Heading to Japan? The Japan Rail Pass is a special ticket that is available only to foreigners, and provides unlimited travel on trains operated by Japan Railways Group companies, including Shinkansen bullet trains.
In this complete guide, we share how to purchase and use the JR Pass and where to buy JR Pass for the cheapest price. We include recent changes, tips for traveling by train with kids and more…
Where to buy the Japan Pass for the Cheapest Price?
Our recommended website for you to purchase your Japan Rail pass for the cheapest price is JRailPass.com.
With RailPass.com you can buy your Japan Rail Pass for the lowest price online – a direct purchase, including fast and free delivery and a travel guide throughout Japan using the rail system. It's definitely the best site to purchase the cheapest ticket to travel on Japan JR Bullet Trains.
JRail pass price 2023:(Standard/First Class)
7 Days – 214/277 $
14 Days – 330/448 $
21 Days – 422/555 $
Please notice that when you buy your JR Pass online you'll receive an Exchange Order which you can swap for a JR Pass when you arrive in Japan.
Some F.A.Q's about JR Pass
What is Japan Rail Pass valid for?
The Japan Rail Pass ( known as JR Pass) is a multi-use ticket which offers incredible value for money.
JR Pass is valid for journeys on all JR national trains including Shinkansen bullet trains and Narita Express trains. Passengers can select a pass which is valid for 7, 14 or 21 days and there is the option of Standard Pass or a Green Pass (first class).
Order your JR Pass online and you will receive an Exchange Order which you can swap for a JR Pass when you arrive in Japan.
What does the JR Pass include?
The JR Pass includes using the whole Japanese rail network including the bullet train connecting most major cities and the islands of Honshu and Kyushu at up to 300 Km/h.
The JR pass also includes the Narita Express – connecting Narita airport to Tokyo, The Yamanote line, surrounding Tokyo, free use of circle lines that run between the main attractions in Hiroshima, ferry rides from Hiroshima to Miyajima, and a free travel guide based on railways.
Is it worth purchasing the JR Pass?
It's often worth buying a JR pass, since travel costs in Japan are very high, but it's important to plan your route in advance and calculate the cost of every individual ride and the overall number of rides. Such a calculation can be done via Rome2Rio. For example, if your plan is to make one ride from Tokyo to Kyoto, your costs would be 100-150$, which are cheaper than a 7 day pass (230EU), However just one more ride would make purchasing a JR pass more sensible.
How do you use the Japan Rail Pass?
After you’ve received the Japan Rail Pass you must carry it with you. In order to validate it, you’d need to present the voucher that you’ve gotten in the main registery on the first train station you visit and convert it to the pass itself. The pass will be stamped and dated, after which you can start using it. The pass is valid from the time it was stamped and up to the number of consecutive days you’ve ordered, it is impossible to split the traveling days per need.
From the moment you’ve received the pass, you can show it at the entrance of each train station of the national rail network and travel freely on all the trains.
Additional JR transport is also included in the ticket, such as roundabout busses in Hiroshima, the shuttle to Miyagima and the subway line Yamanote, which circles inside Tokyo. The full details of what the pass includes are in the tour guide that comes with the pass voucher. Note that the pass allows unlimited train entry dependent on available space.
In order to ensure you’ll have a seat on the line and at busier time is it very important to order seats in the train station, preferably in advance. All seats can be booked at once for all the train journeys if everything is planned and of course everything is subject to railway changes.
Are there additional passes for the Japanese transportation system?
Aside from the popular Japanese train company JR, which encompasses most of Japan, there are local and cheaper passes. The feasibility of which should be checked when focusing on visiting a certain area. For example, if the Kansai area pass includes Kiyoto, Nara and Osaka, Hokkaido area pass, Shikoku Island pass, Eastern Japan pass and more…
It could be beneficial to calculate the exact cost of those travels in advance, check the prices of the individual passes and decide accordingly whether to purchase the local passes or the all railway networks inclusive pass.
How can you lower the cost of the Japanese train tickets?
