Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass: Our Ultimate Guide to Buying a JR Pass

This post may contain affiliate links. Please visit our Disclosure page for details.

Looking for where to buy a Japan Rail Pass? You probably have lots of questions. For example, what’s today’s JR Rail Pass price? Can you buy a JR Pass in Japan or do you need to buy JR Passes online ahead of time? Should you even buy a Japan Rail Pass at all? Is a Japan Rail Pass worth it for your trip? These are just a few of the questions I’ll answer in this mega-post on the infamous Japan Rail (JR) Pass. We’ll discuss what it is and how to to use it. I’ll also cover the Japan Rail Pass cost and whether or not buying a Japan Rail Pass is worth it for you. 

local train where to buy the japan rail pass

Why, How, & Where to Buy the Japan Rail Pass

For most travelers, buying a Japan Rail Pass is one of the best things they can do before their Japan visit. Buy a Japan Rail Pass and you can explore so much of the country at a fraction of what individual train tickets would cost. The JR Pass price may seem like a lot at first, but considering the cost of train travel in Japan, it’s an amazing deal. Is a Japan Rail Pass worth it for you? We’ll cover that in this post, along with where to buy a JR Pass, how to use it and how to get the most out of one of the most amazing deals in Japan travel. 

Related Links:

Save & Share on Pinterest!

Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass PIN 1

Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass PIN 2

Table of Contents

TL;DR — The JR Pass Buying Guide Highlights

where to buy the japan rail pass

Planning a Japan trip can be time-consuming, but buying a Japan Rail Pass doesn’t have to be. Here are the main points of this post laid out for you: how to find your Japan Rail Pass price, where to buy the Japan Rail Pass online, how to get it, use it, and more.

Top Tips for Buying a Japan Rail Pass

  • The JR Rail Pass is a discounted train pass for tourists. This JR Pass allows you to use almost all the train lines run by Japan Rail (aka JR) for a set period of time.
  • The JR Rail Pass price depends on 3 main factors: age (adult/child tickets), ticket class (standard or Green Car) and length of use (7 Day JR Pass, 14 Day JR Pass & 21 Day JR Pass)
  • Buying a JR Rail Pass makes it easy to jump on trains without reservations or having to figure out complicated maps and fees in Japanese train stations.
  • You should buy a Japan Rail Pass before you arrive in Japan.
  • The best places for buying a Japan Rail Pass online are Voyagin and Klook. These are trusted online travel agents for Asia. 
  • Voyagin & Klook offer lots of other great deals for Japan. 
  • After buying a Japan Rail Pass, an exchange voucher is mailed to an address you choose. This is not your JR Pass. Instead, bring this voucher with you to a JR office once you’re in the country and have your passport stamped. Passes must be validated within 90 days of purchase.
  • JR Passes start saving you money if you visit at least two major cities some distance apart (ie. Tokyo & Kyoto, Osaka & Hiroshima, etc.). If you visit several destinations, then YES, the Japan Rail Pass is worth it. It’s an amazing deal. 
  • JR Rail passes do NOT cover every train, bus, and subway line in the country. Just a lot of them, including many bullet trains, buses, and ferries. In other words, buying a JR Pass lets you see a lot of Japan in a short amount of time.
  • You must be a tourist to buy Japan Rail passes. No residents allowed. Temporary visitors only.

Get Your JR Pass Now

Ready to buy a Japan Rail Pass now? Just click the links you see here and you’re on your way. I’ve written plenty of tips and insight into this JR Pass buying guide, including a step-by-step guide for buying JR Passes online through Viator and Klook. But if you’re ready to buy now then click the links below. 

Voyagin is our top choice for where to buy a Japan Rail Pass. Based in Japan, Voyagin acts as a respected online travel agent in Asia, with loads of great deals on activities in Japan and the rest of Asia. On their site, you’ll find JR Passes and much more, including tours, pocket wifi rentals, and tickets to Japanese sporting events and amusement parks like Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan. 

Buy Japan Rail Pass Online via Voyagin

Another great place for buying a Japan Rail Pass is Klook. Based in Hong Kong, Klook is another popular online travel agent for Asia, with deals on Japan train passes as well as tours and other attractions in Japan and throughout the region. 

Buy Japan Rail Pass Online via Klook

Trains in Japan: A Brief Intro

local train where to buy the japan rail pass

As you surely know, Japan has one of the most comprehensive and sophisticated public transportation systems in the world. Unless you live far off in the countryside, it is entirely possible to live in Japan without a car or motorcycle. I should know. I’ve lived in Japan off and on since 2001, and have relied on Japan’s trains and buses ever since. Clean, safe and punctual, Japanese trains are a great way to explore this amazing country. 

Japan Rail (aka JR) is the biggest train company in the country, with branches that stretch across the archipelago. There are dozens of private railways in the country that do not fall under the JR umbrella, but they are usually city-specific and cannot take you from city to city. Even in the major cities like Tokyo and Osaka, there are JR lines that are covered in the JR Rail Pass price. 

What is the JR Rail Pass?

Most avid travelers are familiar with the Eurail Pass, which allows tourists to jump on and off trains through much of Europe. For anyone considering a Japan visit, I encourage you to look into the JR Rail Pass, which does something very similar. For most visitors, the JR Pass is one of the best travel deals anywhere. These JR Passes allow you access to a huge portion of Japan’s extensive rail system. This allows you to travel to most parts of the country as much as you like while the JR Pass is active. This Japan Rail ticket goes by many similar names:

  • The Japan Rail Pass
  • The JR Pass
  • The JR Rail Pass

These are all the same thing: a ticket for unlimited rides on most vehicles in the Japan Rail (aka JR) network. That includes trains and shinkansen (bullet trains), as well as some buses and ferries. The “JR” simply stands for “Japan Rail.” When you see “JR Rail Pass,” it’s kind of redundant since you’re essentially saying “Japan Rail Rail Pass,” but whatever.

