Everything you need to know about the JR Pass, or how to travel by train in Japan

Explore Japanese territory without paying the high price of comfortable but expensive Japanese trains: The Japan Rail Pass has long been an essential part of traveling to Japan… before the railway group drastically increased its price.

Launched with the aim of encouraging foreign tourist travel to the archipelago, the JR Pass allows unlimited use of the main railway company’s trains, buses and ferries throughout the country. Its price, which was once very attractive (a round trip between Tokyo and Kyoto paid for a one-week pass), has recently caused some consternation: unchanged since its launch, Pass prices have been increased Last fall. from 1er October 2023, its price is almost 70% higher. Does it remain attractive? Yes, for those who plan to cover a large portion of the area.

How does the Japan Rail Pass work?

You must purchase a Japan Rail Pass before reaching Japan.
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7, 14 or 21 day pass must be purchased before reaching Japan Website JR Group Executive or a partner travel agency. Plan to reserve it early: it takes a few days to receive an exchange voucher at home (or at your place of residence in Japan), which you will need to exchange at one of the JR offices, at the airport, or even Must be submitted in any one. Major stations of the country.

so here is your voucher Valid for three months, it is up to you to decide when to activate it. If you plan to stay for the first few days in your arrival city, it is better to start it from the day of your departure and till then buy your train tickets individually (opt for rechargeable cards) to reach your next destination. – Pasmo, Suica, etc. – which you can use on most train networks, anywhere in Japan).

Once your pass is activated, you will be able to take all JR transportation at no additional cost, including the famous Shinkansen, one of the fastest in the world. Is tokyo, also serves the nearby Yamanote, a circular line into the center of the capital, or the Narita Express, which serves the airport. Another advantage of the pass: it is not mandatory to reserve your place, simply find accessible cars without reservation. To reserve a seat – sometimes necessary – or avoid traveling standing in case of strong impact, go to the ticket office or use the automated terminals.

What budget for JR pass?

50,000 yen (about €315) for 7 days, 80,000 yen (about €505) for 14 days, and 100,000 yen (about €632) for 21 days. The “Green Car” pass, about 40% more expensive, provides access to first class, which is more spacious; But the regular range is already very comfortable and the upgrade, in our opinion, is unnecessary.

nice to know

Several companies share the railway network in Japan and although the JR network is the most extensive, it is not present everywhere. On the other hand, the fastest Nozomi or Mizuho trains of the Tokyo-Kyoto Line are not included. At the end, Keep your JR Pass carefully, If it is lost, you will have no way to get it printed again, even with proof of purchase.

Our opinion on Japan Rail Pass

Despite the increase in price, the JR Pass remains viable.
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The JR Pass remains practical despite its increase in price, and opens up a field of possibilities in terms of itinerary. This is especially beneficial if you want to travel from north to south across the main island of Honshu, or visit the other main islands of the archipelago (Kyushu, Shikoku or Hokkaido). On-site, this saves time at the station and gives more flexibility (for example, you can plan a vacation at the last minute, without breaking your budget). This also includes access to some cruise trains, which are renowned for the beauty of the landscapes they pass through.

On the other hand, for those who do not want to make many trips and prefer to focus on a particular region, it is better to choose a cheaper regional pass. Even if you plan to focus on just two or three cities and stay there, the pass is not recommended.

So before booking it, it is better to ensure that the JR Pass is suitable for your travel. Once you’ve planned your itinerary, remember to check the price of each ride before choosing a pass; Website hyperdia.comWhich suggests different routes and tells the price of each trip, which is very practical.

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