Japan Rail Pass user guide. How to use JR Pass to its maximum.

It's a new look Japan Rail Pass. (C) JR Rail
It’s a new look Japan Rail Pass. (C) JR Rail

JR Group has made an announcement to change the rule of Japan Rail Pass. Any Japanese citizen will not be able to purchase Japan Rail Pass after April 1, 2017. March 31, 2017 is the last day to purchase Japan Rail Pass for Japanese citizen. The exchange order can be exchanged until June 30, 2017.

After this announcement, JR Group have changed the regulation again. After June 1, 2017, JR Pass will be available for Japanese citizen who lives outside Japan for more than 10 years. The details will be available soon.

Japan Rail Pass (a.k.a. JR Pass) covers all JR lines throughout Japan. This is only rail pass that covers throughout Japan. If you travel even round trip to Osaka from Tokyo, price of 7 days pass almost equal to normal fare. I think this pass gives the greatest deal to the travellers who wants to travel in Japan.

Japan Rail Pass Official site is very informative. But some points are not clear. And also some of you are overwhelmed to read so many pages.

In this post, I tell you about this pass as simple as possible. I compare normal fare and pass, how to choose the retailer, additional charge and many more.

How to buy

Basically only the authorized agents are allowed to sell Japan Rail Pass. You can find the agent list at this page of Japan Rail Pass official site. These following companies are major distributors.

  • JAL (Japan Airlines / National flagship)
  • ANA (All Nippon Airways / one of two major airlines)
  • JTB (Biggest travel agency in Japan)
  • NTA (Nippon Travel Agency / third biggest and the oldest travel agency in Japan)
  • KNT (Kintetsu International / same group as Kintetsu Railways. Second biggest travel agency)
  • Top Tour (Same group as Tokyu Railway)
  • JALPAK (Same group as Japan Airlines)

JAL and ANA sell the pass to the passenger who take their flight. You cannot purchase only pass from them.

In these days, many companies have a contract with these above distributors And they are selling the pass online as a retailer. If you find the name on the list at the above link, it is an official retailer. If you cannot find it, you should check that company before you buy.

Basically you cannot purchase Japan Rail Pass in Japan. But as I mentioned above, some of the agents sell JR Pass online and they can mail to you by Courier or Express post service even in Japan. So if you have already arrived in Japan as temporary visitor, you may ask the agent in your country and make sure that they can mail it or not.

Types and prices

There are two types, Green and Ordinary, and three duration, 7, 14 and 21 days.

Type 7 days 14 days 21 days
Ordinary 29110 yen 46390 yen 59350 yen
Green 38800 yen 62950 yen 81870 yen

*Child (6yrs to 11yrs) rate is 50% off.

When you purchase it, rates are adjusted by your country’s currency.

Tokaido Shinkansen
If you take Tokaido Shinkansen and Narita Express to Kyoto, Japan Rail Pass should be your choice.

This pass is eligible for the railway, bus and ferry services that are provided by Japan Railways Group with few exceptions. I explained these exceptions later.

In my opinion, Japan Rail Pass offers you the most unbeatable deal. There are many kinds of rail passes in Japan, such as JR East Pass, JR Hokkaido Pass, JR Kyushu Pass and many more. But Japan Rail Pass is only rail pass that covers throughout Japan. And of course it covers both Tokyo and Kyoto. But if you need the detail information about other passes, please access to the category, Other Rail Passes. I wrote about many other rail passes in the posts.

7 days pass price is almost same as round trip of Tokyo – Osaka

If you will have round trip between Tokyo and Osaka, Japan Rail Pass 7 days is recommended.
One way base fare and Shinkansen surcharge from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka – 14140 yen

So if you have round trip between Tokyo and Osaka, single fare is slightly cheaper, but you will get some chances to take a train in Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto. And Japan Rail Pass is more flexible and much easier to handle.

If you need some more information about price comparison, please see “Compare to regular fare”. You will see some example.

If you will have only one way trip between Tokyo and Osaka, single fare is your choice. I wrote about using single ticket at the post, For non JR pass travellers. Guide to use JR single ticket, basic rules, validity and stopover.