JR Pass Price: How Much Does the JR Pass Cost?

Of course, anyone considering buying a Japan Rail Pass wants to know the JR Pass price. You won’t find large variations in the JR Pass price across the marketplace. However, there are a few factors that will change the total: the time duration and which standard car you get.

JR Pass Price Chart

Below you can see the JR Pass Price for each type of JR Rail pass offered.

JR Pass Price chart

NOTE: The Japan consumption tax rose from 8% to 10% at the beginning of October 2019, and with it, the JR Pass price rose as well. As you will see in this post, the JR Rail Pass price can pay for itself after only a few rides, but it’s worth noting the price rise since other blog posts might not have updated their information. 

Time Duration

The main difference in the final JR Pass price will deal with how long you’ll use it for. For this, there are three types of JR Rail pass price:

  • 7 day JR Pass
  • 14 day JR Pass
  • 21 day JR Pass

You can arrange for your JR Rail pass to go into effect on a specific day. It doesn’t have to be the day you arrive, although some people prefer this. The JR Pass must be used on consecutive days, so once active, the countdown begins. For example, if you activate a 7 day JR Pass on January 1st, it will expire seven days later (January 7th). If you did the same thing with a 14 day JR pass, it would expire on January 14th. You get the idea.

TIP: Is your Japan trip is more than 10-14 days and you plan to fly into Tokyo or Osaka? I so, then you may not need to buy a JR Rail Pass for your entire visit. For example, you could spend 3-7 days in Tokyo without going anywhere else. If you want to explore Tokyo first (and I highly suggest you do), then you could buy a 7-day JR Pass and not activate it until you leave the capital.

Green Cars and Standard Cars

There are two classes of JR Rail Pass: Standard (“Ordinary”) and Green Car. You won’t find Green Cars on every single train. Instead, they’re mostly on shinkansen and other long-distance routes.  The sign for these cars is green (naturally) and usually written in English with a small shamrock-like logo. The Green Car JR Pass price is higher and offers higher-end seating that tends to be quieter and more spacious. For example, most shinkansen have five seats across: three on one side, two on the other. In contrast, the Green Car would have only four across: two and two. The seats are slightly larger, plusher and lean back a little further. They may have reading lights and a better, wider armrest, as well. The difference isn’t as stark as, say, business class and coach on an airplane, but you get the idea.

Is a JR Pass Worth It for Green Car?

When buying Japan Rail Passes, some people want to know: Is the Green Car JR Pass worth it? After all, it’s often called “first-class” and price-wise, it’s obviously a step up from standard seating. While true, there are a few things to consider when buying a Japan Rail Pass for the green car.

Standard JR Pass Seats Are Nice Too

shinkansen seating where to buy a japan rail pass

Calling the Green Car “first-class” can be misleading for some people. For example, as I mentioned earlier, the difference between first-class and coach on an airplane is huge. It’s not as big a difference between JR Green Car and the Standard shinkansen seating. Yes, it’s a little more space and the seat is more comfortable. Green Cars, in general, are also quieter. Yet the difference simply isn’t that dramatic as the airplane analogy.

There’s also another important factor to consider. Standard seats don’t have to be reserved. In contrast, Green Car seats must be reserved in advance. Any JR Rail Pass price includes free reservations — that includes standard and Green Car Japan Rail Passes. However, with standard seating, you can jump on a train or shinkansen and sit in any unreserved seat. Conversely, you must reserve Green Car seating on shinkansen and other long-distance trains. This is an extra step before train rides. You can still sit in unreserved seating as well…just not in the Green Car.

What Type of JR Pass Would I Use?

For me and the way I travel, I prefer the freedom (and savings) that buying a JR Pass with standard seating gives me. It allows you to be more spontaneous. Don’t want to take that crowded shinkansen to Osaka? Then just wait for the next one and see if there are fewer people aboard. Change your mind last-minute and choose to go to Nara instead? You can do that. With the Green Car, however, there are more steps to take and more time spent planning.

Having said that, I do see a situation where someone might prefer a green car. Buying a JR Pass for the green car would be good for someone who has fixed plans over long distances. For example, they know that they want to be in Hiroshima on this day and Tokyo on that day. In this scenario, spending a little extra on the Green Car makes sense to me. Especially if you plan to work on a laptop during that time as there are generally more outlets in Green Cars. You can reserve seats as far as 30 days in advance, and then have it out of the way, but you can’t reserve any seat until the pass is active. Reservations can be changed without charge, as well.

Who Can Buy a Japan Rail Pass?

The JR Pass is available to tourists who are only visiting Japan. Your passport must be stamped with a tourist visa before your JR Pass is activated. If you live in Japan, you cannot buy a Japan Rail Pass. For example, I’m no longer eligible to use a JR Pass because I’m a permanent resident. That goes for anyone on a work visa or a student visa, as well. The JR Pass price is for visitors only.

Must Kids Buy Japan Rail Pass?

Yes, kids must buy Japan Rail Passes if they are 6 and above. When buying JR rail passes for kids, the child price is for children 6 to 11 years old. Older than that is adult price, but up to two kids 5 and under are free as long they sit in your lap. For children under 12 months old, the JR Pass price is zero: they’re free. However, if there’s a third kid under five, then he/she needs a kids JR Pass. 

When Should I Buy JR Passes?

