Last updated: July 28, 2019.

What is a JR Pass?

The Japan Rain Pass, more commonly known as JR Pass, is a ticket that allows the holder unlimited use of the JR long-distance train system across Japan. If you have it, you won’t need to pay for individual ticket per journey, which can mean BIG SAVINGS, supposedly. It is offered to foreign tourists only and is not available for Japan residents.

There are two types of JR Passes: ordinary and green car (first class). And they are available in different validity durations: 7 days, 14 days, and 21 days. These days are consecutive and NOT flexible!

Where to Buy JR Pass in the Philippines?

Klook offers the cheapest JR Passes available. If you live in the Philippines, the pass will be delivered to you in 7 days.

Check JR PASS Rates Here!

Reserve JR PASS Here!


How much is a JR Pass?

As of July 2019, the rates are:

Type
Ordinary
Green Car
7 days
29,110 yen
38,880 yen
14 days
46,390 yen
62,950 yen
21 days
59,350 yen
81,870 yen

Children aged 6-11 enjoy 50% discount.

Pretty steep, huh? But once you see the usual train fares and seat fees, looking at these numbers will feel better.

Did I just say “seat fees”? Yes, I did. Most long-distance trains in Japan charge for seats separately, sometimes even the unreserved ones. But if you have a JR Pass, you can make seat reservations for free!


Is the JR Pass worth it?

I hate answering yes-no questions with “It depends,” but… it depends.

Depends on what, you ask? On your itinerary: how long you will be traveling in Japan and what your stops will be. You see, the Japan Rail Pass is a complicated thing and there are cases when it will give you huge savings. And there are also times when it isn’t necessary. Let me explain better below.


When is it wise to use a JR Pass?

If you’re on a multi-city journey across Japan over 7 days or longer AND the train is your preferred mode of transportation.

For example, if you plan on visiting Osaka, Tokyo and Sapporo, all in 10 days. So this means you’re flying to Osaka on Day 1, taking the train to Tokyo on Day 4 (which is Day 1 of your JR Pass use), taking another train to Sapporo on Day 7 (JR Pass Day 4), and exiting Japan on Day 10 (JR Pass Day 7).

If you do this journey by train without a JR Pass, you’ll be spending this much.

Osaka to Tokyo:
Seat: ¥5700 ($51, P2550)

Tokyo to Sapporo:
Seat (Tokyo-Hakodate): ¥11,130 ($100, P5000)
Seat (Hakodate-Sapporo): ¥1550 ($14, P700)

Total Fare Only: ¥18,140

Total Train Expenses: ¥36,520 ($326, P16,400).

Now, compare that to the cost of a regular 7-day JR Pass which is at ¥29,110 ($255, P13,000). You’ll be saving ¥7410. Doesn’t look much, but if you’re planning to go on day trips to other cities from your main stops — say, visiting Kamakura or Yokohama from Tokyo, or Himeji from Kyoto, or Kyoto from Osaka — these savings will rack up.

If you have an even more hectic itinerary, the JR Pass will prove useful. For example, if you’re planning on visiting 5 cities and staying just 1-2 days each. It’s not something I recommend, but I have met some travelers who roll this way.

It’s also a good choice for those who prefer traveling by train (like me!). Even when it takes more time than flying, I would usually choose to take the train because it’s pretty straightforward: no baggage check-in, no need to show up 1-2 hours before, and train stations are usually located centrally, unlike airports.

But it is important that you’re also aware that the train isn’t your only option. More about that below.

Klook offers the cheapest JR Passes available. Check updated rates or book here: Check JR PASS Rates Here!.


When is a JR Pass NOT recommended?

When you’re staying in just one or two cities. One of the most common questions we get about Japan travel is “Should I purchase a JR Pass?” But what’s surprising to me is that it is often asked by people who are planning to stay in just one city.

