. Before your trip to Japan, make sure you know which days and times you’ll be making your longer train journeys, and write down the information so you can easily reserve your seats in person. When you purchase your JR Pass, it’s not as simple as giving your credit card info and receiving a digital Maybe it will be that easy someday! You can then choose the first day you wish to start using it by telling the member of staff. Where to buy the Japan Rail Pass: Our experiences and tips. Japan Rail Pass click here for details: Type: Unlimited travel on almost all JR trains nationwide, including bullet trains, limited express trains, local trains, some JR buses and the JR ferry to Miyajima. JAPAN RAIL PASS, a joint offering of the six companies comprising the Japan Railways Group (JR Group), is the most economical means of travelling throughout Japan by rail. Add in the cost of getting to and from the airport and you’re more than covered. Take a quick look over this list to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself on the Japanese trains! It is your golden ticket around the country and should be treated like it. Purchase the JR pass online here.The convenient way to obtain the ticket. between them is inexpensive at just 1420 yen ($13 USD). Look at your ticket, which has the car and seat number. Responsible and Adventurous Travel on Any Budget. 7. Try to get to the platform early because there tends to be a line for the non-reservable cars. Can I Buy Japan Rail Pass In Japan? As you can see, the longer the pass, the less expensive it is per day. Alternatively, you can choose to have your JR voucher be delivered to your hotel in Japan. However, there are exceptions. Like we said above, it’s only a couple dollars less than the competition. Plus, the pass gives you free access to the JR Narita Express train, which is the fastest way to the airport and costs 3,000 yen ($27.60 USD) each way if you don’t have the JR Pass. Only the original document is accepted. These train passes, good for 7, 14, or 21 consecutive days of travel, will allow you to move around the country effortlessly, and most importantly, economically. Known around the world for being clean, fast and efficient, the trains in Japan are an excellent way to see the country. you do not need to reserve seats for every single train, Best Travel Apps, Japan Travel Apps, Applications, Japan Travel Tips, Travel Blog, Travel Blogging, Make Money online, Make Money Blogging, How Do Bloggers Make Money, Q3, Income report, renting a car will be your best option for exploring Okinawa. Keep your noise level to a minimum. Plus, riding in one of those famous Shinkansen bullet trains is a bucket list experience in itself! And we are here to help. It’s free and super easy to find the right train that will get you to the airport on time. Unless the train is very empty with plenty of seats, don’t set your belongings on the seat next to you. Overall, we were very happy with the service and can highly recommend them to anyone else looking for a trustworthy company that sells JR Passes. Be quiet. Sometimes a LOT of money, so listen up…. You cannot reserve seats on these trains. Even though shipping is fast, things happen, and you don't want to worry about it. We even rode in a non-reservable car from Hiroshima to Osaka and we had to stand in the aisle for the entire hour and a half ride because there were no seats open. The Suica card issued from the Tokyo metro can only be refunded within the Tokyo area. The next thing you’ll need to do is to reserve your seats, which you can do this at the same counter you get your pass. We seek adrenaline rushes, good food, authentic experiences, and adventures off the typical tourist path. We know it can be frustrating handing over a big chunk of money like that before your trip -- our JR Pass was more expensive than our flight to and from Korea, after all! If you’re confused, don’t worry -- we’re about to explain. The Japan Rail pass will possibly save you hundreds of dollars when traveling in Japan. Japan Official Travel App to see how much each train journey will be without the JR Pass. Each reservation you make is free with a JR Pass, so all you need to do is get tickets for the next available train. 14-day Pass: $433 USD, or $30.93 USD per day, 21-day Pass: $544 USD, or $25.90 USD per day. You can receive it either home before you leave or have it delivered to your temporary residence in Japan. Now of course, it’s no news that the country is a relatively expensive destination to go to — but fortunately for us, using a JR pass is one of the best options to take if we want to make the most of our travel budget. Good to know: You can eat on Shinkansen trains! We can either post the JR Pass exchange order to you, or you can collect from our London office. Manners are taken to another level in Japan, and certain things that you might not think twice about could be considered as very rude. When it comes to different vendors, the prices are within dollars of each other. For Americans and many other nationalities, the visa is free if you’re traveling less than 90 days. In many Asian cultures, feet are seen as dirty, and propping them on the seat is considered rude. There are assigned seats in Shinkansens so make sure you’re in