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Jo Fitzsimons is a freelance travel writer who has visited over 60 countries. is the place where she shares destination details, travel itineraries, planning and booking tips and trip tales. Her aim: to help you plan your travel adventure on your terms and to your budget.

12 Responses

  1. alyse
    alyse at | | Reply


    I have a question about how to get the JR pass – On the JR website it says you need a tourist visa, but when I go on my country’s embassy (USA) it says I do not need a visa for short travel (We will be there 10 days)

    Should I still apply for a visa to get the JR pass or is no visa application necessary since @ passport control I would tell the individuals we were here for 10 days on vacation…

    Thank you!

  2. Susan Galvin
    Susan Galvin at | | Reply

    Thank you Jo Fitzsimons for your nice post. What is the more cost saving way to travel Japan? By rail or by bus?

  3. 【日本自由行・交通】访日旅行必知的日本铁路周游券 | tsunagu Japan
    【日本自由行・交通】访日旅行必知的日本铁路周游券 | tsunagu Japan at |

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  4. Jade Wu
    Jade Wu at | | Reply

    Hi, will be in Japan for 8 days, 7 nights. Splitting time between Tokyo and Kyoto. Is it worth it to buy JR pass for 7 days. Will we be able to purchase Narita Express round trip and travel on 8th day to airport after pass expired? Thanks

  5. Marie
    Marie at | | Reply

    my daughter bought 2 x 14 day rail passes, as she was intending to stay 60 days. However she now needs to cut her holiday short due to a new job opportunity. How can she cash in the unused 14 day pass in Japan?

  6. pooja jain
    pooja jain at | | Reply

    hi, my family is planning to go from Tokyo to Osaka and then take a return flight back from osaka only .
    in tokyo we plan to spend 6 days and also in osaka 5 days where i plan to go from there to nara and kyoto, i want to know if the jr pass is convenient to cover all destinations or i need to buy individual pass of those regions.?
    also for travelling in tokyo city should i purchase an additional metro pass since the jr pass doesn’t cover the tokyo metro. ?
    also how can i reserve seats in the train, can i do them in advance or chose the unreserved seat option , do you recommend the i reserve my seats for all the train journeys i take?
    also is the green class option a better choice than the ordinary class pass.?

    thanks a lot, your article has been very helpful in clearing a few doubts

  7. Shoua Lee
    Shoua Lee at | | Reply

    Hi! Thank you for sharing this information. I had heard about the JR rail pass, but hadn’t done any research on the cost/benefits. My family (2 adults and 2 small children) will ebevisiting Japan in August 2013 (first time) and we’ll be spending about 10 days there; traveling from Tokyo to Osaka and back to Narita. But we’d like to make some stops in between; Kamakura perfecture (Atsugi US naval base), Hakone (Mt Fuji), Nagoya (2005 Expo site), and Kyoto to name a few. It seems it would be best to buy the JR pass, but I’m a little worried about the different rail systems and limitations of the pass. Would you recommend the 7 day pass or 14 day pass since our planned trip duration is smack in the middle? Thanks again!

    1. IndianaJo
      IndianaJo at | | Reply

      Hi Shoua, check out this map link, which lets you search the JR stations: From a quick check, most of the places on your itinerary should be covered by the pass and if you’re wanting to cover that much ground, I’m sure you’ll get more than your money’s worth with the pass. You can get to Mt fuji by Jr but the entire route isn’t covered by the pass and the bus is more direct/quicker. Don’t worry about the train system. It’s actually super easy to figure out (basically it’s all signposted ‘JR line’. Plus, the Japnese people will go out of their way to help you, so asking for help is very easy (if someone doesn’t speak English they will search tirelessly to find someone who does). Hmm, 10 or 14 days probably depends how long you’ll spend in Tokyo. If you’ll be there for 3 days in total, say 2 at the beginning and 1 at the end, you may be better off going for 7 days as a return from Narita is cheaper than an extra week’s pass. Alternatively, you could do Tokyo then Fuji by bus and start you pass after that, which is what I did. But, if you want to get moving almost immediately, even one long distance trip will cover the cost of the extra week’s pass. Hope that helps. Have a great trip! Oh, if you get a chance, try the Japanese pizza. nothing like it’s Italian equivalent – more like an over stuffed omelete and sublime!

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