March 26, 2023

A bullet train crosses in front of the famous Mount Fuji in the background in Japan
Posted: 1/9/23 | January ninth, 2023

Japan is considered one of my favourite international locations on this planet. The serene fantastic thing about the mountains and temples, the hustle and bustle of the sprawling cities, the beautiful meals, and its lengthy historical past make for an interesting place to go to.

Nonetheless, Japan has a status, particularly amongst funds vacationers, as being too costly. “Higher skip Japan and head to Southeast Asia, the place your cash goes additional,” they are saying.

But you’ll be able to journey Japan on a funds. Meals, sights, and even lodging (it’s the land of capsule accommodations!) might be discovered for a comparatively low value if you understand the place you look.

But one side of touring in Japan that does reside as much as its pricey status is transportation — notably practice journey.

Japan’s iconic bullet trains (known as shinkansen) are lovely, comfy, handy, and quick. They’re world-class wonders of transportation, racing round at speeds as much as 320 kilometers (200 miles) per hour. They run on particular tracks separate from the opposite trains and are a formidable feat of engineering.

They’re tremendous costly. There’s simply no approach round that reality.

Fortunately, there may be one straightforward factor you are able to do to chop your practice ticket costs in half (or extra): purchase a Japan Rail Pass. You actually shouldn’t be touring across the nation with out one (and I’m fairly certain they worth the go and common tickets out in a approach that actually forces you to purchase one).

On this submit, I’ll introduce the JR Move and clarify the way it works, how a lot it prices, and reply frequent questions I get concerning the go.


What’s the Japan Rail (JR) Move?

The Japan Rail Move (also called the JR Move) was created to assist vacationers get across the nation (just like the Eurail go in Europe). JR is the most important practice operator in Japan, and the go supplies limitless entry to all its trains for a set worth.

The go is available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day choices. Be aware that these are consecutive days, not journey days. So, if you wish to journey round Japan for 2 weeks, you’ll must buy the 14-day possibility, regardless that you gained’t be taking the practice every single day.

A number of JR trains are included within the go. The most well-liked is the shinkansen (bullet) practice, which is the quickest practice and goes to almost each vacation spot and area. The subsequent quickest is the tokkyu (restricted specific). The kyuko (specific) practice comes subsequent, adopted by the kaisoku (speedy) and kakueki-teisha or futsu-densha (native trains that make each cease).

In brief, because of this there are JR trains that quickly journey between areas, some that go between cities with a number of stops, and native commuter-style trains which might be gradual (however low-cost).

Moreover, JR trains additionally serve some metropolitan areas, to allow them to be used inside cities. For instance, on my final go to, I used my JR Move to get round Kyoto and Tokyo as an alternative of shopping for native metro tickets.

The JR Pass must be bought earlier than you arrive in Japan and it must be mailed to you so that you’ll need to order it nicely prematurely (extra under).

How the JR Move works

The JR Move may be very straightforward to make use of — you simply want to recollect to buy it beforehand, whereas in your house nation, because the go is simply out there to guests. (When you can buy it at choose ticket workplaces in Japan till March 2023, in-person passes value considerably extra, so it’s higher simply to order it prematurely).

The go has a number of choices (every legitimate for consecutive days, not simply journey days):

  • 7 days: 29,650 JPY (39,600 JPY for a Inexperienced Move)
  • 14 days: 47,250 JPY (64,120 JPY for a Inexperienced Move)
  • 21 days: 60,450 JPY (83,390 JPY for a Inexperienced Move)

The Inexperienced Move is the first-class possibility. Because the trains in Japan are already wonderful, you seemingly don’t want to purchase the Inexperienced Move except you actually need some luxurious. Moreover, touring in inexperienced vehicles might be extra of a problem in the event you prefer to be spontaneous, as you have to all the time reserve a seat prematurely in inexperienced vehicles, requiring you to go to the ticket workplace or automated reservation machines forward of time to take action. In extraordinary vehicles, you’ll be able to simply hop on and take any out there seat.

Along with the usual and inexperienced JR passes, there are regional passes in case you aren’t touring throughout your complete nation. These choices can prevent much more cash since they’re cheaper than the common JR passes. Every area has a number of go choices, often ranging between one and 7 days.

You should buy JR passes for six areas:

  • JR East (for the primary island)
  • JR West (for the primary island)
  • JR Central (for the primary island)
  • JR Hokkaido (for the northern island)
  • JR Kyushu (for the southwestern island)
  • JR Shikoku (for the southeastern island)

When you’re simply going to be specializing in one area of the nation, contemplate shopping for a JR regional go. If you need entry to your complete nation, get the common JR Move.

When you’re a first-time customer to Japan, you’ll seemingly need the common JR Pass, because it covers all the foremost locations.

In sum, to get a go, you want to:

  1. Choose the time length to your go (7, 14, or 21 days)
  2. Select your class (Inexperienced or customary — once more, customary is greater than enough for many vacationers)
  3. Resolve what geographical space you need to go to (all the nation or a single area)
  4. Pay the charge and order the go earlier than you allow residence

Getting and utilizing Your JR Move

The best technique to get a Japan Move is by ordering it on-line (there are lots of official on-line suppliers however I recommend this one because it’s been promoting passes for the longest time).

As soon as you buy a go, you’ll obtain an “trade order” within the mail, stamped with a date, that you just’ll flip in to choose up your precise go in Japan. Don’t neglect your trade order at residence, as you have to convey this doc to choose up your go in Japan!

When you get to Japan, you’ll trade your trade order (therefore the identify) for a JR Move at a JR workplace. Be sure to have your passport on you (not a photocopy) whenever you go to gather it, as they are going to test to just be sure you have a brief customer stamp in your passport. The JR Move is simply out there to guests and they’re fairly strict about verifying you’re a vacationer.

