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General Rail Pass Rules

Passes are one of the cheapest ways of travelling across Japan. You must have lived outside of Japan for at least 6 months.  Book well in-advance.  All passes must be used consecutively. Ordinary passes are for Economy/2nd class, while Green passes cover 1st class. Most passes offer extra bonuses such as free local bus/train travel. Extra surcharges for upgrades to 1st class (green car) or sleeping cars. Most pass holders can also use the world famous Shinkansen bullet trains


Japanese Rail Pass

Covers trains for the whole of Japan, as well as JR bus and some ferries. Full use of JR train service, the famous Shinkansen ‘bullet trains’ and the slower trains. Excludes ‘Nozomi’ express trains but you can use the ‘Hikari’ express for the same route. Choose from 7, 14 or 21 consecutive day periods, 2 Types of Japan Rail passes available: Ordinary and Green pass.


Japan Rail West (Kansai Pass)

Covers the Honshu region, Kansai region and the Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara and Himejj cities. Unlimited train travel on the JR Kansai Railway Co. trains. Choose 1-4 days of consecutive travel. Economy class seating only.


Japan Rail East Pass

Covers the Eastern Japan region, including Tokyo, Nagano, Niigata, Sendai, Morioka, Misawa & Akita. Full usage of all the JR east rail service, Shinkansen Super Express Lines & many conventional lines. Choose from a 5 day, a 10 day or a Flexible 4 –day period. Includes free travel on the Izu Kyuko Line (Super-View Odoriko, Odoriko), the Hokuetsu Kyuko Line (Hakutaka, between Echigoyuzawa and Naoetsu) and the Tobu-Nikko Line (Nikko, Spacia Nikko, Kinugawa and Spacia Kinugawa trains).


Japan Rail West (Sanyo Pass)

Covers the Northern Kyushu region and Osaka, Okayama, Hiroshima and Hakata within a specific time period. Choose from 4 or 8 consecutive day periods. Valid only for Economy class seating.

Sanyo Pass holders gain travel access on the Sanyo Shinkansen, Tokaido – Sanyo Main Line (Shin –Osaka-Shimoneseki), Osaka Loop Line, JR Tozai Line, Sakurajima Line, Kansai Main Line (JR Namba – Imamiya), Hanwa Line (Tennoji – Hineno), Kansai Airport Line and the Miyajima Ferry

Complimentary train travel on the ‘Hikan’ and ‘Kodama’ Sanyo Shinkansen super express trains, ‘Haruka’ limited express trains, 2nd class seating on the local trains and the Miyamjima ferry from Hiroshima to Miyajima Island.


Kyushu Pass

Offers unlimited rail travel on express and ordinary Kyusho Railway trains. Valid only for Economy class seating. Kyushu pass holders can also use the world famous Shinkansen ‘bullet trains’. Choose from 2, 3 or 5 consecutive day periods. Not including Sanyo Shinkansen ‘bullet’ train or JR Kyushu buses.


Hokkaido Passes

Hokkaido is Japan’s most famous island. This pass offers unlimited travel on all of Hokkaido Railway lines within a 3-5 day period. Both passes must be used consecutively (3/5 days in a row). Kids under 6 go free. Kids between the ages of 6-11 get a half price adult fare on their first day of travel.

Hokkaido Pass holder gain unlimited travel on the Twinkle Bus and majority of JR Kokkaido Bus. (Excluding the Sapporo-Asahikawa route, Sapporo – Mombetsu, Sapporo – Obihiro, Sapporo – Kiroro, Sapporo – Erimo, Hiroo and irregular lines.)

There are 2 types of Hokkaido pass available: Ordinary and Green passes. Users can use Green cars instead of ordinary cars at no additional cost.