Japan JR Rail Pass

The Japan JR Rail Passes (JR Pass for short) is a highly cost effective special ticket that is available only to travelers visiting Japan from overseas. Only a foreign tourist visiting Japan for sight-seeing purposes under the entry status of a "temporary visitor" and a Japanese national living in a foreign country is eligible for a Japan Rail Pass. Japan Rail Passes offer incredible flexibility and independence, being valid for unlimited travel on almost all JR lines, this includes Narita and Kansai Airport trains and bullet trains (except Nozomi services). It is recommended to anybody, who is planning to visit more than one region of Japan.

JR is short for Japan Railways, the most prominent railway network of Japan, which operates a large proportion of intercity rail service, including the Shinkansen high-speed rail lines (bullet trains), as well as commuter rail service.

JR Rail Pass types and prices

There are two types of Japan Rail Pass: Green (for class upgrade reserved seats cabin) and Ordinary.
The JR Rail Pass is available as a 7-day, 14-day, or 21-day pass.

Type Green Green Ordinary Ordinary
Duration Adult Child Adult Child
37,800yen 18,900yen 23,800yen 14,150yen
61,200yen 30,600yen 45,100yen 22,550yen
79,600yen 39,800yen 57,700yen 28,850yen

*The above are YEN prices for a JR Rail Pass Exchange Order.

Note that the purchase exchange rate may differ from the exchange rate in effect when you actually visit Japan.

The local currency price, applicable exchange rate, and issue date for an Exchange Order are specified on the Exchange Order itself. Children fare is eligible from age 6 up to age 11.

Purchase JR rail pass (agent based in San Francisco)

JR Rail Pass validity

1. Transportation services

Railways: All JR Group Railways--Shinkansen (super express) (except "NOZOMI"), limited express trains, express trains, and rapid or local trains. (Not usable on some trains)

Buses: JR Bus Companies: Local lines of JR Hokkaido Bus, JR Bus Tohoku, JR Bus Kanto, JR Tokai Bus, West Japan JR Bus , Chugoku JR Bus, and JR Kyushu Bus.

JR Bus Divisions: Local bus lines of JR Shikoku

JR Highway Bus Lines: Sapporo-Otaru; Morioka-Hirosaki/Aomori/Towadako; Tokyo-Shizuoka/Hamamatsu/Okazaki/Toyota/Nagoya/Kyoto/ Osaka/Tsukuba Center;Nagoya-Kyoto/Osaka; Osaka-Tsuyama Car Shed/Kasai Flower Center

Ferry: JR Ferry (Miyajima - Miyajimaguchi), except "Beetle II" (Hakata - Pusan)

Remarks: The JR Rail Pass is not valid for "NOZOMI" Shinkansen trains. If you use a "NOZOMI," you must pay the ordinary fare and the limited express charge, and if using a Green car, an additional charge for the use of Green car cabin. Passengers using train on non-JR lines* must pay respective fares and charges applicable to sections traveled on such lines.

2. Accommodations

Many JR trains have Green Cars (a higher class reserved seats cabin); all have ordinary cars. You can use Green cars or Ordinary cars with a Green-type JR Rail Pass. Additional charge is required with an Ordinary-type JR Rail Pass when using the a Green Car cabin.
There are a certain trains that may require an additional charge with either the Green-type or Ordinary-type JR Rail Pass. Please refer to the followings;
Trains Accomodations Green Ordinary Shinkansen Green car, Ordinary car Green private compartment, Ordinary private compartment, Limited express and ordinary express Green car, Ordinary car Green private compartment, Ordinary private compartment, Sleeping car, Local and rapid trains Green car, Ordinary car

Remarks: Green private compartments are on certain limited express trains, such as "NARITA EXPRESS" and "Super-view Odoriko." Use of "Home Liner" and other "liner" trains requires an additional charge.

3. Valid period

The JR Rail Pass is available in 7 consecutive days, 14 consecutive days and 21 consecutive days, beginning on the date the rail pass is first used.

An Exchange Order will be issued upon purchasing the JR Rail Pass. You will present this Exchange Order at any major train stations to obtain your JR Rail Pass. This Exchange Order is valid for only 3 months. When claiming your JR Rail Pass, you will have to specify the date that you want to start using the JR Rail Pass within a 30 days period. Once the starting date has been decided, it cannot be changed.


1. A foreign tourist visiting Japan under the "temporary visitor status"

Visitor status immigration stamp

"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 persons who have a passport bearing this stamp can use a Japan Rail Pass.

Take note:
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.

1. A Japanese national living in a foreign country

(a) Who is qualified to live permanently in that country
(b) Who is married to a non-Japanese residing in a country other than Japan.

Persons meeting conditions (a) or (b) above must be required to show proof of same at the point of purchase of an Exchange Order and obtaining a Japan Rail Pass

For more information check the JR Pass website.

Other Regional Rail Passes

Alternatively, if you are traveling only within certain regions in Japan, you may select from the range of regional passes available.

JR Hokkaido Pass Green Ordinary
Type of Passes Adult Child Adult Child
3-Days ¥ 20,000 ¥ 10,000 ¥ 14,000 ¥ 7,000
5-Days ¥ 25,000 ¥ 12,500 ¥ 18,000 ¥ 9,000

JR Kyushu Pass Fare
Type of Passes Adult Child
5 Days ¥ 16,000 ¥ 8,000

JR East Pass Green Ordinary
Type of Passes Adult Child Adult Child Child
(age 12 and over) (age 6-11) (age 26 and over) (age 12-25) (age 6-11)
5 Days ¥ 28,000 ¥ 14,000 ¥ 20,000 ¥ 16,000 ¥ 10,000
10 Days ¥ 44,800 ¥ 22,400 ¥ 32,000 ¥ 25,000 ¥ 16,000
Flexible 4 Days ¥ 28,000 ¥ 14,000 ¥ 20,000 ¥ 16,000 ¥ 10,000

JR West Pass Fare
Sanyo Area Pass Adult Child
4-Days ¥ 20,000 ¥ 10,000
8-Days ¥ 30,000 ¥ 15,000
Kansai Area Pass Adult Child
1-Day ¥ 2,000 ¥ 1,000
2-Days ¥ 4,000 ¥ 2,000
3-Days ¥ 5,000 ¥ 2,500
4-Days ¥ 6,000 ¥ 3,000

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