Discover & SAVE with a JAPAN RAIL PASS
“It was safe, reliable and great value for money”– LOUISE
How does the Japan Rail Pass work?
1. Order your pass online
2. Receive your exchange order
3. Go to Japan
4. Get your ‘Temporary Visitor’ stamp visa
5. Swap your exchange order voucher to a JR Pass
6. Discover Japan & Save
Discover Japan & Save
The Japan Rail Pass offers unlimited travel on the JR Railway, selected buses, and selected ferries for overseas visitors.
If you are planning on making multiple trips within Japan, the JR Pass offers the most affordable way to travel around. Put it this way, a return trip from Tokyo to Kyoto will cost you around the same price as a 7 day Rail Pass.
What does it include?
- Shinkansen (Bullet Train)
- Limited express
- Local (Including Rapid and Special Rapid)
The pass is also valid on the following non-JR lines:
- Tokyo Monorail between Hamamatsucho and Haneda Airport
- Aoimori Railway for journeys starting and ending at Hachinohe and Aomori only, and for journeys from these stations to Noheji and the JR East Ominato Line.
- Miyajima – Miyajimaguchi
- JR Hokkaido Bus Company
- JR Bus Tohoku Company
- JR Bus Kanto Company
- JR Tokai Bus Company
- West JR Bus Company
- Chugoku JR Bus Company
- JR Shikoku Bus Company
- JR Kyushu Bus Company
- Most local lines of JR bus
Effective with passes issued April 1, 2013, the Japan Rail Pass will no longer be valid on express bus routes.
Our Customers TESTIMONIALS!
“We’ve traveled many places in our time and I must say the whole experience with Japan Rail Pass Now was fantastic. I’ve never seen such an efficient network of trains which actually run on time!”
“The JR Pass allowed me to travel Japan with complete flexibility and freedom. I had no real plans when I arrived in Tokyo and the pass allowed me to make travel decisions as I went.”
“Me and some friends headed snow boarding in Hakuba. We decided after to visit more of the country on the Japan Rail network. The pass made it an ease and we all had such a good time.”
“The whole trip was simply amazing. I hadn’t done a lot of research before my trip and with the flexibility of the pass it allowed me to change things as I went. It was safe, reliable and great value for money”.
Why Japan Rail Pass Now?
- We are Australia’s No.1 Choice for the Japan Rail Pass
- Japan Rail Pass Specialists
- All orders shipped and delivered in Australia
- Payments charged in Australian dollars
- 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
The Japan Rail Pass, also referred to as a JR Pass/JR Rail Pass, is a cost effective travel pass offered by Japan Railways (JR). It is exclusive for foreign tourists and offers unlimited travel on the the JR Group famous Shinkansen “bullet trains” *, limited express trains, express trains, rapid/local trains, JR bus company lines and JR Miyajima ferry. Just one pass covers travel in every corner of the four major islands in Japan. If you are looking for a fast and affordable travel alternative, then this is for you.
There are various types of Japan Rail (JR) Pass options which include 7, 14 and 21 days of travel. You can choose between Economy and Green (premium) class. Both adult and child prices are available for each JR Pass option, with children aged 6-11 receiving a 50% discount. Children under 5 years of age can travel for free, but they aren’t entitled to a seat (i.e. they will need to sit on your lap). A child’s age is based on the date of issue on their exchange order voucher.
Shinkansen trains can travel at speeds up to 320 kilometres an hour! To put that into perspective, that’s nearly four times faster than typical Australian passenger trains. Taking the Shinkansen will get you to your Japanese destinations much faster, as well as providing you with a unique travelling experience.
You can also use your JR Pass for discounted accommodation at JR-affiliated hotels! These hotels are all conveniently located near key train stations. Most are also near popular restaurants, shopping areas and attractions. There are a variety of hotels available to suit all budgets, from discount through to luxury. Hotel rates will vary depending on the season and exchange rates at the time.
*The Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansen services are excluded.
The JR Pass is currently only available to overseas travellers entering Japan as temporary visitors. Visitors who enter Japan under other statuses are not eligible.
The pass can only be used by the person whose name is on it, it cannot be transferred.
How to Purchase
You can purchase your pass through us here at Japan Rail Pass Now before you leave Australia. We service all Australian States and Territories. You can purchase the JR Pass in Japan on trial from March 8, 2017 to March 31, 2018 however the prices will be 10-13% more expensive.
After your purchase your JR Pass, you’ll receive an exchange order voucher which we ship using Australia Post. Allow at least 10 business days to receive this voucher if you live in a remote part of Australia. The exchange order voucher is valid for up to three months from its date of issue.
