Tours and Travels

Japan is an superior nation to discover – and there’s an entire lot of this mountainous, food-filled, temple-boasting island nation to return to grips with. Among the finest and most reasonably priced methods to take action is with a Japan Rail Go.

Pay a one-off value for the Japan Rail Go and also you’ll get to journey the remainder of your time at no cost (sorta) on numerous prepare strains all through Japan – even Shinkansen (bullet) trains. Superior!

That can assist you work out whether or not or not you want one, the very best locations to get your move, and which particular move you need to go for (there are numerous), we’ve made this information to getting your self a Japan Rail Go to make your life simple!

Is a Japan Rail Go Price It?

Although Japan is way from the tremendous costly nation folks appear to assume it’s (Here’s what it actually prices), one factor that may positively add up is prepare journey. In contrast to someplace like London, for instance, there’s no each day cap on the Tokyo metro system, which means you may run up a invoice of properly into the 1000’s of yen. And that’s no enjoyable.

Much more expensive is long-distance journey. Generally you’ll be paying by way of the nostril for a five-hour journey on 1,000,000 completely different native prepare modifications. After which there’s the very expensive JR-operated Shinkansen (bullet prepare) – the journey from Tokyo to Kyoto alone prices over ¥13,000!

A Japan Rail Go for seven days is a bit of over double that. So getting one is kind of a no brainer if, whilst you’re in Japan, you propose on taking two or extra shinkansen journeys. It’s going to pay for itself!

Not solely that, however a JR Go might be good for just about any JR-operated community. You’ll see indicators in bigger stations pointing to “JR Traces,” and people would be the ones the place you may merely flash your move and never trouble with tickets. Getting round Tokyo on the JR-owned Yamanote Line, as an illustration, makes it a breeze. 

It’s additionally appropriate for JR-operated freeway buses, some metropolis bus networks, and even some ferries (as within the JR Ferry from Miyajimaguchi, Hiroshima, to storied Miyajima).

In the event you’re solely planning on staying in a single metropolis and its environment, nonetheless, we wouldn’t advocate the Japan Rail Go. It’s expensive in itself, so in case your price range is one thing you worth, follow the town you’re planning on visiting and save your cash for the izakaya!

The place to Purchase a Japan Rail Go?

So the place to purchase a JR move? Bought by the Japan Railways Group (i.e., JR) with a bunch of various regional variations and even two completely different courses – Inexperienced Automotive and Commonplace Automotive – the Japan Rail Go might be bought each inside and out of doors of Japan (opposite to in style perception).

You may get them for 7, 14, or 21 days. There are even grownup and little one costs and Inexperienced (First Class) tickets out there.

Beforehand, you would solely get a JR Go earlier than you traveled to Japan (exterior the nation), however there are actually choices to purchase them at airports and sure prepare stations. It’s a brand new trial interval and might make last-minute choices simpler. Nonetheless, it’s extra expensive (10 to 13% dearer, to be precise).

A greater possibility to your pockets is to buy your Japan Rail Go exterior the nation. There are a variety of completely different websites on the market providing the service, they usually’ll ship you an trade order. Easy!

Don’t fear for those who’ve left it too late to get it despatched to your private home deal with although: you may also organize for the trade order to be despatched to your resort or Airbnb in Japan!

Observe: The JR Go can solely be utilized by international (not Japanese passport-holding or residence card-carrying) vacationers.

Methods to Choose Up a Japan Rail Go

In the event you purchase this child on-line, you get despatched a trade order – or let’s say voucher. It’s usually despatched inside two enterprise days which means you may even get a JR Go final minute.

Now, maintain maintain of that – you’ll want it to trade for an precise Japan Rail Go when you’re in Japan. You lose that, bye-bye rail move.

You possibly can trade this order at main JR affiliated stations all through the nation, together with Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Shibuya, and plenty of others. All it’s important to do is go to the ticket workplace (often a separate glass-walled room with queues and journey desks), wait in line, after which the pleasant employees will know precisely what to do with the voucher you hand them.

Observe: you’ll need your passport – no copies allowed.

Tip: you may truly begin your move from a date sooner or later – it doesn’t must be on the date you decide it up. Something inside 30 days is a-ok. When you’ve determined this, you may’t change the date and your clock will begin rolling from the primary time you utilize your move on a prepare. Whether or not you buy a 7 day, 14 day, or 21 day move the times are consecutive so that you’ll wish to be sure to activate your JR Go when you realize you’ll begin touring rather a lot.

