JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass) is an indispensable “item” when traveling to Japan. What is JR Pass? Why can the JR Pass take you around Japan at a reasonable cost? Let’s explore interesting things about JR Pass as well as what you need to know about it along with JR Pass Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

JR Pass
JR Pass | JR Rail Pass Guide
JR Pass
Shinkansen (Bullet train) | JR Rail Pass Guide
Haruka Express_ Osaka & Kyoto airport transfer with the JR Pass
Haruka Express: Osaka & Kyoto airport transfer with the JR Pass

Transportation when traveling to Japan is always a HOT topic. The reason is because despite having a quite complete and modern public transportation network, the cost of transportation services in the Land of Cherry Blossoms is often quite “expensive”. How to travel to Japan without worrying about travel costs? The divine answer is a magical pass called JR Pass – a “powerful” card exclusively for visitors to Japan.

Japan Rail Pass complete guide | JR Rail Pass Guide

So, how does the JR Pass help you save when traveling to Japan, and how do you use the JR Pass? All the necessary information about the JR Pass for your trip is in this article, you can refer to as follows!

JR Rail Pass Guide: What is a JR Pass?

| JR Rail Pass Guide

JR Pass for Whole Japan

The JR Pass is a personal travel card exclusively for foreign tourists when traveling to Japan. There are two main types of JR Passes – the Whole Japan Pass and the regional pass.

The Whole Japan Pass will give you access to train lines operated by Japan Railways, including all trains on the JR rail network as well as JR Kyushu, JR Shikoku, JR West, JR Central, JR East and JR Hokkaido.

Shinjuku JR Train Station
Shinjuku JR Train Station

In addition to trains, you can also use other means of transportation such as JR Buses, JR Ferries, and monorails. In short, the Whole Japan Pass allows you unlimited travel on the following transportation networks:

Vehicles supported by JR Pass

JR Trains All trains belong to Japan Railway throughout JAPAN and services by JR Kyushu, JR Shikoku, JR West, JR Center, JR East and JR Hokkaido.

The JR Pass also supports Shinkansen (bullet trains), limited trains, Express trains, airport trains, Rapid trains and regional/local trains.

Not included:

- Nozomi Shinkansen (Tokyo – Osaka)
- Mizuho Shinkansen (Tokyo – Osaka)
Tokyo MonorailDeparture/Arrival at Haneda International Airport
JR FerriesGoing to Miyajima
JR BusesSee the list of bus routes that JR Pass supports => at https://japanrailpass.net/
Trains Outside the JR System (To reach JR train stations)Some non-JR trains reach particularly remote JR train stations or trains transfer between JR lines; for example Aoimori Railway, IR Ishikawa Railway and Ainokaze Toyama Railway.

Regarding the JR Pass as a regional travel pass, the range of use of the pass will depend on the pass you have chosen. These passes are often more affordable and suitable for people only visiting specific cities or regions, such as Hokkaido or Osaka and their surrounding areas.

Pro tip: Learn the pass information carefully as some passes may only cover selected trains and buses, and not include Shinkansens for example. Better yet, use can you Klook’s smart search tool to choose the most suitable JR Pass for you.

| JR Rail Pass Guide
Kansai-Hiroshima JR Pass
Kansai-Hiroshima JR Pass | JR Rail Pass Guide

Japan Railway (JR) – The Pride of the land of cherry blossoms

When talking about Japan, it is impossible not to mention the modern and convenient railway system – the pride of the land of the rising sun. The Japanese railway system, also known as JR (Japan Railways), plays an extremely important role in the lives of people and the tourism industry of this country.

japan public transport
JR trains | JR Rail Pass Guide

The Japanese railway system has a long history of formation and development, starting in 1872 with the first railway connecting Tokyo and Yokohama. Through many ups and downs, JR has continuously improved and modernized, becoming one of the most advanced railway systems in the world with more than 20,000 km of tracks and 9,000 train stations.

JR is famous for its safety, precision and convenience. The train runs on time, on the right route, ensuring absolute safety for passengers. The subway system is modern, clean and airy. The train stations are modernly designed, fully equipped, meeting the diverse needs of passengers.

