With the news that our favorite JR Pass — an all-access ticket for tourists that had been available at a huge discount — was going up by nearly 60%, we decided to introduce our other favorites. These lesser known, great value tickets still offer big savings on the areas that you want to visit.

From the Hokkaido Pass, which allows unlimited travel around Japan’s northern peninsula, to the Tokyo Wide Pass, which enables you to get to Mount Fuji straight from the airport, there is a pass to suit every type of traveler.

First things first, it will help to know that Japan’s train system is privatized and run by several different companies. The main one is Japan Rail (JR), which owns 70% of the rail service. The good thing about this is that it allows for comprehensive travel, although it also means there may be the odd exception.

The Tourist Pass: For When You Know Exactly Where You Want to Go

The Tourist Pass is available to foreign passport holders visiting Japan under a tourist visa who want unlimited rides in specific areas. Run by JR-Central and JR-West, the Tourist Pass allows travelers to run wild and explore one area of their choice for a set number of days.

Available to you are four areas, each with their own points of interest: Takayama-Hokuriku, Alpine-Takayama-Matsumoto, Ise-Kumano-Wakayama and Mount-Fuji-Shizuoka. With the exception of the Mount-Fuji-Shizuoka pass, all are valid for five consecutive days of unlimited rides aboard JR trains.

The Takayama-Hokuriku and Ise-Kumano-Wakayama passes include access to and from Kansai International. Those keen to get started straight away can redeem their Tourist Pass there and begin exploring.

JR Tokyo Wide Pass: For When You Fancy a Day Trip

Tokyo is one of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world. Traversing the capital can, therefore, be time-consuming and costly for those who are unprepared. The JR Tokyo Wide Pass is a great little three-day pass that includes unlimited travel on trains and the majority of the Shinkansen lines.

The JR Tokyo Wide Pass goes further (literally) than central Tokyo. Holders can travel and take advantage of savings in areas including Kusatsu Onsen, Nikko and Yuzawa, all amazing destinations for a weekend trip. More than just a convenient tourist product, the pass is available to residents of Japan too.

Kansai Wide Area Pass: For Those Who Enjoy Okonomiyaki and Art

Similar to the JR Tokyo Wide Pass, the Kansai Wide Area Pass has a few exceptions to its usability and offers the same benefits for travelers who want to venture outside of Kyoto and Osaka. One key difference, though, is that the Kansai Wide Area Pass is only available to those visiting on a tourist visa.

Transport between Osaka and Kyoto doesn’t usually set you back by much, but if you’re traveling from places like Okayama, a one-way trip would normally cost around ¥6,000. The Kansai Wide Area Pass is priced at only ¥11,000 if you purchase it at a JR ticket counter, which means any travelers easily make their money back on a simple return trip, not counting anything in between.

The Kansai Wide Area Pass is valid for five days.

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Hokkaido Rail Pass: For Those Who Want to See the North

For first-time travelers to Japan’s northernmost prefecture, the Hokkaido Rail Pass is a great way to explore the entire island, especially during the summer months when mainland Japan is soaking in humidity.

If you’ve just settled on the destination but aren’t sure how to plan your trip, the JR Hokkaido website has several recommended routes for all seasons. From Furano, where you’ll see Hokkaido’s stunning lavender fields blooming in July, to the quaint village of Otaru, known for its fresh seafood, no stone is left unturned.

This pass is also only available to travelers visiting Japan on a tourist visa.

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Seishun 18: For Those Who Want to Take It Slow

Seishun 18 is a special train ticket available at a massive discount, allowing unlimited travel across the country over a five-day period. Now, this ticket doesn’t allow for Shinkansen or express train rides — it’s local or rapid trains only. Another thing to keep in mind is that the pass is only available at certain times of the year.

The Seishun 18 ticket is great because more than one person can use it, though you can only use it for up to five rides a day, for a total of five days of travel. The ticket works on a stamp system. Basically, it’s stamped every time it is used. It’s great fun, but it’s crucial to remember and abide by the ‘no fast train’ rule. A journey from Tokyo to Kyoto with the Seishun 18 ticket will take nine hours and requires multiple changes.

What’s more, there are no special rules when it comes to who is eligible for the Seishun 18 ticket, so residents of Japan are welcome to join in on the local train fun.