What is your recommendation?
The train system in Japan is fantastic, for both local travel and long distance travel. If you plan to do any type of significant travel by train, JR Japan Rail Pass is the best option. Japan Rail Pass is however only available to people visiting Japan with the entry status of ‘temporary visitor’, or a Japanese national who lives outside Japan, with the right of permanent residency in that country.
Why do you recommend JR Japan Rail Pass?
The primary reason for recommending the pass is the significant savings versus buying individual Shinkansen tickets. A one way ticket from Tokyo to Osaka is ¥14,140. A return ticket from Tokyo to Hakata is ¥44,660! Whereas a 3 week unlimited JR Pass is ¥59,350, which includes use on all JR Group trains (apart from the Nozomi and Mizuho trains), JR Buses (apart from a few), and the JR Miyajima Ferry! It also includes use of the NEX (Narita Express), which is ¥3,000 alone each way.
It’s also very convenient being able to simply wave your pass at the gate, and jump in and out of any train you want! You can also book any Shinkansen ticket in advance for free, which makes planning easy.
If someone were to stay in a single city however, and not use the Shinkansen service, buying individual tickets would be cheaper.
Please tell us any episode or interesting experiences to share with us.
Probably the most memorable experience using the JR Pass is the ability to simply jump on Shinkansen as if they were normal trains! Back in 2012, I was in a café in Nagoya having a coffee, when my friend in Tokyo rang me and asked if I wanted to go to dinner. I immediately accepted, and told him I’ll be there around 6. So I jumped on the next Shinkansen to Tokyo, and met my friend, and a few others, for a lovely dinner in Shinjuku! When the question came up as to which station I was near, they couldn’t believe I just came over from Nagoya for dinner! In fact, I caught the 10 p.m. Hikari Shinkansen back to Nagoya afterwards. The next evening I was at a bar in Saga Prefecture!
Wade Beger, a National Sales Manager and a candidate for Prospect City Council in the upcoming Local Government Elections.