There is a specific window of time for buying a JR pass. First off, you can’t buy JR Passes more than 90 days before you arrive. However, we also recommend not doing it too early either, since you’ll have to wait for your exchange voucher to arrive by mail before you fly out. I’ve heard that some people have waited last-minute and had the voucher delivered directly to their hotel in Japan, but that’s a risky venture. Instead, buy your JR Passes least two weeks before your trip so that the exchange voucher has enough time to reach you in the post. You need the hard copy of the voucher with you when you fly into Japan

What’s Included in My JR Pass?

shinkansen where to buy a Japan Rail pass

After buying a Japan Rail Pass and activating it, you will have access to the most comprehensive transportation systems in the world. Japan Rail operates trains in basically every part of the country. Now you can visit everywhere they go with the pass.

Buy Japan Rail Pass = All Trains?

No, this doesn’t mean you can jump onto any train, subway, bus or boat in the country. Japan’s transportation system is much more complicated than that. There are private subway and rail lines that cost are not covered. For example, Tokyo’s vast Metro system is not part of the JR Rail Pass. Yet JR has trains that run through the city as well, along with trains that take you between cities such as Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Nara, and much, much more. There are specific high-speed bullet trains that are not included. But the good news is that the JR pass covers other bullet trains lines that go in the same direction. More on that below.

What is NOT INCLUDED in the JR Pass Price

When you’re thinking about where to buy a JR Pass and what buying a Japan Rail Pass includes, it’s also important to know what’s not included. Here’s a quick rundown of what transportation options are not included when buying a Japan Rail Pass. 

Privately-Owned Subway & Train Lines

The Japan Rail (aka JR) system is the biggest and most comprehensive transportation system in the country. That said, there are lots of train and subway lines that do not fall under the JR umbrella and will be an additional cost if you use them during your Japan trip. For example, in Tokyo, all 13 lines of the Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway System are private. JR has many lines through the capital as well, but you’ll likely take at least a few subway lines if you want to explore Tokyo efficiently. For these and other private lines in the country, we suggest buying a rechargeable IC Card. More on that in the final section of this post.

The Nozomi & Mizuho Shinkansen Lines

These are two of Japan’s fastest bullet trains yet, and they are not included in the JR Pass price. However, the other bullet trains are included, although they take more time. Instead of taking the Nozomi you can take the Kodama or the Hikari Shinkansen lines. Both stop at more stations and take longer to arrive at their destinations. For example, the Kodama takes nearly 90 minutes longer than the Nozomi going between Tokyo and Kyoto. The Hikari takes less than 30 minutes longer. 

JR Bus Express Bus Routes

Lots of JR buses are included in the JR Rail Pass, but select express routes are not included in the JR Pass price. 

The Ferry Between Japan & South Korea 

JR runs a hydrofoil between Hakata in Fukuoka to Busan, South Korea. This is also not included in the JR Pass price. 

What *IS* INCLUDED in the JR Pass Price 

Below is a list of all the train lines included when buying a Japan Rail Pass. That means you can ride them freely after buying a Japan Rail Pass and activating it. Some of the fastest shinkansen and most used train lines in Japan are part of the JR Pass price. 

Tokyo Airport Transport

Both the Narita Express and the Tokyo Monorail are included in the JR Pass price. The Tokyo Monorail connects the city to Haneda Airport, while the Narita Express connects Tokyo to Narita Airport. These are the capital’s two main airports. Just keep in mind that the Narita Express must be reserved ahead of time. 

Normal JR Bus Lines Countrywide

These include JR bus lines in Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Tokai & West Japan, Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu.

The Miyajima Ferry

The island of Miyajima is often considered one of the top sites in Japan. If you visit Hiroshima and want to see the orange torii and other attractions on Miyajima, then you can appreciate that the ferry there is included in the JR Pass price. 

Most Shinkansen Lines

Aside from a few of the fastest routes, all of Japan’s bullet train services are included in the JR Pass price. That means you can basically go anywhere the shinkansen go. 

  • Akita Shinkansen (Morioka – Akita)
  • Hokuriku Shinkansen (Takasaki – Kanazawa)
  • Hokkaido Shinkansen (Shin-Aomori – Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto)
  • Joetsu Shinkansen (Omiya – Niigata)
  • Kyushu Shinkansen (Hakata – Kagoshima-Chuo)
  • Sanyo Shinkansen (Shin-Osaka – Hakata)
  • Tohoku Shinkansen (Tokyo – Shin-Aomori)
  • Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo – Shin-Osaka)

NOTE: Remember that the Nozomi and Mizuho trains — some of Japan’s fastest — are not covered by JR Pass price. However, other shinkansen taking the same route is covered. That means you can still go to the same place using the JR Pass, but it may take 20-90 minutes longer. 

Countless Local, Express & Semi-Express Trains Around the Country

There are too many JR lines to list here that are included in the JR Pass price. If it’s part of the JR system, then it’s likely included in the JR Pass price and available to any ticketholders. Let me just give you an example in Tokyo. True, exploring the capital effectively requires rides on private subway and train lines not included in the JR Pass price, but there are so many lines that are included that will get you to some of the best places in Tokyo. 

Tokyo Trains: What’s Covered in JR Pass Price?

Here is just a sample of some of the things to do in Tokyo and the Tokyo area that can be accessed by trains included in the JR Pass price. 

