A Full Information to the Japan Rail Cross

A bullet train crosses in front of the famous Mount Fuji in the background in Japan
Posted: 1/9/23 | January ninth, 2023

Japan is considered one of my favourite international locations on the earth. The serene great thing about the mountains and temples, the hustle and bustle of the sprawling cities, the beautiful meals, and its lengthy historical past make for an interesting place to go to.

Nevertheless, Japan has a repute, particularly amongst funds vacationers, as being too costly. “Higher skip Japan and head to Southeast Asia, the place your cash goes additional,” they are saying.

But you may journey Japan on a funds. Meals, sights, and even lodging (it’s the land of capsule resorts!) might be discovered for a comparatively low value if you realize the place you look.

But one facet of touring in Japan that does dwell as much as its pricey repute is transportation — significantly prepare journey.

Japan’s iconic bullet trains (referred to as shinkansen) are lovely, snug, handy, and quick. They’re world-class wonders of transportation, racing round at speeds as much as 320 kilometers (200 miles) per hour. They run on particular tracks separate from the opposite trains and are a powerful feat of engineering.

They’re tremendous costly. There’s simply no means round that truth.

Fortunately, there may be one straightforward factor you are able to do to chop your prepare ticket costs in half (or extra): purchase a Japan Rail Pass. You actually shouldn’t be touring across the nation with out one (and I’m fairly certain they worth the move and common tickets out in a means that actually forces you to purchase one).

On this submit, I’ll introduce the JR Cross and clarify the way it works, how a lot it prices, and reply frequent questions I get in regards to the move.

 

What’s the Japan Rail (JR) Cross?

The Japan Rail Cross (often known as the JR Cross) was created to assist vacationers get across the nation (much like the Eurail move in Europe). JR is the biggest prepare operator in Japan, and the move offers limitless entry to all its trains for a set worth.

The move is available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day choices. Word that these are consecutive days, not journey days. So, if you wish to journey round Japan for 2 weeks, you’ll must buy the 14-day choice, though you gained’t be taking the prepare every single day.

A number of JR trains are included within the move. The preferred is the shinkansen (bullet) prepare, which is the quickest prepare and goes to almost each vacation spot and area. The subsequent quickest is the tokkyu (restricted specific). The kyuko (specific) prepare comes subsequent, adopted by the kaisoku (speedy) and kakueki-teisha or futsu-densha (native trains that make each cease).

Briefly, because of this there are JR trains that quickly journey between areas, some that go between cities with a number of stops, and native commuter-style trains which can be gradual (however low-cost).

Moreover, JR trains additionally serve some metropolitan areas, to allow them to be used inside cities. For instance, on my final go to, I used my JR Cross to get round Kyoto and Tokyo as a substitute of shopping for native metro tickets.

The JR Pass must be bought earlier than you arrive in Japan and it must be mailed to you so that you’ll wish to order it effectively upfront (extra beneath).

How the JR Cross works

The JR Cross may be very straightforward to make use of — you simply want to recollect to buy it beforehand, whereas in your house nation, because the move is barely out there to guests. (When you can buy it at choose ticket workplaces in Japan till March 2023, in-person passes value considerably extra, so it’s higher simply to order it upfront).

The move has a number of choices (every legitimate for consecutive days, not simply journey days):

  • 7 days: 29,650 JPY (39,600 JPY for a Inexperienced Cross)
  • 14 days: 47,250 JPY (64,120 JPY for a Inexperienced Cross)
  • 21 days: 60,450 JPY (83,390 JPY for a Inexperienced Cross)

The Inexperienced Cross is the first-class choice. Because the trains in Japan are already wonderful, you seemingly don’t want to purchase the Inexperienced Cross except you really need some luxurious. Moreover, touring in inexperienced vehicles might be extra of a problem in the event you wish to be spontaneous, as you need to at all times reserve a seat upfront in inexperienced vehicles, requiring you to go to the ticket workplace or automated reservation machines forward of time to take action. In extraordinary vehicles, you may simply hop on and take any out there seat.

Along with the usual and inexperienced JR passes, there are regional passes in case you aren’t touring throughout your entire nation. These choices can prevent much more cash since they’re cheaper than the common JR passes. Every area has a number of move choices, often ranging between one and 7 days.

You should purchase JR passes for six areas:

  • JR East (for the principle island)
  • JR West (for the principle island)
  • JR Central (for the principle island)
  • JR Hokkaido (for the northern island)
  • JR Kyushu (for the southwestern island)
  • JR Shikoku (for the southeastern island)

In case you’re simply going to be specializing in one area of the nation, think about shopping for a JR regional move. If you would like entry to your entire nation, get the common JR Cross.

In case you’re a first-time customer to Japan, you’ll seemingly need the common JR Pass, because it covers all the main locations.

In sum, to get a move, you want to:

  1. Decide the time length in your move (7, 14, or 21 days)
  2. Select your class (Inexperienced or normal — once more, normal is greater than ample for many vacationers)
  3. Resolve what geographical space you wish to go to (the entire nation or a single area)
  4. Pay the price and order the move earlier than you permit residence

Getting and utilizing Your JR Cross

The best option to get a Japan Cross is by ordering it on-line (there are a lot of official on-line suppliers however I recommend this one because it’s been promoting passes for the longest time).

As soon as you buy a move, you’ll obtain an “trade order” within the mail, stamped with a date, that you just’ll flip in to choose up your precise move in Japan. Don’t neglect your trade order at residence, as you need to deliver this doc to choose up your move in Japan!

When you get to Japan, you’ll trade your trade order (therefore the title) for a JR Cross at a JR workplace. Ensure you have your passport on you (not a photocopy) whenever you go to gather it, as they’ll examine to just be sure you have a brief customer stamp in your passport. The JR Cross is barely out there to guests and they’re fairly strict about verifying you’re a vacationer.

