Cost Effective Japan Rail Passes for Tourists

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Japan has a world-class train network that allows traveling around the country fast, easy, and convenient for tourists. From the local trains and rapid trains to the limited express trains and the Shinkansen, these modes of public transportation can significantly cut your travel hours to give you more time to tour your favorite sites and attractions, and make unique and memorable experiences.

On your next trip, whether you are in Hokkaido, Kyushu, or somewhere in between, look into purchasing one of the regional Japan Rail Passes available for foreign visitors. With it, you can take advantage of unlimited rides on various JR train and bus lines across the country, and save a lot of money on fares.

Below are four regional Japan Rail Passes that can be cost-effective on your future visit to Japan:

JR Hokkaido Rail Pass

The JR Hokkaido Rail Pass is a type of regional JR Pass that is available for tourists who are non-Japanese passport holders and want to explore the Hokkaido region. It comes in four different types: the 7-Day Pass, the 5-Day Pass, the Flexible 4-Day Pass, and the 3-Day Pass, and is valid on JR trains and some JR buses operating within the designated area.

Major attractions that you can visit with the pass:

  • Sapporo – Odori Park, Susukino, Mt. Moiwa, Sapporo TV Tower, Clock Tower, Sapporo Snow Festival
  • Otaru – Otaru Canal, Sakaimachi Street, Otaru Snow Light Path
  • Noboribetsu – Noboribetsu Onsen, Jigokudani
  • Asahikawa – Asahiyama Zoo, Mt. Asahidake, Asahidake Onsen, Asahiwaka Winter Festival
  • Hakodate – Fort Goryokaku, Mt. Hakodate, Motomachi, Red Brick Warehouses
  • Abashiri – Abashiri Prison Museum, Drift Ice Cruise, Shiretoko National Park
  • Kushiro – Kushiro Fisherman’s Wharf, Akan National Park, Kushiro Shitsugen National Park, Kushiro Marshland, Ainu Village
  • Lake Toya – Toyako Onsen, Usuzan Ropeway, Usuzan West Craters,

JR East Tohoku Area Pass

The JR East Tohoku Area Pass is a type of regional JR Pass that foreign tourists who are non-Japanese passport holders can buy to save money on train rides traveling around the Kanto and Tohoku regions. It allows unlimited rides on JR trains and buses within the designated region for five days within a 14-day period.

Major attractions that you can visit with the pass:

  • Nikko – Toshogu Shrine, Taiyuinbyo, Rinnoji Temple, Kirifuri Waterfall, Kanmangafuchi Abyss, Shinkyo Bridge
  • Sendai – Zuihoden Mausoleum, Aoba Castle ruins, Osaki Hachimangu, Rinnoji Temple
  • Yamagata – Yamadera, Dewa Sanzan, Zao, Ginzan Onsen
  • Mito – Kairakuen Garden, Mito Ume Festival
  • Aomori – Hakkodamaru Ship, Museum of Art, Jomon Site, Nebuta Matsuri
  • Akita – Kakunodate, Hachimantai, Nyuto Onsen, Kamakura Festival

Kyushu Rail Pass

The Kyushu Rail Pass is a type of regional JR Pass that offers unlimited train rides on JR trains in Kyushu. It is only available for foreign tourists who do not hold a Japanese passport. It comes in different types: the All Kyushu Pass, the Northern Kyushu Pass, the Southern Kyushu Pass, and the Fukuoka Wide Pass.

