Back in December 2015, I had the opportunity to explore Japan for 24 days. Being someone who has been waiting for this chance of a lifetime, I decided to explore as many prefectures as I could.
I began looking at options of buses, airplanes, ferries, and of course, the train. In my itinerary, I planned to start from Fukuoka, and cross all the big prefectures, up to Tokyo, and then continue my journey further north to Hokkaido. Lucky enough, as a foreigner I get to utilize the JR Pass option, whereby it allows you to use all JR line transportation, including the Shinkansen. Of course, there are certain Shinkansen which are not accessible with the JR Pass, but that doesn't mean you can't use other Shinkansen, which pretty much go along the same track as these Shinkansen.
With the choice of 7, 14 and 21 day passes, I chose the 21 day pass for my trip. To be honest, I would have paid double the price in total if I did not use this pass for my trip. In Tokyo however, there are many other private lines that do not accept the JR Pass if you want to go to certain places. Sure, you can still use some of the JR lines, but you may end up taking more travel time. Therefore, if you're planning to travel all over Japan, a JR Pass is definitely useful. Here are some of the best train experiences that I had when exploring Japan:
- Watching my movement via Google Maps when I was on the Shinkansen. Fast!
- Seeing a cloud-covered Fuji-san.
- Witnessing the change of weather from snowy to normal after going through the tunnel from Yamagata to Fukushima.
- Taking the Enoshima Electric Railway, going along the scenic beach of Kamakura.
- Standing for 5 hours from Aomori to Sapporo due to the peak season.