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What is the Japan Rail Pass?

The Japan Rail Pass is an exclusive pass that allows foreign-passport holders traveling to Japan to travel freely aboard most JR trains and Shinkansen, including some unique journeys like the Narita Express line. You can get a Japan Rail Pass valid for seven, 14, or 21 days. You can also select whether you want to stick to ordinary cars or the premium Green cars.

From October 1, the Japan Rail Pass will also allow travelers to board Nozomi bullet trains at a discounted price. In the world of Shinkansen, the Nozomi is Japan’s fastest train in service, running on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines.

Also from October, Japan Rail Pass holders will reportedly be eligible for exclusive discounts at certain shops and locations, which is likely to add great value to the pass.

Note: Japan residents with foreign passports should note that while some JR passes were made available to them previously (notably the JR Kyushu Pass), these passes are no longer available if you live and work here.

How Much Does the Japan Rail Pass Cost?

The new prices released by JR at the end of July 2023 reveal that the Japan Rail Pass starts at ¥50,000 and can go up to ¥140,000.

Pass Type Price until Sep 31* Price after Oct 1
Ordinary 7-day pass ¥29,650 ¥50,000
Ordinary 14-day pass ¥47,250 ¥80,000
Ordinary 21-day pass ¥60,450 ¥100,000
Green 7-day pass ¥39,600 ¥70,000
Green 14-day pass ¥64,120 ¥110,000
Green 21-day pass ¥83,390 ¥140,000

*Price for Japan Rail Pass purchased at a JR-designated sales point or agency.

Japan Rail Pass holders are eligible for a special combination ticket named “Nozomi Mizuho Ticket.” For a small additional fee, pass holders can ride the Nozomi bullet trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines and the Mizuho bullet trains that run on the Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen lines. This fee varies depending on where you’re traveling to and from. For a full list of prices, visit the Japan Rail Pass website.

Where Can I Buy the Japan Rail Pass?

Until September 31, you can purchase the Japan Rail Pass at major JR stations. From October, those interested in getting the pass will need to apply via the Japan Rail Pass website.

Is the Japan Rail Pass Worth It?

With the old and the new prices of the Japan Rail pass, whether it’s worth purchasing or not really only depends on one factor: realistically, how much will you travel?

A single Shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka is just under ¥15,000 at the time of writing. Until October 1, the price of the Japan Rail Pass easily covers at least a round trip to Japan’s second largest metropolitan area. Once the new prices go into effect, however, you might want to include another Shinkansen ride to make your pass worth it — maybe a trip to and from Hiroshima, for example. All things considered though, the new prices remain a great option if you’re planning to cram a lot of destinations into a one- or two-week trip.

What Are Japan Rail Pass Alternatives?

JR and other railway companies around Japan offer various passes, most of which are specific to regions and train types.

International travelers and residents should note, however, that JR does plan to revise the price of its other passes as well. These have yet to be announced, but it wouldn’t be possible to include all that information here, so be sure to check official websites to see the latest prices for the passes that interest you.

For more information, visit the Japan Rail Pass website.