JR PASSes: What are the JR PASSes for East Japan, West Japan, and all over Japan, how to buy them, how to book them, how to use them, and how to use them in a lazy train bag!

Whenever you see a JR Pass, it’s a headache just to research the route and available range. This time, We will show you how to choose JR Passes such as the JR East Rail Pass, JR Kansai Rail Pass and Takayama Hokuriku Rail Pass. Having a JR Pass is a great way to save money, as it covers the whole of Japan’s railways, so you can go anywhere!

1. How do I choose between Narita Airport – Downtown, Tokyo Downtown JR, Tokyo Suburbs, and a weekday pass?

JR EAST PASS (Tohoku Region), JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata)]

Trains to the Nikko area are limited express ordinary cars on the JR East Line and Tobu Railway Line that cross the tracks: “Nikko”, “SPACIA Nikko”, “Kinugawa” and “SPACIA Kinugawa”, and you can take a designated seat.

▶︎ Both passes are not valid on.

Tokaido Shinkansen (Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya and Osaka).
JR Bus
The Tobu Interchange Limited Express at stations other than those on the JR line cannot be used.

▶︎ Caution.

To use a designated seat, be sure to pick up a designated seat ticket (within a specified area) at a JR East station ticket office or tourist information centre before boarding. A pass alone does not guarantee a seat, for example, if you wish to take the N’EX Narita Express, remember to pick up a designated seat ticket first, simply by showing your JR Pass, or you can choose to book on the internet first.

Both of these tickets include the Shinkansen lines to Karuizawa and Echigo-Yuzawa, as well as the Nikko/Kinugawa Express, so the key to choosing a ticket is whether you want to travel to the Tohoku or Niigata area in addition to these areas.

If you want Whole Japan Rail Pass, first make a ticket reservation!
If you have a discount coupon, you can make a reservation and purchase tickets online at a discount price.

Buy discount Tickets

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Q1: What is the difference between the JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) and the JR EAST PASS (Nagano and Niigata areas)?

Yellow: Both JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) and JR EAST PASS (Nagano and Niigata areas) can be used.
Pink section: Only JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) can be used.
Light blue: Only JR EAST PASS (Nagano and Niigata areas) can be used.

Basically, both passes can be used in a similar area, the major difference being that the JR EAST PASS (Tohoku Area) is for the Yamagata, Akita and Aomori areas, while the JR EAST PASS (Nagano and Niigata Areas) is for the Niigata area.

Q2: Can I go to Mount Fuji with these two tickets?

No. Neither of these tickets will take you on the entire Fujikyu line! If you want to go to Mt. Fuji, you can take JR to Otsuki Station and then transfer to Fujikyu.

Q3: Can I use the JR EAST PASS (Tohoku Region) on Shinkansen?

The JR EAST PASS (Tohoku Area) can be used non-consecutively and can be used on the following five Shinkansen lines!

Tohoku Shinkansen (to Aomori)
Akita Shinkansen (to Akita)
Yamagata Shinkansen (to Yonezawa, Zao Shibetsu and Gensan Onsen)
Joetsu Shinkansen (Echigo Yuzawa)
Hokuriku Shinkansen (to Karuizawa)

Q4: Can I take the Shinkansen with the JR EAST PASS (Nagano and Niigata areas)?

This ticket can of course be used on Shinkansen lines, and the following four Shinkansen lines are available.

Tohoku Shinkansen (Utsunomiya and Nasu-Shiobara, not possible to Sendai and Shin-Aomori)
Yamagata Shinkansen (Utsunomiya and Nasu-Shiobara, but not to Yonezawa and Yamagata)
Joetsu Shinkansen (Echigo Yuzawa, Niigata)
Hokuriku Shinkansen (Karuizawa, Joetsu Myoko)

Q5: Can I use this ticket to go to Tateyama Kurobe on the way?

If you are planning a trip to Tateyama Kurobe, you can take the Shinkansen to JR Nagano Station and use the additional ticket to reach Toyama Station.

If you are considering Osaka, Tokyo and Tateyama Kurobe together, you can also consider the Hokuriku Arch Pass with the Tateyama Kurobe Extra Ticket, which is also a great deal!

Q6 : Should I buy a JR EAST PASS?

Many people are afraid to buy a JR EAST PASS because they don’t know much about it, apart from the fact that it’s a bit expensive, but if you travel to Karuizawa on the Shinkansen or to Nikko on the limited express, or from the airport to the city on the N’EX, you can save a lot of money on transport with this pass!

Simply put, if you’re going to be in Tokyo for five days and will be travelling on the Shinkansen to the more distant suburbs, this is a great ticket to buy to save time and money!

