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 a round trip to Osaka from Tokyo, the price of 7-day 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 it does not show you how to get the worth of this pass.
In this post, I tell you about this pass as simple as possible. I compare a regular fare and JR pass, how to choose the retailer, additional charge and many more.
- 1 How to buy JR Pass
- 2 Types and prices
- 3 How to find that you can get the worth of JR pass. Tips for using JR pass efficiently.
- 3.1 Airport access
- 3.2 Using JR pass in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Sapporo
- 3.3 The nearest place to get the worth of JR pass 7-day from Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka
- 3.4 Tokyo to Osaka (or versa) one way trip is not enough to get the worth of even 7-day JR Pass.
- 3.5 The faretable of the major segments
- 4 How to choose Green seat pass or Ordinary seat pass
- 5 How to exchange
- 6 Validity
- 6.1 Nozomi and Mizuho on the Tokaido, the Sanyo and the Kyushu Shinkansen lines
- 6.2 Gran Class of Tohoku, Hokuriku and Hokkaido Shinkansen
- 6.3 Delux Green on JR Kyushu trains
- 6.4 Green Private Compartment
- 6.5 The overnight train and sleeper car
- 6.6 Trains run through Non JR lines
- 6.7 Bus services
- 6.8 Ferry Service
- 6.9 Other train services
- 7 How to use JR pass in major cities and tourist spots
- 8 Who is eligible?
- 9 How to refund
- 10 Lost or Stolen
How to buy JR Pass
You have four ways to buy JR Pass.
Only authorized dealers are allowed to sell JR Pass. You can find the agent list at this page of Japan Rail Pass official site.
These following companies are major wholeselers:
- JTB (the 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 Tobu Railway)
- JALPAK (Same group as Japan Airlines)
You can find many company names on the official website, but most of them are subcontractors who purchase and sell passes from the above major wholesalers.
JR Pass online purchase from wholesalers and subcontractors
In these days, many companies have a contract with these above distributors. And an online sales by wholesalers and subcontractors have been very active these days. In particular, many subcontractors specialize in JR Passes, and we actively sell them by using their websites to send JR Passes to countries around the world.
You can find as many online retailers as you want by googling with the JR Pass. To find out if these companies are official companies, you may check the agent list at the link above. If it’s a company listed there, you can buy a JR Pass from it.
ACP Rail is one of the reliable online retailer because they deal with JR group company, JR East directly. This company is the official retailer of JR East. Their online purchasing site is connected with JR East official site.Japan Rail Pass online purchasing at ACP Rail
JR Pass online purchase from the official site
Until now, online sales have been mostly done by subcontractors, but the JR Pass official website has been renewed on June 1, 2020, and you can purchase directly from the official website.
However, the price will be higher than the agent price. As I will explain later, the JR Pass can be purchased now even after arrival in Japan, and the online sales price on the official website will be the same as the sales price in Japan.
7-day ordinary pass
Agent price JPY 29,650
Official website online price JPY 33,610
If you buy a pass from the agent’s site, an exchange order will be sent to you by mail, so you will need to pay the shipping fee, but even if you take this into consideration, the agent price will be much cheaper.
However the online seat reservation is available on only JR Pass official site. You can book a seat online before you go with peace of mind. If you buy the JR Pass at the travel agent, you cannot book a seat online.
Please see another post below to find the detailed information on the Japan Rail Pass official online reservation:
In my opinon, if you plan to visit Japan in the busy season, such as the year-end/New Year holidays, you may buy it at the official site.
Purchaing JR pass in Japan
Currently you can purchase JR pass in Japan until the end of March, 2021. Please see the link below to find the details:
If you forget to buy it before you go, or you will find your trip plan after you arrive in Japan, you can buy the JR pass after you arrve in Japan.
Types and prices
There are two types, Green and Ordinary, and three duration, 7, 14 and 21-day. And the price varies depending on the agent price and the official website price/domastic sales price in Japan.
The differences between the official site/sales in Japan prices and the agent prices are shown in red. The sales price in Japan and the official site are 10 to 12% higher than the agent prices.
When you purchase it, the rates are adjusted by your country’s currency.
This pass is eligible for a train, a few JR bus and a ferry services which are provided by Japan Railways Group with a few exceptions. I will explain these exceptions later.