JR Pass is ideal for those traveling long distances. If you’re staying in Tokyo and will be exploring Tokyo alone, you won’t need a JR Pass. If you’re traveling within just one region, a regional pass makes more sense, like the KANSAI THRU PASS for the Kansai region.

Even if you’re going on a one-leg long-distance journey, a JR Pass might still not be the best fit. For example, if the only long-distance trip you’re making is Osaka-Tokyo, the Shinkansen is probably the most expensive option out there (¥14,450). You’ll find flights from Kansai Airport to Narita for only ¥4870 ($45, P2150) and day buses from Osaka to Tokyo for around ¥4300 and night buses for ¥6480.

Skyscanner
Willer Bus. Tokyo-Osaka. Day Bus.
Willer Bus. Tokyo-Osaka. Overnight Bus.

Another important thing to consider: The JR Pass can only be used for JR Lines, and although it is an expansive train system, it does not cover ALL of Japan. There are many parts of Japan that are still best reached through other modes of transportation.


In Summary

Purchasing a JR Pass makes sense if you’re visiting multiple cities in a span of least 7 days. Otherwise, you might want to consider other modes of transportation.


Other Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is the JR Pass accepted on all trains in Japan?

No. You can only use it on JR trains and shinkansen except NOZOMI and MIZUHO.

The JR Pass is not accepted by privately-operated trains and NOZOMI / MIZUHO bullet trains.


2. I’m going to A, B and C. Is the JR Pass worth it?

To check if the JR Pass is worth your money, you can use this Japan Rail Pass Calculator here.

Just enter your stops and it will tell you if the JR Pass is worth it.


3. I’m going to A, B and C. What is the best pass for me?

Ultimately, it depends on the specific attractions that you will visit.

We created a list of the best passes for different combinations of destinations, assuming you will make a lot of train journeys per day. See it here: BEST TRAIN AND BUS PASSES BY DESTINATION!

If your itinerary is not covered by that post, you can figure it out yourself by using Hyperdia. Just enter your stops one by one and take note of the fare.

Once you have all the fares, add them all up. If the total cost is higher than the price of the pass, then the pass is probably worth it.

When searching, be conscious of the distinction between JR and private railways. You can fine-tune your search using Advanced Settings.

To know more about Hyperdia, READ: HOW TO USE HYPERDIA!



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Yoshke Dimen
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Azenith Gracia Catimbang Ramir

Hi. I am flying in to Osaka and planning to visit Kyoto and Tokyo. Is it advisable to buy the JR Pass?

yoshke

Depends on how much time you have. But I would choose to take the overnight bus if it’s just Osaka-Tokyo.

(Osaka-Kyoto doesn’t matter. It’s a short ride and it’s cheap anyway.)

norman

Good morning guys.
I’m a fan of your blog and used your reviews on my trips.
I badly needed your advice as we are preparing for our Japan trip for the coming November.
Okay, the thing is, my friends (also half of me admit it) wanted to experience the bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo as this is the farthest distance we have in our itinerary.
My question now would be, should I buy the Kyoto – Tokyo shinkansen (bullet train) ticket here in the Philippines (thru online) or we can buy it anywhere in Kyoto train station when we get there? Would it be better to buy if we buy it here before we leave Manila?
Thank you in advance and have a great week ahead

Joseline

Hi,

I am a fan of your blog. My concern is that I’ll be traveling next year, Osaka-Nara-Kyoto for the first 5 days but will exit at Narita, so I’ll stay in Tokyo for about 2 days. Is it advisable to get one?

Thanks in advance.

Yzz Villanueva

Hi! we’ll be travelling Osaka- Tokyo-Osaka with kids and elders on march. Do you think it would be wise to get a JR pass?and how long is the bus ride?

Zuri

Hello! I’m planing to go to Japan and I would like to know if is worthy for me the rail pass. My idea is doing Osaka – kyoto- Tokio (Mt. Fuji) in 7-10 days.

