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Japan Rail Pass

Japan Rail Pass

Travelling by rail will start and complete your holiday experience in Japan. Shinkansen or "Bullet trains" have become a symbol of modern Japan, as they deliver the fastest, most sophisticated and most reliable rail network in the world.

7-day Ordinary Pass cost is around £216. To discuss your travel plans and find out which Pass would be the best for you, please call our sales staff on 020 8548 9309, or contact us to arrange call back.

There are also three other Japan Rail Pass covering smaller areas:

  • The Japan East Pass covers Tokyo, Nagano, Niigata, Sendai, Morioka, Misawa & Akita
  • The Sanyo area pass covers an area including Osaka, Himeji, Okayama, Hiroshima & Hakata
  • The Kansai area rail pass covers Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara & Himeji

And costs only around £15 a day, a pretty good deal.

Japan Rail Pass prices:

Duration 7-day 14-day 21-day
Ordinary 28,300 45,100 57,700
First class ("Green") 37,800 61,200 79,600
*all prices in Japanese yen.

Current prices in GBP:

Travel Validity Adult Child
7 consecutive Days £289.00 £216.00 £144.00 £107.00
14 consecutive Days £469.00 £345.00 £234.00 £172.00
21 consecutive Days £611.00 £442.00 £305.00 £220.00


What is a Japan Rail Pass?

The Japan Rail Pass is exclusively designed for tourists and must be purchased outside Japan.
It allows unlimited travel on the national Japan Railways (JR) network and affiliated buses and ferries.
Passes are available in two classes covering the periods of 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days, starting from your first day of travel with Japan Rail.

  • Green (First Class)
  • Ordinary (Economy Class)

The Pass is an excellent value for money as the 7 Day Ordinary Pass costs the same as one return ticket between Tokyo and Kyoto.

Who is eligible for the Rail Pass?

  • Foreign tourists visiting Japan for sight-seeing with Temporary Visitor entry status. Your passport must be shown at the time of presenting the Exchange order for the Rail Pass, so that your immigration stamp can be checked.
  • Japanese nationals who can show they have residency abroad can buy and use the main Rail Pass for travel throughout Japan. The Regional Passes, which are only valid for certain parts of the Japan Rail network, are not available to Japanese nationals, even if they are residents outside Japan.

If you are travelling to Japan and you are holding a work permit or student visa, you will not be eligible for a Japan Rail Pass.

How to purchase a Japan Rail Pass?

Japan Rail Pass cannot be purchased inside Japan. You MUST purchase a Japan Rail Pass Exchange Order from an authorized sales office or agent prior to your trip. You will need to present the following to an authorised Japan Rail (See: Stations with JAPAN RAIL PASS exchange office) office in order to obtain the actual Japan Rail Pass:

  • Japan Rail Pass Exchange Order
  • Passport - showing the Temporary Visitor visa that was stamped on your passport when you entered Japan

How long is the validity period?

The validity period of a JAPAN RAIL PASS is 7, 14, or 21 consecutive days of travel beginning on the date the Pass is first used. Within three months from the date the Exchange Order was issued, it must be exchanged to obtain your actual JAPAN RAIL PASS. At that time of validation, you have to specify the date that you want to start using the Pass. It can be any date within one month from the date the PASS is received. Once the Pass has a starting date written on it, the date cannot be changed.

Where can I check train timetable and routes?

Hyperdia is a website that offers the best way to check for train times, routes and will also provide you with detailed information about your journey which includes changes, times and the regular cost of your journey. Please visit http://www.hyperdia.com

What restrictions are there?

The Japan Rail Pass is valid on all JR operated trains and the Shinkansen bullet trains with following exclusions:

  • any private train lines such as Odakyu or Kintetsu
  • overnight trains and the Metro underground network
  • one class of bullet train called "Nozomi".

What is Nozomi?

The main line which runs from Tokyo to Hakata in Kyushu is referred to as the JR Tokai Line. It operates three classes of bullet trains. These are Hikari, Kodama and Nozomi. Nozomi stops at only the largest stations while Hikari at large and medium and Kodama stops at all stations. JR Pass is not valid for the Nozomi trains, but it is valid for an unlimited use to both Hikari and Kodama.

What are "Green" Passes?

The Japan Rail Pass is also available in a "Green". These green carriages are located on most trains in Japan. Green pass holder can enjoy the comfort of the First Class passenger seat. A green class JR Pass is recommended for long train journeys.

What delivery options do you offer?

Your Japan Rail Pass Exchange Order can be collected from our office, otherwise, it will be delivered to you through the following options:

  • Royal Mail Special Delivery, Domestic - a standard option which guarantees next day delivery. This delivery requires a signature so someone will need to receive the item. This service does not offer delivery on a Saturday.
  • Royal Mail International Signed For, International - a standard overseas delivery service. Please note that Royal Mail Track and Trace is not available to this service. The estimated delivery time is between 5 and 10 days, but this can vary with individual countries and the frequency of the postal service available.

Who can Use the Regional Passes?

The regional Passes are only intended for use by travellers entering Japan on a NON-Japanese passport with "Temporary Visitor" entry status.

There are also three Regional Japan Rail Passes covering smaller areas.

  • The Japan East Pass covers Tokyo, Nagano, Niigata, Sendai, Morioka, Misawa & Akita
  • The Sanyo area pass covers an area including Osaka, Himeji, Okayama, Hiroshima & Hakata
  • The Kansai area rail pass covers Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara & Himeji

General tips:

  • Please show the Pass to a Station Officer at the ticket gate. Do not use an automatic ticket-reading gate with a Japan Rail Pass.
  • Caution: Please note that during crowded periods, seats are not guaranteed on a specific train.
Japan Rail Pass Exchange Order

Japan Rail Pass is a great value for money if you plan to travel around Japan.
It is valid to use on all Japan Railways (JR) lines and Bullet Trains except Nazomi Trains.

The periods when seat reservations are particularly difficult to secure are as follows:

  • December 29 to January 5 - The New Year holiday period is the most frequent travel time for Japanese people.
  • April 29 to May 5 - Due to consecutive holidays, Japan is busy for leisure and recreation.
  • August 13 to 15 - The "O-bon" season, another traditional time for travel to hometown areas.

Making seat reservations:

Shinkansen (Bullet trains) and most Limited Express and Ordinary Express trains have reserved Green Car seats (First class) and both reserved and non-reserved Ordinary Car seats (Standard class).

For a non reserved seat, simply show your Japan Rail Pass to board. Reserve seat by visiting any Travel Service Centre or reserved-seat ticket office called "Midori-no-madoguchi" at a Japan Railways station in Japan.

JR East have opened their new internet rail seat reservation system which allows travellers to make advance seat reservations for all JR East Shinkansen (Bullet trains) as well as certain JR East Limited Express trains.

This system allows JR Pass holders, JR East Pass holders and also non-pass holders to make seat reservations.

To make a reservation, travellers have to enroll as a member (sign-up is free). Then check the types of trains and specific times, and reserve seats. Travellers are required to collect their tickets when they arrive in Japan (at any location specified by East Japan Railway Company within the JR East area).