Japan Rail Pass

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The Japan Rail Pass (ジャパンレールパス) is a travel pass for all trains run by the Japan Railway Group (trains indicated by a “JR” before their name).


There are two types of passes for two types of cars, and those cars are divided into two additional groups to cover children and adults. The first car is for the standard car, which is the cheaper of the two. The second type of car is known as the green car, which is the equivalent of a first class car. Passes can be bought on a 7 day, 14 day or 21 day basis, each with varying pricing plans and discounts offered for the 21 day passes over the 7 day passes.

Japanese rail passes are not for residents of Japan. Rather, they are designed to promote tourism, and as such they have some basic requirements, including:

  • A tourist with a temporary visa
  • A national that currently lives in a foreign country and is eligible for that company’s current visa.

While the pass is designed solely for the Japan Rail Group train cars, it does not cover every car. The Nozomi trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines are exempt from the passes, and the sleeping cars, private compartments and hydrofoil ferry service are require additional charges and are not covered by the rail passes.

There are also regional rail passes that have their own differing prices. For example, the Hokkaido Rail Pass comes in 3 and 5 day passes and costs no more than 25,000 yen. The JR East Rail Pass goes on for 5 and 10 days and costs anywhere between 20 and 45,000 yen. There is also a JR West Rail Pass and a Kyushu Rail Pass as well. Regional rail passes are designed for especially short term stays where a longer and more expensive rail pass is unnecessary.

Where to Purchase

You can purchase the Japan Rail Pass at any JR associated travel agency or airline.

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