Planning your trip אם Japan in advance allows to minimize train travel time. It’s recommended to plan the trip in one of the cities so that you wouldn’t need the Japan pass, validate it from the moment you finished the visit in a city so to shorten the pass period, If you’re finishing the trip in a big city or use the pass for daily travel from the big city and then dedicate the rest of the time to visit the cities attractions at the end of the trip.
For example, you can start your trip with 3 days in Fukuoka and stamp your pass on the third day, on the day of travel to the next destination, and use it for the rest of the planned time. So that at the end of your trip, if you go to Tokyo for instance, you can use the rest of the pass to travel freely on the Yamanote line that circles the city, visit the main attractions and even leave the city and go on day trips to Kamakura and Yokohama.
Is it possible to send the JR Pass ticket to Japan?
Yes, it is possible to order the JR Pass and send it to any address in Japan. You can get the ticket from the hotel reception during your check-in.
How can you pay for the JR Pass ticket?
You can pay for the pass with all the commonly used payment methods: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal. The full payment options are mentioned on the JR Pass ordering form.
How do you receive the Japan Rail Ticket- JR Pass?
Your JR Pass ticket, that was purchased on the JR Pass website, will arrive by mail courier within 2 working days. We’ve received our tickets by DHL who contacted us by phone and came to our workplace in 4 days.
Is it possible to deliver the ticket to Japan?
Yes, it is possible to mail the Japan Pass to a temporary address in Japan. You’d need to mention this option when ordering the voucher and enter the exact address of the hotel you’d be staying at in Japan. This way, you can get your ticket at reception while checking in.
Do you have to use the ticket on consecutive days?
Yes, the days that the ticket will be in use have to be consecutive and for that reason should make sure that you’re starting to use the pass only when you travel a few days in a row.
We’ve started our trip in Fukuoka and only at the end of our visit to the city, after four days in Japan, we’re converted our voucher and started using the pass. We’ve planned our trip this way in order not to waste any days on our JR pass.
Is it possible to change the days on the Japan Rail Ticket?
Is it possible to order seats on the trains even with the Japan Pass?
Yes, and it is very recommended. Ordering the pass doesn’t grant seats on the train. On busy lines or at busy times, it’s better to order seats prior to arriving to the train station.
You can pre-order your seats for all your trips in order to save times and not stand in lines, which can be long, especially in peak times and at the large and busy stations like Tokyo or Kyoto.
Does the train ticket include all trains across Japan?
No, the JR Pass ticket includes the use of the national railway network of Japan- JR, which covers most of the areas in the country. With that, there are areas that are covered by local trains, such as the trains traveling from Tokyo to Nikko, from Matsumoto to the Kamikochi Nature Reserve, from Fukuoka to Yanagawa Canal Town and Dazaifu Tample City and other private lines. Keep this fact in mind when calculating the feasibility of purchasing a train ticket.
A possible JR Pass itinerary in Japan for tourists
Here's a possible JR Pass itinerary for tourists in Japan:
Day 1 – 3: Tokyo
- Use the JR Pass to take the Narita Express train to Tokyo Station
- Visit popular Tokyo attractions such as Tokyo Tower, Meiji Shrine, and Shibuya Crossing
Day 4: Hakone
- Take the JR Pass to Odawara Station
- Explore the Hakone area, including the Hakone Open-Air Museum and Lake Ashi
Day 5 – 6: Kyoto
- Take the JR Pass to Kyoto Station
- Visit popular Kyoto attractions such as Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kinkakuji Temple, and the Arashiyama bamboo forest
- Explore the traditional streets of the Higashiyama district and the geisha district of Gion
Day 6 – 7: Hiroshima
- Take the JR Pass to Hiroshima Station
- Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, as well as the nearby island of Miyajima with its famous floating torii gate
Day 8 -9: Osaka
- Take the JR Pass to Osaka Station
- Visit popular Osaka attractions such as Osaka Castle, Dotonbori, and the Umeda Sky Building
- Take a day trip to Nara to see the famous deer and temples
Day 10 – 11: Return to Tokyo
- Use the JR Pass to take the Shinkansen back to Tokyo
- Spend the last day shopping and dining in Tokyo before departing
Note that this itinerary is just a suggestion, and you can customize it to suit your preferences and interests. The JR Pass allows for flexible travel throughout Japan, so you can easily adjust your plans as needed.