In my opinion, JR Pass is most unbeatable deal if you travel in some of regions of Japan. There are many kinds of the rail passes in Japan, such as JR East Pass, JR Hokkaido Pass, JR Kyushu Pass and many more. But JR 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 list of the train pass. I wrote about many other rail passes in the posts.
How to find that you can get the worth of JR pass. Tips for using JR pass efficiently.
Once you decide the first day of use, you have to complete your trip in the fixed day. If you intend to use 7-day JR pass and stay in Japan for 7 days or less, you can start using it right after you arrive in Japan. However if you stay in Japan for the longer period than Japan Rail Pass duration, you have to find which JR pass you should buy and which day you should start using it.
You can take JR trains at Narita airport, Kansai airport and New Chitose airport. These airports are covered by JR pass. And Haneda airport is connected to downtown Tokyo by Tokyo Monorail. This is covered by JR pass too. Please see the table below how much the fare of these airport access:
*All fare include the base fare and the reserved seat fee.
Other airports, such as Chubu (Nagoya), Fukuoka are not covered by JR pass. You cannot start using JR pass right after arrival in these airports and the additional fare is required to take the other transportation to get to the nearest JR station first.
Using JR pass in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Sapporo
If you start using JR pass after arrival in Narita, Haneda, Kansai or New Chitose, you will stay in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto or Sapporo. You can use JR Pass to take the JR local trains in these cities. But it is not very efficient to use JR pass for sightseeing inside these cities. Because the train fare is not big enough to help getting the worth.
Please see the one way fare for the major segments in these cities in the table below:
|Segment||One way base fare|
|Tokyo to Shinjuku||200 yen|
|Tokyo to Yokohama||470 yen|
|Osaka to JR-Namba||190 yen|
|Osaka to Kyoto||560 yen|
|Osaka to Nara||800 yen|
|Osaka to Sannomiya (Kobe)||410 yen|
|Kyoto to Saga-Arashiyama||240 yen|
|Kyoto to Inari (Fushii Inari)||140 yen|
|Sapporo to Otaru||640 yen|
As you see the table above, the train fare in these cities are inexpensive. It does not help to get the worth of JR pass. If you can get the worth by the other trip(s), you can use JR pass in these cities. But it is not recommended to use it in the cities.
If you intend to start using JR Pass right after arrival in the airport but you will stay in one of these cities, please think again when you should start using JR Pass.
I explain about how to use JR Pass in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto in these following posts:
- How much can we use Japan Rail Pass in downtown Tokyo?
- Fast, economical and convenient for sightseeing in Tokyo. Learn about Tokyo Subways.
- Japan Rail Pass is the best way to explore Kyoto? How to use Japan Rail Pass in Kyoto
- How to use and how much can we use Japan Rail Pass in downtown Osaka?
- How to transfer among Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. Compare Japan Railway and private lines
- How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area
The nearest place to get the worth of JR pass 7-day from Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka
You may have heard that you can get the worth of 7-day JR Pass by Tokyo to Osaka round trip. It is true. The round trip fare and the Shinkansen seat fee are slightly less than 7-day JR Pass price. If you use JR Pass for the airport to Tokyo (or Osaka), and/or making some local train trips in the city, you can get the worth of it.
You have to use JR pass for a long train ride as much as you can, such as Tokyo to Osaka round trip. I would like to show you not only Tokyo to Osaka round trip but also more trips to get the worth of 7-day JR Pass. You can find the nearest place to get the worth of 7-day JR Pass from Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.
7-day pass is sold at 29,110 yen. If one way base fare and the reserved seat fee are more than 14,560 yen or more, you can get the worth of 7-day pass by only one round trip.
As the map above, these following round trips fares are higher than the price of 7-day JR pass.
- The round trip to Shin-Kobe
- The round trip to Morioka
- The round trip to Komatsu
- The round trip to Takayama
Shin-Kobe is one station away from Shin-Osaka on the Shinkansen. As I mentioned above, if you use JR Pass to make a few local train trips, you can get the worth by the round trip to Shin-Osaka.
Komatsu is a bit away from Kanazawa. It is same thing as the round trip to Shin-Kobe. You can get the worth of 7-day pass by the round trip to Kanazawa and some local train trips.
You also can find some more information in my Youtube movie:
As the map above, these following round trips are enough to get the worth of 7-day JR pass.
- The round trip to Omiya
- The round trip to Ueda (via Kanazawa)
- The round trip to Hakata
- The round trip to Tsuwano
If you go east from Osaka, Omiya is the nearest destination to get the worth of 7-day JR pass. Omiya is just outside Tokyo. But as I mentioned above from Tokyo to Shin-Kobe, you can get the worth of it by Osaka to/from Tokyo round trip and some local trips.
