(original photo by Antonio Tajuelo; CC BY 2.0)

Japan Rail Passes

There are a number of JR Passes aimed at tourists that allow for unlimited travel on designated services. In addition to the Japan-wide JR Rail Pass, the various member companies of the Japan Rail Group offer passes valid for travel within their respective areas. While the JR Rail Pass can only be purchased abroad, most of the others can be purchased inside Japan as long as you have Temporary Visitor status. Your passport is required for confirmation of this. When you buy the pass abroad, you will receive an exchange ticket that you can swap for the actual pass at a Japan Rail Office after you arrive, as long as you have a Temporary Visitor stamp in your passport.

Available Passes

All Japan

This pass offers unlimited travel on almost all JR trains and Shinkansen across the whole of Japan, and also includes travel on some JR buses and other services.

JR Hokkaidō

This pass offers unlimited travel on all JR trains and some JR bus services across the island of Hokkaidō.

JR East

This pass offers unlimited travel on JR trains including express and Shinkansen operated by JR East, and some non-JR trains in the Izu and Nikkō areas.
This pass offers unlimited travel on JR trains including express and Shinkansen within the central Kantō area of Tokyo, Yokohama, Saitama and Chiba.
A discounted return ticket between Narita airport and any JR station within the designated area.

JR Central

A pass linking both Nagoya and central Kansai cities to tourist locations in the Chūbu region. Offers unlimited travel on conventional JR trains, certain tourist buses, and the Hokuriku Shinkansen within the designated areas.
A pass linking Nagoya to tourist locations along the Kii Peninsula in southern Kansai. Offers unlimited travel on conventional JR trains and many tourist buses within the designated area.

JR West

Unlimited travel on conventional JR trains within the main Kansai region, centred around Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Wakayama and Hyogo Prefectures.
In addition to the area covered by the Kansai Area Pass, offers a wider area of travel within Kansai, and also includes travel to and from Okayama (including the Sanyo Shinkansen) and Northern Kagawa on the island of Shikoku.
In addition to the area covered by the Kansai Wide Area Pass, offers travel as far as Hiroshima Prefecture, including the Sanyo Shinkansen, and the JR Miyajima island ferry.
This pass offers unlimited travel from central Kansai to Yamaguchi Prefecture on the west coast of Japan’s main island of Honshū on conventional JR trains and the Sanyo Shinkansen. The area also includes northern Kagawa on Shikoku and northern Fukuoka on Kyūshū, and the the Miyajima island ferry.
In addition to the area covered by the Kansai Wide Area Pass, offers travel into the Hokuriku area as far as Ishikawa and Niigata Prefectures, including travel on the Sanyo and Hokuriku Shinkansen, and certain express lines, within the designated areas.
This pass offers unlimited travel on conventional JR trains around Okayama, Shimane and Tottori Prefectures.
This pass offers unlimited travel on conventional JR trains in an area covering Hiroshima and Yamaguchi Prefectures, and also linking the mainland to northern Kyūshū. Includes travel on the Sanyo Shinkansen within the designated area, and travel on the JR Miyajima island ferry.
This pass offers unlimited travel on conventional trains within the Hokuriku area between Fukui and Toyama Prefectures, and non-reserved seats on the Hokuriku Shinkansen.

JR Shikoku

This pass offers unlimited travel on conventional JR trains across Shikoku, in addition to the Tosa Kuroshio line and all Asato, Kotoden, Iyotetsu and Tosaden lines.

JR Kyūshū

This pass offers unlimited travel on convention JR trains and Shinkansen in northern Shikoku (excludes the Sanyo Shinkansen between Hakata and Kokura). The area covers Nagasaki, Saga, Fukuoka, and Northern Ōita and Kumamoto Prefectures.
This pass offers unlimited travel on convention JR trains and Shinkansen across the whole of Shikoku (excludes the Sanyo Shinkansen between Hakata and Kokura).

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