Green seat on Super Ozora by 283 series (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Green seat on Super Ozora by 283 series in Hokkaido (C) Sonic Rail Garden

What is the difference between Green and Ordinary.

Green Class is like business class seat. It was the first class in all Japan Railway’s trains. But since Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa started to run, Gran Class that is upper class than Green Class was introduced. As a result, Green class became the second highest seat in all JR trains.

If you take Gran Class by Japan Rail Pass, both Ordinary pass and Green pass cover only basic fare. You need to pay Limited Express surcharge and Gran Class fee. Please see the post, Japan Rail Pass can be used for Hayabusa to get details.

Advantage of Green Class seat is space and atmosphere. Green class seat it more spacious and quieter than ordinary seat. Shinkansen and most of Limited Express have this class. Even some local trains, such as Rapid trains in greater Tokyo area have Green Class seat too. Please read one of my post, Worthwhile buying Japan Rail Pass Green Pass?. I explained the details about Green class seat in this post. I hope it may help you to decide which pass you purchase.

By the way Green surcharge is calculated based on distance. But the rate differs with types of train and companies. For example, Green class surcharge is 2000 yen for Narita Express from Narita airport to Greater Tokyo area, 5150 yen for Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto or Osaka. So if you have a round trip from Narita airport to Kyoto, Green pass still give you greater value.

If you really care about the budget, Ordinary class is fine. I am sure you will be satisfied with that. It is way better than economy seat on the flight. My height is 6’1″ (184 cm). But I have never had a problem with the leg space.

How to exchange

Exchange order
Exchange order

You can get “Exchange Order” at the time of purchasing. It is not an actual pass but a voucher. You have to exchange for an actual pass after you arrive in Japan. The validity of exchange order is three month from the date of issue. The pass will never be sold out.

Exchange place
You will find the sign in English very easily.

Exchange Order can be exchanged at the designated station. Narita airport, Kansai airport, Tokyo, Shinagawa, Osaka, Kyoto and more than 40 major stations throughout Japan are on the list. Please find the list of the exchange places in the link below:

JR Pass exchange and sales office list, Japan Rail Pass official site.

When you turn in, go to the exchange place and tell the staff that you will exchange JR pass. You will receive the application form and fill in. After that, you will proceed the window and show your passport and exchange order to get the actual pass.

When you turn in the pass, you can choose the first day of use within one month from this day.

If you exchange a pass on June 1st, you can choose the starting date from June 1st to 30th.

The start and finish dates will be stamped on your pass. Once the dates are stamped, you cannot change it.

Definition of one day

It means 00:00 to 23:59.

If you start to use 7 days pass on April 1st, your pass is expired at 23:59 on April 7th.

There are an exception. If you are on board at 23:59 on the last day, you still can continue to travel by train. Your pass cover until you get off the train. After you get off the train, as long as you don’t exit the station, your pass still cover basic fare.

Day 7 Tokyo 22:53 (Limited Express Tokiwa) 00:24 Mito

Even though your arrival time is 00:24 on 8th day, this trip is covered until you get Mito by JR pass
If you do not exit Mito station, you still can take local train because the base fare is covered by JR pass until you exit the station

Day 7 Tokyo 22:53 (Limited Express Tokiwa) 00:24 Mito
Day 8 Mito 00:33 (local train) 00:39 Katsuta

You can take a local train only. You cannot take any limited express trains after you get off it at Mito.


Japan Rail Pass covers most of the railway service and the ferry service by Japan railways. You can go almost anywhere throughout Japan except Okinawa. (Any JR companies do not offer any train services in Okinawa.) Please see the Japan Railway’s route map and Shinkansen (bullet train) route map in the links below:

Nationwide JR route map, Japan Rail Pass official site
Shinkansen (bullet train) route map, Japan Rail Pass official site

But there are a few exceptions when you use JR pass. I would like to show you which services are NOT covered by Japan Rail Pass.

Tokaido Shinkansen

Nozomi (=のぞみ) / Mizuho (=みずほ) on Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen

I think this is the biggest thing that you need to know.