Major attractions that you can visit with the pass:

  • Kumamoto – Kumamoto Castle, Suizenji Garden, Hosokawa Residence, Hearn Residence
  • Nagasaki – Nagasaki Peace Park, Chinatown, Glover Garden, Gunkanjima, Mt. Inasa, Dutch Slope
  • Beppu – Hells of Beppu, Hot Springs, Mt. Tsurumi, Takasaki Monkey Park
  • Fukuoka – Yatai, Ohori Park, Momochi Seaside Park, Gion Yamakasa
  • Kagoshima – Kagoshima Aquarium, Sakurajima, Senganen Garden, Shiroyama Park
  • Aso – Mt. Aso, Aso Shrine
  • Gala Yuzawa – Skiing and snowboarding resorts, SPA Gala no Yu

JR Tokyo Wide Pass

The JR Tokyo Wide Pass is a type of regional JR Pass that gives you unlimited rides on JR trains and a number of non-JR trains in the designated area within the Kanto region for three consecutive days. It is exclusively sold to non-Japanese passport holders.

Major attractions that you can visit with the pass:

  • Yokohama – Minato Mirai, Chinatown, Sankeien Garden, Cup Noodles Museum, Ramen Museum
  • Fuji – Lake Kawaguchiko, Chureito Pagoda, Fuji Q Highlands
  • Nikko – Toshogu Shrine, Taiyuinbyo, Rinnoji Temple, Shinkyo Bridge, Kanmangafuchi Abyss, Kirifuri Waterfall
  • Gunma – Kusatsu Onsen, Shima Onsen, Manza Onsen, Oze National Park
  • Izu – Atami, Ito, Shimoda, Jogasaki Coast, Irozaki Coast, Mt. Omuro, Shirahama Beach, Dogashima, Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Ibaraki – Hitachi Seaside Park, Kairakuen Garden, Fukuroda Falls, Mt. Tsukuba, Kasama Inari Jinja Shrine

 

Prices and Coverages

The tables below provide summaries of the costs and areas covered by each of the four passes above.

JR Hokkaido Rail Pass
Type Price Major Lines Covered
7-Day Pass 24,000 yen JR Hokkaido limited express trains, JR Hokkaido express trains, JR Hokkaido rapid trains, JR Hokkaido local trains, JR Hokkaido special trains
5-Day Pass 22,000 yen
Flexible 4-Day Pass 22,000 yen
3-Day Pass 16,500 yen
Official website: JR Hokkaido Rail Pass
JR East Tohoku Area Pass
Price Major Lines Covered
 

20,000 yen (in Japan)

JR Tohoku Shinkansen, JR Akita Shinkansen, JR Yamagata Shinkansen, JR Joetsu Shinkansen, JR Hokuriku Shinkansen, JR East local trains, JR East limited express trains, JR East express trains, Tokyo Monorail, Izu Kyuko Line, Iwate Galazy Railway, Aoimori Railway, Sendai Airport Transit
 

19,000 yen (outside Japan)

Official website: JR East Tohoku Area Pass

 

Kyushu Rail Pass
Type Price Major Lines Covered
All Kyushu 3-Day Pass 15,000 yen JR Kyushu Shinkansen, JR Kyushu limited express trains, JR Kyushu local trains
All Kyushu 5-Day Pass 18,000 yen
Northern Kyushu 3-Day Pass 8,500 yen JR Kyushu Shinkansen (Hakata-Kumamoto), JR Kyushu limited express and local trains north of Oita
Northern Kyushu 5-Day Pass 10,000 yen
Southern Kyushu Pass 7,000 yen JR Kyushu Shinkansen (Kumamoto – Kagoshima-chuo), JR Kyushu limited express and local trains south of Nobeoka
Fukuoka Wide Pass 3,000 yen JR Kyushu limited express and local trains in Fukuoka only
Official website: Kyushu Rail Pass

 

JR Tokyo Wide Pass
Price Major Lines Covered
10,000 yen JR Tohoku, Joetsu, and Hokuriku Shinkansen in the Kanto area; JR East limited express, rapid, express, and local trains; Tokyo Monorail; Izu Kyuko Line; Fujikyu Railway, Joshin Dentetsu Line; Rinkai Line; Saitama New Urban Transit Line (New Shuttle); Tobu Railway
Official website: JR Tokyo Wide Pass

 


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