JR IIdabashi Station Ticket Gates

JR Passes are obtainable to anyone visiting Japan on a brief term tourist visa.  They are a wonderful discount on typical rail travel, but if you don’t have any expertise with Japan’s rail transport technique it is hard to know if you need to have it and which 1 you should get.  To add to the confusion, the numerous regional businesses that constitute JR (JR East, JR West, JR Central, JR Hokkaido, JR Shikoku and JR Kyushu) all have their personal passes.  Each is priced differently and has distinct conditions.  To try and place some of the confusion to rest, we’ll try to clarify the exact situations of the principal JR Pass and that of the two greatest regional firms – JR East and JR West and hopefully give you sufficient information so you can make a decision which one to get.

The JR Pass

Acquire: ACP Rail

This pass allows you free use of all JR trains from Kagoshima in the south to the northern tip of Hokkaido.  You can ride every little thing from the shinkansen (frequently named the bullet train) through to local JR commuter trains and even JR ferries. Note: Pass holders can not use the Nozomi and Mizuho bullet trains, aka the quickest ones. Other bullet trains are ok.  

Rates and flavours

The duration of every pass is the number of days from when it is very first activated – like that day.  There is no option to split up travel – so when you activate it, the clock starts.

Sort Ordinary Green (First class) Purchase
Adult Youngster Adult Child
7 day 29,110yen 14,550yen 38,880yen 19,440yen Click to reserve
14 day 46,390yen 23,190yen 62,950yen 31,470yen Click to reserve
21 day 59,350yen 28,850yen 79,600yen 39,800yen Click to reserve

Where can I get it?

This pass CAN NOT be purchased in Japan – you have to acquire it either on-line or by way of a travel agent before you arrive.

Do I need it?

If you are preparing two inter-city return trips to somewhere like Kyoto to the southwest or Sendai in the north or a single really lengthy trip to Hokkaido or Kyushu then this pass is almost certainly worth receiving.  The standard price tag for a ticket on the shinkansen from Tokyo to Hiroshima return is 37,500yen which is the very same as the price of the 7 day Green Automobile (First Class) pass!

Nevertheless, if you program to invest all of your trip in and around Tokyo, then you virtually certainly do not need to have a JR pass.

If you use it a lot, it is certainly the cheapest (comfortable) way of receiving about.  However, if you are organizing just a single or two trips and you don’t care for the romance or comfort of train travel, then you must verify out the prices and destinations of the low cost airlines.

While you could get a far better view of the country than from the middle aisle of an airplane, the shinkansen does not give the sort of views you would get from a standard train – big parts of the network are either underground or have sound barriers beside the tracks – but you will still get lots of glimpses of everyday Japan. Shink tip: many of the trains have power points accessible so that you can charge your phone and use your laptop. On the Tokaido shinkansen, for example, outlets can be discovered at each and every window seat and at the front row of every car. 

Which one ought to I get?

They’re all a excellent deal compared to typical tickets, but you need to select very carefully since you will not be capable to alter the ticket after you arrive.

The JR East Pass

JR Ticket Gate

Purchase: ACP Rail

The JR East pass covers all JR trains served by JR East.  While you may have believed Japan runs roughly in a north – south axis, according to JR and certainly all Japanese, it’s basically divided into east and west.  If you want precise boundaries, verify their map but it’s essentially the top half of the main island of Honshu which contains Tokyo, the greater Kanto region, the area straight to the north west of Kanto and almost everything above it – all the way to the Tsugaru Straits separating Honshu from Hokkaido.

Prices and flavours

The structuring of the JR East Pass is totally diverse to that of the JR Pass – and has changed lately (there had been much more possibilities and a ‘youth’ ticket before). Now there is only a versatile five-day pass that can be utilised on any 5 days inside a 14 day period.

Type Ordinary Acquire
Adult Youngster
Flexible five day Pass 22,000yen 11,000yen Click to reserve

Where can I acquire it?

Unlike the JR Pass, this can be purchased on the internet prior to coming to Japan, at the Airport on arrival or from key JR East Stations.  In Tokyo, you can choose it up at Tokyo, Shinjuku, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Ikebukuro and Ueno stations.  You should also be able to obtain it by way of your travel agent in the same way as the JR Pass.  It has the same eligibility needs as the JR Pass though, so if you get it in Tokyo you will need to have your passport as nicely as your return air tickets as evidence.

Do I require it?

As with the JR pass, it is excellent if you’re preparing intercity travel.  If you are likely to be based the complete time in Tokyo or a single of the bigger metropolises such as Sendai, you will not need to have this pass.  Also as quickly as you pass into one more JR location – such as JR Central (about Shizuoka and Nagoya) the pass will no longer be valid so you may possibly want to get the JR Pass alternatively.

Which one particular should I get?

There utilized to be different selections but now there’s only one particular.

Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Tourist Pass

This pass is a new offering as of October 2014.