Nozomi is the fastest and most frequent train services on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen among Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Fukuoka. Mizuho is the fastest train between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo. Japan Rail Pass is NOT valid for these trains. Even a basic fare to take Nozomi and Mizuho are not covered by Japan Rail Pass at all. If you take Nozomi or Mizuho, JR Pass does not help you anything. You have to pay full fare beside JR pass.

JR pass covers Hikari between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, and Sakura between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo which are the second fastest trains. The difference between Hikari and Nozomi are the following:

Trip time between Tokyo and Shin Osaka — 3 hours by Hikari / 2.5 hours by Nozomi
Frequency — 2 trips of Hikari every hour / 5 to 6 trips of Nozomi every hour
*There are some more trips of both Hikari and Nozomi in peak hours.

Please refer one of my post, Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to get the details abut the difference between Nozomi and Hikari.

Mizuho is the fastest train on Sanyo Shinkansen and Kyushu Shinkansen. Sakura is the second fastest but Sakura runs more than Mizuho. You cannot take Mizuho by JR Pass but this is not an issue.

All Shinkansen trains on Tohoku, Hokkaido, Akita, Yamagata, Joetsu and Hokuriku Shinnkansen are covered by JR Pass. Hayabusa and Kagayaki are the fastest trains on these lines and these are covered by JR Pass fully.

Gran Class of Tohoku, Hokuriku and Hokkaido Shinkansen

Gran Class seat on E5 series (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Gran Class seat on E5 series (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Japan Rail Pass covers Tohoku, Hokkaido and Hokuriku Shinkansen trains fully. Gran class that is the highest class seat is available on these Shinkansen lines. This is higher class than Green class. If you take this Gran class, both Japan Rail Pass Ordinary and even Green cover a base fare only. You need to pay all amount of surcharge beside JR Pass. This extra charge is not the difference between Green class and Gran class. You must pay Gran class full amount.

Delux Green on JR Kyushu trains

Some of limited express trains in Kyushu have Delux Green Class. If you take this class, you have to pay both Limited Express surcharge and Delux Green surcharge. Even Green Pass does not cover both surcharge.

Green Private Compartment

Green compartment on Super View Odoriko (C) Sonic Rail Garden

These following trains have Green compartment.

If you use this type of seat by Japan Rail Pass, your party must be 4 persons because it is based on 4 person. If you use this by 3 persons or less, you have to pay surcharge for insufficiency.

Overnight train / Sleeper car

Any type of Japan Rail Pass cover only a basic fare for the sleeper car. So you have to pay the accommodation fee (berth and compartment) and limited express or express surcharge. But there are two overnight trains, Sunrise Izumo and Sunrise Seto that you can get on by Japan Rail Pass with no extra charge. Because these overnight trains have the specialized accommodation that is called “Nobi Nobi seat”. Please see the posts, Sunrise Izumo and Sunrise Seto to get the detailed information.

Trains run through Non JR lines

Some of limited express trains go through Non JR lines. You need to pay some extra for the section where your train goes on Non JR line. Because Japan Rail Pass cover only JR lines. The following list shows you the train go through Non JR lines. Please refer each trains’ page to get the details about the extra charge.

Bus services

There are 8 bus companies in JR Bus Group. But these bus companies are different from train service companies now. These eight companies operate local bus service and highway bus service. But Japan Rail Pass covers a few local bus services only.

JR’s local bus services are a sort of commute service. I pick up some lines for the tourist.

Japan Rail Pass may cover some more bus services. But even official site does not provide any detailed information. As far as I know, I can confirm that JR Pass covers only these bus services.

Ferry Service

Miyajima ferry service is operated between Miyajimaguchi and Miyajima. Japan Rail Pass is valid for this route. Miyajima is UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most popular destination for foreign travellers. This ferry cruise is very short trip. It takes only 10 minutes. Please refer one of my post, How to get Miyajima to get the details about Miyajima.

JR Kyushu operates the international ferry service between Hakata and Busan (Korea) But this is NOT valid for Japan Rail Pass.

Other train services

Japan Rail Pass does not cover any NON JR train services, such as the subways (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Yokohama, Sendai, Fukuoka), other train services by private companies, city bus services, local bus services and ferry services. The following list shows you major train services that Japan Rail Pass does not cover.