  • Both Narita Airport and Haneda Airport: The Narita Express and Tokyo Monorail are included in the JR Pass price.
  • Visit the Sumo Stadium, the Tokyo Stadium, the Ghibli Museum, and the Kichijoji Neighborhood because the Chuo Line is part of the JR Rail Pass price. 
  • Kamakura & Zushi are possible since the Keihin Tohoku & Tokaido Lines are part of the JR Pass price.
  • Go to Kawasaki, Yokohama, & Odawara because the Yokosuka & Shonan Shinjuku Lines are included in the JR Rail cost.
  • Get to Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo Disney Sea via the Keiyo Line, which is part of the JR Pass cost.
  • Then, of course, there is the Yamanote Line, the main circle through downtown Tokyo is also part of the JR Rail Pass price. That means you have access to:
    • Shinjuku: Busiest station in the world and hub for many of Tokyo’s most exciting things to do.
    • Harajuku, Meiji Jingu & Yoyogi Park: The epicenter of Japan street fashion, the city’s most Shinto shrine and the Tokyo’s liveliest park, all in one place.
    • Omotesando: One of the most fashionable walks in the country.
    • Shibuya: Everyone comes here to see the Hachiko statue and take selfies at the busy intersection, but much more is in store past “Shibuya Scramble.”
    • Shinbashi/Yurakucho: By day, a white-collar workspace, by night, a culinary wonderland of restaurants, pubs, and izakayas.  
    • Tokyo & Shinagawa Station: Where the shinkansen arrives in the city and where many people book hotels. 
    • Akihabara: Gadgets, manga, arcades, Mario Kart and other elements of Japan-nerd Nirvana.
    • Ueno: Fantastic museums, traditional markets, and a beautiful park.

So Much More in the JR Rail Price

This is just a taste of what comes with the JR Rail Pass price. Is a Japan Rail pass worth it? We certainly think so, especially if you have big plans and want to see as much of Japan as you can. 

What About Reservations with My JR Rail Pass?

Making reservations is part of the Japan Rail Pass price. In other words, you can make reservations for free. To do this, you need to visit a ticket window called a “Midori-no-Madoguchi” (みどりのまどぐち), which you’ll find at major JR Stations. English usage in train stations is not reliable, so write down your info (destination, desired train, date and time you want to reserve) beforehand. 

As mentioned earlier, here is the biggest difference between buying a Japan Rail Pass Green Car or buying a standard JR Rail Pass. With the Green Car passes, you must make reservations for the nicer Green Car seating before riding. With the standard pass, you can jump on any train and sit in any unreserved seat. That includes most shinkansen bullet trains, as well. Reservations can be made on the same day.

TIP: As a general rule shinkansen bullet trains have their unreserved seats in the first three cars of the train.

When Should I Reserve Seats with my JR Pass?

Many travelers wonder if or when they should reserve train seats after buying a Japan Rail Pass. The answer is…it depends. If you have the Green Car JR Rail Pass, then you’ll need to reserve every time you use trains that have a Green Car in them. Not all JR Trains have them as they’re more for bullet trains and other long-distance train lines.

Narita Express

The Narita Express train from Narita Airport into downtown Tokyo is a reserve-only train. If you plan to take this into town, make sure to activate your pass at Narita Airport.

Peak Travel Periods

There are certain times of the year where we’d recommend reserving seats no matter what JR Rail pass you buy. For example, trains are often at maximum capacity during peak seasons like Golden Week and summer holidays. At these times, some bullet trains are standing room only. That’s no fun.

So is a Japan Rail Pass Worth it?

7 day JR pass

Lots of people wonder: is a Japan Rail Pass worth it? Should I buy a Japan Rail pass or look at other options? For most travelers visiting Japan, I think yes, the Japan Rail Pass is worth it. It saves you money. It makes it easy to jump on and off trains without spending time making reservations or navigating complicated maps and ticket counters in rail stations. Simply show your pass, walk in and find a seat. That said, the JR Pass isn’t worth it for everyone. Let me explain.

How Far are You Going?

Buying a Japan Rail pass is best for people who plan to see a lot of the country in a short amount of time. The real value of the JR Pass is in the longer-distance trains.

Situation #1: Tokyo Area Only

So, let’s say, for example, you plan to spend your entire Japan holiday in the Kanto area near Tokyo. Maybe visit Yokohama and Hakone and then head home. Is a Japan Rail Pass worth it for you? Maybe not. After all, you’re not going that far.

Situation #2: Tokyo & Kyoto

This is the most common Japan holiday itinerary out there: visit Tokyo, then Kyoto, then return to Tokyo and fly home, or some variation on that theme. If this is your plan, is buying a Japan Rail Pass worth it for you? Absolutely. Take one simple round-trip shinkansen route Tokyo and Kyoto and the express train to Narita airport. You’re already saving money on a 7 day JR pass. And you can easily see both cities with a 7 day JR pass. 

Situation #3: Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima & More

Now just imagine how much you’d save if you kept going. You could get to Hiroshima as well on a 7 day JR Pass, too. Or perhaps just add in Osaka and Nara. But then what if you had more time and wanted to go further south to Kyushu, or head north to Nikko or beyond? You’re moving past the time constraints of a 7 day JR pass, but what could you do with a 14 day JR Pass? Or a 21 day JR Pass? Answer: you can see a LOT of Japan, for just a fraction of the price of buying individual tickets. You’d save a ton of money.

Situation #4: A Short Stay in One Region of Japan

Some people may not plan to see all of Japan but rather one particular area. For example, lots of people choose to visit only Kansai, the area of Japan where you find cities like Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, and Nara. All of them are fairly close to one another, sometimes only an hour apart depending on where you start. Is a Japan Rail Pass worth it for these travelers? Maybe not, or at least not buying the JR Rail Pass for the entire country. Instead, these travelers may want to look at regional passes, but only if you don’t plan to stray far from where you flew into. 

Situation #5: Arrive Tokyo, Depart Osaka (or Vice Versa)

Some people get budget flights that arrive at Tokyo or Osaka and fly out of the other. If that’s the case and you’re on a short trip, then it may be cheaper to go a la carte on your train trips.

