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5 Reasons Why The JR Pass Is A Traveller's Best Friend

Highlights of the JR Pass
Highlights of the JR Pass

If you’re planning an adventure across Japan, there are a few essentials you will want to bring along: your camera, some comfortable slip on shoes, a packable rain jacket, and, of course, a JR Pass.

The JR Pass is truly a traveller’s best friend, and will save you lots of time and money when exploring this beautifully diverse country. From the buzzing metropolis of Tokyo, to ancient temples and stunning natural landmarks, a Japan Rail Pass will get you there. Read on for 5 great reasons why the Japan Rail Pass is the ideal travel companion.

1. The JR Pass is incredible value for money

The more rail trips you plan, the more money you will save with your JR Pass. A JR Pass is a great alternative to point-to-point tickets for those wishing explore multiple cities and regions throughout Japan and is a great, streamlined way to save on rail travel. We explored the money-saving capabilities of the JR Pass in our previous article about the Japan Rail Pass vs Point to Point Tickets, and found that for a sample itinerary covering 5 major cities, JR Pass holders could save around 30% compared to the cost of point-to-point tickets fares.Taking into account all the other forms of travel that are valid with a JR Pass (see point 4), the JR Pass is not only extremely convenient, but incredible value for money.

View of Tokyo Skyline onpage 851
Captivating view of Tokyo Skyline At Dusk

2. Enjoy worry-free, convenient travel

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Osaka Castle during Cherry Blossom season

When you travel with the JR Pass, there is no need to worry about having the change on hand to buy point-to-point tickets. Rather than fumbling through your wallet for the appropriate cash each time you wish to take a train, all you need to travel on JR valid trains is your JR Pass.

Travelling with a JR Pass also allows for added flexibility – you are free to change your travel plans as you see fit, making spontaneous train trips at no extra cost. 

Using a JR Pass is also a great way to circumvent language barriers: you can request for the pass to be printed in English and because your pass is pre-purchased, there can be no confusion about which tickets you need to buy.

"Japan Rail Pass - good value and easy to use."

Denis – Camberwell, VIC

 

3. Valid nation-wide with unlimited travel across the JR rail network

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Gion is the most famous geisha district in Japan

The JR Pass entitles you to unlimited travel across the JR rail network, and is valid nationwide. This includes Tokyo’s most important train line - the Yamanote line, a circular line connecting Tokyo’s major city centres and one of the best ways to get around Japan's vibrant capital.

The Japan Rail Pass allows you to explore all four of the country’s main islands: Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and Hokkaido, so you can expect to witness all the amazing attractions, ancient architecture and beautiful natural landmarks Japan has to offer.

Head north to Sapporo for a spot of skiing, venture to Gion, Kyoto in central Honshu to have tea with a Geisha, or travel south to Nagasaki for the spectacular Lantern Festival which takes place every year over the first 15 days of the Chinese lunar new year (in February). The world of Japan is your oyster when you travel with a JR Pass.
 

4. Valid on select JR buses and ferry lines, as well as the Narita Express Train 

The JR Pass is also valid for travel on select JR Bus lines, on both local and inter-city routes, so whether you want to witness more of the Japanese countryside while travelling between cities, or you just need to get around a specific area, the JR Pass has you covered.

What’s more, you can also use your JR Pass to visit the stunning island of Miyajima, via the JR Miyajima Ferry. About an hour out of Hiroshima, Miyajima Island is a stunning location, famous for its giant Torii gate which appears to float above the water during high tide. As a JR Pass holder, you will also be able to use your pass to travel to and from Narita Airport (Tokyo) via the Narita Express train. Seat reservations are compulsory, but are free of charge for JR Pass holders.

The famous Floating Torii gate Miyajima Japan 851 onpage
The famous floating Torii gate in Miyajima

5.The JR Pass is very easy to use, as it is designed specifically for tourists

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Shinkansen (Bullet trains) travel at speeds of up to 320km/h

The JR Pass must be purchased outside of Japan, and is only available to those entering Japan on a temporary visitor visa. All you need to do in order to travel with the Japan Rail Pass is follow these 4 simple steps:

Step 1: Purchase your JR Pass. You can do so by visiting our Japan Rail Pass page and selecting from 7, 14 or 21 Days Consecutive and choosing Ordinary (Economy) or Green Pass (First Class).

Step 2: When you purchase your JR Pass, you will be issued with an exchange order. You simply take this exchange order to any Japan Rail Pass Exchange Office at a JR station, upon your arrival in Japan to have it exchanged for your actual JR Pass. All you need to complete this process is your exchange order and your passport/temporary visitor stamp (your passport will be stamped by immigration when you arrive in Japan).

Step 3: Upon receiving your JR Pass, you will select an activation date for your pass, which can be up to 30 days after the exchange. This handy feature allows you to explore whichever city you arrive in for as long as you wish, before venturing out to see the rest of Japan. 

Step 4: Start riding the rails with your Japan Rail Pass!

A JR Pass is truly a worthwhile investment for the discerning traveller; it will save you time, money, and give you access to the best and most convenient ways to travel around Japan. For more information on rail passes and travelling across the land of the rising sun, visit our Japan by Rail page, and start planning the ultimate Japanese holiday today!

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