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A Guide to the Japanese Train Pass

by Jack Guy

Feb 13, 2020

© Torsakarin | Dreamstime
Japan is known for its high-speed, comfortable bullet trains, also known as Shinkansen. One of the most notable train journeys is the 318-mile Tokaido route from Tokyo to Kyoto, which offers breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji — the highest peak in Japan.

Destinations / Asia

Japanese discounted multiuse passes allow you to get on as many trains as you want during a set period of time.


The JR Pass is available in seven-, 14-, and 21-day versions, and you can choose between the standard option or the upgrade, which lets you sit in more spacious and quieter first-class carriages.


While a standard seven-day pass will set you back 29,650 yen ($271), it’s an incredible value compared to standard tickets. For example ,a return trip from the airport in Tokyo to Osaka would cost about the same as the seven-day pass.


You need to make sure you buy your pass before you travel to Japan. There are reputable dealers in many countries, and they will send you what is known as an exchange order to an address of your choice. Take this with you to Japan, and exchange it for your pass at one of the many kiosks at airports and train stations.


The passes are valid on almost all trains, although there are a few bullet train services excluded, as well as a number of ferries and the Tokyo Monorail that links the city to Haneda Airport. On trains you can make seat reservations for free, and the pass is also valid on local buses operated by Japan Railways.



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