Summary: Is a Japan Rail Pass Worth it For You?

The short answer is yes, the Japan Rail Pass is worth it for most travelers. The combination of savings and convenience make it a no-brainer for most Japan travelers. If you’re still unsure, then use Google Maps to plot out your route. It should indicate how much each train ticket will cost. Add them up and see if the total is more or less than buying a Japan Rail Pass. If you’re taking more than two long train rides, then my guess is you’re already saving money. Add in the convenience of jumping on trains freely and is the JR Pass worth it? We think so. 

It Saves You Money — JR Pass Cost Effectiveness

The JR Pass is worth it for anyone traveling long distances. If you plan to visit a few major Japanese cities and destinations, then the cost of a Japan Rail Pass pays for itself very quickly. As mentioned earlier, all you have to do is go to visit two or three destinations in Japan and you’re already saving money. 

It Makes Train Travel Easier — JR Pass Convenience

If you’re new to Japan’s train system and don’t speak or read Japanese, then the convenience of buying a JR Rail Pass cannot be understated. Let’s face it: it’s confusing looking at the map and trying to sort out how much it costs. Then you have to deal with the machines or with a stationmaster who probably doesn’t speak English. It’s so much easier to just flash your pass, walk right through the gate and jump on a train with non-reserved seating.

Where to Buy JR Pass / JR Passes

Looking for where to buy the Japan Rail Pass? Well, there’s good news: you can buy Japan Rail passes online and have the voucher sent to just about anywhere in the world. There are lots of places to buy the JR Pass, but our top recommendations are using the websites Voyagin and Klook. Both act as online travel agents for Asia with great prices and lots of other tours and activities in Japan on offer. 

Voyagin: Where to Buy JR Pass Top Pick

Japan-based company Voyagin is our top pick for where to buy a Japan Rail Pass online. They have competitive prices and good customer service. Voyagin also has lots of great deals on other Japan activities such as food tours, transportation deals, and tickets to big-name Japan attractions like Sumo bouts, Baseball games, the Ghibli Museum, Tokyo Disneyland/Disney Sea, Universal Studios Japan, and much, much more.

Buy JR Rail Passes via Voyagin: Top Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

Klook: Where to Buy JR Pass Great Pick

Based in Hong Kong, Klook is a huge player amongst the online travel agents for Asia, with great prices for the JR Rail pass and much more. Here you can reserve lots of other great stuff for Japan: from pocket wifi to tickets to the amusement parks, sports events, Tokyo’s crazy Robot Restaurant and much, much more. 

Buy JR Rail Passes via Klook: Great Choice for Where to Buy the Japan Rail Pass

Can I buy the JR Pass in Japan?

Japan Rail ran a trial selling Japan Rail passes at specific stations in Japan until March 2019. Word is that they will continue to do this, but at a higher price than buying JR Passes online ahead of time.

Where to Buy JR Passes by Country

If you’re wondering where to buy the Japan Rail Pass in your country, then you’re in luck. We recommend the same places to buy JR Passes to everyone: online through Voyagin and through Klook. These are both popular travel sites that act like an online travel agent for Japan and the entire Asian region. 

Where to Buy JR Pass in USA & Canada

Our preferred place to buy the JR Rail Pass in North America is Voyagin, one of the best online travel agents for Asia. Voyagin is based in Japan and has a great reputation. Our second choice for where to buy a Japan Rail Pass in the USA or Canada is Klook. Klook is also a well-known online travel agency based in Hong Kong.

Book via Voyagin: Top Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

Book via Klook: Great Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

Where to Buy JR Pass in UK & Europe

We recommend buying the JR Rail Pass in the UK and Europe via Voyagin, an online travel agency for Asia based in Japan. We also recommend buying Japan Rail Passes in Europe via Klook. Based in Hong Kong, Klook is another well-known online travel agency for Asia and the Asian region.

Voyagin: Top Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

Klook: Great Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

Where to Buy JR Pass in Australia & New Zealand

Our preferred place to buy the JR Rail Pass in Australia and New Zealand is Voyagin, one of the best online travel agents for Asia. Voyagin is based in Japan and has a good reputation. Our second choice for where to buy a Japan Rail Pass in Australia and New Zealand is Klook. Klook is also a well-known online travel agency based in Hong Kong.

Voyagin: Top Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

Klook: Great Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

Where to Buy JR Pass in Korea & Mainland China

We usually recommend Voyagin first for buying the JR Rail Pass from Korea or China. Voyagin is based in Japan and one of the best online travel agents for Asian travel. Our second choice for where to buy a Japan Rail Pass from Korea or China is Klook, another well-known online travel agency for Asia based in Hong Kong.

Voyagin: Top Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

Klook: Great Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

Where to Buy JR Pass in India

We usually recommend Voyagin first for buying the JR Rail Pass in India. Voyagin is based in Japan and one of the best online travel agents for Asian travel. Our second choice for where to buy a Japan Rail Pass from India is Klook, another well-known online travel agency for Asia based in Hong Kong.

Voyagin: Top Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

Klook: Great Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

Where to Buy JR Pass in Singapore & Southeast Asia

Our preferred place to buy the JR Rail Pass in Singapore and Southeast Asia is Voyagin. Voyagin is based in Japan and has a good reputation as one of the best online travel agents for Asia. You can also buy a Japan Rail Pass in Singapore and the region via Klook. Based in Hong Kong, Klook is also an online travel agency well-known for Asian tourist destinations.