  • Sapporo Subway
  • Sendai Subway
  • Tokyo Subway
  • Yokohama Subway
  • Keihin Kyuko Railway (a.k.a. Keikyu, Shinagawa-Haneda-Yokohama)
  • Keisei Railway (Narita airport-Chiba-Ueno)
  • Tobu Railway (Asakusa-Nikko/Knugawa Onsen)
  • Odakyu Railway (Shinjuku-Hakone/Enoshima)
  • Izu Kyuko Railway (Ito-Shimoda)
  • Fuji Kyuko Railway (Otsuki-Kawaguchiko)
  • Nagoya Railway (a.k.a. Meitetsu, Chubu airport-Nagoya-Gifu)
  • Nagoya Subway
  • Kyoto Subway
  • Osaka Subway
  • Nankai Railway (Namba-Kansai airport/Koyasan/Wakayama)
  • Kintetsu Railway (Namba-Nara/Kyoto/Ise/Nagoya)
  • Hankyu Railway (Kobe-Umeda-Kawaramachi,Kyoto)
  • Keihan Railway (Yodoyabashi-Sanjo,Kyoto)
  • Hanshin Railway, Sanyo Railway (Umeda/Namba-Kobe-Himeji)
  • Fukuoka Subway
  • Nishitetsu Railway (Tenjin-Dazaifu)

Tokyo Monorail between Hamamatsucho (Tokyo) and Haneda airport is not JR train but this is owned by JR East and it is covered by Japan Rail Pass.

The following trains and segments are non JR lines. But those are covered by JR Pass.

  • Local and rapid trains on Aoimori Railway between Hachinohe and Aomori. But you cannot make a stopover except Hachinohe, Noheji and Aomori
  • Local and rapid trains on Ainokaze Toyama Railway between Toyama and Takaoka. But you cannot make a stopover except Toyama and Takaoka (after March 14, 2015)
  • Any trains on IR Ishikawa Railway between Kanazawa and Tsubata. But you cannot make a stopover except Kanazawa and Tsubata. There are direct trains from Kanazawa or Osaka to Wakura Onsen. These trains are go through this segment and then go on JR Nanao line. If you take these trains, extra charge is not required on top of JR Pass.

How to use JR pass in major cities and tourist spots

You can get most places in Japan by JR pass. JR pass covers most of JR trains which include Shinkansen, limited express trains, and other rapid commute trains and local trains in the cities.

But as I explained above, JR pass does not cover Non JR trains, subways and city bus. I also would like to explain the coverage by major places and you can find the detailed coverage of JR pass.


Subway, tram (street car) and city bus are not covered.
Subway and tram route map

You can walk to get Odori Park or Clock tower from Sapporo station if you want. But subway is better way.


Tram and city bus are not covered. You need to pay extra to get some tourist spots, such as Hakodate mountain.


You can take Tohoku Shinkansen to get Utsunomiya and take Nikko line local train to Nikko. All trips to Nikko is covered. Please see the link below to find more information:

How to access to Nikko from Tokyo. There are three ways from Tokyo, Shinjuku and Asakusa.

But JR pass does not cover any local transportation, such as a local bus in Nikko area.


You can take any local trains in Tokyo to access to many places. But some of places cannot be accessed by JR pass, such as Asakusa, Tsukiji market, Tokyo Skytree. Please see the link below to find the detailed information:

Guide to take trains in Tokyo. How to choose the best deal and the best route by train to get the major spots?

You also can access to/from both Narita airport and Haneda airport. JR pass covers Narita Express and Airport Rapid train to/from Narita. Tokyo Monorail is covered by JR pass to/from Haneda airport.

Lake Kawaguchi

You can use JR pass to get Otsuki but you have to pay extra for taking Fuji Kyuko railway from Otsuki to Kawaguchiko station. Please see the link below to find more information:

Japan Railways is the best way to access Mt. Fuji? How much can we use Japan Rail Pass to go to Mt. Fuji?


