Japan Rail Pass or Train Tickets: what to choose when traveling in Japan?

  • Published on : 31/05/2024
  • by : Charley Zaragoza

When traveling in Japan, if your itinerary takes you beyond Tokyo, for example into the Kansai (Kyoto & Osaka) region, a primordial question awaits: how to get around Japan and navigate between the cities and sights you have planned to see? 

Train TicketsJapan Rail Pass
Train bookings in advance
Last-minute day trips included?
Unlimited travel
Cost-effective for short, local trips
Cost-effective for long-distance tripsYes, if few or spread out over timeYes, if many or within 7, 14 or 21 days
Need to reserve seats?Depends on seat classOnly if you wish to
EligibilityForeign visitors + Japanese nationalsForeign visitors only
Exchange processQR codeVoucher
See all advantagesSee all advantages

Advantages of Train Tickets

Anticipated trip planning

Craft your dream trip to Japan!

Cost-efficient for train travel

Book just the trains you need!

Regional Pass combination

Book regional passes too!

Cost-effective for short trips and local itineraries

If your travel plans are limited to a specific city or region, or going strictly along the Golden Route (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka & Hiroshima) without any day trips or excursions, purchasing individual train tickets may provide more savings than investing in a Japan Rail Pass. Make sure you add up the cost of each journey to make an informed decision! 

Complementary with Regional Rail Passes

Even without multiple long-distance trips, train tickets are a great way to explore Japan in-depth, as they can easily get you to and from a specific region, where you can then look into the wide choice of available regional rail passes to travel unlimited on regional trains for a set amount of days. For example, if you are departing from Tokyo and plan on exploring the local treasures of the Kansai region, you can book individual train tickets to get to Kyoto or Osaka, and then take advantage of a 5-day Kansai Wide Area Pass to get around, before getting train tickets back to Tokyo!

shinkansen train mount fuji japan

Explore Japan by train with our available itineraries!

Here are some of our train itineraries available for online booking, from Tokyo to Fukuoka, as well as Kanazawa, Nagano, Kyoto or Hiroshima!

Advantages of the Japan Rail Pass

Convenient and easy to use

Making travel rhyme with peace of mind!

Save on long distance trips

The more you travel, the more you save!

Explore all of Japan

Ride any JR train, anytime and anywhere in Japan!

Cost Savings for Extensive Travel

For those planning an action-packed itinerary across multiple cities and regions, the Japan Rail Pass proves to be cost-effective, often surpassing the value of individual tickets. Be sure to calculate the cost of each leg of your journey (don't forget to account for public transportation lines operated by JR too) and compare with the price of the different available JR Pass durations to see if it's right for you!

Wide Coverage and Transportation Options

With one ticket, you get access to over 20,000km of rail lines as well as some local public transportation options. Indeed, the JR Pass is not only meant to be used for the famous Shinkansen bullet train! Many local JR lines, such as the JR Yamanote Line looping around Tokyo or the JR Osaka Loop Line, are included in the pass! Some buses are also operated by JR and thus available with the pass, and even some more unusual options such as JR ferries are included.

Map of the JR Regional Passes

Get around Japan with a Japan Rail Pass!

  • Included : Economic and simple, Unlimited travel

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