You’ve gotten three months from the date printed on the trade order to choose up your JR Cross, however you do not want to begin utilizing the move on the identical day that you just decide it up.

For instance, say that you just wish to decide up the move when you arrive however you wish to spend a while in Tokyo earlier than heading on to see the remainder of the nation. You possibly can choose any date inside one month of exchanging the order as your beginning date. (However as soon as the move is issued, you may’t change the beginning date.)

When you’ve obtained your move in hand, you don’t want to fret about getting tickets, as you merely use your move to go proper by way of the automated turnstiles.

Along with utilizing the shinkansen and different trains, the JR move offers entry to:

  • Native buses operated by JR (such because the vacationer loop bus in Hiroshima or JR buses round Sapporo)
  • Ferries operated by JR (such because the one from Hiroshima to the island of Miyajima)
  • JR traces working by way of metropolitan areas (comparable to Tokyo and Osaka)
  • Free seat reservations (in any other case, seat reservations value round 330-930 JPY)

The JR Cross isn’t legitimate for:

  • The Nozomi and the Mizuho shinkansen traces
  • Japanese residents or residents, comparable to foreigners working in Japan (solely these with a vacationer visa can use the move)

Is the Japan Rail Cross value it?

Completely! Though you would possibly get sticker shock initially when buying a move, you’ll save tons of of {dollars} throughout your journey with one — even in the event you simply go to 2-3 cities. For instance, with no rail move, a ticket from Tokyo to Osaka prices round 27,000 JPY (round-trip), but you may get a seven-day rail move that features limitless journey on JR trains for simply 29,650 JPY. So for the worth of 1 round-trip ticket, you get limitless journey. It’s a no brainer!

Listed below are some extra examples of one-way prepare tickets on the shinkansen trains with non-reserved seats within the “extraordinary” (non-green automobile) class:

  • Tokyo-Hiroshima: 18,380 JPY
  • Tokyo-Kyoto: 13,320 JPY
  • Tokyo Fukuoka: 23,390 JPY
  • Kyoto-Hiroshima: 10,570 JPY
  • Kyoto-Osaka: 4,230 JPY
  • Hiroshima-Fukuoka: 9,000 JPY
  • Nagano-Kanazawa: 8,440 JPY
  • Tokyo-Yokohama: 3,210 JPY
  • Hakodate-Tokyo: 23,500 JPY

As you may see, it solely takes one longer-distance journey from Tokyo (comparable to to Hiroshima or Fukuoka) to justify the price of the move. And also you’ll seemingly use it way more than that!

And even in the event you aren’t taking the bullet trains, the move nonetheless is smart. For instance, a visit on an area prepare from Kyoto to Tokyo prices round 8,360 JPY — as a substitute of 13,320 JPY for the bullet prepare. Nevertheless, the native prepare journey takes 9 hours and requires a number of transfers, as a substitute of a direct three hours, making it a lower than perfect selection for many vacationers (particularly in the event you’re tight on time). It’s usually merely not value the price financial savings.

You’re higher off utilizing the bullet trains and reveling within the high-speed expertise because it whisks you from one unbelievable vacation spot to a different!

Japan Rail Cross Incessantly Requested Questions

Is JR Cross just for vacationers?
Sure. Solely individuals visiting on a vacationer visa can use the JR Pass.

Can Japan Rail Cross be used on the Tokyo subway?
Yep, a few of the subway traces (although not all) in Tokyo are run by JR, which implies you may entry them free of charge together with your JR Cross. That is true for your entire nation. Metro traces and native subway traces are excluded from the move.

Can I alter the times on which I want to use the Japan Rail Cross?
No. As soon as the move has been activated, the dates are set in stone.

How do I activate the Japan Rail Cross?
To activate the JR Cross, deliver your trade order and your passport to a JR workplace in Japan. As soon as they confirm your identification and visa standing, they’ll activate your move.

Can I take advantage of JR Cross from Tokyo to Kyoto?
Yep! The gap is 445 kilometers (283 miles), and the journey takes underneath three hours on the bullet prepare.

Are buses included in JR Cross?
Sure, JR does run some bus traces, that are included within the JR Cross. Some locations the place JR has buses embody Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu.

Can I cancel my Japan Rail Cross?
You possibly can cancel your move so long as it has not been activated, however as soon as it’s activated, you may’t.

***

Prepare journey is the easiest way to see Japan. The trains are clear, quick, and the surroundings beautiful. I like touring the nation by prepare. Whereas shopping for a rail move would possibly appear to be a pricey selection, it’ll prevent a ton of cash — and it’s a uniquely Japanese expertise that you just gained’t neglect!

Click here to get your Japan Rail pass today!

 

E-book Your Journey to Japan: Logistical Suggestions and Methods

E-book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to discover a low-cost flight. They’re my favourite search engine as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is left unturned!

E-book Your Lodging
You possibly can e-book your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the largest stock and finest offers. If you wish to keep someplace aside from a hostel, use Booking.com as they persistently return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low-cost resorts. My favourite locations to remain in Japan are:

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you in opposition to sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes improper. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many instances up to now. My favourite firms that supply the perfect service and worth are:

Searching for the Greatest Corporations to Save Cash With?
Try my useful resource web page for the perfect firms to make use of whenever you journey. I record all those I take advantage of to economize once I’m on the highway. They are going to prevent cash whenever you journey too.

Remember to take a look at the Japan Rail Pass in the event you’ll be touring across the nation. It is available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes and may prevent a ton of cash!

Need Extra Data on Japan
Remember to go to our sturdy vacation spot information on Japan for much more planning suggestions!