Japan can be an expensive country to travel. There are a number of different public and private transport companies that service the country. Selecting the best option can be confusing. We chose to go with JR (Japan Rail). This is the most prominent and they operate all manner of transport, from local subways and buses to the impressive Shinkansen.
By far our most cost effective piece of preparation was to purchase the JR Rail Pass. This is a travel pass that is open to all non-resistant of Japan. It allows you to travel on all JR operated transport no matter where in the country, including the ferry to Miyajima Island and the Monorail to and from Haneda Airport. It comes in three different varieties, a 7 day, 14 day or 21 day pass.
We went with the 21 day pass as we wanted to travel from Tokyo to all the way south to Yame, Fukuoka. This is a journey of over 1000km’s and if you were do undertake this on individual tickets then your costs would be much higher than that of the JR pass.
Prices vary depending on what provider operates in your country, we paid € 482.00 per pass which comes to around ¥ 59,000 depending on exchange rate. I know this quite a large sum of money to pay for transport but if you were planning visiting more than one city it is much cheaper option.
We bought the JR pass online at http://www.japan-experience.com before we departed. We received a receipt for our purchase by in the mail about 5 days later. With the receipt of purchase you get a physical voucher for the JR pass to be redeemed once you arrive in Japan.
The best way to get your pass is to just approach one of the extremely helpful staff in the JR offices that are located in most major stations. They will issue you your pass and answer any questions, make sure to bring your passport as you won’t be issued a JR pass without it. The staff at these offices can also book your seats on the trains which we recommend you do as some routes are busier than others.
Once you have the pass you are free to use the JR network as often as you wish for the next 7, 14 or 21 days, depending on the pass you purchased. Make sure to keep the physical copy safe as if you lose it then you cannot be issued a new one.
If you are planning a trip to Japan make sure to check out our previous blogs on traveling in Japan and to get an Airbnb discount off your accommodation CLICK HERE.
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