Japan has one of the best railway networks anywhere on the planet. It’s clean, fast, frequent, reliable and with the purchase of the JR (Japan Rail) Pass it can also be affordable too. Unfortunately many travellers make the horrible mistake of discovering that you can only purchase the pass in your own country. It’s next to impossible to Purchase once you arrive in Japan. Armed with this useful knowledge you will be able to avoid this frequent traveler mistake and bag yourself a bargain.
But is the pass worth it?
If you’re just planning on visiting Tokyo and areas around, you won’t make much use out of the pass. However if you plan on creating an adventure around the land of the rising sun over a period of 3-4 weeks then the pass can be a very handy tool to use on your travels.
For example the cost of the cheapest pass is the equivalent of one return bullet train tickets from Tokyo to Kyoto (£185). Taking that trip alone on the slow train (an extra 45 minutes with two added stops which is included with the pass) has already covered the cost of the ticket. Then you have the rest of the week to explore Japan. Trains are very expensive in Japan, especially the direct high speed bullet trains so being able to purchase the pass is a real money saver move if you plan on exploring.
Travelling Japan by rail can be an attraction in itself and is a preferred method of travelling by many Japanese. The trains look like spaceships and feel like they travel at the speed of light. Not only this but allot of facilities evolve around the stations themselves such as the famous pod/capsule hotels and 24 hour internet cafes. The Food that is sold on the trains is an experience as well as it varies depending on which location you are in. They will serve only the local traditional meals from the area the train departed from and they will serve the food in lunch boxes called Bentos.
With a JR pass your free to roam where ever you please, from the cold mountains of the north right down south to the sandy beaches of Kyushu. Here are some examples of places you can visit:
Tokyo, Kyoto, Sapporo, Nagoya, Osaka, Hakata, Hiroshima, Nikko, Kanazawa and even Narita Airport transfer is included.
The pass allows you to access free ticket reservations at all stations with a booking desk. This allows you to plan ahead for your next train trip as well as receiving a handy itinerary of your route, which can help with all the language confusions.
Not only this but the pass gives you access to a few of the sleeper train services such as the sleeper train up north to Hokkaido so you can visit such places as Sapporo. This saves you the cost of one night accommodation and you can wake up fresh and ready for your next city to explore.
You have an option of 3 alternative passes to choose from,
The price low down:
7 Days: £192
14 Days: £307
21 Days: £393
How do you buy the JR pass?
Step 1, make sure you’re not in japan
Step 2, purchase the pass in advance before you travel to Japan to avoid delays
Step 3, you can purchase the pass from this Link: Japan Rail pass
The JR Pass will arrive in the post and will look something like a passport. All you have to do is arrive in Japan, show your pass along with your passport to a ticket desk and they will activate your pass for you. Very Simple and easy to use. Then you can use the rail system to go where ever you so fancy as much as you want until the days run out.
So if you’re planning on making Japan your next vacation destination, be sure to make it an adventure with the JR rail pass.