If you are a first time visitor, you don’t know how big is Japan Rail Pass (a.k.a. JR Pass). Actually it’s not handy size. I had an experience that I almost lost it! One of my reader, Tak gave me a very useful information. He found the perfect size case at 100 yen in Japan. I would like to share this information with you.
Thank you very much for your work, Tak!
[The following text and photo by Tak ]
Do you find it hard to take the JR pass out of your bag and put it back every time as it is too large? The size of the pass is almost same as a postcard and it does not fit into your wallet or pocket. I find that keeping the pass and reservation tickets is very trouble when you have large suitcases or backpacks, as you would need to take them out of your bag and put them back several times.
For example, you would need to take the pass out of your bag and put it back as many as three or four times to take Shinkansen using JR pass. First, you need to go to a ticket counter to reserve a seat. You need to take the pass out of your bag and show it to issue your reservation ticket. As most of you have large suitcases or backpacks, you would need to put the pass into your bag again to free your hands to carry the bags. The pass is too large and you can’t just put them in your pocket or wallet. Once you are done with the reservation, you would go through the ticket gate and show the pass again. There are many people rushing trough the ticket gate and it is very trouble to take out the ticket. Some people might bump into you and you must say “Sumimasen (sorry)”… At some station, you will need to go through another ticket gate to get to the Shinkansen platform. You must take out the pass from your bag again. Finally, when your Shinkansen comes to the platform, you would go onboard. Then, you will need to take out the reservation seat ticket to check the your seat number. While you are relaxed in the train, a conductor might come to you to check your tickets. You must show the JR Pass again. It is a problem if you fully utilize the JR pass and take the train many times a day. Besides, if you take the pass out of your bag and put it back many times, you have more risk of losing the pass. If you lose the JR Pass, it is not possible to re-issue the pass or purchase a replacement one in Japan. You must not lose it or your journey ends!
While I was travelling in Japan, I found this case at Daiso in Takasaki station.
Daiso is a 100 yen shop which is found everywhere in Japan. This is originally designed for insurance or hospital card organizer but I found this perfectly fits for the JR pass as if it was made for these. When you open the folder, you will find compartments for cards, which fit just for reservation tickets. You will also find another folder with zip lock. I noticed some tickets are longer than credit card size but these can be fitted as well. There is a hole for putting a strap through it. However, this case doesn’t come with a strap. You will need to buy it separately but you can find a strap in Daiso as well. I found an ID card case with strap. That strap can be taken out and attached to this case. Once you attach the strap, you can even hang it around your neck. If you hang it around the neck, I don’t think you will lose the ticket. It might look bit ugly, but you can just hide it under your jacket when not in use. When you need it, just flash the pass to the staff at the ticket gate and walk through it. Now, it is so much easier to go in and out of the ticket gate. When you get to the train, you will also find the seat number easily as your reservation ticket is also kept in the folder. You will not have to search your bag anymore. When the train conductor comes to your seat to check your ticket, you can just show the folder. I noticed some conductors take the ticket out of the folder patiently (maybe bit annoyed?) and put stamp on the ticket. Some don’t care at all.
I would like to share this information as this 100 yen case saved a lot of trouble at least for me. Daiso has recently opened shops outside Japan as well. I found the same case in Sydney Daiso. I think some of you might find the same one in your country. If you are looking for a similar case from other shops, size of the JR Pass is 15cm x 10cm. Please be careful that they have changed the size of the JR pass recently. The new one with machine printed ticket is slightly bigger than old one with date stamp. I had another case which I bought a few years ago but now I had to find a new one which fits with the new size.
Don’t lose the JR pass and have a safe trip!