Voyagin: Top Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

Klook: Great Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

Where to Buy JR Pass in Japan

As mentioned above, by the time you read this it may be possible to buy the Japan Rail pass in Tokyo or other Japanese cities once you arrive. However, it could be as much as 10-30% more expensive and take up part of your vacation time buying it. We recommend buying JR Rail Passes online ahead of time. In fact, if you’re in a hurry, you can actually order the JR Pass online and then have the voucher shipped to your Japanese accommodation. Just make sure to confirm with your accommodation first and make sure they acknowledged and agree to hold it for you.

Voyagin: Top Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

Klook: Great Choice for Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass

The Japan Rail Pass Buying Process

Buying a Japan Rail Pass online is not difficult, but below I’ll take you through the process step by step. First, we’ll cover buying a JR Pass with Voyagin and then describe buying a JR Pass with Klook. 

How To Buy a Japan Rail Pass via Voyagin

Okay, first I’ll go through all the steps for buying a JR Pass online through Voyagin. 

Step 1: Go to Voyagin’s JR Pass Page

Go to Voyagin’s JR Pass Page. Click on the image below or find it here. Now it’s time for step two.

Voyagin JR Pass page

Step 2: Choose your JR Pass type

Remember that there are several types of Japan Rail Pass. There are Green Car seats and Ordinary Car seats. Then there are three Japan Rail Pass lengths: the 7 Day Japan Rail Pass, the 14 Day Japan Rail Pass, and the 21 Day Japan Rail Pass. Select which JR Pass or JR Passes are best for you.

voyagin select pass

Step 3: Enter Start Date and Number of Passes

Here’s where you add how many adult JR Passes and how many children JR Passes. Remember that up to two kids under 5 can travel free if they sit in your lap or otherwise don’t need a seat. The third kid under five would require a child pass. Children under 12 months are always free. 

Also, remember that JR Passes must be validated to use within 90 days of purchase.

Voyagin select pass type where to buy a japan rail pass

Step 4: Add Worldwide Shipping Fee (if Needed)

If you plan to have your JR Pass vouchers shipped to your home address or somewhere else, you may need to pay for the worldwide shipping fee. This is not included in the JR Pass price.  

Voyagin select worldwide shipping jr rail pass price

Step 5: Add on Any other Voyagin Activities

Voyagin gives you access to loads of fun activities in Tokyo, Kyoto and beyond. Here is where to book tickets to a baseball game, a sumo match or a crazy night at Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant. They also can arrange tickets to Disneyland, Disney Sea and other amazing Japan amusement parks like Fuji Q Highland. Voyagin is also a great place to arrange your pocket wifi so you can stay in touch during your trip.

At this stage in the JR Pass buying process, you can add on more Japan activities through Voyagin. They often have the best price around. 

Voyagin confirm and go to cart

Step 6: Log in or Make a Voyagin Account 

If you have a Voyagin account, log in. If you don’t yet have a Voyagin account, here’s where you sign up.

Voyagin sign up account buy japan rail pass

Step 7: All Final Info and Check Out

Now we’re in the final phase. Once logged in, add your mailing address and other info. Then it’s a few more clicks through checkout and BOOM! You’ve ordered your JR Rail Pass online!

NOTE: Make sure that you write your name(s) exactly as it appears on the passport. A JR Officer in Japan will check that the passport and the name on the JR Pass match. It’s very important that they are an exact match. 

Voyagin passenger details - where to buy the japan rail pass

Step #8: Check Your Confirmation Email

After buying your JR Rail Pass online via Voyagin you should receive a confirmation email. Always check to make sure you receive this and look it over to make sure you are getting exactly what you ordered. No more, no less. If you don’t see this confirmation email right away, check your junk mail or spam folder just in case. Look for a tracking number so you can follow your JR Rail passes. 

Your JR Pass is coming! Just wait for the JR Rail Pass voucher (aka exchange order) to arrive via post — unless you’re picking it up elsewhere. Please remember that the voucher/exchange order is NOT your JR Rail Pass. You will receive that once you arrive in Japan.

NOTE: Make sure you put the name of the JR Pass user exactly as it appears on the passport. Remember that the JR Office in Japan will make sure that the passport and the name on the JR Pass match, so it’s very important that they are an exact match. 

How To Buy a Japan Rail Pass via Klook

Based in Hong Kong, Klook is an online travel agency for Asia with loads of great options for Japan travel. Their JR Rail pass pas is hugely popular and they have a great reputation when it comes to JR Pass price and delivery. Below I walk you through all the steps it takes to buy a JR Pass online through Klook. 

Step 1: Go to Klook’s Japan Rail Pass Page

The first thing to do is to visit the Japan Rail Pass page on the Klook site. You can access that here. Or just click the image below. Next step is adding the details of your JR Pass. Klook JR Pass page

Step 2: Select JR Pass Type, Duration & Delivery

Once on Klook’s JR Pass page, select what kind of pass you want and where you’ll have it delivered. Remember that the JR Rail Pass has two main types: Green Car (aka “First Class”) and “Ordinary” or “Standard” Car. You’ll also need to select the length of validity. In other words, how long will you want your JR Pass to last? There are three options: the 7 Day JR Pass, 14 Day JR Pass, and the 21 Day JR Pass. 

Finally, you’ll need to select where Klook should send your exchange order voucher. If you live in Europe, Australia, New Zealand or many countries, the voucher should arrive by registered mail within five business days. Conversely, if you live in Hong Kong or Taiwan, you may pick the voucher up at an office or desk at the airport. All other countries have different delivery times, but they’re all relatively short. Check your own country just to be sure. 

If you’ve waited until the last minute, it’s possible to send the voucher to your hotel in Japan. Just confirm with your hotel that they’ll hold it for you first. 

