Getting around in Japan can easily get quite expensive for the unprepared traveler. A popular route like Tokyo to Kyoto will cost you roughly 13500 yen, one way (Shinkansen). Cheaper alternatives exist but the travel time is much longer. This is why the Japan rail pass is quite convenient, it can save you money and time!
Other than it can be a money saver it’s also quite travel friendly. You don’t have to think too much as it is valid on all JR lines as well as the bullet train (Shinkansen). Only one line is excluded from the JR Pass, the Nozomi Shinkansen. As long as you keep this in mind you will be fine.
Also you don’t have to buy a worrying about buying tickets. Simply keep the JR Pass with you when you travel and show to the officials when asked for it.
Will the JR Pass save you money?
Generally it i said that if you take a trip from Narita Airport to Tokyo plus a round trip between Tokyo and Kyoto, you will save money. So if you plan to travel at least this distance you will be on the winning side.
For updated prices please refer to the official JR Pass website or other official online vendor.
- The Japan Rail Pass must be purchased while being outside of Japan
- You can only use Japan Rail Pass with a tourist visa
How to activate the Japan Rail Pass
After you purchase your Rail Pass online it will be sent to your desired address (outside of Japan). When you arrive in Japan you need activate it at one of many travel service centers before it is usable. You don’t have to activate it immediately, however if you already know when you will be using the pass it is recommended to do it as soon as you land in Japan.
Why should you activate it immediately? Well, this will save you the energy to look for a service center later. Also when you “activate” your Rail Pass you may choose a start date for when the rail pass will be valid. So even if you visit the service center today you may request the Rail Pass to be valid from next week. With that in mind, one can plan so that the JR Pass is valid during the period one will move around the most. Bear in mind that the Japan Rail Pass can’t be “paused”. When the start date has come it will run until completion (7, 14 or 21 days).