JR Hokkaido Shinkansen Bullet Train from Tokyo to Sapporo
JR Hokkaido Shinkansen Bullet Train from Tokyo to Sapporo | JR Rail Pass Guide
fukuoka jr train,fukuoka travel blog
| JR Rail Pass Guide
| JR Rail Pass Guide
japan public transport
Go with the right train. Stop at the right stop. | JR Rail Pass Guide

The JR railway system includes many different types of trains, meeting all travel needs of tourists:

  • Shinkansen bullet train: Famous for its high speed, high precision and premium service, the Shinkansen is the perfect choice for those who want to travel quickly and comfortably between major cities.
  • Subway: The subway system is modern, convenient and safe, helping visitors easily traveling within large cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto,…
  • Local train: Brings tourists to peaceful countryside, majestic mountains or romantic beaches, helping visitors fully experience the beauty of Japan.
JR Yamagata Shinkansen bullet train
JR Yamagata Shinkansen bullet train | JR Rail Pass Guide

JR East Nagano / Niigata Area Pass

Inside JR train | JR Rail Pass Guide

JR Pass for Whole Japan

JR Pass map for whole Japan – Explore the Japan Railway System (JR)

Are you planning to travel to Japan? Do you want to fully explore the land of the rising sun with a modern and convenient transportation system? Below is the whole Japan JR Pass Map for you to conveniently plan your upcoming trip.

| JR Rail Pass Guide

JR East Tohoku Area Pass

JR Pass Guide: Frequently Asked Questions When Purchasing a JR Pass

When Should I Buy a JR Pass?

Komagatake ropeway | JR Rail Pass Guide

The JR Pass was created to serve the needs of tourists staying temporarily in Japan (or “Temporary Visitor”), not exceeding 3 months. Only non-Japanese nationals are allowed to purchase a JR Pass. If you intend to go to Japan on your own with a itinerary in many different locations, you should buy a JR Pass to save money and get the most benefits. With the complex and expensive public transportation system in Japan, owning a JR Pass will make your journey in Japan much easier and more economical.

Where to buy a JR Pass? (#JR Rail Pass Guide)

| JR Rail Pass Guide

JR West Kansai Area Pass

You can buy a JR Pass at many different airports and ticket counters in Japan. However, buying JR Passes at airports or in Japan is often quite expensive, so we recommend you buy JR Passes online via our partner Klook. Only a few suppliers or websites in Vietnam authorized by JR Railway can sell this type of pass.

Tourists should buy JR Pass via Klook to get the BEST price on the market. Purchasing is very quick, economical and convenient. Most JR Passes come with extremely attractive incentives and gifts.

You can refer to the information on Klook if you need to receive Mail Exchange Order (hardboard Exchange Order) or Electronic Exchange Order (Electronic Exchange Order). For the JR Whole Japan Pass and certain regional JR Passes, you need a Mail Exchange Order (hard copy Exchange Order) – which will be sent to your home within 2 weeks.

jr pass regional
Exchange Order | JR Rail Pass Guide

For regional JR Passes that issue Electronic Exchange Order, you will receive the Electronic Exchange Order right in your Klook account upon successful booking confirmation.

Electronic Exchange Orders | JR Rail Pass Guide

How to Choose a Date When Buying a JR Pass on Klook?

For JR Pass for Whole Japan or JR Pass for certain areas that require Mail Exchange Order (hard copy), please choose a date at least 2 weeks from your intended date of arrival in Japan. This is to make sure you have enough time to receive your JR Pass.

For regional JR Passes issued by Electronic Exchange Order, the pass will be issued immediately to your Klook account upon booking confirmation. Therefore, you can purchase this card even on the actual day you intend to use it.

| JR Pass Guide

However, please note that all JR Passes are only valid for 90 days from the date of booking. The exchange order will expire at 11:59 p.m. on the last day. So, make sure you only book a maximum of 3 months before your trip to Japan.

Please ensure you have enough time to receive your Exchange Order before departing for Japan. You MUST have an Exchange Order to receive a JR Pass in Japan.

| JR Pass Guide

How much does the JR Pass cost? (#JR Pass Guide)

Depending on the type of the pass, area and days of use, JR Pass will range from $35.36 to around $707.13. JR Pass prices at Klook are currently the best in the market, with a variety of types of passes for you to choose from. The best part is that customers can also receive their JR Pass right at home.