When you arrive in Japan, your passport will be stamped identifying you as a temporary visitor. You simply take your voucher and your stamped passport to a JR exchange office. There you’ll need to fill in a short form and select your travel start date to redeem your JR Pass. The travel start date doesn’t need to be the same day you redeem your pass, it can be any date within a month of that date. However, once a pass is issued, its starting date cannot be changed.
|7 Day Adult Pass||$344.00||$461.00|
|14 Day Adult Pass||$551.00||$749.00|
|21 Day Adult Pass||$709.00||$979.00|
|Reduced Rates (50% off) apply to children aged 6-11|
Issue, exchange and activation date information
There are three main dates which relate to different parts of the Japan Rail Pass process, they are as follows:
Date of Issue: After you purchase your Japan Rail Pass online then you will be issued with your Exchange Order voucher. This generally happens within 24 hours. You will then have 90 days to swap over your Exchange Order voucher for your JR Pass in Japan. That means you can only purchase your JR Pass within 3 months of your planned travel.
Exchange Date: This is essentially the day you exchange/swap over your Exchange Order voucher for your JR Pass in Japan. This has to be within 90 days from the date of issue, as discussed above.
Starting Date: You will select a starting date when your are swapping/exchanging over your Exchange Order voucher to your Japan Rail Pass. Once this has been selected it cannot be changed. The period of use is based on calendar days and it will start at midnight on the starting date and expire at 11.59pm on the 7th/14th/21st day.
Example of trip to Japan using the 7 day Japan Rail Pass:
In the example you can see the most economical way to use the JR Pass is to start it on the 04/04 which will cover the expensive part of the trip. For the the first 3 days in Tokyo people may choose to use IC Prepaid Cards which cover the metro, however, you can still use your JR Pass on the JR Lines if you have it started already.
Planning Your Trip and Travel Timetable Online
If you’re looking for inspiration to get the most out of your trip, then be sure to check out some of our sample itineraries.
And if you need help trying to plan your travel journey, use HyperDia. You can read our detailed planning your trip and online timetable page to help you get the most out of your trip to the land of the rising sun.
Reserving Your Seats
The JR Pass provides you with the option of reserving your seats for free. All you need to do is present your JR Pass to any JR ticket office at stations throughout Japan. Many customers choose to do this at the same time as they swap over their Exchange Order voucher.
Be aware that you cannot make reservations on board a train or at ticket machines.
Although seat reservation is optional on most services, for a small number of popular services it is mandatory. These services include:
– The Narita Express (Tokyo – Narita Airport)
– The Hayabusa and Hayate services along the Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen lines
– The Komachi services along the Akita Shinkansen line
– The Kagayaki services along the Hokuriku Shinkansen line
– The Sunrise Seto/Izumo night trains
For most other services, making reservations several days in advance may be necessary during busy travel periods (e.g. holidays such as Golden Week between late April and early May, Obon in mid-August and New Year from 29 December to 3 January).
If you’re travelling in a group and want to ensure you can all sit together, reservations provide you with the peace of mind that you can travel when and how you want to.
How to Use Your Pass for Boarding
The JR Pass is your ticket and you need to present it at the manned gates (you cannot use your JR Pass at the automatic gates). The only other ticket you’ll need is a reservation ticket if you have reserved a seat in advance. Remember, it doesn’t cost you anything to reserve a seat if you’re a JR Pass holder.
Occasionally, you might be asked for your passport at the manned gate as well, so it’s recommended to always have it with you.
Riding on the Shinkansen
Just like on public transport in Australia, there are manners you should observe when riding Shinkansen trains in Japan:
– keep your voice down when you’re having a conversation;
– keep your children as quiet as possible;
– turn your phone to silent mode;
– have consideration for the person behind you when reclining your seat;
– don’t block aisles with your luggage. Place small to medium-sized bags in the racks above the seats, and large luggage at the back of the carriage where there is dedicated space.
There is also some Japanese etiquette to be aware of:
– If you have a reserved seat, sit in that seat. Don’t move to spare seats which may be taken by people boarding at different stops on the route. It would be uncomfortable for most Japanese people (even conductors) to have to ask you to move.
– Orderly queues are formed when boarding trains, with painted signs on the platforms providing a guide.
Tips & Advice
– All Japanese stations display station names in both Japanese and English on their platforms.
– Avoid travel during early morning (7.30-9.30am) and late afternoon/early evening (5-8pm) peak hours if possible.
– Mobile vendors on some long distance Shinkansen and limited express trains boxed lunches (ekiben), snacks and drinks. You’re allowed to eat and drink on long distance trains and you can take your own food on.
– Wheelchair-accessible seats are available on most Shinkansen and limited express trains.