If you go west, the round trip to Hakata (Fukuoka) is okay to get the worth. You also can get the worth of it by the round trip to Tsuwano too.
You also can find some more information in my Youtube movie:
As the map above, these following round trips are enough to get the worth of 7-day JR pass.
- The round trip to Utsunomiya
- The round trip to Tokuyama
If you go east from Nagoya, the round trip to Tokyo is not enough to get the worth. Utsunomiya is the nearest destination to get the worth of it. Utsunomiya is the gateway to Nikko. If you intend to visit there, you can get the worth of it easily.
If you go west, the round trip to Tokuyama is the nearest destination to get the worth of 7-day JR pass. Tokuyama is two stations away from Hiroshima on the Sanyo Shinkansen line. If you make a round trip to Miyajima from Hiroshima by the local train and take the ferry to Miyajima, the total fare is very close to JR Pass 7-day price.
Tokyo to Osaka (or versa) one way trip is not enough to get the worth of even 7-day JR Pass.
If you will have only one way trip between Tokyo and Osaka, the regular fare ticket 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.
You also can find some sample itineraries in the links below:
The faretable of the major segments
I would like to show you the fares for your convenience. If you have a multi-city travel, the fare may be cheaper. But you can use this faretable to find that you can get the worth of JR Pass or not. These following fares are based on the Shinkansen and/or daytime limited express train reserved seat fee, and the base fare.
|Sapporo||26,820 yen||37,100 yen||34,350 yen|
|Hakodate||23,420 yen||33,700 yen||31,060 yen|
|Aomori||17,350 yen||27,370 yen||25,210 yen|
|Akita||17,800 yen||27,820 yen||25,440 yen|
|Sendai||11,200 yen||22,620 yen||20,240 yen|
|Niigata||10,570 yen||22,310 yen||19,930 yen|
|Nikko||5,580 yen||18,530 yen||16,030 yen|
|Echigo-Yuzawa||6,670 yen||19,500yen||17,110 yen|
|Nagano||8,200 yen||11,790 yen||7,330 yen|
|Odawara||3,470 yen||12,620 yen||8,940 yen|
|Nagoya||10,880 yen||6,930 yen||–|
|Takayama||14,710 yen||10,600 yen||6,030 yen|
|Toyama||12,730 yen||9,430 yen||11,350 yen|
|Kanazawa||14,120 yen||7,650 yen||8,020 yen|
|Osaka||14,140 yen||–||6,350 yen|
|Kinosaki Onsen||16,340 yen||5,600 yen||9,520 yen|
|Okayama||16,820 yen||6,600 yen||10,870 yen|
|Hiroshima||18,560 yen||10,810 yen||13,810 yen|
|Fukuoka (Hakata)||22,330 yen||15,580 yen||18,020 yen|
|Kumamoto||26,500 yen||18,540 yen||22,080 yen|
|Kagoshima||29,860 yen||21,900 yen||25450 yen|
Please use hyperdia to find the fare for other segments.
How to choose Green seat pass or Ordinary seat pass
I explain about Green and Ordinary class seats in the movie below:
Green seat is like business class seat. There are some higher class than Green class, such as, Gran class, Premium Green calss. But these are not covered by JR pass at all.
If you take Gran Class by JR Pass, both Ordinary pass and Green pass cover only a basic fare only. You have to pay a limited express surcharge and Gran class seat fee. Please see the post, Japan Rail Pass can be used for Hayabusa to get details.
Advantages of Green class seat are space and atmosphere. Green class seat is much 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 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.
If you are sensitive about your budget, the ordinary class is fine. I am sure you will be satisfied with the ordinary class seat too. It is way better than economy seat on the flight. My height is 6’1″ (184 cm). But the leg space at the ordinary class seat is totally fine for me.
How to exchange
You will receive “Exchange Order” at the time of purchasing of JR Pass if you buy a pass at an official vendor or their online service. It is not the actual pass but the voucher. You have to exchange for the actual pass after you arrive in Japan. The validity of exchange order is three months from the date of issue. The pass never be sold out.
If you buy the JR Pass at the official JR Pass reservation site, you will recieve a reservation number. You will not receive any papers. It is easier to handle.
