Japan Rail Pass Updates in 2017 and 2018

The Japan Rail Pass is a cost effective rail ticket for long distance train travel in Japan. The pass is exclusive for tourists, and offers unlimited use of JR trains for seven, fourteen or twenty-one days at a dream price that residents would kill for. There are two types of passes: ordinary and green pass. The latter is valid on green cars (first class cars) with more spacious seats than ordinary class.

As part of a trial basis, the Japan Rail Pass is accessible for sale at selected stations in Japan from March 2017 to March 2018. However, the pass is more expensive when purchased within the country so best to purchase in advance from overseas.

Until June 2017, the pass was unavailable to Japanese nationals with permanent residence outside of Japan, but has become available once more to Japanese nationals who can prove that they have been living abroad for at least the past ten years.

Where can I use the Japan Rail Pass?

The Japan Rail Pass is valid on all JR limited express, rapid and local trains. It can also be used on JR Shinkansen bullet trains excluding the Nozomi, Mizuho and certain JR trains which are controlled by different railway companies. Japan Rail Pass holders will have to pay the fare for any non-JR sections or railways, but JR is the primary provider of rail in Japan.

While certainly beneficial for long distance travel, the JR Pass can also be used in Tokyo on the Yamanote Line and in Osaka on the Loop Line. The Japan Rail Pass also covers travel on certain JR local line buses, the Tokyo Monorail and the JR West ferry between Miyajimaguchi station and Miyajima.

Is the Japan Rail Pass worth it?

Generally speaking and starting with some simple calculations, it can be concluded that the JR Pass holders will be saving around ¥ 10,000 just on public transportation in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, including the airport express from Narita Airport in Tokyo. The 7-day pass, for instance, costs about the same as regular Shinkansen tickets for a round trip between Tokyo and Kyoto, so will pay for itself on that trip alone.

There is also the peace of mind of not having to purchase tickets and wait in lines at the train stations. With the pass you can simply show your pass and proceed through.

Purchasing the Japan Rail Pass

The Japan Rail Pass can be used by “temporary visitors” to Japan. Tickets can be purchased for you and your entire family at the best price on the market directly from the official vendor ​www.jrailpass.com. Customers will purchase online and receive a voucher that can be exchanged for the actual pass in Japan within three months of purchase.

From March 2017 to March 2018, it is also possible to get the Japan Rail Pass for a higher price at selected Japanese stations. These stations include Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Kansai Airport, Shin-Chitose Airport, Tokyo, Shinjuku, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai, Niigata, Yokohama, Hiroshima, Takamatsu and Hakata.

Price comparison


Ordinary in Japan

Ordinary outside Japan

Green Car in Japan

Green Car outside Japan

7 days

¥ 33,000

¥ 29,110

¥ 44,000

¥ 38,880

14 days

¥ 52,000

¥ 46,390

¥ 71,000

¥ 62,950

21 days

¥ 65,000

¥ 59,350

¥ 90,000

¥ 81,870

What is the best time of the year to go to Japan?

Whichever season you choose to visit Japan, you will not be disappointed by its unique seasonal offerings, however the fall season is one of the most beautiful periods in the land of the Rising Sun. At this time, the views are astounding and the weather is just perfect for hunting momiji (red leaf), and for visiting most of the touristic places across the country! You can’t feel the summer heat anymore, and the milder weather makes roaming around much more comfortable for visitors.

Are you going with children? Then don't make them miss out the opportunity to experience the Pokemon Train with You, as starting from Saturday, July 15, it will be running with a new design. The two car-train will be decorated with plenty of Pikachu and other famous Pokémon on the outside. And on the inside, the decoration is also impressive, especially for children. The JR Pass includes this train but please keep in mind that all the seats are reserved.

Don’t hesitate and start planning your next trip to this amazing country. Now it is even more pleasant with the extra services offered: like Pocket WiFi, the device to make your trip to Japan memorable.

The Pocket Wi-Fi is a simple portable device, which can stay connected to 10 mobile devices such as phones, tablets, laptops, gaming consoles and digital cameras simultaneously. Once you have the device, the only thing you need to do is turn on the Wi-Fi and you gain access to a fast speed internet connection, without having to worry about cables, sockets or antennas.

When it comes to Japan, there is much to enjoy. Get the most out of your time in this magnificent land by taking care of the transportation and connectivity details well in advance!