the right car, row, and seat. Buying the pass in Japan is only possible at certain train stations and airports and for a limited time (through March 2020). Typically, it is on the left-hand side of the entrance gates, and there will be a person at the booth. But I would rather buy it ahead of time online to give me the peace of mind before a big vacation, and it will save you money for an already pricey trip. As I alluded to above, a JR Pass 7 days in duration costs ¥29,110, and is valid for seven calendar days, starting the day you activate the pass. With your ticket voucher in hand, you’re ready to head off to Japan. Do you have any more questions about how the JR Pass works? Don’t take up excess seats. Tip: Our suggestion would be to book further in advance so you don't freak out as we did! ), and kids between the ages of 6-11 are eligible for a cheaper rate: 7-day Pass: Standard Pass= $137 USD, or Green Pass= $182 USD, 14-day Pass: Standard Pass= $217 USD, or Green Pass= $294 USD, 21-day Pass: Standard Pass= $277 USD, or Green Pass= $382 USD. If your pass is stolen, you might be covered for additional expenses needed to complete your trip, but you will have to file a police report. A JR pass must be used on consecutive days within its allotted timeframe.That means a 7-day pass must be used in 7 days – after that, it will no longer be valid. That's it. Depending on where you’re going, it can be very expensive. If you are planning to travel to Japan, and want to explore this beautiful country by train, then purchasing a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) is a must.. It is possible to buy the Japan Rail Pass in Japan, at certain major stations. Traveling by train is the most convenient and fastest way to get around Japan. If your balance begins to run low on funds, you can always recharge the card at ticket kiosks. The 5 steps of buying and using the Japan Rail Pass is as illustrated in this picture. This is everything you need to know including where to buy the rail pass. You will need to present your exchange order along with your tourist visa (stamp in your passport) at the train station, as explained below. On the Japan Official Travel App, Shinkansen trains have a Shinkansen looking icon and show prices for reserving a seat, but you don’t have to worry about paying this because you’ll have the JR Pass. 2. That doesn't include any other transportation within the cities themselves or traveling to other big cities, which you would have to pay for if you didn't get the pass. This is where you will trade the voucher for your 7-, 14- or 21-day Japan Rail Pass ticket. Buy the Official Japan Rail Pass online from an authorised Australian agent (2020). It is packed with advice that will save you money (and numerous headaches!) Once your online order is confirmed, we send your Exchange Order (JR voucher) by post. Still have a question about the JR Pass? The average delay to a high-speed shinkansen train is measured in seconds. (Here is a list of the JR Exchange offices and hours). Japan has an extensive and very efficient rail network, you can pretty much assume that trains go almost everywhere you'd want to visit. The seats on the train tend to face all one direction, but sometimes they don’t. I don’t think this needs much explanation! We did just that and recorded our findings below to show you how much money the Japan Rail Pass saved us. And when you think about it, even at its most expensive, $39 per day for unlimited train travel isn’t too bad -- especially when you consider some routes are upwards of $100 USD for a single journey. The Japan Rain Pass, more commonly known as JR Pass, is a ticket that allows the holder unlimited use of the JR long-distance train system across Japan. People will have different opinions on whether the upgrade is worthwhile, but we found the regular pass to be very comfortable and just right for what we needed. Second, having ordered it in advance online can be 10% to 20% cheaper than in the stations in Japan where the pass is very limited and expensive. Tip: You may want to consider getting a shorter pass, like the 7-day, and use those days to do the majority of your traveling. Be sure to grab everything you brought onto the train -- trash included -- and take it with you when you exit. If you are a man (or traveling with one), be extra mindful about this. From March 8, 2017 until March 31, 2020 (and possibly beyond that date), it is also possible to purchase the Japan Rail Pass at an increased cost (see table below) at selected major stations and airports inside Japan, including Narita Airport, Ha… So if these are the only two cities on your Japan itinerary, you may not need to purchase the JR Pass. The JR Trains you should reserve seats in are the Shinkansen (bullet) trains that run in between major cities. But the reason why you’re not supposed to be able to get the JR Pass in Japan is to prevent the local people from taking advantage of the pass meant for tourists. Then when you consider that the very cheapest transportation between Tokyo and Narita International Airport costs $9.20 each way, it’s easy to see that the Japan Rail Pass easily pays for itself. (For Americans, you don't need to apply in advance for this visa. Ohhh, so satisfying. So even