You can get Odawara by Shinkansen but after arrival Odawara, JR pass does not help you. Please see the link below to find more information:

How to access Hakone from Tokyo. Compare Japan Railway and Odakyu lines


Subway and other Non JR trains, such as Meitetsu railway is not covered. You need to pay for access to/from Chubu airport (Centrair).

Chubu (Nagoya) airport transportation guide. Find info about airport station and access to Nagoya
Transportation Bureau, City of Nagoya

Snow Monkey Park in Nagano

You can get Nagano by JR pass but you have to pay for bus and/or train to get Snow Monkey Park. Please see the link below to find more information:

Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 9, Visit Snow Monkey Park in Nagano


You can get Kanazawa, Takayama, Toyama and Takaoka by JR pass. But you have to take a bus from one of these stations and need to pay for the bus. Please see the link below to find more information:

How to access to Shirakawago from Takayama, Kanazawa, Takaoka and Toyama.

Tamatema Kurobe Alpine Route

You can access to Nagano, Shinano-Omachi or Toyama by JR Pass. After arrival in these cities, you need to pay for local transportation. Please see the link below to find more information:

Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, one of most spectacular sightseeing route in Northern Japan Alps

If intend to go through whole part of Alpine Route, you can use Tateyama Kurobe option ticket. Please see the following link:

Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket (one way)


You can get Arashiyama, Nijo, Fushimi Inari and Uji by JR pass. But you need to take subway, city bus and/or other Non JR railways. Please see the link below to find more information:

Guide to take trains in Kyoto. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?


You can take any local trains, such as Osaka Kanjo line (Osaka loop line). You can access to Universal City (USJ) too. But JR-Namba station is not very convenient and some places in the city cannot be accessed by JR pass, such as Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium. Please see the link below to find more information:

Guide to take trains in Osaka. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?

You also can take Limited Express Haruka and Kansai Airport Rapid Train by JR pass to/from Kansai airport. Nankai railway is not covered.


Actually many places can be accessed by JR station. You can get Kobe by JR pass easily. You may not add any additional deals. Please see the link below to find more information:

Guide to take trains in Kobe. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?


You can get Nara by JR trains from either Kyoto and Osaka. Most of tourist spots in Nara can be accessed by walk from JR Nara station. Please see the link below to find more information:

How to access to Nara by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t use JR Pass, Kintetsu Railway is more convenient.

Mt. Koya (Koyasan)

You should take Nankai railway from Namba or Shin-Imamiya. Nankai railway is not JR and you need to pay extra. Please see the link below to find more information:

How to access World Heritage Mt. Koya. Japan Rail Pass can be used to get Mt. Koya?


You can access to Hiroshima by Shinkansen and it’s covered by JR pass. And also JR pass covers Hiroshima sightseeing loop bus “Meipuru-pu” fully. This bus covers most of tourist spots in Hiroshima. Please see the following link to find the detailed information:

Hiroshima sightseeing loop bus Meipuru-pu official site


You can take JR local train to Miyajimaguchi and then take ferry to Miyajima. Both train and ferry are covered by JR pass. Please see the link below to find more information:

How to access to Miyajima from Hiroshima by local train. No extra charge for Japan Rail Pass user.

Fukuoka / Hakata

JR Pass does not cover Fukuoka city subway and Nishitetsu railway. Only subway connects Fukuoka airport and Hakata. But you cannot use JR pass to get airport because subway is not covered. Some places around Fukuoka is covered by Nishitetsu railway, such as Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine. But Nishitetsu railway is not covered by JR pass either.

Who is eligible?

If you are an foreign tourist, you have to be “Temporary Visitor”. This entry status will be stamped at immigration on your passport. Other status cannot be acceptable. Be careful. You have to show your passport at the station when you pass your exchange order to get actual pass.
If you are already in Japan as other status, you have to change your status first. Otherwise you cannot buy Japan Rail Pass. Please see “How to buy and exchange”.

If you are Japanese citizen who have permanently status in foreign country, or who married to a non-Japanese, you are qualified.
JR Group has made an announcement to change the rule of Japan Rail Pass. Any Japanese citizen will not be able to purchase Japan Rail Pass after April 1, 2017. March 31, 2017 is the last day to purchase for Japanese citizen. The exchange order can be exchanged until June 30, 2017.