Official internet site: http://touristpass.jp/en/tokaido_sanyo/
The Tokaido-Sanyo shinkansen covers the so-called “Golden Route” (a moniker the tourist bureau keeps attempting to get to catch on, but they’re the only ones that seen to use it) of Japan namely, from Tokyo down to Hakata in Kyushu and all significant points in among. The pass differs from the JR pass in not only the location it covers but also the fact that it permits for use of the Nozomi and Mizuho shinkansen – the quickest trains.

Type Ordinary
Adult Kid
five Consecutive Day Pass 35,000yen  17,500yen

Exactly where can I purchase it?

This pass can not be bought in Japan buy it at choose travel agents overseas ahead of arriving in Japan.

Do I need to have it?

This is a wonderful pass to get if you’re going to hit all the significant stops on a whirlwind Japan tour (Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, a handful of castles, and so forth.) and want to do it the quickest and most handy way achievable.  Just a single round trip to Hiroshima will make this pass worth your although.

JR Kanto Area Pass

Official Website: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/kantoareapass/
The Kanto area consists of Tokyo and the prefectures that surround it. This pass, which should be used on 3 consecutive days, also goes deep into Nagano prefecture – as far as Sakudaira Station (but not as far as Nagano Station) on the Nagano Shinkansen and Jomo Kogen on the Joetsu Shinkansen. The handiest destination is the resort town of Karuizawa. A standard 1-way ticket to Karuizawa from Tokyo fees five,390yen so utilizing the pass to go to Karuizawa for the weekend is great worth.

Kind Ordinary
Adult Youngster
three Consecutive Day Pass eight,300yen 4,200yen

Where can I buy it?

You can get the pass at major stations on the Yamanote Line (Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Ueno, Tokyo, Shinagawa as nicely as Yokohama and both international airports. Unlike the other passes, this is also available to foreign residents in Japan – all you need to have is a foreign passport.

Do I require it?

Don’t get this pass if you’re just travelling about the Tokyo/Yokohama region – buying normal tickets is cheaper. Nonetheless, you’ll get your income back on any trip on the Shinkansen within the Kanto region or on trips slightly additional afield – such as to Nagano, Yamanashi and Gunma.

JR West Passes

GeGeGe no Kitaro

1 of the cool trains you can ride in Tottori Prefecture. Photo by Selena Hoy

Official site: http://www.westjr.co.jp/worldwide/en/travel-data/pass/

The JR West Pass is truly divided into two diverse passes – the Kansai Region Pass and the Sanyo Area Pass.  The Kansai pass covers the region with the main cities and tourist destinations of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Kobe.  The Sanyo pass covers the location to the west of that and involves the main cities of Okayama and Hiroshima.  Perhaps a little confusingly, the Sanyo pass also offers you access to the main stations in Kansai and will even get you to Kyushu.  The Sanyo pass contains the shinkansen even though the Kansai pass does not.

Variety Departure Destination Term of Validity JR Personnel Classification Price
Kansai Location Pass Tokaido – Sanyo Primary Line (Yamashina – Himeji), Osaka Loop Line, JR Tozai Line, Sakurajima Line, Katamachi Line, Nara Line, San-in Major Line (Kyoto – Hozukyo), Kansai Main Line (JR Namba – Kizu), Sakurai Line, Wakayama Line (Oji – Takada), Hanwa Line (Tennoji – Hineno), Kansai Airport LineOsaka Higashi Line 1day Adult two,060yen
Child 1,030yen
2day Adult 4,110yen
Youngster 2,050yen
3day Adult five,140yen
Child two,570yen
4day Adult 6,170yen
Child three,080yen
Sanyo Location Pass Sanyo Shinkansen, Tokaido – Sanyo Principal Line (Shin-Osaka – Shimonoseki), Osaka Loop Line, JR Tozai Line, Sakurajima Line, Kansai Major Line (JR Namba – Imamiya), Hanwa Line (Tennoji – Hineno), Kansai Airport Line and Miyajima Ferry 4day Adult 20,570yen
Kid ten,280yen
8day Adult 30,860yen
Child 15,430yen

Exactly where can I acquire it?

The passes can be purchased either overseas ahead of your arrival or in Japan.  If purchasing in Japan you’ll need to prove that you are a brief term visitor by presenting your passport and air tickets.  Choose very carefully as you can only buy a single ticket – so you cannot come back for far more later!

Do I want it?

The Kansai Pass is a bit different to other passes – the cities and attractions in Kansai tend to be a bit far more spread out than in Kanto, so it the pass actually makes a lot more sense for daily travel than key intercity travel.  The Sanyo Pass even so is similar to each the JR Pass and JR East Pass – if you’re undertaking a lot of travel more than great distances, then receiving the pass is a excellent notion.

Which a single should I get?

For the Kansai pass it genuinely depends on how several days you’ll be moving about.  It’s excellent value for receiving in between the different towns and cities in Kansai

If you travel from Shin Osaka to Hakata (in Kyushu) on a typical Shinkansen, it will price you about 30,000yen return – which is the cost of the 8 day pass.  So if you are undertaking any medium to lengthy distance travel in the region, acquiring the four day pass at the extremely least is a ‘no brainer’.

This guide was initially published in July, 2012 and is up to date as of October, 2014.

Tokyo Cheapo