You’ve got three months from the date printed on the trade order to choose up your JR Move, however you do not want to start out utilizing the go on the identical day that you just decide it up.

For instance, say that you just need to decide up the go when you arrive however you need to spend a while in Tokyo earlier than heading on to see the remainder of the nation. You may choose any date inside one month of exchanging the order as your beginning date. (However as soon as the go is issued, you’ll be able to’t change the beginning date.)

When you’ve received your go in hand, you don’t want to fret about getting tickets, as you merely use your go to go proper by means of the automated turnstiles.

Along with utilizing the shinkansen and different trains, the JR go provides entry to:

  • Native buses operated by JR (such because the vacationer loop bus in Hiroshima or JR buses round Sapporo)
  • Ferries operated by JR (such because the one from Hiroshima to the island of Miyajima)
  • JR strains working by means of metropolitan areas (equivalent to Tokyo and Osaka)
  • Free seat reservations (in any other case, seat reservations value round 330-930 JPY)

The JR Move isn’t legitimate for:

  • The Nozomi and the Mizuho shinkansen strains
  • Japanese residents or residents, equivalent to foreigners working in Japan (solely these with a vacationer visa can use the go)

Is the Japan Rail Move price it?

Completely! Although you may get sticker shock initially when buying a go, you’ll save lots of of {dollars} throughout your journey with one — even in the event you simply go to 2-3 cities. For instance, and not using a rail go, a ticket from Tokyo to Osaka prices round 27,000 JPY (round-trip), but you may get a seven-day rail go that features limitless journey on JR trains for simply 29,650 JPY. So for the worth of 1 round-trip ticket, you get limitless journey. It’s a no brainer!

Listed below are some extra examples of one-way practice tickets on the shinkansen trains with non-reserved seats within the “extraordinary” (non-green automobile) class:

  • Tokyo-Hiroshima: 18,380 JPY
  • Tokyo-Kyoto: 13,320 JPY
  • Tokyo Fukuoka: 23,390 JPY
  • Kyoto-Hiroshima: 10,570 JPY
  • Kyoto-Osaka: 4,230 JPY
  • Hiroshima-Fukuoka: 9,000 JPY
  • Nagano-Kanazawa: 8,440 JPY
  • Tokyo-Yokohama: 3,210 JPY
  • Hakodate-Tokyo: 23,500 JPY

As you’ll be able to see, it solely takes one longer-distance journey from Tokyo (equivalent to to Hiroshima or Fukuoka) to justify the price of the go. And also you’ll seemingly use it far more than that!

And even in the event you aren’t taking the bullet trains, the go nonetheless is smart. For instance, a visit on a neighborhood practice from Kyoto to Tokyo prices round 8,360 JPY — as an alternative of 13,320 JPY for the bullet practice. Nonetheless, the native practice journey takes 9 hours and requires a number of transfers, as an alternative of a direct three hours, making it a lower than best alternative for many vacationers (particularly in the event you’re tight on time). It’s typically merely not price the price financial savings.

You’re higher off utilizing the bullet trains and reveling within the high-speed expertise because it whisks you from one unimaginable vacation spot to a different!

Japan Rail Move Regularly Requested Questions

Is JR Move just for vacationers?
Sure. Solely folks visiting on a vacationer visa can use the JR Pass.

Can Japan Rail Move be used on the Tokyo subway?
Yep, a number of the subway strains (although not all) in Tokyo are run by JR, which implies you’ll be able to entry them without cost together with your JR Move. That is true for your complete nation. Metro strains and native subway strains are excluded from the go.

Can I modify the times on which I want to use the Japan Rail Move?
No. As soon as the go has been activated, the dates are set in stone.

How do I activate the Japan Rail Move?
To activate the JR Move, convey your trade order and your passport to a JR workplace in Japan. As soon as they confirm your identification and visa standing, they are going to activate your go.

Can I exploit JR Move from Tokyo to Kyoto?
Yep! The gap is 445 kilometers (283 miles), and the journey takes beneath three hours on the bullet practice.

Are buses included in JR Move?
Sure, JR does run some bus strains, that are included within the JR Move. Some locations the place JR has buses embody Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu.

Can I cancel my Japan Rail Move?
You may cancel your go so long as it has not been activated, however as soon as it’s activated, you’ll be able to’t.


Practice journey is one of the simplest ways to see Japan. The trains are clear, quick, and the surroundings attractive. I like touring the nation by practice. Whereas shopping for a rail go may look like a pricey alternative, it’ll prevent a ton of cash — and it’s a uniquely Japanese expertise that you just gained’t neglect!

Click here to get your Japan Rail pass today!


E book Your Journey to Japan: Logistical Ideas and Tips

E book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to discover a low-cost flight. They’re my favourite search engine as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you all the time know no stone is left unturned!

E book Your Lodging
You may e-book your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the most important stock and greatest offers. If you wish to keep someplace aside from a hostel, use as they constantly return the most affordable charges for guesthouses and low-cost accommodations. My favourite locations to remain in Japan are:

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you in opposition to sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes unsuitable. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions prior to now. My favourite corporations that supply the most effective service and worth are:

Searching for the Greatest Firms to Save Cash With?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for the most effective corporations to make use of whenever you journey. I checklist all those I exploit to save cash after I’m on the street. They are going to prevent cash whenever you journey too.

Remember to take a look at the Japan Rail Pass in the event you’ll be touring across the nation. It is available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes and might prevent a ton of cash!

Need Extra Data on Japan
Remember to go to our sturdy vacation spot information on Japan for much more planning ideas!