if you’re only visiting two places, it sometimes does make sense to still get the pass. By the way, going through Japan immigration is one of the smoothest processes we’ve ever had! When you think about it, it’s pretty crazy that foreign tourists get a better deal on the trains than locals! Be sure to look up how much each individual train ticket costs — check on Hyperdia or by plugging in your route to the fantastically user-friendly (and free!) For Osaka, we recommend getting the ICOCA refillable metro card. For most nationalities, including US citizens, it’s free to enter Japan for less than 90 days. The pass can be purchased via the internetor a travel agent outside of Japan. However, if you plan to visit any of the above places (good for you – they are all highly recommended! How can I buy the Japan Rail Pass? It is a good idea, however, to order your pass in advance to avoid any issues. So if you know the dates and times you’ll be traveling from one major city to the next on a Shinkansen, we would recommend booking those tickets at the same time when you exchange your voucher. If you’re traveling to Japan, the JR Pass can be a huge money saver. So buy before you travel, to save money. The Japan Rail Pass can be used only by foreign tourists to Japan. We think travel can be life-changing, and we're here to share our best travel tips & inspiration that'll get you packing your bags! Get info on Japan Rail Pass 2020 prices, class types & itineraries. Here are the main points of this post laid out for you: how to find your Japan Rail Pass price, where to buy the Japan Rail Pass online, how to … Or where to buy the Japan Rail Pass? Koyasan: This area known for Buddhist temple stays and stunning Okunoin Cemetery cannot be accessed with JR trains. for you: For Tokyo, we recommend getting the Suica refillable metro card. Travelers in Japan are eligible for a special pass that gives you unlimited train access at a steeply discounted rate. Buy Online. It’s a convenient, easy to use pass designed for tourists who will be travelling by train in Japan. I told you trains in Japan are expensive. What we paid for the 7-day JR Pass: $273 USD, What we would have paid for transportation without the JR Pass: $463 USD (50,260 yen). They can ship anywhere in the world (or you can have your pass delivered to your hotel in Japan), They have a standard 2-day shipping with free shipping (when the order is over a minimum amount), They have a 24/7 customer service message line, Every purchase comes with a free Japan Guide, JRail Pass has some of the most competitive prices on the market, and is actually the cheapest we’ve found. Kamikochi National Park: Another region that is not connected by JR trains. The trial is scheduled to end on March 31, 2021. Yes! We'll explain exactly when you should purchase the Japan Rail Pass and if it is worthwhile for your route. Again, this is not an exhaustive list of places not covered. You can choose your home or a temporary address during the check-out process. Now it’s about time we introduce you to the Japan Rail Pass (also called the JR Pass). Japan Rail Passes: oatautta / Shutterstock.com. Other than that, it is strictly prohibited. You can purchase this card at certain kiosks at any station. What it boils down to is this: The Japan Rail Pass will likely save you money if you are visiting two or more cities in Japan. Not only do you get unlimited train rides on the famous Shinkansen bullet trains (one of the fastest trains in the world), but you can also utilize some of the local buses, subways and ferries throughout Japan. If it is a busy route, you may not be guaranteed to have seats, but at least you don’t have to pay twice! Chureito Pagoda and Mount Fuji We decided to buy a Japan Rail Pass for our 2 week trip to Japan, since train was going to be our primary form of transportation. So in addition to using our JR pass, we also recommend getting a local transit card in each city. Once you’re in Japan, exchange your order for the REAL pass! ), but there is another perk too: If you misplace a ticket or miss a train you have reserved seats for, you won’t lose any money. This is going to be true of most travelers in Japan. When you land in Japan, you’ll be guided through immigration where you’ll get a tourist visa in your passport. 1. It even works on buses and convenience stores too! Just be mindful of your neighbors and don’t eat anything too smelly. 4. Taxis and buses are a decent way to get around, but renting a car will be your best option for exploring Okinawa. When planning your Japan travel budget, be sure to consider which additional transportation passes you will need in addition to the JR Pass. You’re finally in Japan with the ticket voucher and a tourist visa, woohoo! How much money the JR Pass saved us: We saved $345.50 USD each! The main rule is you need to be a tourist in Japan. Instead, most tourists buy the Hakone Free Pass, which includes all bus, boat, and cable car transportation in the area. The Takeaway: The Japan Rail Pass can save you a LOT of money. You will need to present your exchange order along with your tourist visa (stamp in your passport) at the train station, as explained below. You’ll notice that even super packed trains in Japan are eerily quiet. Considering