Thank you,
Zuri

Leslie

Hi Yoshke,
We’re a groupof 4 ladies travelling to Japan on November. We’ll spend 3 days for Osaka, Kyoto and Nara and the 3rd day will be overnight bus to Tokyo. Could you please post the link of those night buses and a quick guide please!

Thanks much!

Tiny

Hi Yoshke,

We are travelling 7D6N from Tokyo-Osaka-Kyoto-Tokyo. Do you recommend to purchase the JR Pass for this?

Thanks

Lei

Hi Yoshke,
in 7-days iterinary do you recommend JR PAss for Tokyo/hakone/kyoto/Osaka back to tokyo?

we plan to fly back to tokyo from osaka.

thanks!

Arianne

Hi, just wanted to ask if it’s advisable to purchase JR Pass if our travel destination would be Osaka-Kyoto-Tokyo-Nagoya. We’re flying in/out from Chubu Airport. Or could you recommend better mode of transpo. Thank you.

Renee

Hi! I have the same query as Arianne. Travelling to the same destinations and entry/exit point. Trip is 7 days. Thank you.

Almira Pangcatan Ombar

Hi , just wanted to ask if it’s wise to purchase a JR Pass. We’ll visit japan 7D6N. Our itinerary osaka-kyoto-nara for first 3days then from osaka-mt fuji-tokyo-manila. Thank you.

Almira Pangcatan Ombar

Thanks for the info yoshke! Godbless!

J&Mon

Hi Sir Yoshke,

Will you recommend a JR PASS for this route.

TOKYO-KYOTO-OSAKA-TOKYO-NIIGATA(day trip just for SKI)-SHIRAKAWA-GO(day trip also)-TOKYO. 10 days. Entry and Exit point is Tokyo. Please i need your suggestion and any recommendation instead. Thank you so much Sir!

J&Mon

Ang plano po kasi namin is from narita diretso na po kami sa osaka. Naguguluhan din po kasi kami sa pag gamit ng JR pass. Yung sa mga route niya. pwede na po ba namin gamitin agad from narita straight to osaka???? may regional pass po kasi which is pasok ang kansai pass(tokyo-osaka-nara). yung sa JR pass national hindi po kasi niya sakop ang regional pass. tapos po pupunta din kami sa shirakawa-go from tokyo po pwede po ba ang jr pass dun? nagpunta po ba kayo sa Niigata?

SJ

planning to visit hokkaido from Narita. Medyo torn ako kung magbook ako ng flight (6000php roundtrip narita-sapporo-narita)or buy nlng ng 7 days JR PASS. 5 days in hokkaido including Lake Toya and Otaru. 3 days in Tokyo naman. Ano po kaya mas ok? Thank you

charise tomas

hi po plano po nmin pumunta ng japan this coming april all in all we are 12 adults and 3 kids and also we are first time travellers in japan ano pong itenerary ang maganda sa amin since we want to stay for at least 7-8days, tokyo po ang entry and exit points po nmin, and also ask ko n rin po kung saan magandang lugar magstay sa tokyo n malapit sa lhat may kasama po kc kming isang senior para hindi nman sya masyadong mahirapan sa paglilibot kung nearby lang yung mga pupuntahan

Dianne

Hi hingi lang po ako ng aadvice. 11 days po kami sa japan:
“Day 1-4: Osaka (4th day) day 4-7:kyoto (6th day) day trip to narra then go back to kyoto (7th day) day 7-11: tokyo (may side trip po sa mt. Fuji)”.

Ang balak ko po osaka amazing pass 2 days muna.

Tapos JR pass po sana iaactivate namin sa 4th day pag pupunta na sa kyoto. Para umabot hanggang day 11.

Kaya lang po sa kyoto sa higashiyama po kami titira. Hindi daw po magagamit jr pass don. more on bus daw po ang transpo, may unli daw po na 250 php per day. (May iba po bang pwede bilin na pass for kyoto since four days po kami doon.?) Gagamitin po namin ung jr sa inari at arashiyama. Pati ung day trip sa nara.

