Japan Rail Pass

If you’re traveling in Japan by Train, you should consider getting the Japan Rail Pass.

The rail system in Japan is very different from Australia.  There are private trains, and private rails – it’s not all a single network.  There are sometimes multiple tracks between two locations, owned by different companies.

A lot of the tracks are owned by Japan Rail, which is where the Japan Rail Pass comes in.

How it works

This pass allows unlimited travel on Japan Railways tracks.  If you plan on doing some train travel, this can be very cost effective.

There are a few types of pass available – for example, a 7 day consecutive pass would be great for a traveling holiday, where you go from city to city each day.

I went with the JR-East 4 day flexi pass.  This let me get from Tokyo to Nozawa Onsen, and back again when I left, without paying for the trains.  I had two days in between for day trips & sightseeing.

How to get a Japan Rail Pass

The pass is only available to foreigners on a temporary visitor visa.  You have to purchase the pass from outside Japan, and you will receive an Exchange Order.  You can swap this for the actual pass after you arrive in Japan.

The exchange can be made at a few major stations, including Narita Airport when you first arrive.

You can arrange the pass through your travel agent, or you can purchase it online.