How to buy and use JR Pass in Japan – step by step guide
What is the JR Pass?
The JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass) is a special pass that allows travelers to use the Japan Railways Group (JR) trains at a discounted price. This pass is only available to foreign tourists and can only be purchased outside Japan.
How to buy a JR Pass?
Purchase the JR Pass voucher before your trip to Japan. You can buy it from authorized travel agencies or online.
Once you arrive in Japan, exchange the voucher for the JR Pass at a JR Exchange Office.
How to use the JR Pass?
- Activate the JR Pass by exchanging the voucher for the actual pass at a JR Exchange Office.
- Show the JR Pass to the staff at the ticket gate before entering the platform.
- Reserve a seat on certain trains, such as the Shinkansen, by visiting a JR Ticket Office and presenting your JR Pass.
- When boarding the train, show the JR Pass to the staff and find your reserved seat or an empty non-reserved seat.
- Remember to validate the JR Pass at the platform by holding it in front of the automatic gate or showing it to the staff.
- When arriving at your destination, pass through the ticket gate and show your JR Pass to the staff.
What trains can be used with the JR Pass?
The JR Pass can be used on most JR Group trains, including the Shinkansen (bullet train) and local trains.
The JR Pass cannot be used on private railway lines, subways, and buses.
Some trains and routes may require a seat reservation fee, even with a JR Pass.
What are the different types of JR Pass?
- Ordinary Pass: Can be used for both first and second-class seats on most trains.
- Green (first-class) Pass: Can only be used for Green Car (first class) seats on certain trains.
- Ordinary (one-way) Pass: It can be used for first- or second-class seats on most trains, but it is only valid for one-way travel.
Are there any restrictions on the use of the JR Pass?
- The JR Pass is only available to foreign tourists and is not valid for Japanese citizens.
- The JR Pass is only valid for a certain period, such as 7, 14, or 21 days.
- The JR Pass cannot be used for specific trains and routes, such as the Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansen trains.
How much does the JR Pass cost?
The cost of the JR Pass varies depending on the pass type and the validity duration.
As of Jan 2021, a 7-day Ordinary JR Pass costs around $250, a 14-day pass around $450, and a 21-day pass around $600.
How to make the most out of your JR Pass?
- Plan your itinerary and use the JR Pass on the most expensive train routes.
- Please take advantage of the JR Pass’s flexibility and use it to travel around different parts of Japan.
- Make seat reservations in advance to avoid disappointment.
- The JR Pass can also take local trains and buses, so use it to your advantage.
- Be aware of the JR Pass’s restrictions and plan accordingly.
How to exchange the JR pass?
It would help if you exchanged the JR pass voucher for the actual pass at a JR exchange office.
You can find the exchange office at major airports and train stations in Japan.
How to renew the JR pass?
The JR Pass cannot be renewed once it has expired. If you wish to continue using the JR trains, purchase a new JR Pass or individual train tickets.
Can I use the JR Pass for other transportation options?
The JR Pass can only be used for JR Group trains, including the Shinkansen and local trains. It cannot be used for private railway lines, subways, and buses.
Are there any discounts available for the JR Pass?
No official discounts are available for the JR Pass, but it may be possible to find special deals or promotions through authorized travel agencies or online.
Can I use the JR Pass for travel within Tokyo?
The JR Pass can be used for travel within Tokyo but not for subways or buses within the city.
Can I use the JR Pass to travel to other cities outside Japan?
The JR Pass can only be used for travel within Japan rather than for travel to other cities or countries.
Are there any additional fees or charges associated with the JR Pass?
Some trains and routes may require a seat reservation fee, even with a JR Pass. Additionally, there may be additional charges for particular services or facilities, such as baggage storage or Wi-Fi access.
The JR Pass is an excellent option for foreign tourists looking to save money on train travel in Japan. Proper planning and use can help you make the most of your trip and explore different parts of Japan. However, it is important to know the pass’s restrictions and limitations and plan accordingly.
Shinkansen – how to use the train
The Shinkansen, also known as the “bullet train,” is a high-speed railway system in Japan that connects major cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. It is known for its punctuality, comfort, and speed, making it a popular transportation option for tourists and locals.
If you are planning to take the Shinkansen, here is a step-by-step guide on how to purchase and use your ticket:
Step 1: Choose your destination and departure station
Before buying your ticket, you must know your destination and departure station. The Shinkansen operates on several lines, each with different stations and destinations. Make sure to check the schedule and the route to ensure that you are taking the correct train.
Step 2: Decide on the type of ticket
There are several types of tickets available for the Shinkansen, including Ordinary, Green car tickets, and Round-trip tickets, that allow you to take the Shinkansen to your destination and return to your departure station on a specific date. Flexible tickets allow you to take the Shinkansen on any date and train within a certain period.
Step 3: Purchase your ticket
You can purchase your Shinkansen ticket in several ways:
- At a ticket office: You can purchase your ticket at a ticket office located at the station. It would be best to arrive early enough to buy your ticket before your scheduled departure time.
- Ticket machines: There are ticket machines located at the station; you can purchase your ticket by selecting your destination, type of ticket, and payment method.
- Online: You can purchase your ticket online by visiting the official website of the Japan Railways Group.
Step 4: Board the train
Once you have your ticket, it’s time to board the train. Look for your ticket’s platform and tracking number and board the train accordingly.
Step 5: Validate your ticket
Before boarding the train, you must validate your ticket by inserting it into a ticket gate. The gate will automatically stamp the date and time of your departure.
Step 6: Enjoy your ride
Once you have boarded the train, find your seat and enjoy the ride. The Shinkansen is known for its comfort and speed, so you can sit back and relax while you travel.
Step 7: Exit the train
When you arrive at your destination, collect your belongings and exit the train. If you have a round-trip ticket, keep it as needed for your return journey.
And that’s it! Following these steps will make buying and using a Shinkansen ticket a breeze. Remember that arriving early and checking the schedule before you go to the station is always recommended. Also, remember that ticket prices vary depending on the destination, time, and class of travel, so make sure to check the prices and plan your budget accordingly.