That is additionally an excellent likelihood to e-book some tickets. Shinkansen tickets might be bought through ticket machines, however coping with an precise human being behind a ticket counter is a lot simpler. They’ll communicate English properly sufficient that will help you out.

You can too decide up your JR Go from Narita or Kansai (Osaka) Airport.

Methods to Use a Japan Rail Go

So, now you’ve acquired your ticket. The Japan Rail Go is your ticket – except you wish to reserve a ticket (which is fortunately FREE while you’ve acquired a JR Go).

You possibly can reserve a seat at any JR Ticket Workplace all through the nation. We advocate that you simply do reserve, particularly for those who’re happening a busy shinkansen route (Kyoto → Tokyo, Kyoto → Hiroshima, or vice versa). You can even request “Fuji-san gawa,” which implies “Fuji Facet.” On a transparent day, chances are you’ll catch a glimpse of the mountain between Kyoto and Tokyo.

Additionally, you will have to order for some trains, such because the Narita Categorical and the Tohoku/Hokkaido shinkansen. 

In the event you don’t reserve a seat, there are non-reserved seats and carriages on bullet trains, however we do advocate reserving. It’s free, for one factor, and for an additional, you’ll have to show up fairly early, as a result of Japanese bullet prepare riders are very, very punctual! These trains can refill!

When you’ve acquired your ticket for the Shinkansen, otherwise you really feel like passing by way of any JR ticket barrier, go to the attended gate. Flash your move, and also you’ll be waved by way of by the employees. Observe that the primary time, they’ll take your move away from you. Don’t get freaked out, it simply marks the primary time it’s getting used.

You possibly can plan all of your prepare journey on Hyperdia. This can can help you see which prepare strains you’ll want between your locations, and in addition if a reservation is required.

Execs of a Japan Rail Go 

Saves time. You received’t must depend on all kinds of rickety native trains with a number of modifications and roundabout routes. Shinkansen are tremendous quick trains, and with a JR Go, you may often use these as a lot as you want. Solely flying is faster (and that’s extra of a ache and much more costly).

Saves cash. Like we stated earlier, Shinkansen and even common prepare journeys might be one of many primary drains of your price range in Japan. With a JR Go, touring lengthy distances over a brief time period saves you a whole lot of {dollars}. The one time it doesn’t lower your expenses is for those who solely have a number of locations or are staying in a single space. We additionally observed that trains aren’t as properly related in Hokkaido – so it might not be price getting one in case you are solely touring to Japan’s northern island.

Opens up the nation. You’ll be capable to go to locations that you could be not have been in a position to afford to get to in any other case. Which means, with a seven-day move, you would be in a special metropolis each evening! Once I had my JR Go I hadn’t even heard of bunny island, however as soon as I did and I had the JR Go to get me there with out further prices I went as quickly as I might.

It’s not simply trains. Native JR buses, some freeway buses (JR-operated, after all), and even some ferries can be utilized with the Japan Rail Go.

Reductions! One other bonus is you could even get cash off a keep at a JR-affiliated resort. Superb!

Cons of Having a Japan Rail Go

Not price it for lengthy stays. In the event you’ll be staying for 3 months, you’ll have time to journey slower and use native trains. Take your time! See the sights! Break up native prepare journeys with stays in cities you’ve by no means heard of. It’s all good.

Cash isn’t a fear. If all that type filling-in and ordering vouchers and getting them exchanged appears like a trouble, and also you’ve acquired the cash, you may simply e-book your Shinkansen tickets as you go.

It’s solely good for JR Traces. Enjoyable reality: there are a great deal of completely different rail firms in Japan, particularly inside cities. So for those who’re solely in Tokyo, we’d say it’s not price it. It’s finest to map out the place you wish to go earlier than buying and do a value comparability to find what’s best for you.

It will probably’t be used on some JR prepare providers. The JR Go isn’t legitimate for Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansen, i.e., the quickest bullet trains to Kyoto and past. We don’t know why, however that’s that.

It IS some huge cash to spend unexpectedly. The most affordable normal JR move will set you again ¥29,210, and that’s solely good for seven days, whether or not you utilize it or not.

The Greatest Worth Japan Rail Passes 

Get this: there’s not only one JR Go for 7, 14 or 21 days. You possibly can truly select to purchase a Japan Rail Go for a selected area of the nation, which is fairly superior, pinpointing your adventures and holding it comparatively reasonably priced.