How to refund

You can refund within one year from issue date before you turn in for the actual pass. Simply bring or send your exchange order to the agent where you purchased it. They will subtract a handling fee and refund to you. The handling fee is usually 10% of the amount. Contact to your agent and make sure it before you refund.
You can NEVER refund after turned in the actual pass.

Lost or Stolen

Once you lost it, it’s over. Either an exchage order or an actual pass cannot be reissued. Be carefule to use!

1,353 thoughts on “Japan Rail Pass user guide. How to use JR Pass to its maximum.”

  1. Dear,
    Thank you so much for this blog post.
    My family and I is visiting Japan for the first time. We thought we made a very efficient itinerary, however we are not sure which pass to select and if selecting a pass would make a benefit for us at all.

    Our itinerary is like this;
    We will start our trip in Osaka where we will spend four days.
    Then we want to activate the JR pass and use Osaka as base to explore Kyoto, Kobe, Hiroshima for three-four days.
    From here we want to go to Tokyo, use this as base for a few days trip (nothing far) and then continue our stay in Tokyo where we will fly out from my.

    Do you think the best option is JR pass or a regional pass? I think our only major trip outside of the region is Hiroshima back and forth and the one way trip to Tokyo.

    Thank you so much

  2. Dear Takeshi san,

    Can I check if my Tokyo Wide Pass needs to be active when I collect my Limited Express Tickets that I reserved through JR East’s website, so that i don’t have to pay any additional price for the tickets?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Wai Hin

    1. Hi Wai Hin san,

      When you collect the express ticket, you must have already exchanged the pass. That does not mean that you have to activate.

      You will start using the pass on July 20.
      You will collect the ticket on July 17.
      In this case, you have to exchange the pass on July 17. But you can choose the date when you want to start using the pass. The date will be stamped on the pass. You will have an actual pass which is valid from July 20. And you can collect the ticket without any extra charge.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Dear Takeshi san,

    Can the JR pass be use in shinkassen from Kyoto to Tokyo then stay in Tokyo around 2 days and use shinkassen from Tokyo to Osaka back?? only by 7 day pass

      1. Hi Takeshi san,

        After reading about JR Pass I got more and more confused I have silly questions and hope you don’t mind to explain to me again

        1. Can I use JR Pass for taking the bus that you suggested to Gotemba?
        2. Can I use JR Pass : Tokyo – Narita : Asakusa Line and Keisei Oshiage Line ?
        3. Can I use JR Pass: Haneda – Tokyo: Tokyo Monorail – Asakusa Line ?
        4. Can I use JR Pass within Asahikawa city ?

        Many thanks in advance.


        1. Hi Mev san,

          Only Tokyo Monorail is covered. Other lines are not JR lines and these are not covered. Tokyo Monorail is not JR line but it is a child company of JR, so it’s covered.


          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Dear Takeshi san,

            I plan to buy JR East (Nagano) to Toyama and separate ticket for Tateyama. My schedule is leaving from Tokyo on Jun 11 and come back to Tokyo on Jun 13. Can I use validate the JR pass on June 9, and use it until June 13 to come from Toyama?

            I’m going to Tateyama Alpen Route and I will buy 1 way ticket to Alpen route and since I stay 2 nights at Tateyama I need to go back to Tateyama from Ogizawa st. Can I use my JR East pass from Nagano to Toyama on Jun 12 ?

            Many thanks in advance.


          2. Dear Takeshi san,

            Many thanks for letting me know the correct pass I should use. I feel lucky that I decided to ask u to make double check whether I chose the correct pass, otherwise i migjt buy incorrect pass for 12 pax am paid more!

            Please kindly correct me if this pass can be used to Akibahara st/ Shinjuku/Shibuya?

            I am really thankful for your kindness and time to answer all my questions whcih make my life easier to make my itinerary smoother.


          3. Dear Takeshi san,

            Understood that Hokuriku Arch Pass covers up to Toyama St., but does this pass covers up to Tateyama station too ?


          4. Hi Mev san,

            No. Any of JR deals, such as JR Pass, Hokuriku arch pass do not cover non JR trains. When you use Tateyama Kurobe option ticket, you can use it for Toyama to Tateyama.


