A Full Information to the Japan Rail Move (Up to date 2023)

A bullet train crosses in front of the famous Mount Fuji in the background in Japan
Posted: 1/9/23 | January ninth, 2023

Japan is considered one of my favourite international locations on the planet. The serene great thing about the mountains and temples, the hustle and bustle of the sprawling cities, the beautiful meals, and its lengthy historical past make for an enchanting place to go to.

Nevertheless, Japan has a fame, particularly amongst funds vacationers, as being too costly. “Higher skip Japan and head to Southeast Asia, the place your cash goes additional,” they are saying.

But you may journey Japan on a funds. Meals, points of interest, and even lodging (it’s the land of capsule accommodations!) may be discovered for a comparatively low price if you recognize the place you look.

But one side of touring in Japan that does stay as much as its pricey fame is transportation — significantly practice journey.

Japan’s iconic bullet trains (known as shinkansen) are lovely, comfy, handy, and quick. They’re world-class wonders of transportation, racing round at speeds as much as 320 kilometers (200 miles) per hour. They run on particular tracks separate from the opposite trains and are a powerful feat of engineering.

They’re tremendous costly. There’s simply no means round that truth.

Fortunately, there’s one simple factor you are able to do to chop your practice ticket costs in half (or extra): purchase a Japan Rail Pass. You actually shouldn’t be touring across the nation with out one (and I’m fairly certain they worth the go and common tickets out in a means that actually forces you to purchase one).

On this publish, I’ll introduce the JR Move and clarify the way it works, how a lot it prices, and reply widespread questions I get concerning the go.


What’s the Japan Rail (JR) Move?

The Japan Rail Move (also referred to as the JR Move) was created to assist vacationers get across the nation (just like the Eurail go in Europe). JR is the most important practice operator in Japan, and the go supplies limitless entry to all its trains for a set worth.

The go is available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day choices. Observe that these are consecutive days, not journey days. So, if you wish to journey round Japan for 2 weeks, you’ll have to buy the 14-day possibility, regardless that you received’t be taking the practice every single day.

A number of JR trains are included within the go. The preferred is the shinkansen (bullet) practice, which is the quickest practice and goes to just about each vacation spot and area. The following quickest is the tokkyu (restricted categorical). The kyuko (categorical) practice comes subsequent, adopted by the kaisoku (fast) and kakueki-teisha or futsu-densha (native trains that make each cease).

Briefly, because of this there are JR trains that quickly journey between areas, some that go between cities with a number of stops, and native commuter-style trains which are gradual (however low cost).

Moreover, JR trains additionally serve some metropolitan areas, to allow them to be used inside cities. For instance, on my final go to, I used my JR Move to get round Kyoto and Tokyo as a substitute of shopping for native metro tickets.

The JR Pass must be bought earlier than you arrive in Japan and it must be mailed to you so that you’ll need to order it nicely upfront (extra beneath).

How the JR Move works

The JR Move may be very simple to make use of — you simply want to recollect to buy it beforehand, whereas in your house nation, because the go is barely accessible to guests. (When you can buy it at choose ticket places of work in Japan till March 2023, in-person passes price considerably extra, so it’s higher simply to order it upfront).

The go has a number of choices (every legitimate for consecutive days, not simply journey days):

  • 7 days: 29,650 JPY (39,600 JPY for a Inexperienced Move)
  • 14 days: 47,250 JPY (64,120 JPY for a Inexperienced Move)
  • 21 days: 60,450 JPY (83,390 JPY for a Inexperienced Move)

The Inexperienced Move is the first-class possibility. Because the trains in Japan are already wonderful, you doubtless don’t want to purchase the Inexperienced Move except you actually need some luxurious. Moreover, touring in inexperienced automobiles may be extra of a trouble in the event you prefer to be spontaneous, as you will need to at all times reserve a seat upfront in inexperienced automobiles, requiring you to go to the ticket workplace or automated reservation machines forward of time to take action. In odd automobiles, you may simply hop on and take any accessible seat.

Along with the usual and inexperienced JR passes, there are regional passes in case you aren’t touring throughout your entire nation. These choices can prevent much more cash since they’re cheaper than the common JR passes. Every area has a number of go choices, often ranging between one and 7 days.

You should purchase JR passes for six areas:

  • JR East (for the principle island)
  • JR West (for the principle island)
  • JR Central (for the principle island)
  • JR Hokkaido (for the northern island)
  • JR Kyushu (for the southwestern island)
  • JR Shikoku (for the southeastern island)

If you happen to’re simply going to be specializing in one area of the nation, think about shopping for a JR regional go. If you’d like entry to your entire nation, get the common JR Move.

If you happen to’re a first-time customer to Japan, you’ll doubtless need the common JR Pass, because it covers all the key locations.

In sum, to get a go, you’ll want to:

  1. Decide the time length in your go (7, 14, or 21 days)
  2. Select your class (Inexperienced or normal — once more, normal is greater than ample for many vacationers)
  3. Determine what geographical space you need to go to (the entire nation or a single area)
  4. Pay the charge and order the go earlier than you permit residence

Getting and utilizing Your JR Move

The simplest option to get a Japan Move is by ordering it on-line (there are a lot of official on-line suppliers however I recommend this one because it’s been promoting passes for the longest time).

As soon as you buy a go, you’ll obtain an “alternate order” within the mail, stamped with a date, that you just’ll flip in to select up your precise go in Japan. Don’t overlook your alternate order at residence, as you will need to carry this doc to select up your go in Japan!

When you get to Japan, you’ll alternate your alternate order (therefore the title) for a JR Move at a JR workplace. Be sure you have your passport on you (not a photocopy) while you go to gather it, as they are going to test to just remember to have a short lived customer stamp in your passport. The JR Move is barely accessible to guests and they’re fairly strict about verifying you’re a vacationer.

