Japan Rail Pass

The Japan Rail Pass can be a good deal for visitors who plan on doing a lot of sightseeing in Japan. The JR Pass allows you unlimited travel on most JR trains throughout Japan, and also some buses and ferries. It is available only to people visiting Japan, so if you actually live in Japan you can’t get a JR Pass. Here is some more information about eligibility and how to get the pass.

Full details of the procedure are on the JR Pass website. You have to organise the JR Pass from your own country before you travel to Japan; a travel agent should be able to help. Here’s what you do.

  1. Buy a JR Pass Exchange Order in your own country
  2. Enter Japan as a tourist
  3. Go to a JR office and exchange the Exchange Order for your JR pass

When you pick up the JR pass, they will check your passport to make sure you are in Japan under “Temporary Visitor” status. You will be classed as a temporary visitor unless you have applied for some kind of resident visa. If you have a visa that allows you to live in Japan, then you are not eligible for the JR Pass. (The JR pass is also available to some Japanese people who live overseas. See the website for more details.)

Passes can be for one, two or three weeks. The price is about 28,300 yen for a one-week pass, up to 57,700 for a three-week pass. “Green Car” (first class) passes cost about 30% more, and children’s passes are half price.

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