Is Japan Rail Pass Worth It in 2024? A Traveler’s Guide to JR Pass

Is Japan Rail Pass Worth It? A Traveler's Guide to JR Pass

Is Japan Rail Pass Worth It in 2024? A Traveler’s Guide to JR PassShould you buy a Japan Rail pass (or JR Pass) during your trip to Japan? Is it worth it? where to buy it? I answer these questions here!

In Japan, to travel by train while saving money, there is a subscription also known as the Japan Rail Pass or JR Pass. Before going to Japan, I had no information on this subject. And after more than 40 days there, I decided to write an article on the JR Pass to help people who are traveling to Japan.

Japan Rail Pass – Is JR Pass Worth It?

When is the JR Pass worth it? Does it really save money? Is it easy to buy and use?
Read on to find out!

For more information on Japan, do not hesitate to consult my Japan travel guide page .

The JR pass on the practical side

Before leaving for my very first trip to Japan, I realized that there was little or no information about Japanese train tickets. It was only during a trip to Asia and through another traveler that I discovered the existence of the Japan Rail Pass, a nominative train subscription specially designed for foreign travelers who want to travel through Japan from one side to the other. . After embarking on a series of calculations, I finally decided to buy one, just to see with my own eyes and then be able to write this article for you.

To put it simply, the Japan Rail Pass is a train subscription reserved for foreigners which allows travel on all trains of the same railway company: Japan Railways, also known as JR.

There are several JR Pass durations: one, two or three weeks to choose from depending on your plans, your budget and your itinerary. The practical thing with this subscription is that you can buy a JR Pass online well before your trip without activating it directly. The first time you use it marks the beginning of the validity of the pass for one, two or three weeks depending on the subscription chosen.

Where to buy the Japan Rail Pass?

Please note, the Japan Rail Pass can only be purchased outside Japan and provided that you have a tourist visa. The JR Pass is not compatible with the business visa or the student visa.

I myself spent a lot of time looking for the best place to buy my Japan Rail Pass and it was on this page that I found the best prices .

Of course, if you prefer to buy your subscription in store, you can also go to a travel agency. Most Parisian agencies will agree to purchase it for you for a small commission.

To save money, I recommend Experience Japan. In addition to a simple and quick order, the pass is delivered to you free and quickly with a small map of the Japanese railway network as well as assistance available 7 days a week. Suffice to say that I do not regret having trusted them .

JR pass how does it work?

The Japan Rail Pass can be used on all domestic trains, TGV trains and some Japan Railways buses and ferries. Be careful, don’t be like me and avoid falling into the trap: the JR Pass is not valid on private trains or metros except for the Yamanote line in Tokyo and it does not allow you to take the TGV ultra either. fast shinkansen Nozomi.

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On the other hand, it is valid for the Hikari shinkansen, almost as fast. Generally speaking, Japanese TGVs go quite quickly so it won’t really be useful for you to take the Nozomi shinkansen rather than the Hikari shinkansen. A long distance like Tokyo – Kyoto only lasts 5 to 10 minutes longer in Hikari and still saves a lot of money thanks to the purchase of the JR Pass.

The JR pass on the economic side

I have experienced it myself: the JR Pass can save a lot of money. Very much. Realize that just the journeys Narita – Tokyo (airport shuttle) then Tokyo – Kyoto by TGV will cost you more than a one-week JR Pass… Yes, if we do the math, the round trip Tokyo – Kyoto by TGV will cost you €188. Besides that, the one-week Japan Rail Pass costs €198, or €10 more for unlimited travel for a whole week. And it’s the same for most journeys! In fact, you absolutely won’t need to travel across the country to make your subscription profitable.

Are you planning to make a Tokyo-Kyoto round trip and pay for the round trip from the airport to the city center (20€)? Spend the same amount and treat yourself to a JR Pass!
There are several types of JR Pass:

  • The regional Japan Rail Pass which allows you to concentrate on a particular Japanese region. It costs much less than national subscriptions and allows complete immersion for just a few euros.
  • The “green” national Japan Rail Pass which corresponds to our first class. It allows you to travel first class on all Japan Railways trains.
  • The “classic” national Japan Rail Pass, the one I bought myself, allows you to travel second class on all Japan Railways trains. The second class of Japanese trains is already very comfortable, so not sure that the green pass is worth it, especially since the price differences are quite significant:


7 DAYS: €237 for adults and €119 euros for children
14 DAYS: €378 for adults and €189 euros for children
21 DAYS: €483 for adults and €242 euros for children

Click here to purchase your normal Jr Pass


7 DAYS: €317 for adults and €159 for children
14 DAYS: €512 for adults and €256 for children
21 DAYS: €667 for adults and €334 for children

Click here to buy your JR PASS 1st class

7-day70,000 YEN35,000 YEN50,000 YEN25,000 YEN
14-day110,000 YEN55,000 YEN80,000 YEN40,000 YEN
21-day140,000 YEN70,000 YEN100,000 YEN50,000 YEN

You can discover the different prices here and if you want to know more about the conditions and the different passes and buy your subscription directly online.

Japan Rail Pass Map

Here is the map of lines that can be used with the JR Pass:

Most travelers I met in Japan were very happy with their JR Pass subscription. If you plan to make at least one Tokyo-Kyoto round trip or visit at least two major cities during your trip to Japan, then I can only recommend purchasing a Japan Rail Pass.

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