Japan Rail Pass while traveling in Japan（Japan Train Ticket Guide）
Travelling in Japan, no doubt, can cost you a fortune no matter where you’re coming from. Although you can expect some nice and cheap foods, accommodation and transportation can still be pretty pricey and eat through your travel budget. When I decided to spend three weeks in Japan a year ago, I came to know about the Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) – a deal which could save you from paying a big chunk on transportation in Japan.
To save your time from searching for more information about this golden ticket, here are some of the basic things you should know about the JR Pass.
Please note that the JR Pass might not be a good option for those planning only to visit one or two cities in Japan. It is a better deal for those who plan for multiple cross-region visits.
You can choose the 7, 14 or 21 days pass
Depending on your needs, the JR Pass is available for 7, 14 or 21 days. Once you have activated your pass, you can use it for the next consecutive days depending on the length of your pass. Please keep in mind that the pass is valid only on successive days, so even if you do not use the pass on daily basis, you will not get any additional days.
The prices for the JR Pass on the official website are listed as USD $239 for the 7-day pass, USD $379 for the 14-day pass and USD $487 for the 21-day pass. However, some of the official dealers might have a small additional service charge. Likewise, if you are lucky like I was, you might get a small discount during their promotion period. So, do keep track and check for the best prices. (Note: All the prices are pretty much the same, but some could save you few dollars – not much, but why not).
You can only purchase the JR Pass outside Japan
Although the JR Pass seems like a good deal, many people might not have the full travel details before traveling to Japan. Hence, many of you might want to get the pass once you arrive in Japan. But you cannot buy the JR Pass in Japan. Since the pass is designed specifically for foreign travelers, it can only be purchased by official dealers in your home country. So, if you want to save up some money, then you just have to work out your travel plans earlier.
You will only receive your actual pass in Japan
Although you have to purchase the pass overseas, you will only get the actual pass when you have arrived in Japan. Once you completed your purchase via the overseas dealer, you will receive something called the “Exchange Order”. You will need to bring along your passport (only your actual passport is accepted, a photocopy is not acceptable) and the Exchange Order to specific offices to receive your actual pass. You can do this in most of the major train stations in Japan.