The Japan Rail Pass also known as JR Pass is only available to tourists visiting Japan. The most common question about JR Pass is – will it be worth the purchase? Here’s a rundown of 6 things you need to know about Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) that will aid you in your trip planning.
- 1 JR Pass should be purchased before your trip
- 2 JR Pass can only be exchanged and activated when you’ve arrived in Japan at one of the Japan Rail Pass offices
- 3 JR Pass is valid to use for consecutive days from your preferred starting date
- 4 JR Pass allows you to have access to the majority of the JR Trains and other commute options including buses
- 5 JR Pass is cost-saving if you’re travelling for more than 1 week and covering different regions on consecutive days
- 6 There are different types of JR Pass depending on which part of Japan you’re visiting
JR Pass should be purchased before your trip
JR Pass can only be purchased and used by non-Japanese national who visits Japan as a tourist. You can purchase them online at https://www.changirecommends.com/japanrail.aspx , at least one calendar day before your collection date (or departure date). Look out for the confirmation email and print a copy as you will need it to exchange for your JR Pass when you’ve arrived in Japan.
JR Pass can only be exchanged and activated when you’ve arrived in Japan at one of the Japan Rail Pass offices
It is important to have your physical passport with you and the printed copy of the Exchange Order so as to collect your JR Pass. Once you’ve arrived in Japan, visit the Japan Rail Office to pick up your JR Pass and indicate the commencement date. The JR Pass is your personal train ticket and it has to be utilised within 30 days of the exchange.
JR Pass is valid to use for consecutive days from your preferred starting date
The Japan Rail Pass validity is calculated in days, not in hours. For instance, if you have a 7- day JR Pass and you start using it on 1st April, no matter the time, this will be counted as day 1 and your JR Pass will be valid until 7th April midnight.
Most JR Passes are valid for consecutive days to use from your preferred starting date indicated on the Exchange Order. The pass remains valid for the given period of consecutive days even if you do not use it daily.
JR Pass allows you to have access to the majority of the JR Trains and other commute options including buses
Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) is a personal train ticket granting you access to most of the major Japan Railways (JR) train lines.
- Shinkansen (Bullet Train), except Nozomi and Mizuho services
- Limited express (特急 Tokkyū)
- Express (急行 Kyūkō)
- Local (普通 Futsū), including Rapid (快速 Kaisoku) and Special Rapid (特別快速・新快速 Tokubetsu-Kaisoku/Shin-Kaisoku) services
- Tokyo Monorail from Haneda Airport to the nearest JR train station
The pass is valid on the local routes of the following bus companies:
- JR Hokkaido Bus Company
- JR Bus Tohoku Company
- JR Bus Kantō Company
- JR Tōkai Bus Company
- West JR Bus Company
- Chūgoku JR Bus Company
- JR Shikoku Bus Company
- JR Kyushu Bus Company
JR Pass is cost-saving if you’re travelling for more than 1 week and covering different regions on consecutive days
Based on my experience, you have to ask yourself how long do you intend to explore each city and region. For instance, if your entire trip is to spend 14 days in Hokkaido, then it is definitely worthwhile to get the 14-day pass. On the other hand, if you are starting in Tokyo before spending another week in Kyoto, then you wouldn’t need a 14-day pass, you can simply get the 7-day pass and activate it when you set off to Kyoto.
(Prices are reflected in SGD$ as of 2 March 2020)
Typically a bullet train ride from Tokyo to Kyoto cost about SGD$170+, so let’s say you’ve purchased a 7-day Ordinary pass and activate it on the day you depart Tokyo to Kyoto, you would achieve cost-saving when you travel to different parts of Kyoto throughout the 7 days. For instance, you could go from Kyoto to Osaka, Nara, Kobe, Nagoya.
Tip: Check out https://japanrail.changirecommends.com/ for the best deals on JR Passes! You can save at least 10% when you purchase from Changi Recommends!
There are different types of JR Pass depending on which part of Japan you’re visiting
You may consider getting Hokkaido regional passes if your trip is entirely within Hokkaido. This grants you full access to the entirety of Hokkaido for a selected number of days. Alternatively, if you intend to visit many different parts of Japan on your trip, you may wish to get the national pass as it covers the whole of the Japanese archipelago.