            Takeshi / JPRail.com

          5. Dear Takeshi san,

            Many thanks for your reply. I’m on the way to Haneda, but still have questions about train issue.

            I will stay in Asahikawa and plan to take Norokko Train to Furano and Biei. Does this train stop at station near Farm Tomita? I remember that Lavender Express has a stop near this farm, but then to catch this train is from Sapporo.

            Is that possible catch Lavender express from any station in Asahikawa? Since we travel using public transport not rent a car, so I wish we could see some flowers farms using train.

            Thanks and best regards,

          6. Hi Mev san,

            You still mixed up the train route. I think I mentioned before but Furano Lavender Express does not go on Furano line between Furano and Asahikawa. This train goes directly to Furano. It does not stop at the station near Farm Tomita. You have to change trains at Furano to Farm Tomita.

            Norokko train runs on Asahikawa/Biei and Furano. It stops at Lavender Farm station. Only Norokko train stops at Lavender Farm station. If you take a local train (other than Norokko train) from Furano, Biei or Asahikawa, train does not stop at Lavender Farm station. You have to walk from Nakafurano.


            Takeshi / JPRail.com

        2. Hi Takeshi san..

          Im traveling from my country to osaka kansai airport..after that do you think better to go to tokyo first or go around osaka and kyoto?? I really want to go to odaiba to see diver city..which route should i take from tokyo??


          1. Hi Syafiq san,

            It depends on your arrival time. If you arrive in the morning, you can get Tokyo. If you arrive in early afternoon, you may be able to get Tokyo. But please remember that you will spend at least 2 hours to clear custom, immigration, baggage pick up and purchase ticket. And then you will take train to Shin-Osaka and change Shinkansen to Tokyo. You will spend another 4 hours.

            Check your arrival time and try to find you can get Tokyo or not.

            Please see the link below to find the train system in Tokyo. You will find the route for access to Odaiba.


            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Dear Takeshi San,

    I would like to seek your advice whether we need JR Pass for 7 days or more .

    My schedule is as following:
    08 Jun : Haneda – Tokyo
    10 Jun : Tokyo – Gotemba – Tokyo
    11 Jun : Tokyo – Tateyama  what local train package can you suggest beside using JR ?
    12 Jun : Tateyama – Alpine route – Tateyama (staying at Tateyama)
    13 Jun : Tateyama – Tokyo
    14 Jun : Tokyo – Narita – New Chitose – Sapporo
    15 Jun : Sapporo – Asahikawa
    18 Jun : Asahikawa – Sapporo
    19 Jun : Sapporo – Tokyo
    22 Jun : Tokyo – Haneda

    On which route on your opinion to use JR Pass is cheaper than local train pass ?

    Many thanks in advance.


    1. Hi Mev san,

      Are going to take a train on 19th to Tokyo? If so, you need 14 days JR pass. You need the coverage for the trip to Tateyama, Hokkaido, and Sapporo to Tokyo. 7 days pass is too short to cover.

      Tateyama Kurobe option ticket is available. But this pass covers one way trip from Toyama to Shinano-Omachi or Nagano. You will have round trip from Tateyama. I don’t think you can use this pass. Alpine route is not covered by JR pass anyway. I think you need to pay a regular fare. I just put the link of this pass just in case.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Good day Takeshi san,
        Many thanks for above reply. No, we’re going back to Tokyo by flight. That means 7 days is enough, isn’t ? 14 day pass is too expensive, if we only short of 1 day from Asakhikawa to Sapporo.

        Am I right if I count usage of my trip on JR Pass as follow:
        Validate on 10 Jun : Tokyo – Gotemba – Tokyo (day 1)
        11 -13 Jun: Tokyo – Tateyama-Tokyo (day 4 )
        14 Jun : Tokyo – Narita – New Chitose – Sapporo (day 5)
        15 Jun : Sapporo – Asahikawa (day 6)
        18 Jun : Asahikawa – Sapporo (Here we need to buy separate JR ticket, am I correct ?)