You can exchange and receive an actual pass at the designated stations. 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:
If you want to buy the JR Pass after you arrive in Japan, you can buy it at the stations on this sales office list.
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.
JR 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 a train service in Okinawa.) Please see the Japan Railway’s route map and the Shinkansen (bullet train) route map in the links below:
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.
Nozomi and Mizuho on the Tokaido, the Sanyo and the Kyushu Shinkansen lines
I think this is the biggest thing that you have to know.
Nozomi is the fastest and most frequent train service on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen between Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Hakata. Mizuho is the fastest train between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo. JR Pass is NOT valid for these trains. Even a basic fare to take Nozomi and Mizuho are not covered by JR Pass at all. If you take Nozomi or Mizuho, JR Pass does not help you at all. You have to pay a 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 per hour / 5 to 6 trips of Nozomi per hour
*There are some more trips of both Hikari and Nozomi in a peak hour.
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 the Sanyo Shinkansen and the 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 the Tohoku, the Hokkaido, the Akita, the Yamagata, the Joetsu and the Hokuriku Shinkansen are covered by JR Pass fully.
Gran Class of Tohoku, Hokuriku and Hokkaido Shinkansen
JR 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 a 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 fee.
Delux Green on JR Kyushu trains
Some 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
These following trains have Green seat compartment.
- Super View Odoriko (Tokyo-Atami/Ito/Izukyu Shimoda)
- Spacia Nikko/Kinugawa (Shinjuku-Nikko/Kinugawa Onsen)
- Most of limited express trains in Kyushu (Nichirin, Kamome, Midori and many more except Sonic and Huis Ten Bosch)
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.
The overnight train and sleeper car
There are only two scheduled overnight trains in Japan now. Those are Sunrise Seto and Sunrise Izumo. If you use a compartment on these trains, JR pass covers only a base fare. However this train has the ordinary class which is called, “Nobi Nobi seat”. This ordinary class seat is covered by JR pass fully. Please see the links below to find more information:
Sunrise Izumo (Tokyo – Izumoshi)
Sunrise Seto (Tokyo – Takamatsu)
Trains run through Non JR lines
Some of limited express trains go through Non JR lines. You have 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 trains which go through Non JR lines. Please refer each train’s page to get the details about the extra charge.
- The limited express Odoriko, Saphir Odoriko (Ito-Izukyu Shimoda/Izu Kyuko Railway, Mishima-Shuzenji/Izuhakone Railway)
- The limited expres Nikko, Spacia Nikko (Kurihashi-Tobu Nikko/Tobu Railway)
- The limited express Kinugawa, Spacia Kinugawa (Kurihashi-Kinugawa Onsen/Tobu Railway)
- The limited express Shirayuki (Arai/Joetsu Myoko-Naoetsu)
- The limited express Wide View Nanki (Kawarada-Tsu/Ise Railway)
- The limited express Hashidate (Fukuchiyama-Amanohashidate-Toyooka/Kitakinki Tango Railway)
- The limited express Super Hakuto (Kamigori-Chizu/Chizu Kyuko Railway)
- The limited express Super Inaba (Kamigori-Chizu/Chizu Kyuko Railway)
- The limited express Nanpu, Shimanto, Ashizuri (Kubokawa-Sukumo/Tosa Kuroshio Railway)
There are eight bus companies in JR Bus Group. But these bus companies and JR’s railway company, which is now divided into seven, were formerly state-owned, but became a separate organization with the privatization, and it is called the JR group.
These eight bus companies operate local bus services and highway bus services. 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.
- Samani-Erimo Misaki (Cape Erimo)
- Hachinohe/Aomori-Lake Towada
- Naganohara Kusatsuguchi-Kusatsu Onsen-Shirane Kazan
- Hiroshima tourist loop bus, “Meipuru-pu”
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 at this point.
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 covered by 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:
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 post below to find the detailed information:
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.
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:
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:
Subway and other Non JR trains, such as Meitetsu railway is not covered. You need to pay for access to/from Chubu airport (Centrair).
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:
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:
Tateyama 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:
If intend to go through whole part of Alpine Route, you can use Tateyama Kurobe option ticket. Please see the following link:
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 to get the various tourist places. Please see the post below to find more information:
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 post below to find more information:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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 the foreign tourist, you have to be “Temporary Visitor”. This entry status will be stamped at immigration on your passport. Other status cannot be acceptable. 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.
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 exchange order or an actual pass cannot be reissued.