You might have three months from the date printed on the alternate order to select up your JR Move, however you don’t want to start out utilizing the go on the identical day that you just choose it up.

For instance, say that you just need to choose up the go when you arrive however you need to spend a while in Tokyo earlier than heading on to see the remainder of the nation. You’ll be able to choose any date inside one month of exchanging the order as your beginning date. (However as soon as the go is issued, you may’t change the beginning date.)

When you’ve acquired your go in hand, you don’t want to fret about getting tickets, as you merely use your go to go proper by way of the automated turnstiles.

Along with utilizing the shinkansen and different trains, the JR go provides entry to:

  • Native buses operated by JR (such because the vacationer loop bus in Hiroshima or JR buses round Sapporo)
  • Ferries operated by JR (such because the one from Hiroshima to the island of Miyajima)
  • JR traces operating by way of metropolitan areas (comparable to Tokyo and Osaka)
  • Free seat reservations (in any other case, seat reservations price round 330-930 JPY)

The JR Move shouldn’t be legitimate for:

  • The Nozomi and the Mizuho shinkansen traces
  • Japanese residents or residents, comparable to foreigners working in Japan (solely these with a vacationer visa can use the go)

Is the Japan Rail Move price it?

Completely! Regardless that you may get sticker shock initially when buying a go, you’ll save a whole bunch of {dollars} throughout your journey with one — even in the event you simply go to 2-3 cities. For instance, with out a rail go, a ticket from Tokyo to Osaka prices round 27,000 JPY (round-trip), but you will get a seven-day rail go that features limitless journey on JR trains for simply 29,650 JPY. So for the value of 1 round-trip ticket, you get limitless journey. It’s a no brainer!

Listed here are some extra examples of one-way practice tickets on the shinkansen trains with non-reserved seats within the “odd” (non-green automobile) class:

  • Tokyo-Hiroshima: 18,380 JPY
  • Tokyo-Kyoto: 13,320 JPY
  • Tokyo Fukuoka: 23,390 JPY
  • Kyoto-Hiroshima: 10,570 JPY
  • Kyoto-Osaka: 4,230 JPY
  • Hiroshima-Fukuoka: 9,000 JPY
  • Nagano-Kanazawa: 8,440 JPY
  • Tokyo-Yokohama: 3,210 JPY
  • Hakodate-Tokyo: 23,500 JPY

As you may see, it solely takes one longer-distance journey from Tokyo (comparable to to Hiroshima or Fukuoka) to justify the price of the go. And also you’ll doubtless use it rather more than that!

And even in the event you aren’t taking the bullet trains, the go nonetheless is sensible. For instance, a visit on a neighborhood practice from Kyoto to Tokyo prices round 8,360 JPY — as a substitute of 13,320 JPY for the bullet practice. Nevertheless, the native practice journey takes 9 hours and requires a number of transfers, as a substitute of a direct three hours, making it a lower than best selection for many vacationers (particularly in the event you’re tight on time). It’s typically merely not price the associated fee financial savings.

You’re higher off utilizing the bullet trains and reveling within the high-speed expertise because it whisks you from one unimaginable vacation spot to a different!

Japan Rail Move Regularly Requested Questions

Is JR Move just for vacationers?
Sure. Solely individuals visiting on a vacationer visa can use the JR Pass.

Can Japan Rail Move be used on the Tokyo subway?
Yep, a few of the subway traces (although not all) in Tokyo are run by JR, which implies you may entry them totally free together with your JR Move. That is true for your entire nation. Metro traces and native subway traces are excluded from the go.

Can I alter the times on which I want to use the Japan Rail Move?
No. As soon as the go has been activated, the dates are set in stone.

How do I activate the Japan Rail Move?
To activate the JR Move, carry your alternate order and your passport to a JR workplace in Japan. As soon as they confirm your identification and visa standing, they are going to activate your go.

Can I take advantage of JR Move from Tokyo to Kyoto?
Yep! The space is 445 kilometers (283 miles), and the journey takes below three hours on the bullet practice.

Are buses included in JR Move?
Sure, JR does run some bus traces, that are included within the JR Move. Some locations the place JR has buses embrace Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu.

Can I cancel my Japan Rail Move?
You’ll be able to cancel your go so long as it has not been activated, however as soon as it’s activated, you may’t.


Practice journey is the easiest way to see Japan. The trains are clear, quick, and the surroundings attractive. I like touring the nation by practice. Whereas shopping for a rail go may look like a pricey selection, it’ll prevent a ton of cash — and it’s a uniquely Japanese expertise that you just received’t overlook!

Click here to get your Japan Rail pass today!


Guide Your Journey to Japan: Logistical Ideas and Tips

Guide Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to discover a low cost flight. They’re my favourite search engine as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is left unturned!

Guide Your Lodging
You’ll be able to ebook your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the largest stock and finest offers. If you wish to keep someplace aside from a hostel, use Booking.com as they persistently return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low cost accommodations. A few of my favourite locations to remain in Japan are:

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you in opposition to sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes improper. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many instances previously. My favourite corporations that provide the most effective service and worth are:

In search of the Greatest Firms to Save Cash With?
Try my useful resource web page for the most effective corporations to make use of while you journey. I checklist all those I take advantage of to save cash once I’m on the street. They may prevent cash while you journey too.

Remember to try the Japan Rail Pass in the event you’ll be touring across the nation. It is available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes and may prevent a ton of cash!

Need Extra Info on Japan
Remember to go to our strong vacation spot information on Japan for much more planning suggestions!