Tapos jr pass pa tokyo. magagamit po ba ung jr pa mt fuji?

Hindi ko po alam kung tama yan at sulit ba. if ever saan po ba pwede bumili ng tokyo wide pass? Ano po kayang alternative sa jr pass kung sakaling hindi namin bibilin.

Thank you po ng marami in advance sa reply.

Cc

Hi! I bought a JR Pass for our 10 day trip. Covered na ba ng JR pass ang train expenses or we still need to pay for train tix pero less amount?

Girruette Harvenheit

Hi po! Ask ko lang kung mas makakatipid kung kukuha po akong JR Pass for a 12 day stay.
Day 1 and 2 – Osaka
Day 3 – Kyoto
Day 4 – Nara
Day 5 – Kobe
Day 6 to 12 – Tokyo (from Osaka)

Sa Dotonbori po ako magstay. Ang plan ko po kasi, day trips lang sa mga neighboring cities sa Osaka tapos uuwi rin ng hotel. Kaunti lang ang itinerary ko for the first five days kasi priority ko ang Tokyo. Tapos, shinkansen po sasakyan papuntang Tokyo galing Osaka. The rest nung sa itinerary ko, local and private trains na karamihan na sasakyan as per navigation estimates. Balak ko sanang kumuha ng 7-day JR Pass para dun sa first five days including na ung shinkansen papuntang Tokyo. Ano po kaya ang mas magandang gawin? Thank you po :)

Girruette Harvenheit

Ohh! Ganun po ba? Ano po pwede niyong marecommend na individual passes? Thank you po ulit huhu :)

Karina

Hello, your blog has been such a great help to us in preparing for our Japan trip next week.
My husband and I are going for a 8days babymoon! Our Itinerary looks like this:
– Enter Osaka stay 2 night in Hotel
– Kyoto stay 2 night in Hotel
Take shinkansen to Tokyo and stay for 4 nights in Hotel

Do you recommend us getting a JR pass? If not, whats your best recommendation?

Thanks alot and cheers to your very successful blogsite!

Cheska

Hi, I was trying to read all comments but Icant seem to apply them on my itinerary. We booked Narita as our entry and exit point for our travel this coming march which means we need to travel to and from tokyo and osaka. Our itinerary are as follows:
Day 1-5 Osaka Kyoto Nara (straight from Narita)
Day 5-7 Tokyo (been to Tokyo last 2017 thus shorter). This includes Mt Fuji.

May I know if JR pass is recommended for my trip?

Dia

Just want to say thank you for everything. Ang dami ko natutunan sainyo. You guys are such an inspiration. Travel goals!!! Thank you for all your effort mag bigay ng tips at mag reply saamin. :) god bless!

Camille Garcia

Hello. Would you recommend JR pass for Tokyo-Osaka-Kyoto-Tokyo travel for 8 days? TIA ❤️

Hanna

Hi! is it advisable to purchase a JR Pass if our itinerary is:

May 1-5 Nagoya
May 5-8 Tokyo

Our entry and exit point is at Narita airport and we’re planning to take a day tour from Nagoya to Kyoto as well. Thanks!

Paula

Hi! This is super duper helpful! Thanks so much! May question lang po ako. Worth it ba pag yung itinerary namin is Tokyo-Osaka-Kyoto-Tokyo in 7 days?
Day 1 Entry is Tokyo
Day 2 Whole day in Osaka
– overnight in Osaka –
Day 3 Whole day in Kyoto
– travel back to Tokyo –
Day 4 to 7 – Tokyo

Thanks in advance! :)

anna

Hi I am Indonesian, I read your review about summary recommendation of Ticket/Pass in Japan like City => kind of pass needed a couple months ago. But I can not find your recommendation again now. Could you give me the link of it ?
2. Do you know how to go to Kyoto from Kanazawa ? since I just find out only Thunderbird train from Kanazawa to reach Kyoto and its expensive.

thank you for your helping

anna

Hi Yoshke,
thanks a lot for your prompt reply, I am looking for another link that you make summary of city => ticket needed in one pages for Japan area (not only Kansai) So sorry to disturb you always.
For example : Kyoto+Osaka=> Hankyu Pass, Kyoto + Osaka + other city => Kansai Thru Pass etc.

thanks in advance for your nice blog.