How Many Types of JR Passes Are There?

| JR Pass Guide

There are more than 20 types of JR Pass – serving a variety of customers’ travel needs. For example, if you plan to travel throughout Japan, it is best to buy a JR Pass for Whole Japan. If you only want to travel in a certain city or prefecture (eg Tokyo, Kyoto…), then buying a JR Pass in one prefecture/city will be the most reasonable and economical.

| JR Pass Guide

Besides the limit on travel area, JR Pass also has different validity periods of 7 days, 14 days and 21 days, depending on the type of pass. Please calculate your schedule in detail before ordering a JR Pass to choose the most suitable pass type!

Note: start date is calculated from the first trip on your ticket.

Tips on How to Choose and Buy the most suitable JR Pass:

It’s important to plan your trip carefully before ordering a JR Pass, and see how many different passes there are to choose from. For example, if you plan to go to Osaka and visit Nagoya during your stay in Japan, then you should buy Central Passes. At that time, you can easily travel to the central regions of Japan.

Or if you only want to stay in one city, like Hokkaido, for example, you should buy the JR Hokkaido Pass. In addition, if you come to Tokyo for 2 weeks but have plans to travel around other areas of Japan, you should buy the JR Pass for Whole Japan.

Is JR Pass Activation Time Important?

JR Pass validity period is calculated in calendar days instead of 24 hours. Therefore, starting to use the JR Pass is not a matter of concern. For example, if you start using the 7-day JR Pass at 3:00 p.m. on October 1, the pass will expire at 0:00 on October 7 (Day 7) instead of 3:00 p.m. on October 8, 2024 (Day 8).

What to do if you use the train at midnight and your JR Pass expires?

Fuji Mountain review: how to go
JR pass | JR Pass Guide

The JR Pass will remain valid until the end of your journey if you happen to be on the train at midnight, if you board the train before midnight. However, if you transfer to a Shinkansen, Express or Limited Express train after midnight, the pass will not cover the additional costs.

How is a First Class Ticket (Green Car) different from an Ordinary Car on JR Trains?

Inside JR train

Green Car – or first class tickets – are commonly seen on Shinkansen (bullet trains) and Tokkyu (limited express trains). Green Car is like a business class seat on an airplane so the price is quite high. Guests can rest on spacious chairs, read magazines, have private luggage storage and even have a radio! Green Car is a popular choice during rush hour because it has private seats. This also means that you are allowed to pre-book your seat for each trip.

Comparision of Green Car (First Class) and Ordinary Car (Second Class) | JR Pass Guide

Should I Order a Green Car?

JR train system’s regular class ticket services are very good. However, the booking feature and benefits of Green Car (having your own space, and not having to jostle with the crowd) are a reason worth booking Green Car.

Green car | JR Pass Guide

What Are Reserved Seats & Regular Seats on JR Trains?

There are two types of seats on JR trains: reserved seats and regular seats. Some routes require you to purchase an Express ticket to reserve a separate seat. For trains that do not require separate seat reservations, when you buy a JR Pass, you already reserve your seat!

| JR Pass Guide

For example, if you want private seats on the Kansai-Airport Express Haruka and other express trains on the JR West Kansai Pass, you will have to purchase an Express ticket. However, with special express trains, express trains and JR-West local trains, you will be able to reserve your seat when activating the JR Pass.

How to cancel JR Pass?

Once you have successfully booked a JR Pass with KLOOK, you can only cancel the Exchange Order if it has not been exchanged for a JR Pass. If you want to cancel your JR Pass, please send your Exchanger Order by post to the Klook office!

JR West pass
JR West pass | JR Pass Guide

Exchange Orders that have not been exchanged can be returned within 11 months from the date of issue and will incur a 10% cancellation fee on the ticket price. Please note that Klook will not refund or cancel any Exchange Order lost, damaged or stolen, including any reasons related to regional schedule changes and service suspensions. And there will be no refunds or compensation related to accommodation, meals, travel or other incidental expenses.

Can I Use my JR Pass Right at the Airport?

