The Japan Rail Pass if used right can be a real money saver when travelling on routes operates by JR Group companies. However, to get one – normally you needed to buy an exchange order outside Japan to get one, and then exchange it for a rail pass
JR Rail Pass, Exchange Order and a letter from JTB – Image, Economy Class and Beyond
However, it seems the JR Group have realised some people sometimes forget, and leave it too late to order a Rail Pass before heading to Japan.
Thus, they are allowing purchasing of Japan Rail Passes inside Japan on a limited basis.
There is however a downside to buying the JR Rail Pass within Japan – and that it’s going to cost a bit more than buying the pass in your home country:
Data – JR Group.
The passes are available at limited stations (compared to where you can exchange your voucher for a pass). According to JR Group these are:
Airport Rail Stations
- Haneda Airport International Terminal, Kansai Airport, Narita Airport Terminal 1, Narita Airport Terminal 2-3, New-Chitose Airport,
JR Mainline Rail Stations
- Hakata, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Niigata, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai, Shinjuku, Takamatsu, Tokyo, Yokohama
The usual rules apply to the JR Rail Pass – it’s not valid on Nozomi or Miuzho Shinkansen services, Gran Class seats on the Tohoku, Hokkaido, and Hokuriku Shinkansen as well as a varity of homeliner services – as well as any other non-JR operated line.
However, if your planning skills before you travel do fail you and you find yourself in Japan needing to get a Japan Rail Pass – at least you can now.
Just remember, it is cheaper to buy the exchange voucher before you travel, and this trial will run until 31st March 2018.
If you want to see how I used my JR Rail Pass check out the following segments from my Japan trip a year ago:
- Tokyo to Hiroshima on the Hikari and Sakura
- Hiroshima to Kyoto on the Sakura and Hikari
- Kyoto to Tokyo on the Hikari
- The Narita Express
Suffice to say, I made my money back on my rail pass (and more actually).
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