Shinkansen or bullet train in Japan

Where to buy the Japan Rail Pass

Are you dreaming of exploring Japan and seeing its amazing sights? Do you want to travel around the country without breaking the bank? If you answered yes, then you need to get the JR Rail Pass!

The JR Rail Pass is your ticket to unlimited travel on all JR-operated trains, buses, ferries, and airport transfers. You can hop on and off any JR train, including the bullet train (Shinkansen), and go wherever you want in Japan. You can visit Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and more with just one pass. You can also use the JR Pass to get to and from the airports easily.

The JR Rail Pass is a must-have for anyone who wants to see as much of Japan as possible in a short time. It can save you hundreds of dollars compared to buying individual tickets.

But hurry, you can only buy the JR Pass before you arrive in Japan. You need to order it online and get it delivered to your home or hotel. You can buy it here from an authorized website..

Still not sure if the JR Pass is right for you? Here are some common questions and answers about the JR Pass:

What is a Japan Rail Pass?

The JR Pass is a special pass that gives you unlimited access to all JR-operated trains and buses, some ferries, and airport transfers. It’s designed for tourists who want to travel around Japan easily and affordably. It’s especially useful if you plan to take multiple long-distance journeys between different cities in Japan using the Shinkansen (bullet train). The JR Pass also lets you skip the hassle of buying tickets every time you travel. You just show your pass at the gate and board the train.

Where to buy Japan Rail Pass or JR Pass?

You can buy the JR Pass online from the authorized website here. You need to order it at least a few days before your departure date. You will receive a voucher by mail or email that you need to exchange for the actual pass when you arrive in Japan. You can choose to have it delivered to your home or hotel.

Steps to buy Japan Rail Pass
5 Steps to buy and use the JR Pass

The 5 steps of buying and using the Japan Rail Pass is as illustrated in this picture.

  • It’s important to note that the Japan Rail Pass has to be ordered online before you leave your country. You can have it delivered to your home.
  • What you receive in the mail is not the pass but an Exchange order or Exchange Voucher. This Exchange order cannot be used directly, you have to exchange it for the JR pass once you arrive in Japan.
  • On arrival, after you get the tourist visa stamp in your passport, exchange the voucher for the Japan Rail Pass at any JR East Travel Service Center. You can find one at the Narita International Airport and at Haneda airport in Tokyo. If you are not in a hurry, you can also exchange it later at other JR East Travel Service centers in the city. Remember, you need your passport and the original exchange order for the exchange.
  • Activate the pass when you exchange it. You can choose the date when you want to start using it. However, the start date can’t be more than 30 days away. If you know your plans in advance, you can also reserve your seats at this time. Reserving your seats is recommended as the trains get booked quickly, especially in peak tourist season.
  • Once the pass is activated, you can use the pass on all JR trains and buses in Japan.
  • Can you buy JR Pass in Japan?

    No, you cannot buy the JR Pass in Japan. You need to buy it online before you arrive in Japan. This is because the JR Pass is only available for tourists who are visiting Japan on a tourist visa for a maximum duration of 90 days. You need to show your passport and your voucher when you exchange it for the pass in Japan.

    Types of JR Pass

    There are two types of JR Pass: ordinary and green. The ordinary pass gives you access to standard seats on all JR trains. The green pass gives you access to first-class seats on some JR trains. The green pass is more expensive but also more comfortable and spacious.

    There are also different durations of JR Pass: 7 days, 14 days, and 21 days. You can choose how long you want your pass to be valid depending on your travel plans. The longer the duration, the more money you save.

    With the Green Pass, you have access to separate First-class carriages, extra-wide seats, more luggage space, and more privacy. Depending on the train, you’ll also get free amenities like drinks, Oshibori hand towels, and candy. The Green Pass is helpful during the peak tourist season, especially during the Golden Week in Japan, when the trains are very busy.

    Where can you use the JR Pass?

    You can use the JR Pass on almost all JR-operated trains, buses, ferries, and airport transfers. This includes:

    • All Shinkansen (bullet trains) except Nozomi and Mizuho
    • All limited express, express, rapid, and local trains
    • All Tokyo Monorail lines
    • All Narita Express trains
    • All Haruka Airport Express trains
    • Some ferry services such as Miyajima ferry
    • Some bus services such as local lines and highway buses

    You cannot use the JR Pass on:

    • Non-JR trains such as subways, private railways, and trams
    • Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansen (the fastest bullet trains)
    • Some reserved seats on some trains
    • Some sleeper trains

    Is the JR Pass Worth it?

    The JR Pass is definitely worth it if you plan to travel around Japan and visit multiple cities. It can save you a lot of money compared to buying individual tickets. For example, a roundtrip ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto costs approx. $200, but a 7-day JR Pass costs approx. $223 USD. That means if you take two long-distance trips with the JR Pass along with roundtrip from Narita airport to Tokyo, you already break even. And if you take more trips, you save even more money. You can also book your seats in advance for no fee. Just hop on and off any JR train as you please.

    That’s not all! you also enjoy the comfort and speed of traveling with the JR Pass. You can see more places in less time and with less hassle. You don’t have to queue up for tickets or worry about missing trains. Just show up with your pass at the gate and board the train.

    The JR Pass is one of the best investments you can make for your Japan trip. It made my own trip more enjoyable and affordable. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to see as much of Japan as possible.

    14 Day Japan Rail Pass Itinerary

    I have compiled a 14 day Japan Rail Pass Itinerary based on my own trip experiences. Here is a link to the e-book on Amazon. If you are subscribed to Kindle Unlimited, you can even read it for free. The e-book contains detailed instructions on how use the JR Pass to travel to different cities in Japan. It has a detailed 14-day itinerary with links to Google Maps to guide you through out. Have a look and leave me a positive review if it helps you plan your trip.

    If you are convinced that the JR Pass is right for you, don’t hesitate and buy it from the authorized website here.. You won’t regret it!

    I hope this blogpost has helped you understand what the JR Pass is and how it can benefit you. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. I’d love to hear from you!

    Happy travels! 😊

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