JR ticket office | JR Pass Guide

Yes, but the first thing you need to do is use your Pass Exchange Order voucher to receive your JR Pass and activate it right at the airport. JR lines connect most airports to the nearest major city. You can use the ticket to take the Tokyo Monorail connecting Haneda airport and Hamamatsucho station.

japan public transport
Narita Express (NEX) from Narita International Airport to get to Tokyo Center. | JR Pass Guide

As well as the Narita Express train, also known as N’EX, which connects Narita airport with Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro stations. However, you CANNOT use the JR Pass to ride the Keisei Skyliner that links Narita Airport with Tokyo.

What to do if you don’t receive your JR Pass?

Klook has 24-hour support service and you can contact in many ways as below. Simply provide Klook with your booking number and ask Klook to give you a tracking number or let you know if there are any updates to your order.

Is it necessary to activate the JR Pass immediately after exchange the pass?

| JR Pass Guide

No, your JR Pass start date does not need to be the day you exchange your pass. You can choose to activate your card at any time within 30 days from the date you exchanged your pass.

How Long Before Going to Japan Should I Buy a JR Pass?

| JR Pass Guide

Klook recommends that you book your JR Pass from Klook 2 months before your trip to Japan. This time is enough for you to change your trip itinerary within the validity period of the Exchange Order.

You can purchase your JR Pass up to 6 months before your trip. Also, avoid purchasing your JR Pass too close to your arrival date in Japan. You may not have enough time to receive your Exchange Order by mail.

Can I Buy a JR Pass for Someone Else?

Yes, you can book a JR Pass for someone else, as long as you fill in that person’s information correctly. Make sure the person’s name and gender match their passport.

If I Book a JR Pass for a Friend, Can I Use the Same Name for All Reservations?

Cannot. The name used for each JR Pass is different and must match the information on the user’s passport.

Can I ask someone else to exchange my JR Pass?

No, someone else cannot exchange your JR Pass on your behalf. You will have to exchange it at the JR Ticket Office in Japan, where JR staff will need to verify the identity of the pass holder.

You will have to present your passport along with your Exchange Order to exchange your JR Pass. You will also need to complete an application form and present your passport so that the officer can check the information and stamp on your passport to prove you are a temporary tourist in Japan.

| JR Pass Guide

Do Children Need to Buy a JR Pass?

For children aged 0 – 5 years old, a JR Pass will not be required as long as an adult is present using the JR Pass. An adult with a Jr Pass can accompany 2 children without needing to buy a pass, the 3rd child traveling together will need to buy a JR Pass. However, if you want a separate seat for your child, you need to buy a JR for your child. An adult with a Jr Pass can accompany 2 children without needing to buy a pass, the 3rd child traveling together will need to buy a JR Pass.

Best-selling JR Passes on Klook

When traveling to Japan on your own, you can’t ignore the “effective assistant” JR Pass? Below are the most popular JR Passes/routes, chosen by many tourists.

JR Pass for Whole Japan

Japan Rail Pass for whole Japan area

JR Pass for Whole Japan

Explore the land of cherry blossoms easily and economically with the JR Pass for Whole Japan! This train pass gives you unlimited travel on Shinkansen lines (except Narita Express and Haruka trains), express trains, local trains, and JR buses for 7, 14, or 21 days.

Compared to buying single tickets, JR Pass helps you save significantly on your journey to explore Japan. Travel easily and flexibly to different attractions and cities across the country.

JR Kyushu Pass

JR Kyushu Pass is the ideal pass that gives you unlimited travel on all JR Pass trains in the Kyushu area, including local trains, limited express trains and modern Shinkansen trains. The JR Pass for Whole Kyushu has 3 types of validity: 3 days, 5 days and 7 consecutive days, suitable for all your needs and travel schedule.

Additionally, you can also choose the JR North Kyushu Pass or JR South Kyushu Pass if you only want to explore a specific area. The JR North Kyushu Pass allows you to travel freely for 3 or 5 consecutive days in popular tourist destinations such as Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kumamoto and Oita. The JR Kyushu South Pass offers the opportunity to explore the natural wonders of Kagoshima and Miyazaki for 3 or 5 consecutive days.

