JR RAIL PASS (Oct.2023)

Tokyo Travel Tips

ALL NEW JAPAN RAIL PASS (after Oct.2023)

If you are traveling to Japan during 2023, please check the important update video about JR PASS on YouTube.

Japan rail pass was renewed on October 1, 2023. In this article, I’d like to explain this all new JAPAN RAIL PASS.

Japan Rail Pass Overview

Japan rail pass (call JR Pass afterwords) is a train pass by JR Groups (former Japan National Railways)  that are sold only for travlers from foreign countries. Within the pass period of your JR Pass, you can travel across Japan from Hokkaido to Kyushu, with unlimited ride on JR trains including Japan’s fasttest train Shinkansen too.

How much the pass is?

The pass has 6 types depends on class of trains and length of days.

7 Days 14 Days 21 Days
Regular Car 50,000 Yen 80,000 Yen 100,000 Yen
Green Car 70,000 Yen 11,000 Yen 140,000 Yen

JR Pass for children are half price.

What Train you can Get on?

  • Trains need additional charge

You can get on any JR trains across Japan, but there are some exceptions. You cannot use the pass for the fastest service called “Nozomi” and “Mizuho” on Tokaido Shinkansen, Sanyo Shinkansen, that connects between Tokyo and Kyoto, Osaka and further to the west.

The renewed JR pass allows you to get on these fastest Shinkansen “with additional cost”. The additional cost depends on the destination. It will be 4,180 yen from Tokyo to Nagoya, and 4,960 yen to Kyoto and Shin-Osaka, 6,500 Yen to Hiroshima. This is per person one way. If you have JR pass for Green Car, you can get on green car with this price.

With JR Pass you can get on “Hikari” and Sakura which is the 2nd fastest in Tokaido Shinkansen and Sanyo Shinkansen. It takes a little more time than Nozomi because of some more stops it makes, but the speed of train is almost the same even for the “Kodama” that stops every station.

  • Trains you cannot use JR Pass

In the major cities and countryside, Japan has many private railways which is not covered by JR Pass. JR Pass can not be used for subways in the cities. Also, many tourist destination is covered by private railways. Tobu raiways for Nikko, Odakyu railways for Hakone, Kawaguchiko by Fujikyu railways, and airport access of Tokyo by Keikyu and Keisei, there are all private railways just in greater Tokyo region. Some of these destinations are covered by JR lines too, but some are not. So I recommend you to check your itinerary before you decide to purchase.

What’s the differnece of Regular car and Green car?

Green Car is a term used for the 1st class train in Japan sepecially for JR trains. All Shinkansen (bullet train) and limited express comes with Green Car. It usually has wider seats, and more leg room. No meals are including on the Green Car. Some Shinkansen by JR East have “Gran Class” that comes with light meal and drink, but you cannot get on Gran Class even with Green Pass. It’s important to note that not all trains come with Green car. In major cities or local lines, there are no Green Cars attached.

Reservation is required?

With JR pass, you can make reservation of trains without any extra charge.There are 3 types of trains.

Must reserved
  • Any Green Cars.
  • Some of the Shinkansens by JR East “Hayabusa” to Tohoku, Hokkaido  “Komachi” to Akita  “Kagayaki” to Nagano, Kanazawa and further.
  • Limited Express trains such as Narita Express. Special trains in countryside “Joyful Train”
  • “Nozomi”  “Mizuho” (additional charge applies)
Can be reserved (comes with both Reserved & Non-reserved seats)
  • Hikari. Kodama. Sakura. Other Shinkansen except above. Haruka (KIX-Osaka, Kyoto)
No reservation required Commuter trains in the city. Tokyo Monorail.

* If you are traveilng during busy season or get on train from the middle of the route for long distance trains, I always recommend you to make reservation to guarantee your seats.

In case you missed the train you booked, you cannot make next reservation until the time of travel for that train finishes unless you cancel the train. If the train comes with non-reserved seats like “Hikari” “Sakura” and “Asama” on Shinkansens, you can get on the train anytime. That freedom is also the benefit of the JR Pass.

Where Can I purchase JR Pass?

You can purcahse the pass from the official site or agencies outside Japan. The price is the same wherever you purchase. The merit of purchasing from the official site is that you can make reservartion of the seat. You can purchase the pass from a month ago at the official site.

Some online agencies have benefit by purchasing from them. Please check with your agency.

KLOOK Agency JR PASS Site for puchasing everything at one stop

JR Group Official Site for JR Pass

You might also like to read

Online Reservation Guide


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