Jen

Hi! Mag DIY kami sa Japan. 6 days Osaka-Nara-Kyoto-Tokyo-Mt. Fuji- Tokyo. ok ba yung 7days na JR Pass. Nag search kasi ako sa Google re: Train Fare sobrang laki nung gastos, transpo palang.

Jen

Yeah, feeling ko nga din, I’m not sure lang kasi kung lahat talaag ng train magamit yung Pass. may limit din ba yung pag gamit ng JR Pass?

Jen

and iba yung entry point namin sa exit point. pero ang mode of transpo talaga train or buses.

judith

Hi Yosh,

ask ko lang po if saan mas makakatipid na pass/transpo if we go to tokyo then disneyland then along the city of tokyo lang. ano yung need namin i-purchase na pass? we just stay for 3 days.

thanks in advance.

Jeric Rubiano

Hi Yosh,

I’m planning to vist Takayama, Toyama and Tokyo for 8 days. Torn ako kung bibili ba ako ng JR Pass for 7 days. This is an unusual route compare sa Tokyo-Osaka-Kyoto-Nara etc.

Day 0: Nagoya – One way JR from Airport to Nagoya Station
Day 1: Takayama (Shirakawago) – One way JR from Nagoya to Takayama
Day 2: Takayama (Shinhotaka) – One way JR from Takaya to Toyama
Day 3: Toyama (Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route) – One way JR Shinkasen from Nagano to Toyama
Day 4: Toyama (Gorge Railway) – Round trip JR Shinkansen Toyama Kurobe Unazuki Onsen
Day 5-8: Tokyo – One way Shinkansen from Toyama to Tokyo + Tokyo City Tour

Ang lalayo kasi ng distance nila at ang mahal ng bawat one way. Do you think sulit na ang JR pass 7 days? No option na din kasi para makabalik to Toyama from Alpine route. Kundi ang mag shinkansen from Nagano.

Camz

Hello. You travel guides have helped me a lot with all my travels. Were flying to Narita on February next year and were planning a 6-day trip, 4 days in Tokyo and 2 days in Kyoto. Do you have any recommendations? And do we need JR Pass for this?

Camz

Narita :)

Mavie Santos

Our arrival is 8:30pm in Tokyo and we’re planning to travel straight to Osaka., to stay for 4 days there and we’ll go back to Tokyo for 2days. What transpo that you recommend. We are 22pax. We’re planning to purchase JR Pass so we can experience bullet train.
Sleeper bus or train is an option just to reach Osaka straight fr Narita Airport. Is it covered by JR Pass?
Thank you

Thank you.

Ysa

Hi Yoshke and Vins,

Question lang po, yung JR Pass ba from Klook will be delivered directly to your address or will it need to be collected sa post office since registered post sya?

Thanks!

Daisy Zabala

hi! we are travelling on October 28 to Osaka and plan to check out on the 31st. what bus will you recommend travelling to Tokyo. Mahal kasi pag plane, then hassle pa papunta ng airport..kung day trip ang bus? how many hours? thanks

Caroline

Hi! We want to experience viler train. Where the best place to go via bullet train? It’s a 7D trip. Narita airport entry and exit. Should we buy 7D JR pasa? Thanks

Yan

Hi, i am travelling from Osaka to Kyoto to Tokyo in 9 days. Should we get the JR pass?

We are considering the JR pass for Kansai (2 days) and whole Japan (7 days). The mininum for JR whole Japan is 7 days.

If not, which other transportation is cheaper?