Japan Rail Pass
Eligibility For The Rail Pass
The Japan Rail Pass is a great option if you plan on exploring other areas of the country in addition to Tokyo.
To be eligible for this pass, you must be visiting Tokyo as a tourist and your visa status should be "Temporary Visitor". This is the status awarded to anybody traveling to Japan for the purpose of a vacation.
Use our currency convertor at the bottom or our Tokyo Prices page to check these prices against your local currency and plan your travel budget.
If you are coming to work here, to study, or have any other status other than "Temporary Visitor", you will not be able to use the Rail Pass facility.
You can purchase an exchange order before you arrive in Japan through the JR East online reservation service or wait until you arrive at the airport to buy it. If you use the online service follow the link to the page and then click the link that says "Buy" next to the Japan Rail Pass option. We would send you directly to the page but there is a special notice you need to read that appears after you click the link from this page.
Once you get to Tokyo, your exchange order is...well...exchanged for your Pass.
How to Purchase your Japan Rail Pass
So how does it work? The basic process is outlined below:
- Check your eligibility for the pass. Remember you only qualify if you have "Temporary Visitor" status.
- Either purchase your exchange order online or from an authorized JR sales office or agent - JTB Corp., Kintetsu International, Japan Airlines (you can only use this option if you book a JAL group flight), All Nippon Airways, JALPAK, and their associated agencies. If you are not sure where to find any of the agents mentioned, check with your local travel agent who should be able to help you or tell you where to go.
- When you arrive in Japan you hand in your exchange order to receive your rail pass at a JR station that has a Japan Rail Pass exchange office - Narita Airport Terminals 1 & 2 along with Tokyo train station, all have exchange offices.
- You must use your exchange order within 3 months of the purchase date and you will need your orginal passport (no copies accepted) to receive your pass. Your exchange application form must be handed in at the same time. If you have not filled this in prior to going to the JR office, you will be able to do it there.
- Child tickets are required for children aged from 6 years, up to and including 11 years old.
Where Can I Use The Japan Rail Pass?
You can use the Japan Rail Pass on all trains operated by JR including the Shinkansen with the exception of the "Nozomi" bullet train. This is the fastest of the Shinkansens and makes the least amount of stops. However you can use it on the "Hikari" and "Kodama" bullet trains - the Kodama is the slowest of the bullet trains as it stops at all stations.
You can also use the Pass on JR local buses and some JR highway buses. Please confirm the eligibility of your desired route with the JR ticket office if you intend to use the highway buses. Finally boats. Only one boat is covered by the pass - the JR Miyajima ferry in Hiroshima.