JAPAN RAIL PASS: How to Buy and Use

JAPAN RAIL PASS will save your travel money in Japan

JAPAN RAIL PASS will save your travel money in Japan

The most budget way to move around Japan is trains with Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass). Japan Rail Pass is offered by Japan Railways Group. With the pass, you can far move by Shinkansen bullet trains to the north areas such as Hokkaido and Aomori, to the middle areas including Kanazawa, Osaka, and Kyoto and to the south areas like Fukuoka.

Of course, it does’t need any extra fee to take JR trains around Tokyo and other areas.

*Please note that this article contains affiliate links.

▽Are you wondering if Japan Rail Pass is totally worth?▽

▽Get Japan Rail Pass online here!!▽

If you plan to make a round trip to Osaka from Tokyo, there is no option but to get the Japan Rail Pass. The rate of a round trip to Osaka and Tokyo by bullet trains will be about JPY30,000. But the pass for 7 days costs almost the same. Your trip will need more trains from a city to another. Additionally, it is valid for buses run by JR. It’s very reasonable!!

For example: “Golden Route” for foreign visitors

Tokyo to Kyoto by HIKARI or KODAMA Shinkansen: JPY13,600

Kyoto to Osaka by normal trains: JPY560

Osaka to Hiroshima by HIKARI or KODAMA: JPY10,230

Hiroshima to Tokyo by HIKARI or KODAMA: JPY18,560

TOTAL: JPY42,950

If you visit Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima for 7 days, Japan Rail Pass for 7 days (JPY29,110) saves JPY13,840 at least.


See the rail map you can use with Japan Rail Pass:

Check the Nationwide Rail Map

For Shinkansen Bullet Trains


How Much?

Green (superior-class Green cars)

7 days: JPY38,880/19,440(Child)

14 days: JPY62,950/31,470(Child)

21 days: JPY81,870/40,930(Child)


7 days: JPY29,110/14,550(Child)

14 days: JPY46,390/23,190(Child)

21 days: JPY59,350/29,670(Child)

*Child rates apply to 6–11 years old children

*The validity period of JAPAN RAIL PASS is the consecutive 7, 14, or 21 days period beginning on the date the PASS is first used.


How to Get Japan Rail Pass

1. Purchase an exchange order in YOUR country

You needed to purchase an exchange order for the Japan Rail Pass at travel agents or sales offices in your country before, but it is possible to buy JR Pass online now!!

▽Get Japan Rail Pass online here!!▽

Check sales offices in your country

A part of spots in Japan will start to sell Japan Rail Pass from 8th March, 2017. However, if you buy it in Japan, it will be a little more expensive that those in your country.

The sales offices in Japan:

Tokyo Station/Shinjuku Station/Narita Airport Terminal 1/Narita Airport Terminal 2・3 Station/Haneda Airport International Terminal Station/Osaka Station/Kansai International Airport Station/New Chitose Airport Station/Sapporo Station/Sendai Station/Niigata Station/Yokohama Station/Nagoya Station/Hiroshima Station/Takamatsu Station/Hakata Station

2. Hand in an exchange order to receive your Japan Rail Pass

This is one of the first things to do after arriving at Japan. There are Japan Rail Pass exchange offices in major JR stations. I recommend to get the pass at your arrival airport station. Note that it is required to hand the exchange order within 3 months after you buy it.

Check exchange offices all over Japan


How to Use Japan Rail Pass

Seats of Shinkansen and most express trains are divided into 3 types: reserved Green Car seats, reserved ordinary seats and non-reserved seats. You can take a non-reserved seat and a seat of normal trains by just showing your Japan Rail Pass to staff.

To get a reserved seat, you can make a seat reservation at ticket offices in stations named “Midori-no-madoguchi.” A part of trains including NOZOMI and MIZUHO cannot be used with Japan Rail Pass and require an additional fee.

It may be difficult to guarantee your seats during these crowded periods:

April 27 to May 6 (Consecutive national holidays)

August 11 to 20 (Traditional travel season to hometown areas)

December 28 to January 6 (New Year’s holidays)

Save your money and priceless time with Japan Rail Pass and pay for what you really want to do:)

▽You can book more useful and budget passes online!!▽

▽Check out the new pass for unlimited train and bus rides in and around Tokyo for 3 days▽

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I'm writing by my motto: helping travelers spend their limited time experiencing something priceless in Japan. My articles won't let you down! Living in Tokyo and traveling many popular and hidden sites all over Japan, I deliver well-selected and latest tourist information to you from the perspective of “100% Japanese local”. My specific interests are island hopping, eating countless bowls of ramen, watching anime and reading manga. Enjoy Japan Web Magazine for recommended food spots, hidden gems Japanese Otaku (geek) culture, and everything about Japan :)