A Japan Rail Pass, also known as a JR Pass, is a discounted ticket that allows travelers to use most of the trains operated by Japan Railways Group (JR Group) throughout Japan, including the shinkansen (bullet trains) and local trains. It is available to foreign tourists visiting Japan on a temporary visitor visa, and it is designed to make travel around Japan more convenient and affordable. To use a Japan Rail Pass, you will need to follow these steps.
You can purchase a Japan Rail Pass online through Getjrpass, an official and authorized travel agency before you leave for Japan. You will need to choose the type of pass you want (e.g., 7-day, 14-day, or 21-day), as well as the class (e.g., standard or green car).
After you purchase a Japan Rail Pass, you will receive a physical MCO exchange voucher. You will need to exchange this voucher for a Japan Rail Pass at a JR Exchange Office in Japan within 90 days of the date of issue. You will need to present your passport when you exchange your voucher.
Once you have your physical pass, you will need to activate it by writing your name, passport number, and the dates you want to use the pass on the pass itself. You can activate the pass at any JR Exchange Office or at a major train station in Japan.
You can use your Japan Rail Pass on most JR trains, including the shinkansen, local trains, and express trains. When boarding the train, simply show your pass to the gate attendant and enjoy your train ride. You will not need to purchase separate tickets when using the JR Pass.
Note that there are some trains and services that are not covered by the Japan Rail Pass, such as the Nozomi and Mizuho shinkansen trains and some private railway lines. You will need to purchase separate tickets for these trains. But don’t worry there are train almost just as fast on the same track to use, such as Hikari Shinkansen line. It travel on the same track as Nazomi, but has an extra stop or two along the way making it just a few minutes slower from point A to B.
You will need to purchase separate tickets for any sleeper trains if you decide to take a train of this sort, even if you are using a Japan Rail Pass. We hope this helps! If you have any more questions about using a Japan Rail Pass, please don’t hesitate to ask.