Last year, I had the Shinkansen trains in Japan as the Fabulous Fridays once and decided to follow this time with buying the Rail Pass!
Although the trains are very convenient and fast way to get around in Japan, using them certainly comes at a price. Luckily, non-residents are eligible to buy unlimited passes that makes using the fast trains affordable.
You can access Japan Rail Pass website here.
You are usually required to purchase the Japan Rail Pass outside of the country and then exchange it at one of the station when you are ready to use it.
As I normally travel on short notice and wasn’t sure if I would need one, this just wouldn’t work. They are, however, now offering this pass within Japan as well on a trial basis but only for a limited time and at a slightly higher price.
Price if purchased outside of Japan:
Price if purchased inside of Japan:
I purchased mine upon landing in Osaka from the JR ticket office at the airport:
People were lining up buying various passes:
They had posted on the wall advertising their local ones:
And another one at the counter:
I purchased nationwide Green Car for 7 days:
You need to visit ticket sales to get your seating confirmed:
Then just hop onto the train:
These are reserved seats (not valid without the pass):
Nagasaki – Fukuoka Green Car:
You have to be careful at the stations:
This is typical Green Card (often plenty of space):
Stations always have displays showing the car positions:
Buy bento box for snacking:
Here’s video from Shin-Kobe:
As I landed in Osaka and was flying out from Tokyo, and had decided to revisit at least Hiroshima during the trip, it made sense to but the Rail Pass. Any extra use would be icing on the cake.
You have to bear in mind that you cannot use this pass to travel on NOZOMI and MIZUHO Shinkansen services. It means that if you are traveling between some cities, you need to use Sakura service that is not as frequent and may have to switch trains.
It makes sense to go and reserve the sears when you are sure what train you are taking (theoretically you can reserve seats on as many service as you wish) due to some trains filling up fast. I once ended up standing an entire journey of three hours. Not fun!
I didn’t get out as much as I though out of this pass due to the accident I had in Hiroshima (read more here). Will buy another one when next time in Japan to explore the country.