2. Which type of pass is suitable for the Kansai area, Kansai Airport and downtown?

Basically, the Kansai Region Pass covers the entire JR West line (Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Uji, Kobe, etc.), and the choice of the right pass depends mainly on the itinerary and number of days.

It is important to note that the Takayama and Hokuriku Passes stipulate that “Kanazawa Station – Kyoto Station – Osaka City Area” can be used for JR travel, so it is not possible to use this pass to take JR within Kyoto, but it is possible to take JR from Osaka to Kyoto!

Q1 : Which trains can I take with these four tickets?

All four tickets are valid for travel on Haruka, but only the Sanyo-Sanin Rail Pass allows you to take a designated seat, while the rest are free seats.

The Sanyo-Sanin Rail Pass allows you to travel on the Hokuriku Shinkansen (Shin-Osaka-Kyushu-Hakata) with a reserved seat in a regular car.

Q2 : There are so many tickets for the Kansai region, how do I choose the best one for me?

Kansai Area Rail Pass: Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Arashiyama, Uji, Kobe (basic Kansai sightseeing spots)
Kansai Area Rail Pass (Wide Area Version): Basic Kansai Attractions + Okayama Area
Sanyo & Sanin Rail Pass: Basic Kansai Attractions + Okayama + Hiroshima + Kyushu Hakata (for those who want to do a lot at once)
Takayama & Hokuriku Area Pass: JR Osaka Area, Kanazawa, Toyama, Nagoya (Tateyama Kurobe Kaizan and Hopper Village are the best)

I’ll give you the easiest direction, the “Kansai Area Rail Pass”, which is the most common version, that is, it only includes the basic version of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Uji, Kobe, etc. If you only travel to these areas and use JR as your main mode of transport, this ticket is worth considering!

If you would like to add some other areas such as Okayama, Hiroshima, Kyushu Hakata, etc., you can choose which ticket to buy by considering whether it fits into your itinerary according to the range specified on the ticket. Of course, the more places you choose to visit, the more expensive the ticket will be!

Q3 : Is it really a good deal to buy these tickets?

As long as you plan your trip well and make sure that most of your transportation is mainly JR, buying a ticket for the Kansai region is a good deal. It’s not difficult to save money on transport by matching the ticket to the area you want to visit!

A single trip from Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima costs 9,710 yen on the Shinkansen, but with a Sanyo & Sanin Rail Pass, you can take two or more trips on the Shinkansen and get your money back (and you still have seven days to enjoy the ride)! You can purchase seats in the regular carriages on the Shinkansen, but not in the green carriages.

So don’t hesitate to buy a JR ticket that suits your needs, as long as it’s for a mass movement on the Shinkansen!

Q4: Can I use the Takayama & Hokuriku Area Pass to travel on the Kansai Region JR?

The answer is yes! The Takayama & Hokuriku Area Pass can be used on the Haruka, Osaka Loop and Hanwa lines, as well as the Osaka city’s Zairai line. However, you cannot use this pass to travel on JR in Kyoto, but you can use the “Osaka-Kyoto” route.

This ticket is highly recommended if you want to visit Osaka, Hokuriku and Nagoya in one go and focus your trip on the central part of Japan! You can get to Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Toyama, Takayama and Gero! In addition to the JR, you can also take the Noge Bus, Hokuriku Railway Bus and Kakoshi Noh Bus within the designated area!

If you arrange your trip and choose the right JR ticket, you can save a lot of money on transportation! We recommend that you check this article to see if there is a JR ticket that suits you after you have made your itinerary!

3. Introduction to the national version of JR PASS

The National JR PASS combines all the JR railways in each region of Japan, allowing travellers to travel north and south at an affordable price. Because it covers all JR railways, the National Pass is a free pass to travel anywhere and is less restrictive to use than other JR PASSes.

Period of use: 7 days, 14 days or 21 days from the date of ticketing at the station
Type of ticket: There are two types of ticket: regular car pass and green car pass.
Range of routes: For the national version of the JR PASS, please click here for the range of routes and restrictions.
Eligibility: Non-Japanese travellers whose passports are stamped “Temporary Visitor” (not available for long-stayers)
Recommended destinations: Hokkaido, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hokuriku, Takayama, Kyushu, Shikoku

How to get the most out of it.
JR PASS 7-day itinerary: Tokyo → Kyoto → Osaka → Departure from Tokyo
JR PASS 14-day itinerary: Hokkaido, Tokyo, Hokuriku region, Osaka/Kyoto, China region, Kyushu
JR PASS 21-day itinerary: The Grand Tour of Japan, from Hokkaido to Kyushu!

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