The JAPAN RAIL PASS is the most economical way to travel throughout Japan by rail. Please be aware, however, that some restrictions apply. The pass is not valid for "Nozomi" or "Mizuho" trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines.
The Japan Rail Pass is a discount ticket allowing unlimited rail travel throughout Japan over a 7, 14 or 21 consecutive day period. It is available in either an Ordinary (coach class) or Green (first class) version. Because Japan Railways has 12,400 miles of track, it is possible to travel almost anywhere in the country by train. The Japan Rail Pass can provide you with convenience and great savings if used wisely, but it is a discount ticket and some restrictions on trains do apply. There are no restrictions on date or season. Please read the information below. Also note that there is no similar pass available within Japan.
If you are traveling with any Japanese friends or family, or any non-Japanese people not entitled to use the pass, they will have to purchase full-price tickets or look for any excursion discounts available in Japan.
There are two types of JAPAN RAIL PASS: Green (for superior-class Green cars), and Ordinary. Each of these types is available as a 7-day, 14-day, or 21-day PASS.
Effective April 1, 2014
|7-day||38,880 YEN||19,440 YEN||29,110 YEN||14,550 YEN|
|14-day||62,950 YEN||31,470 YEN||46,390 YEN||23,190 YEN|
|21-day||81,870 YEN||40,930 YEN||59,350 YEN||29,670 YEN|
The above are yen ( or ~) prices for a JAPAN RAIL PASS Exchange Order; the actual cost in local currency is calculated at the time the Exchange Order is issued. Note that the purchase exchange rate may differ from the exchange rate in effect when you actually visit Japan.
The local currency price, applicable exchange rate, and issue date for an Exchange Order are specified on the Exchange Order itself. PASS prices for children apply from age 6 to and including age 11. Prices are subject to change. The applicable price is the price valid on the date when an Exchange Order is issued
|Price comparison (Japanese Yen)|
|Via Tokaido Shinkansen "Hikari"||Return ticket
during regular season
|Japan Rail Pass
|Tokyo - Kyoto - Tokyo||27,200||29,110|
|Tokyo - Osaka - Tokyo||28,280||29,110|
|Narita Airport (*1) - Kyoto - Narita Airport||32,760||29,110|
|Narita Airport (*1) - Osaka - Narita Airport||34,560||29,110|
|Tokyo ? Hiroshima (*2) - Tokyo||37,120||29,110|
(*2) Via Tokaido Shinkansen gHikarih & gSakurah
Unlike some airfares, the price of Japan Rail tickets is always very closely related to the distance traveled. The key to getting the best savings from a Japan Rail Pass is to maximize the distance you travel. It does not matter if you use a seven-day rail pass for only two or three days of actual travel as long as you do enough long-distance train travel during those days. For example, if you travel from Tokyo to Kyoto one day, from Kyoto to Hiroshima on a second day, and back to Tokyo on a third day, you will have very good savings with a seven-day pass even though you are using only three days out of seven. On the other hand, if you travel extensively only in the area between Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka over a two-week period, you will probably not be traveling far enough to have any savings with a 14-day pass even though you may travel on more than seven days.
The Japan Rail Pass is available to travelers entering Japan on a non-Japanese passport for short term stay with no special visa. For a complete description of this limitation please see the main Rail Pass site. It is very important to note that Japanese citizens resident abroad can use the Japan Rail Pass under either one of two conditions: permanent residency status in a foreign country, or marriage to a foreign national (. It is up to the individual Japanese citizen to present full proof of his/her status when buying the rail pass and exchanging the Rail Pass voucher in Japan.
All trains operated by the Japan Railways Group are included with only a few exceptions. The extensive Shinkansen "bullet train" network is fully covered with the exception of the "Nozomi" or "Mizuho" type train (see below). All JR Limited Express and Express trains to cities such as Kanazawa are also covered. In addition, thousands of local trains both in cities and rural areas are included. You may see references in older materials to 'ferries.' Before the construction of the Seikan Tunnel to Hokkaido and the Seto Bridge to Shikoku, these islands were linked by JR Ferries, but these have been replaced by train links. Only the small Miyajima ferry near Hiroshima is presently included.
At present, the Japan Rail Pass does not cover "Nozomi" or "Mizuho" type Shinkansen "bullet trains" on the Tokaido/Sanyo lines connecting Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Hakata (Fukuoka) and other cities. There are however many Hikari and Kodama Shinkansen trains on the same lines so you can travel freely with a rail pass. You should be aware though that long trips between Tokyo and Hiroshima or points further southwest (Fukuoka, Nagasaki etc.) may take a little longer than with "Nozomi" or "Mizuho" trains. If you want to use a "Nozomi" or "Mizuho" train, you will have to pay full price for tickets.
The Japan Rail Pass is available in 7, 14 or 21 consecutive day lengths. This means that the pass begins the first day of its validity period and then continues uninterruptedly. There are no "black-out" dates for holidays or weekends. The pass is by date, not by time of day, so if you start using it in the evening, that will still count as a full day. At present, there is no type of flexi-pass allowing so many days within a month. But you do not have to use the pass every day, only when you want during the validity period. As long as you travel enough long-distance you will have savings.
Please be careful to note the refund policy for the Japan Rail Pass exchange voucher and the rail pass itself. If you have an unused Japan Rail Pass Exchange Voucher, you can get a refund from us in USA. There is usually a one-year period and 10% handling charge plus our handling fee. If you exchange the Voucher and receive the Rail Pass, you cannot obtain a refund after the effective date stamped on the pass. If the effective date is later than the day of exchange and you decide you want a refund you can take the pass to an official exchange point in Japan and receive a refund in yen minus a 10% handling charge. Once the validity date begins you CAN NOT REFUND the rail pass. Also note that both the exchange voucher and the rail pass are like cash: there is no refund if they are lost.