JR West Pass for Whole Kansai Area

The JR Kansai Wide Area Pass is the key to a 5-day journey to explore the vibrant land of Kansai. Simply exchange your voucher for a ticket as soon as you arrive in Japan, and you can travel unlimitedly on Shinkansen bullet trains, express trains, and local trains in the area.

The pass lets you explore popular destinations like Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji, and Wakayama at an economical price. In addition, you can also use the JR West bus to easily travel to attractions far from the train station.

Note: The pass is not applicable to certain train services and are valid for 5 consecutive days. Buy tickets at JR train station, Kansai airport or an authorized travel agency.

JR East Tohoku Area Pass

Unlimited travel on all JR East trains, including the scenic train, the JR East Tohoku Area Pass is the perfect choice for exploring the beautiful region of Tohoku. Start your journey from Narita or Haneda airport to Tokyo, then travel by Shinkansen to see the sights of Aomori or Sendai. The ticket also allows you to experience non-JR train lines in Izu and Nikko.

Exploring Japan is easier and cheaper than ever with the modern and extensive rail network. Book your JR East Pass (Tohoku area) today and immerse yourself in the beauty of the land of cherry blossoms!

JR Hokkaido Pass

JR Hokkaido Pass is the perfect choice for your journey to explore this beautiful island. With this pass, you get unlimited travel on all JR Hokkaido lines, experience the local train network, and use some JR Hokkaido buses.

JR Hokkaido Rail Pass

The pass have different expiry dates to suit your needs. Additionally, you can also choose the JR Hokkaido Sapporo-Furano or Sapporo-Noboribetsu area pass if you only want to explore a specific area.

(*) Note: Tickets cannot be used on the Hokkaido Shinkansen, Hokkaido Southern Railway, trams and subways.

Illustration of how to buy JR Pass on Klook

What are Differences Between Klook Voucher, Exchange Order and JR Pass?

For customers who choose to receive Exchange Order at the Klook office, distinguishing between these three types of documents is also quite confusing. Let Klook help you!

  • Klook voucher: After successful payment, you will receive a Klook voucher in the app and email. This voucher is NOT valid for exchanging JR Pass in Japan, you must use Klook voucher to redeem Exchange Order at Klook office.
  • Exchange Order: Also known as MCO, you will receive your Exchange Order by mail or at the Klook office. You MUST HAVE an Exchange Order to exchange your JR Pass in Japan.
  • JR Pass: This is a ticket that you will exchange for an Exchange Order when you arrive in Japan and will accompany you throughout your trip.

Why Do You Need to Provide Personal Information When Placing an Order?

Japan Railways requires all users to provide accurate and valid personal information to receive a JR Pass. The information on the Exchange Order must match the information on your passport. Otherwise, the Exchange Order will be considered invalid and you will not be able to receive a JR Pass.

When using Exchange Order to receive a JR Pass in Japan, you MUST present your original passport and Temporary Visitor stamp for inspection. Passport photocopies will not be accepted.

How to redeem my Exchange Order for a JR Pass?

After successfully booking, the JR Pass exchange invoice (Exchange Order) will be sent to your address in Vietnam or your country. When you come to Japan, you use this invoice to exchange it for a JR Pass at many locations. You will need both Exchange Order and passport to be able to exchange the pass. See the list of places to exchange JR Pass tickets here.

Checklist required to redeem JR Pass
How to exchange Exchange Order to receive JR Pass

How to Activate JR Pass?

When exchanging your JR Pass, you will have to select a start date. This day is the official day your JR Pass will be activated, so plan carefully! Note that each exchange voucher is valid for 90 days from the date the ticket booking is confirmed. Don’t forget!

Your self-sufficient trip to Japan, whether to relax or explore new lands, will be much easier and more economical thanks to the JR Pass. Importantly, you will have more time to enjoy the trip and create many beautiful memories for yourself.

Japan, a country famous for its unique culture, majestic natural landscapes and friendly people, is always the dream destination of tourists from all over the world. To help visitors fully explore the beauty of the land of the rising sun, the JR Pass for Wole Japan was created as an ideal companion, providing a convenient, economical and exciting travel experience.

The post first appeared on Klook Vietnam and was translated by Living Nomads. If you find any images or text that belong to you, please contact us, so we can credit you or give us permission to use them. Thank you very much!

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