Japan Rail Pass is usually the best rail pass for any budget traveler in Japan. It allows unlimited travel on all JR (national rail) trains all over Japan, including the Shinkansen (bullet) trains. 7, 14 and 21 day passes are available. Perfect if you are here on a 1-3 week holiday. Be sure to check out transportation guide for more passes, such as regional and local ones.
The pass can also be used for the JR Ferry to Miyajima and local JR buses (not highway buses).
What does it cost?
7 days: 29110 yen / $262 / £190 / €211
14 days: 46390 yen/ $418 / £303 / €352
21 days: 59350 yen/ $535 / £388 / €450
When can I use it?
Is it worth it?
You start to save money after a few rides of the Shinkansen, so this pass offers excellent value for money if you want to go to many different places over Japan. Great if you want to visit places like Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka and/or Hiroshima all in one holiday.
If you are looking for something cheaper and don’t want to go all over the country, try the Seishun 18 pass. The Willer Bus Pass is a much cheaper option if you want to visit many place far away from each other.
What are the rules?
- You cannot use on non-JR (national rail) trains, apart from a few private lines that connect to isolated JR lines. There is sometimes a surcharge for these.
- Only available to people with Tourist Visas,
- When riding a Shinkansen train with the Japan Rail Pass, you need to reserve seats. This can be done at the Shinkansen ticket office of any JR station with Shinkansen services.
- The pass cannot be used on the super fast Nozomi and Mizuho trains, plus ‘Liner’ commuter trains or highway buses.
Where can I buy it?
Having used them many times before, we would recommend APC Rail:
How do I use it?
Activating a Japan Rail Pass differs according to who you buy it from, so check with the company you purchased from. You are usually given a slip which you then take to a JR train station, then exchange for a pass (you will need to show your passport). You can exchange at Shinjuku, Shibuya, Tokyo and Ikebukuro stations, as well as major airports.
Once you have your ticket, just show it to the station staff at the ticket gates and they will let you in. They will sometimes stamp the pass.