In Japan, train is one of the most popular means of transportation. Through the railway, visitors can conveniently visit many destinations to explore the country, and also can save money. Having a Japan Rail Pass will help you get it all.
Later this May, Japan is set to welcome fully vaccinated tourists from Singapore, Thailand, Australia and the US, as part of the country’s trial program ahead of wider easing of Covid-19 prevention measures in June. Japan lovers, in addition to planning a to-do list to have fun, should keep in mind to register for a Rail Pass!
What is the Japan Rail Pass?
The Japan Rail Pass or JR Pass can be defined as a pass for using public transport in Japan, mainly trains. This is the perfect option for long-distance travel in the country. The JR Pass is very cost-effective and is offered only to foreign tourists entering with travel purpose. Purchase and use of JR Pass are limited to the person whose name appears on the pass.
Buying a JR Pass, people will have the chance to take unlimited rides on Japan Railways Group’s trains for a few weeks. There are two types of JR Pass including the ordinary cars and more premium green cars.
Tourists cannot pass through the automatic ticket gates with the JR Pass, but use the ticket gates with station staff. While sitting on the train, there will also be a staff to check the ticket, so remember to bring your passport for comparison!
JR Pass’ scope of use
The JR Pass can be used on Japan Railways routes all over the country, including the Shinkansen, express, limited express, and local trains. The pass is also valid on the Tokyo Monorail to and from Haneda International Airport. Travelers can use JR Pass as a transport ticket on the JR Ferry to Miyajima or JR Bus, even on some non-JR trains to access the isolated lines on JR. These include the Aoimori Railway, the IR Ishikawa Railway, and the Ainokaze Toyama Railway.
This “powerful” pass allows users to use it 24/7, helping tourists freely and comfortably travel around the nation of sakura.
However, the JR Pass is not valid for some transportation options, such as on JR trains that use non-JR tracks, special compartments, and berth trains requiring liner tickets, highway buses, etc. That’s why you need to pay attention to make the most of the card and not have to pay more.
JR Pass’ price
Depending on the type, region and duration of use (7 days, 14 days or 21 days), the JR Pass has different prices, ranging from about 1 million VND to 18 million VND. The higher the price is, the longer the usage time and the better service quality will be. Green car tickets will be much higher than ordinary tickets. Specifically, the green car provides many additional services such as more spacious seats and legroom, at-seat power sockets, separate luggage storage, radio,…
Tickets for children from 6 to 11 years old are only half of the adult fare. Children under 6 do not need to buy tickets but will not have their own seats and must sit with an adult.
Travelers should calculate in advance the destinations/areas they plan to visit. For example, if you are only going to the Hokkaido region, you only need to buy the JR Pass Hokkaido. If you want to visit Tokyo and many other places, buy a National JR Pass.
How to purchase a JR Pass?
There are many ways to buy a Japan Rail Pass. For instance, you can buy it online through an authorized website that is allowed to sell JR Passes. Although the costs are higher when purchasing a JR Pass from the JR official website, people will have the option to make online seat reservations and will only need their passport to pick up their pass inside the country.
Another way to save money and be clearly informed is through a travel agent in your country. You will receive an “Exchange Order” form outside of Japan, before changing it to a JR Pass when entering Japan. Visitors are required to bring a JR Pass Exchange Order and a passport with a stamp of “temporary visitor” upon entry. After entry, they should change their JR Pass right at the exchange points at the airport. The exchange voucher needs to be converted to a JR Pass within 3 months from the date of purchase.
The last option for purchasing a JR Pass is to do it at selected major stations inside the country. However, the costs will be higher than other options. The major stations include Haneda Airport, Narita Airport, Kansai Airport, etc.
With Japan preparing to open after long tightening entry restrictions, surely many tourists want to enjoy a great trip to this country. The Japan Rail Pass is a great value for travelers who love to travel around much and explore many beautiful and famous destinations in Japan. This is a both convenient and economical option for you. In case of a limited budget, a short trip or just staying in only one place, it will be a waste to buy a JR Pass. So just consider before deciding to use this special pass!