        You mention “Tateyama Kurobe option ticket is available. But this pass covers one way trip from Toyama to Shinano-Omachi or Nagano.” If that the case, can I buy one ticket from Toyama to Nagano, and 1 ticket back ticket from Nagano to Toyama ? Do you think is it allowed to do that ? Problem we start from Toyama because we have 4 kids and we want to spend 2 night stay at Toyama to enjoy the surrounding.

        Many thanks in advance.


        1. Hi Mev san,

          JR pass 7 days is okay. But I have another suggestions.

          For Gotemba, you may take a bus. It’s more convenient. Just use a regular fare to take a bus:

          Even if you use JR pass, you need to take a bus from Gotemba and it’s not covered by JR pass.

          Use Hokuriku arch pass and Tateyama Kurobe option ticket for trip to Tateyama.

          Regular ticket for New Chitose to Sapporo. And use Furano Biei Rail Ticket for 15th yo 18th.

          This ticket has just been on sale.


          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Dear Takeshi san,

            Million thanks for you useful suggestion and links. I can’t wait to visit Furano and Biei but lot of alternatives to chose for the transport and I am getting confused with it 😀

            Thanks so much for the advice to take bus instead of using JR train. It helps a lot to save time especially with 4 kids who reluctantly to have long walk.

            I hope you don’t mind if I come again to ask you more questions when I’m doubt with some transportation for my trip.


          2. Dear Takeshi san,

            Finally I reached Japan and precisely is at my hotel! Many thanks for all your information and guidance how to get from Haneda to the city, and etc.

            I know get more clearer about Furano line doesn’t share with Lavender Express train. Now I know what train I shall take to get to Farm Tomita .

            I have last question and I hope so it’s last one, 🙂

            Can I buy Tateyama Kurobe train ticket online now or shall I wait until 1 day before departure? Because I read on the web it’s not so clear for me. Sorry for trouble you on this again.


  5. Dear Takeshi San,

    I was trying to find a way to Ebisu Circuit from Shinjuku and was having trouble seeing if there were charges on top of the JR pass to use the fast trains or if the JR pass covers the full price of these trains
    -JR Tohoku main line
    -JR Yamanote line

    Also are taxi fares per person or per taxi?

    Thank you so much for the help in advance,


  6. Dear Takeshi San,
    May I know which is the best way to travel with elderly from Tokyo-Hokkaido-Tokyo ?
    Thank You

    1. Hi

      There are two routes from Nagano to Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi/Fuji).


      Trip time is varied by the train connection. So I cannot say which one is faster. But you have to pay for Otsuki-Kawaguchiko anyway. This is Fuji Kyuko line which is not JR. Please see the link below:


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. I want to know what is the best choice for traveling from Nagano to Kanazawa. I go there for an event in Oct. Please advice me what is the simplest way to go there? I heard that JR特急Shirasagi is the fastest. Can I purchase online or in advance?

    Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Cecilia,

      Shirasagi is the best way. But some of Shirasagi depart from Maibara. You have to take Shinkansen or local train to get Maibara from Nagoya. Please use hyperdia to find the detailed trip schedule.

      You cannot purchase a ticket online. You have to buy it at the window in any major JR station.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hi Takeshi san

    If JR Pass worth buying for 14 days in Japan, arrive Narita Airport and depart from Kansai airport?
    Planning to Tokyo – Kyoto – Osaka – Hiroshima – Fukuoka

    Grateful for your advice.


  9. Hi Takeshi-san,

    Please advise what could be the best combination of passes (i.e. local passes / regional passes) needed for this itinerary? We will be traveling to Kansai & Tokyo using public transport.

    Trip includes:

    Day 1 – > Arriving KIX => travel to Osaka => Exploring Osaka
    Day 2 – > Osaka => Nara => Osaka
    Day 3 – > Osaka (USJ)
    Day 4 – > Osaka => Kyoto
    Day 5 + 6 -> Kyoto
    Day 7 – > Kyoto – Tokyo
    Day 8 + 9 – > Tokyo

    Kindly assist.

    Thanks in advance.

      1. Dear Takeshi san,

        Thank you for your prompt reply. The link that you have provided is exactly what i am looking for.

        Many thanks 🙂

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