Klook JR rail package options 1

Step 3: Select Number of JR Rail Passes to Order

Here is where you click the plus (+) and minus (-) signs to add in the total number of JR Rail passes you need. That way you’ll be closer to the total JR Rail Pass price. Remember that two kids under 5 years old ride free if they sit in your lap. After two preschoolers, a third kid will need their own JR Pass. Children under 1 are free. 

Klook choose adult JR pass price & child JR pass priceKlook choose adult JR pass price & child JR pass price

Step 4: Choose the JR Pass Delivery Date

Here you choose when you want the voucher delivered. Sometimes online travel agents for Asia like Klook run out of JR Pass vouchers as the date approaches, so consider this when ordering ahead of time.

And keep in mind that JR Passes must be validated for use within 90 days of purchase.

Klook select date and book now where to buy a japan rail pass

Step 5: Sign Up/Sign In to a Klook Account

You’ll need to have a Klook account to buy JR Passes from them. It costs nothing to join, so fill out the usual into and you’ll hear from them in your inbox. If you already have a Klook account, then sign in and move on to the final steps. You’re almost finished!

Klook check out email

Step 6: Fill in Final Details of your JR Rail Pass Order

Once you’re signed into a Klook account, you’ll need to fill in the final details. These include the address of where Klook should send the exchange voucher for your JR Rail Pass, as well as information on who will be using the pass. 

NOTE: Make sure you put the name of the JR Pass user exactly as it appears on the passport. Remember that the JR Office in Japan will make sure that the passport and the name on the JR Pass match, so it’s very important that they are an exact match. 

Klook extra details 1 where to buy the japan rail pass

Step #7: Check Your Klook Confirmation Email

After buying your JR Rail Pass online via VKlook, you should get a confirmation email. Always make sure you get this and read it over to make sure that your order is correct. Can’t find the confirmation email? Look in your spam folder or wherever junk mail goes, just in case. You should receive a tracking number to follow the path of your JR Rail passes. 

You’ve now ordered your JR Pass online! Now you just need to wait for the JR Rail Pass voucher, also called an exchange order. It should arrive in the mail soon unless you’ve made plans to pick it up elsewhere. Remember that the voucher/exchange order is NOT your JR Rail Pass. You will receive that once you arrive in Japan.

How to Activate Your JR Pass

Ok, so you’ve finished buying a Japan Rail pass online and had the voucher sent to your address (if not, see the above steps). Now it’s time to activate your JR Pass. Follow the steps below:

Pack Your Voucher!

Very important: don’t forget to bring the JR Pass exchange voucher with you! Put it in a safe place in your bag that you can easily access. I suggest putting it in your carry-on bag just in case there is any problem with your check-in luggage. The voucher must be validated within 90 days after purchase.

Get Your Passport Stamped

When you arrive in Japan, you’ll need to go through immigration and have your passport stamped “temporary visitor.” This will happen regardless of whether you bought a JR Pass or not, but that “temporary visitor” stamp will be important in the next step.

Bring Your Voucher & Passport to a JR office.

There are JR Rail offices at all major airports and JR Stations. Here is a full list of JR Offices where you can exchange your voucher for your JR Pass. 

Fill Out the Form

Now you’ll present your voucher and passport to a JR official. After he/she sees your “temporary visitor” stamp, you’ll fill out the final form. Here you’ll put the basic info (name, birth date, etc.) as well as your JR pass start date. This is the date you plan to start using your Japan Rail Pass.

You could start using it immediately or set a date up to 30 days in the future. Remember that part: Your JR Pass start date cannot be over 30 days from when you validate it at the JR Offices.

Get Ready to See Japan!

Now you’re all set. Next, it’s all just up to you to plan where to go and what to see! Read on to see how to get the most out of the JR Pass price!

How to Use Your Japan Rail Pass

yamanote line japan rail pass price

Woohoo! This is what we’ve been waiting for right? By now you’ve already ordered your JR Pass online and received the voucher. You’ve also validated your JR Pass voucher and now it’s activated. Now it’s time to learn how to use your JR Pass! This is the fun part!

Finding Train Times

There are lots of ways to find train times so you can plan Japan train travel. One of the most accessible is Google Maps, which you may already have on your phone now. I’ve used Google Maps in Japan for a decade or more and can attest that it works…most of the time. The app has got occasional train times wrong. Once it told me a bus station was on one side of a large road when it was actually on the other side. There are many examples I could cite, but the fact is that I still use Google maps in Japan a lot. Another great resource for finding train times in Japan is Hyperdia. There are desktop and smart device versions, and they both get high marks.

One of the nice things about Hyperdia is that you can filter out most trains that aren’t included in the JR Pass price. To do this on the website, simply make a search and then un-check the lines that aren’t included in the JR Pass price:

Hyperdia finding Japan Train Times online

Uncheck (not in JR Pass Price):

  • Nozomi / Mizuho/ Hayabusa (Shinkansen)
  • Private Railway

Making Seat Reservations

As mentioned earlier, after buying the JR Pass, you can make, cancel and reschedule seat reservations for free. It’s included in the JR Pass price. But of course, you can’t make any reservations until your JR Passes are activated. Remember that you may have to show your pass and your passport.

In general, if you’re traveling on weekdays and not in peak seasons, you shouldn’t worry too much about reserving seats. Conversely, if you’re traveling on Saturdays/Sundays or during heavy travel times, then I highly suggest booking seats ahead of time. 

Reserve During Heavy Travel Times

  • New Year’s: Approx. December 28 – January 6
  • Cherry Blossom Season: Approx late March-Early April (depending on the city)
  • Golden Week: Approx. Late April to Early May (falls on diff days every year)
  • Obon Holiday: Usually Mid-August
  • Autumn Leaves Season (only trains in the area): Early November in the north, Early December in the west.

