Japan Rail PassGo Fast to See More
The Japan Rail Pass has been around for some time now and is only available to foreign tourists entering Japan, and Japanese nationals living outside of Japan. Whether it is worth it for your trip is questionable so we recommend you have your plan in place, before making the decision to buy or not. If you plan on taking more than 2 bullet train rides of substantial distance, e.g. Tokyo to Kyoto, then it is most likely useful! Read below to find out more…..
FAQ’s about the Japan Rail Pass
Can I use the subway?
No. Only JR Trains allowed. Tokyo’s transport system is highly advanced. You will no doubt require to use the subway’s during your stay in which case we recommend you buy a SUICA or PASMO card at the airport or subway ticket office. This acts like a pay as you go card. If you do not use the full amount you pay for, you will be refunded. A deposit is required to purchase the card so be sure to drop it back on your last day.
What's the difference between Ordinary Passes and Green Car Passes?
The biggest difference between Ordinary and Green Car are the seats. Ordinary seats on trains in Japan are adequate for all classes offering plenty of leg room (even for Westerners) and comfortable sizes. However if you feel like upgrading for extra comfort, the green car is the equivalent to first class. Wider seats, more leg room, and different queues on the platform. Unless you are used to traveling first class, the ordinary tickets are recommended.
Can I use all trains in Japan with the JR Pass?
You can use most JR Trains (including bullet trains) with the pass with the exception of the Nozomi Bullet Train (Shinkansen). The Shinkansen operate three types: Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama. Nozomi have the least stops therefore can get you to your destination quicker. Hikari trains are express but have more stops than Nozomi. Kodama have more stops than Hikari again so if traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto, try to use the Hikari trains where possible.
Journey Time from Tokyo Station – Kyoto Station using HIKARI Shinkansen = 2 hrs 53 mins
Which pass should I choose?
Depending on where you plan on visiting will depend on which pass to choose. JR offer various types for different parts of Japan. The main JR Pass covers all of Japan. However, if you are going to Kyushu only, there is a 3 or 5 day pass that covers Kyushu. If you are going north to Hokkaido, there is a Hokkaido Pass. If you are going to the usual spots of Kyoto and Hiroshima, then the main JR Pass is the one you need. Depending on how long you are in Japan for will depend on the duration of pass you need.If you are in doubt, contact us and we can give you the best advice.
Is the pass worth it?
If your plan is to stay in Tokyo only, then it is not really worth your while getting the pass. However, if you plan on moving to Kyoto for a few days, the return journey you would pay to get to Kyoto and back, will cost almost the same as your 7 day pass. So, yes, the pass is definitely worth it if you go to Kyoto.
Example 1: The cost for ONE WAY HIKARI Shinkansen from Tokyo – Kyoto equals 13,220JPY (or 26,440JPY return). The 7 day pass costs 28,300JPY (not including charges). And remember, you can use the 7 day pass every day, even if you are in Tokyo – on the JR Lines only.