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Japan Rail Pass

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This pass is great because...

  • It’s the best way to discover Japan and it’s valid on most Japanese “Bullet Trains”
  • It’s cheaper than two Point to Point tickets
  • You can enjoy unlimited train travel within validity of this pass and the freedom to hop-on/hop-off
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  • 1. Description

    Japan is a fascinating mix of ancient cultures and cutting edge technology, a country steeped in tradition and culture where colourful shrines sit happily alongside vibrant mega-cities. Visiting Japan is an experience to savor and there's no better way to do that than with a Japan Rail Pass.

    What Is a Japan Rail Pass?
    Japan Rail Passes are exclusively for tourists; you can't buy one from within the country, so it must be booked before you make you trip. You will be sent a voucher called an ‘exchange order’ and once in Japan, you validate this voucher at a Japan Railways travel centre (at most major rail stations and airports) and at that point you choose the date you want your pass to start from.

    A Japan Rail Pass can be valid for 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days, and it allows for unlimited travel during that period on most of Japan Railways' extensive network, including the world famous bullet trains.

    Interestingly, Japan Rail Passes are also valid for affiliated buses and ferries, so if you plan to travel extensively across Japan this pass offers excellent value for money.

    You can choose from a Green Pass (first class) or an Ordinary Japan Rail Pass – first class travel in Japan is usually quieter and less busy, but ordinary train travel is always fast, clean and super-efficient in any case.

    What Are the Trains Like?
    All long distance trains in Japan have comfortable seats, which can be reclined and can also be turned around to face in the opposite direction; useful if you are travelling in a group.

    The Shinkansen, or bullet trains, really are incredibly fast – although there are different types of bullet train services, some of which are speedier than others. Again, the trains themselves are comfortable, with plenty of leg room, and onboard vending machines and drinks trolleys.

    Rail travel is the perfect way to see Japan. Get started on your Japanese adventure today!
  • 2. Eligibility

    So who is eligible for a Japan Rail Pass?

    You're eligible if you are a foreign tourist visiting Japan from abroad for sight-seeing, under the entry status of "Temporary Visitor".

    "Temporary Visitor" entry status, according to Japanese Immigration Law, allows a stay in Japan of 15 days or 90 days for "sight-seeing, etc." If you apply for a "stay for sight-seeing" when you enter Japan, entry personnel will stamp your passport as "Temporary Visitor," as shown here. Only people who have a passport bearing this stamp can use a Japan Rail Pass.

    IMPORTANT: Even if you visit Japan with an Exchange Order, to be turned in for a Japan Rail Pass, the exchange cannot be made unless you have "Temporary Visitor" status: if you enter Japan under any other official status, such as "Trainee," "Entertainer," or "Reentry Permit," you cannot change the Exchange Order for a Japan Rail Pass. Please note that according to strict interpretation of the Japanese Immigration Law, "Temporary Visitor" status differs even from other types of stays that are also for only short time periods.

    You are a Japanese national living outside of Japan:

    1. Who is qualified to live permanently in that country, or
    2. Who is married to a non-Japanese residing in a country other than Japan.

    Note: To purchase an exchange order or redeem your Exchange Order for a Japan Rail Pass, you will be required to provide proof of eligibility as described below.

    People meeting condition (1) must provide written proof of the following:

    • Permanent resident status
    • Residence outside of Japan

    People meeting condition (2) must provide written proof of the following:

    • Residence outside of Japan.
    • Marriage to a non-Japanese individual.
    • Residence of their non-Japanese spouse outside of Japan.

    Even if an applicant presents electronic data or other documentation, establishing their compliance with conditions 1 and 2 above, the pass may be denied if the clerk is unable to verify that compliance.

    Similarly, applicants with dual citizenship in Japan and another country will not be able to turn in their Exchange Order for a Pass if they entered Japan on their Japanese passport.

    Please note: If you are a Japanese national or hold dual nationality passports then please click here to read the eligibility rules BEFORE purchasing the Japan Rail Pass.

    There is also further advice in this JRP Public Notice.

  • 3. Eligibility for Saver

    N/A

  • 4. Discount

    The Pass is excellent value for money with the 7 Day Ordinary Pass costing the same as one return ticket between Tokyo and Kyoto.  The Japan Rail Pass also offers holders a 10% discount on reservations made locally for hotels within the Japan Rail Hotel Group (your Pass must be shown at check-in).



  • 5. Validity

    For periods of 7, 14 or 21 days of consecutive travel, starting from your first day of travel.

    Please note: An exchange order must be exchanged for a Japan Rail Pass within three months from the date the order was issued.



  • 6. Terms and Conditions

    Japan Rail Pass exchange offices
    Exchange for a Pass can be made at one of the folowing applicable JR stations having a Japan Rail Pass exchange office: Kushiro, Obihiro, Asahikawa, Sapporo, New-Chitose Airport, Hakodate, Aomori, Hachinoche, Akita, Sendai, Yamagata, Fukushima, Nigata, Nagano, Kanzawa, Narita Airport Terminal 1, Airport Terminal 2, Tokyo, Ueno, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Shinagawa, Yokohama, Shin-Yokohama, Odawara, Mishima, Shiuoka, Hamamatsu, Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Osaka, Kansai Airport, Sannomiya, Okayama, Matsue, Hiroshima, Shimonoseki, Takamatsu, Matsuyama, Tokushima, Kokura, Hakata, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Kagoshima-chuo.

    Exchange procedure
    The signer on the order must apply at a Pass Exchange Office and there present the order with the original passport.

    Fill in the application form provided at the office in Japan or in order to speed up this process you can also download the form here and have it ready when you arrive in Japan.

    Specify the first date that you wish the pass to start. This can be any date within one month from the issue date.

    Alterations
    Any alterations made to the exchange order or pass after the exchange, make the document invalid and non-refundable.

    Refund of an Exchange Order
    An Exchange Order can be refunded only at the office where it was issued, within one year of the issue date. The refund will be subject to a 10% cancellation charge and relevant administration charges at the time of cancellation.

    Refund of a Japan Rail Pass
    A pass can be refunded only within the validity period (three months from the date the order was issued) and before the first date of use at any Japan Rail Pass exchange office. There will be a 10% (Japan Railways) cancellation charge per pass along with a separate administration fee that the issuing office will charge in addition (this charge will vary from office to office). Please note that the pass is non-refundable on or after the first date of use.

    Duplicate passes and/or Exchange Orders cannot be issued if lost or stolen. Please ensure it's safe keeping.

    The Japan Rail Pass is not valid for any seats, reserved or non-reserved, on 'NOZOMI' trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines.