Is Japan Rail Pass Worth It? Best Tips 1
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Is Japan Rail Pass Worth It? Best Tips

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Greetings Internet Stranger, and welcome to my advice on is Japan Rail Pass worth it? If you are anything like me, Japan is one of your favorite countries to visit in the entire world.

The food is amazing, the scenery is gorgeous, and the people are delightful. If only it weren’t so far away from the United States, and a little expensive. Wouldn’t we all like to save a bit of money on our Japan trips?

However, it’s possible that you are not anything like me, and you haven’t been to Japan before. Maybe you have read a bit about the Japan Rail Pass and have been asking, “Is Japan Rail Pass worth it?” Perhaps you’d like to get more information on the subject from someone who actually used it. Of course you would.

Well, search no more! I have been to Japan multiple times, and when I go, I always use the Japan Rail Pass. The Japanese train system is amazing and efficient, and getting the Japan Rail Pass, which is also sometimes called the JR Pass, makes it so much easier and more affordable.

Let me give you the short version: This pass right here, which is available for visitors to Japan only, lets you pay one price and then you can get an unlimited number of tickets in a specified time period. The pass works on some buses and ferries too! And if you have any questions, the efficient Japan Rail staff will be happy to help with all of your needs.

Check rates and availability right here.

So I am assuming that if you are still reading, you probably have a whole bunch of questions about whether or not you should buy the Japan Rail Pass right here and is Japan Rail Pass worth it for yourself. I will of course be happy to answer them in detail so that you can decide for yourself…

Is Japan Rail Pass Worth It?

is japan rail pass worth it

1) Where Can I Get Japan Rail Pass?

Great question! The first time I got my Japan Rail Pass, you could only get it if you were outside of Japan. I couldn’t even get it online. I had to make an appointment at an agency and go pick it up. Look how far technology has come since then. But it was still worth it because I saved so much money.

However, nowadays you do not need to go to an agency in person. You can just pick your ticket up online right here. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Japan has started a newish test program that allows you to get the Japan Rail Pass in Japan. However, you have to pay more money then, which kind of defeats the purpose, since the whole answer to the question, “Is Japan Rail Pass worth it?” is, “Yes! Because it saves you money.”

That’s why I say, be sure to get your JR Train Pass before you actually enter Japan. Technically speaking you will be buying an Exchange Order online, but then you just go ahead and turn it in for the official Japan Rail Pass once you get to Japan.

I think it’s easiest to buy it online here.

One thing to keep in mind when you are buying the pass or deciding is Japan Rail Pass worth it is that there is a much lower rate for children. I do not travel with children because I do not have any. But if you have children, make sure you buy the child priced ticket when you are checking out.

If you do not have children, please do not go out and steal some just so that you can get the cheaper version of the Japan Rail Pass.

is japan rail pass worth it

2) Why is Japan Rail Pass worth it?

Is Japan Rail Pass worth it? Well, I think the Japan Rail Pass is helpful because if you get it before you go to Japan, you just pay one price and then you can get unlimited train tickets. These tickets work on all JR line trains, the JR ferry to Miyajima, JR buses, and most Shinkansen (bullet) trains.

They also work on the airport transfer trains, like the ones that take you from Narita airport to Tokyo itself. This is extremely convenient! However, just keep in mind that they won’t work on city subway (metro) lines. You will have to pay for those separately. However, those tickets are much, much less expensive than train tickets.

Check rates and availability right here!

is japan rail pass worth it

3) How Did You (Stella Jane) use the Japan Rail Pass?

Great question! On my first trip to Japan, I used the pass to get from the Narita airport to Tokyo itself. Then I used it to get to my next destination, which was Takayama in the Japanese Alps. I had a layover in Nagoya Station, and the Japan Rail Pass covered both legs of the trip.

Next, I took the train from Takayama to Kyoto, after spending a couple of nights in Takayama first. Finally, I took the bullet train back to Tokyo when my time in Kyoto was finished, and I used the Japan Rail Pass to get from Tokyo back to the airport. It was all so simple!

On another trip, once I arrived in Japan, I used the train to go from Tokyo to Kyoto, and then from Kyoto, I could easily use the Japan Rail Pass to take day trips to both Osaka, where I could feast on amazing local food, and Nara, where I could meet the famous sacred deer.

Having the Japan Rail Pass so I didn’t need to spend any extra money on those train tickets meant that I had more money to spend on octopus balls to eat and sparkly statues of deer. (None of those things are a joke. I’m looking at my sparkly deer statue in my apartment now.

Then I was able to use the Japan Rail Pass to get from Kyoto to my next destination, Hiroshima. I could also the pass to get the JR ferry, which took me to the famously beautiful Miyajima shrine on a nearby island.

After my time in Hiroshima was finished, I used the Japan Rail Pass to get back to Tokyo, where I spent a few nights, and then I used the pass one last time to get me back to the airport. So you can see that the Japan Rail Pass can be used to put together all sorts of itineraries. That’s why I say, “Is Japan Rail Pass worth it? Yes!”

Check rates and availability right here!

is japan rail pass worth it

4) How Long is the Japan Rail Pass Good For?

That depends on you! You have three different options for the length of time for the Japan Rail Pass. It can be either 7, 14, or 21 days. Obviously, the longer the pass is good for, the more money it will cost.

The days have to be used consecutively. So if you get a seven day pass, from the first time you use the Japan Rail Pass, you have seven days for unlimited train travel. You can’t use it one day, pause it for two days, and then use it again for three days. So thinking about that might help you decide is Japan Rail Pass worth it.

There are also two different price points for the Japan Rail Pass. The first is the regular fare, aka the Standard Pass. The second is something called the Green Pass, which will allow you to ride First Class.

Alas, I only took the Standard Pass, and I have never been on a First Class car in Japan, even once. But I would bet that it is lovely, and I hope I can experience it one day. You will have to decide for yourself if the Green Pass is something you would like to try.

From what I understand, some of the benefits of the Green Pass include more leg space, seats that can recline, a free hot towel, you know, those nice warm towels they sometimes give you at Japanese restaurants, and free drinks on some trains. It does sound pretty cool to say that you guzzled a bunch of free drinks on the Shinkansen, no?

Perhaps the best benefit is if you go during cherry blossom or leaf peeping season because it’s more likely you will be able to reserve a window seat and can get the best views. But as I say, I have never used the Green Pass, so I can’t speak from personal experience.

Check rates and availability right here!

is japan rail pass worth it

5) Should Everyone Get the Japan Rail Pass?

No. Even though I loved using the Japan Rail Pass, it is not for everyone.

I would say that the main sort of traveler who should not use the Japan Rail Pass is someone who is planning to stay mostly in one city their entire time in Japan. Perhaps you want to spend a week in Tokyo, and you don’t want to take any day trips that would require the train.

I don’t know that this would necessarily be the most fun way to see Japan because it’s a long trip for many travelers, and I am not sure why you would want to spend the whole trip in one city without any day trips. However, if that’s what you want, I would say, “No,” to the question, “Is Japan Rail Pass worth it?” On that kind of trip, the Japan Rail Pass would not be worth the money.

Also, if you are visiting friends in Japan and they have a car and can take you around, you do not need the Japan Rail Pass. That’s just science.

One final rule: you need to be a tourist to Japan or a Japanese citizen who has lived away from Japan for at least ten years. If you are a Japanese citizen who has lived away from Japan for less than ten years, you are not eligible for the Japan Rail Pass.

I am not one hundred percent sure why that is the case, but I think they just want this to be an option for tourists, not for people who naturally spend a ton of time in Japan. That makes a lot of sense, if you think about it.

Check rates and availability right here!

is japan rail pass worth it

6) What other attractions can I see with the Japan Rail Pass?

Glad to answer this question if it will help you know is Japan Rail Pass Worth it. Though you can’t use the Japan Rail Pass on the Tokyo Metro, you can use it from Tokyo to take day trips to many interesting locations near Japan’s largest city.

Have you heard of Mt Fuji? I’m sure you have, since it is on pretty much every postcard of Japan. Well, if you have ever wanted to see it up close in person, you can use the Japan Rail Pass to book your train ticket there. 

You can also use the Japan Rail Pass right here from Tokyo to get to Tokyo Disneyland, which has features and attractions that you can’t find at any other Disney theme park.

Then, you can also use the Japan Rail Pass to get to some lesser known day trips near Tokyo. You can go visit the famous shrine in Nikko. It’s especially beautiful here during fall foliage season. Or you can go to nearby Kanazawa and visit its famous castle and check out the local art museums.

Is Japan Rail Pass worth it? Only if you want to see all of these wonders.

Check rates and availability right here!

is japan rail pass worth it

7) Can I Make Seat Reservations with the Japan Rail Pass?

Yes, you absolutely can! Knowing this information was a big help to me in deciding is Japan Rail Pass worth it because I hate not having a reservation for my transportation.

What you do is first you buy your Exchange order right here. Then you go to a Japan Rail office when you arrive in Japan and exchange it for the Japan Rail Pass. They will want to see your passport as well, so have that handy.

Then you can choose the activation date. It can be up to 30 days after the exchange date, so you don’t need to pick an immediate activation date. I suggest doing this whole process at Narita Airport or Haneda Airport when you land because the offices are right there and it will be super convenient.

Now that you have an active Japan Rail Pass, it is easy to make reservations. Just take your pass to a JR Ticket Office before your desired train leaves and they will help you make the reservation. Or you can use a ticket machine to make the reservation.

You do not have to make the reservation on the same day as your trip. Here’s what I did, and it was easy. As soon as I arrived in one destination, I made a reservation at that train station for my next train trip. For example, I arrived in Takayama on a Tuesday and made my reservation for my trip to Kyoto, which was on Thursday. Could not have been more simple.

The staff at the JR Ticket Office was always extremely helpful and spoke great English. (I do speak some Japanese, but I am not at all fluent.) I hope this information will help you in your thinking process when reflecting about is Japan Rail Pass worth it?

Check rates and availability right here!

is japan rail pass worth it

Is Japan Rail Pass Worth It?

I hope my answer about is Japan Rail Pass worth it has given you some really helpful information. The Japan Rail Pass helped me out a bunch on my travels to Japan, and I believe it can help you too.

Check rates and availability right here!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that just because this is a 24 hour itinerary in Osaka, it doesn’t mean you should only spend 24 hours in Osaka.

You can try an Alps of Japan and Takayama itinerary. There is always another 24 hours in Kyoto. You can also check out the best things to do in Southern Higashiyama, Kyoto. You can try a best attractions at Kyoto itinerary. Add on a Kyoto to Nara day trip.

Is Japan Rail Pass Worth It? Best Tips 2

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