Listed here are our favourite regional passes that we predict are price your consideration:

JR Hokkaido Rail Go

Hokkaido is a vacation spot in Japan that would simply be seen as simply Sapporo and Hakodate. However this northernmost island is huge. And it’s truthfully finest achieved with a rail move devoted solely to Hokkaido.

There’s a lot to see right here, from the ice floes of Abashiri to the northernmost level of Japan in Wakkanai, snowboarding in Niseko, and exploring Kushiro Nationwide Park. It’s immense.

We selected the versatile four-day move. What this implies is you may journey all throughout the island on any of its JR-affiliated trains and buses inside a 10-day interval. You mainly get to journey as a lot as you need inside 4 numerous 24 hour durations.

It’s a little expensive, although, with this four-day versatile move costing ¥22,000, so it might not be price it relying in your plans. However you’ll lower your expenses if exploring Hokkaido at a quick tempo is what you wish to do!

JR Kansai Broad Space Go

In the event you’re flying into Osaka and wish to discover the Kansai area, that is the move for you. Kansai is a western space of Japan that’s full of wonderful cities like Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and even Nagoya, in addition to improbable historical past and nature.

This move is sweet for the seashores of Shirahama to the south, the unbelievable Buddhist advanced of temples and winding previous pilgrimage routes of Koya-san, the traditional temples of Kyoto, and the well-known (and famously lovely) 500-year-old fort at Himeji.

You possibly can even get to the sand dunes of Tottori and one of many “Three Well-known Views of Japan” at Amanohashidate. Part of the island of Shikoku is roofed by this move, too. Unimaginable.

You’ll get to see a variety of Japan with this move. And it comes at presumably the very best worth of any move. 5 days of JR native and fast trains, Shinkansen and JR buses (don’t neglect ferries) will solely value you ¥9,000.

All Shikoku Rail Go

This one is completely different from the others in that it’s not simply JR Traces!

The All Shikoku Rail Go provides you free journey on the entire JR trains operating across the island of Shikoku, in addition to personal railway strains and even trams and the ferry to Shodoshima (superior, by the way in which).

For anybody considering of making an attempt the well-known 88 Temple Pilgrimage round this island, and also you don’t really feel like mountaineering the longest of distances, this may be an incredible move to get you round.

There are tons of locations to see on this lovely island different than simply the temples, nonetheless. There’s the energetic metropolis of Kochi within the south, the unbelievable whirlpools at Naruto (close to Tokushima), the town of Matsuyama which boasts Dogo Onsen (certainly one of Japan’s most well-known), and the vine bridges of the tucked-away Iya Valley.

For seven days, the All Shikoku Rail Go will set you again ¥12,000.

Last Ideas on the Japan Rail Go

A Japan Rail Go is the way in which to get across the nation. You see lots of people utilizing them – and it’s simple to see why. You possibly can journey some severe distances with a JR Go, and simply three journeys may have already equated to greater than the value of the seven-day move.

However it’s not simply the overall move. The region-specific passes actually assist to unlock Japan, pinpoint your adventures, and prevent cash. However actually, it’s having the ability to simply get round this exceptional nation that makes the Japan Rail Go price what you pay, opening up locations you may need solely dreamed of seeing.

When is the Greatest Time to Go to Japan for Good Climate

It relies upon. If good climate for you is significantly sizzling, we’d advocate August. Nonetheless, if good climate means no rain and clear skies, then that may be January or February (although it’s chilly).

The standard ‘finest climate’ of Japan must be spring, nonetheless, particularly in April and Could. It’s not too sizzling, not too chilly, and also you don’t must put on a coat anymore. That’s after we visited and had a stunning and most snug time. See a month-by-month comparability for the very best time to go to Japan.

Fast Journey Ideas for Japan

Capital: Tokyo is the capital of Japan whereas Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido.

Foreign money: The Japanese Yen(¥) is the foreign money of Japan. Most locations in Japan don’t settle for bank card and it’s at all times advisable to have money on you.

Visa: Most guests can enter Japan visa-free for 90 days – test along with your embassy.

What to Pack: All of it is determined by while you go to Japan. See our full Japan packing record right here.

What to Pack for Japan?

Questioning what to put on in Japan? You aren’t alone. Japan generally is a very tough nation to pack for as there are such a lot of types you may go together with, and naturally, each season is completely different.

We’ve traveled to Japan throughout all their 4 seasons. Most of Japan is a four-season nation and winter journey is vastly completely different than summer season. Listed here are the important Japan packing record objects to deliver with you relying on the season you go to!

Japan Journey Planning Assets


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