Narita Express

The Narita Express is included in the JR Rail Pass price, and some people choose to activate their passes from the airport so they can take it. The Narita Express is reserve only. It’s a comfy ride, but by no means the only transport into Tokyo. 

At the Train Station

When you get to the station where your train or shinkansen is leaving from, you’ll need to enter the ticket gate next to the station attendant. Don’t try to go through the gates where you put in a ticket. Instead, head to the gate closest to where a JR employee is standing and present your pass. He or she will then let you through. Keep your passport handy in case they want to match names on your JR Pass with it. That doesn’t happen too often, but it can.

Find Your Train!

Now it’s time to ask the station attendant or look for the screens indicating which platform you need to go to. Most information is presented in Japanese and English. Once on your platform, there may be signs on the floor or nearby wall indicating where reserved seating and non-reserved seating are. As a general rule, shinkansen bullet trains usually have unreserved seating in the first three cars of the train.

Japan Train Station Vocabulary

Japanese Train Vocabulary

Japanese Train Etiquette

crowded train is a japan rail pass worth it

Now that you have Japan Rail tickets and you’re about to explore Japan, here are a few tips on the type of behavior expected on trains in Japan. 

Know Where to Stand

It’s best to stand to the side of the doors in order to let everyone off the train before you enter. Just follow the lead of people around you. If you’re standing in a crowded train in front of a door, step out when the doors open if anyone needs to get out. Then you can reboard. 

Form a Line

On some of the busiest platforms, you’ll see markings on the platform of where to stand. But in general, simply stand behind anyone who arrived before you.

Keep the Volume Down

You should notice right away how quiet most Japan Rail trains are. Keep your voice lowered and ringers/phone speakers off. Also, make sure headphones aren’t so loud that passengers nearby can hear your music. 

Respect Priority Seating

You’ll notice that some seats at the ends of some train cars are designated as “Priority Seating.” These are for pregnant women, the elderly, the injured/handicapped and anyone traveling with small children. You can sit here when a car is basically empty, but give up the seat if someone who fit these descriptions gets on. 

No Food/Drinks on Normal Trains (Shinkansen OK)

bento on the shinkansen - buy japan rail pass

In general, you shouldn’t eat or drink anything on regular trains. It’s not illegal but certainly frowned upon. If you are thirsty or peckish, keep it discreet. On the Shinkansen, however, meals and beverages are welcomed if not encouraged. One of my favorite things to do in Japan is tuck into a nice bento and cold can of beer on a bullet train as I watch the scenery whiz past. Riding a shinkansen is more like a flight, with larger reclining seats and a tray for your food.

Shoes Shouldn’t Touch the Seats

Sometimes little kids like to stand on the seat and look out the window. This is fine but make sure their shoes come off first. Same goes for a sofa in a lobby, the seats of a taxi, etc. 

What Else Do You Need?

Voyagin things to do in Japan

While you’re buying a Japan Rail Pass online, there are a number of other recommended items on Voyagin and Klook that are worth ordering at the same time. 

IC Card

As mentioned earlier, the subway, metro, and many private railways are not included in the JR Pass price. You’re buying a JR Rail Pass for JR trains, but it would be good to have a pre-paid IC-type card for subways and small purchases. That’s right: you load money onto the card and can then use it to pay for things at convenience stores and more. Just top it up when needed. SUICA is one of the most common IC cards, and you can order that now. You’ll need one regardless. 

Get Your SUICA Card via Voyagin

Pocket Wifi

Want to stay connected in Japan? Of course, you do. One of the best ways is to have a pocket wifi unit ready for you when you arrive in Japan. 

Get Your Pocket Wifi for Japan via Voyagin

Tokyo Disney Land / Disney Sea Tickets

Who’s visiting the Mouse while you’re in Japan? The Disney parks are some of the biggest and most popular attractions in Japan, and getting your skip-the-line tickets ahead of time is highly recommended. 

Get Your Tokyo Disneyland Tickets via Voyagin

Grab Your Disney Sea Tickets with Voyagin!

Universal Studios Japan Tickets

This has always been well-loved Osaka attraction, but once the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened up its popularity exploded across Asia. We highly recommend getting your tickets ahead of time. 

Get Your Universal Studios Japan Tickets NOW!

Ghibli Museum Tickets

One of my favorite Tokyo activities is visiting this incredible homage to creativity and animation. Just one problem though: tickets must be bought in advance. Here’s where to get them. 

Reserve Ghibli Museum Tickets TODAY Before They’re Gone

Robot Restaurant Tickets

You’ve seen the pictures and videos. It’s as wild and crazy as it looks. Go ahead and book your table at Tokyo’s indescribably bizarre Robot Restaurant now. 

Get Your Robot Restaurant Tickets Now with Voyagin

So When are YOU Buying a Japan Rail Pass?

You have all the information on buying a JR Pass now. From here, it’s all up to you. When will you go? Where do you want to see most? Is the JR Pass worth it for you?

Further Reading:

PIN THIS!

Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass PIN 2

Where to Buy a Japan Rail Pass PIN 1

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This costs you nothing, but when you buy a Japan rail pass using our links, we might receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. My opinions are my own and my tips on buying a Japan Rail Pass are what I believe will genuinely help you find where to buy a Japan Rail Pass at the best price.

Photo Credits via Creative Commons CC-BY or other Royalty-free image sites. Some images may have been altered slightly via cropping or color enhancement: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #8, #9, #10, #11-17, #18-23, #24, #25, #27, #28, #29, #30, #31, #32, #33, #34, #35

 

 

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

css.php