About the Japan Railways Group
The Japan Railways Group is one of the world leading rail networks with over 20,000 daily departures. The network has six service regions: JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR West, JR Central, JR Kyushu and JR Shikoku. Their bullet trains (Shinkansen) are famous for their fast speed, safety record and reliability.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The JR Pass offers international visitors to Japan unlimited, discounted travel on the JR Railway, selected buses and selected ferries. The JR Pass can also be used for discounted accommodation at JR-affiliated hotels!
This really depends on how much extensive travel you plan on doing. We always recommend doing your homework to see if the JR Pass is worthwhile for your trip.
You can download our Free Ultimate Guide eBook which has exclusive content around “Is the Japan Rail Pass Worth It?”
When you arrange to purchase your pass from Japan Rail Pass Now, you’ll receive an exchange order voucher in the mail. When you arrive in Japan you simply take your voucher and your passport to a JR exchange office to redeem your JR pass.
Anyone who is a temporary visitor to Japan is eligible for a JR Pass.
While it may seem like a big investment on first glance, prices are significantly cheaper than locals pay for comparable train travel in Japan. We suggest using our planning section of the website to see if the Japan Rail Pass will be economical for your trip.
The validity of a 7, 14 or 21 day JR Pass is based on calendar days (midnight to midnight), rather than 24 hour periods. For example, if you start using your pass at 2pm on day 1, it will expire at 11.59pm on day 7, rather than 2pm on day 8. If you happen to be on board a train at midnight on your last day, your JR Pass remains valid until the end of your journey.
Children aged 6-11 are entitled to a 50% discount on their JR Pass. Children aged 5 and under can travel for free.
Both provide a comfortable experience, but as you’d expect, Green class offers larger seats, more foot space and enhanced facilities, in return for a higher price. The enhanced facilities depend on the Shinkansen, but can include foot rests, reading lights, radios, electrical outlets and seat warmers. Green class Shinkansen carriages also tend to be less crowded.
The JR Pass provides you with the option of reserving your seats at no additional cost. All you need to do is present your JR Pass to any JR ticket office at stations throughout Japan. You cannot make reservations on board a train or at ticket machines.
Yes, you can use your JR pass for designated JR lines throughout Japan’s major cities and prefectures.
Yes, all orders will have a tracking ID. You will receive an email in 1-2 business days after your purchase with your tracking information.
You can use Hyperdia (www.hyperdia.com) to view an extensive timetable of all transport options in Japan.
We aim to have orders processed within 24 hours. Orders will then be shipped using Australia Post Express Mail. Express Mail generally takes between 2 – 4 business days.
Please note that some orders will arrive the next day via Express Shipping but it’s not guaranteed.
You will be able to travel economically and practically with the Japan Rail Pass so that you have access to the most important Japanese attractions. There are some restrictions so please follow these to keep your pass valid.
Japan Rail Pass Validity:
You will be able to use all JR railway network trains with the Japan Rail Pass. These include the JR Shikoku, JR Center, JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR Ouest and JR Kyushu networks.
You will also have access to the express and local trains, but the Shinkansen trains (bullet trains) are the fastest and have connections to the main Japanese cities.
The Rail Pass is also valid on:
- The JR Bus and the JR Miyajima Ferry
- The monorails connecting Hamamatsucho Station and Haneda Airport can also be used with your pass.
- You can take the “Kodoma” and “Hikari” lines, which travel the same routes but stop at more stations. There is not that much of a time differences between the lines – about 20 minutes between the “Nozomi” and “Hikari” Shinkansens.
- You can take night trains but only using the regular standard (i.e not sleeper, private or special wagons)
Japan Rail Pass Restrictions
- You do not have access to the private rail lines with the Japan Rail Pass
- The fastest Shinkansen trains “Mizuho” and “Nozomi” are also not valid with the Japan Rail pass. These are on the Sanyo and Tokaido lines.
- The JR Hakata-Pusan ferry to get to Korea is not valid with this pass.
- You will need to buy tickets to travel on the Odakyu trains, which are in the Kanto region, and the Kintetsu trains within the Kansai region.
- You cannot use the sleeper, private or special compartment wagons. You will need to pay extra for these.
If the JR train uses another company during your journey, your pass becomes invalid and you will need to pay for that section. This can be done onboard or before getting the train. This happens when travelling from Shinjuko/Ikebukuro to Nikko, where there are JR stations in Nikko and Tokyo. From Kurihasi, the train uses the Tobu tracks. It would usually cost 3,900 yen for the whole trip but with a Rail Pass, you can travel for 1,560 yen.
A Shinkansen is referred to as a bullet train. You can learn more about the Shinkansen here
There is no specific area to place your luggage on the bullet train but you can place them behind the very last row of seats in the carriage. Japan is very safe, so don’t worry! Smaller items can be placed in the overhead storage compartment, or if you are not comfortable with leaving your luggage unattended then you can always place it in front of you.