this, you should divide a JR pass cost by the # of travel days to get a daily average. AND you fly in and out of the same city. During both trips, we had a Japan Rail Pass, and both times it saved us money. However, if you completely lose your pass and you can’t find it, you are out of luck. The exception to this rule is on Shinkansen (bullet trains), which are typically longer journeys. Here’s proof: In 2015, we received our JR Pass package in South Korea. Bonus Tip: Use your J-Rail pass to go from Osaka to Hiroshima on a day trip and explore the highlights of this historically significant city. You fly into Tokyo and fly out of Osaka (or vice versa). You’ll usually see locals eating food, which gives you the signal that it’s okay. Japan Rail Pass, S.L.. All rights reserved. The fastest way to get from Kansai Airport to Osaka is on the Haruka Express. First of all, it’s good to know that you do not need to reserve seats for every single train you plan to take in Japan. Sounds strange, but it’s true. A 7 day Japan Rail Pass. Don’t litter. Order online via our website for our lowest price! This ticket will tell you the departure time, station, car, and seat. The JR Pass is one of our top tips for traveling in Japan on a budget, but we'll be upfront and tell you it is still not cheap. Please wait until you get off at the station. Due to the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, orders containing a JR Pass might experience temporary delivery delays of up to 5 business days. If you plan to spend several days in one area of Japan, the JR Pass may not be worthwhile, as it must be used for consecutive days. But it turned out to actually save us a ton of money. Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route: To travel through this area, visitors must take a handful of different modes of transport, including buses, cable cars, and funiculars, all of which is included in the Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket. We have TONS of resources on travel in Japan and destinations throughout the country. Typically there will be bathrooms in at least every other train car. Explore Japan with a Japan Rail Pass, one ticket for unlimited travel! Before both our trips to Japan (in 2015 and 2019), we ordered passes through JRail Pass (www.jrailpass.com), an official vendor. If you’re looking for a bit more luxury, there is an option to upgrade to the Green Pass, which is just another way of saying “First Class”. However, buying a Rail Pass in Japan is significantly more expensive (a 7-day Ordinary pass costs Yen 33,610 to buy in Japan, compared to Yen 29,650 when bought before you travel). Similar to a city metro, local JR trains stop frequently within the same city. Planning a Japan trip can be time-consuming, but buying a Japan Rail Pass doesn’t have to be. This is one reason why we always travel with insurance. The voucher needs to be exchanged for the actual rail pass once you are in Japan, within three (3) months of when the Exchange Order is issued. The platform ground has markers indicating where your car will stop, so you can wait in the correct spot. Once you complete your purchase online, you’ll be sent a confirmation email with a tracking number so you can follow your ticket voucher (also called an exchange order) delivery all the way to your doorstep. You will then receive a voucher that has to be exchanged to the actual pass inside Japan and within three months of purchase. Are you confused about train travel in Japan? TL;DR — The JR Pass Buying Guide Highlights. This is a discount pass for Japan’s rail system that is available only to tourists. From figuring out the trains to navigating the metro systems and even the local buses, we’re hitting it all! Once your online order is confirmed, we send your Exchange Order (JR voucher) by post. Learn the advantages of the JR pass and if it fits your travel needs, prices, and how to use it for Shinkansen reservations for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and other destinations. 2. Train travel in Japan is really easy. 2. All Rights Reserved. It’s not clear if it will be possible to buy the JR Pass in person after this time period. Sometimes the trains have seats along the windows (subway style) or the seats are two by two, it just depends on the train. More information in our FAQ ), 14-day Pass: $487 USD (vs. $433 USD online, a $54 savings! 6. Be mindful of priority seating. The railway in Japan is internationally known for its 20 000 km length servicing the whole country, its punctuality and speed. I would stick to the list of authorized agents in Dave 148's link. Once you have made the exchange and received your physical pass, you're almost ready to start exploring Japan! Some trains have a couple “Women Only” cars during certain hours of the day (typically during commuting times). A 7-day Japan Rail Pass cost about $273 USD and a round trip from Kyoto to Tokyo cost about $255 USD. We then issue a Japan Rail Pass Exchange Voucher. There are a handful of companies out there, but with any purchase this big, we like to be sure we are going through a reliable, trustworthy source. If Europe has its own famous train pass called as ‘Eurail Pass‘, then so does Japan and it is called as the Japan Rail Pass (or JR Pass).