Wednesday, December 6, 2023

A Full Information to the Japan Rail Cross (Up to date 2023)

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 certainly one of my favourite international locations on the planet. 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 enchanting place to go to.

Nevertheless, Japan has a fame, particularly amongst finances 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 finances. Meals, points of interest, and even lodging (it’s the land of capsule inns!) may be discovered for a comparatively low price if you already know the place you look.

But one side of touring in Japan that does reside as much as its pricey fame is transportation — notably practice journey.

Japan’s iconic bullet trains (known as shinkansen) are stunning, 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 method round that truth.

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

On this put up, I’ll introduce the JR Cross and clarify the way it works, how a lot it prices, and reply frequent questions I get concerning the go.


What’s the Japan Rail (JR) Cross?

The Japan Rail Cross (also called the JR Cross) was created to assist vacationers get across the nation (much like the Eurail go in Europe). JR is the most important practice operator in Japan, and the go offers limitless entry to all its trains for a set worth.

The go is available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day choices. Notice that these are consecutive days, not journey days. So, if you wish to journey round Japan for 2 weeks, you’ll have to buy the 14-day choice, though you gained’t be taking the practice day by day.

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

In brief, which means 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 are sluggish (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 an alternative of shopping for native metro tickets.

The JR Cross must be bought earlier than you arrive in Japan and it needs to be mailed to you so that you’ll need to order it nicely 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 go is simply out there to guests. (When you can buy it at choose ticket workplaces in Japan till March 2023, in-person passes price considerably extra, so it’s higher simply to order it upfront).

The go 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. For the reason that trains in Japan are already superb, you seemingly don’t want to purchase the Inexperienced Cross except you really need some luxurious. Moreover, touring in inexperienced automobiles may be extra of a trouble when you prefer to be spontaneous, as you could all the time reserve a seat upfront in inexperienced automobiles, requiring you to go to the ticket workplace or computerized reservation machines forward of time to take action. In extraordinary automobiles, 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 go choices, normally 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)

For those who’re simply going to be specializing in one area of the nation, contemplate shopping for a JR regional go. In order for you entry to your entire nation, get the common JR Cross.

For those who’re a first-time customer to Japan, you’ll seemingly need the common JR Cross, because it covers all the most important locations.

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

  1. Decide the time length to your go (7, 14, or 21 days)
  2. Select your class (Inexperienced or commonplace — once more, commonplace is greater than ample for many vacationers)
  3. Determine what geographical space you need to go to (the entire nation or a single area)
  4. Pay the payment and order the go earlier than you permit house

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 like to recommend this one because it’s been promoting passes for the longest time).

As soon as you buy a go, you’ll obtain an “change order” within the mail, stamped with a date, that you just’ll flip in to choose up your precise go in Japan. Don’t overlook your change order at house, as you could carry this doc to choose up your go in Japan!

When you get to Japan, you’ll change your change order (therefore the title) for a JR Cross at a JR workplace. Be sure to have your passport on you (not a photocopy) whenever you go to gather it, as they may test to just remember to have a short lived customer stamp in your passport. The JR Cross is simply out there to guests and they’re fairly strict about verifying you’re a vacationer.

You will have three months from the date printed on the change order to choose up your JR Cross, however you do not want to begin utilizing the go on the identical day that you just choose it up.

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

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

Along with utilizing the shinkansen and different trains, the JR go 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 strains operating by means of metropolitan areas (comparable to Tokyo and Osaka)
  • Free seat reservations (in any other case, seat reservations price round 330-930 JPY)

The JR Cross isn’t legitimate for:

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

Is the Japan Rail Cross value it?

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

Listed here are some extra examples of one-way practice tickets on the shinkansen trains with non-reserved seats within the “extraordinary” (non-green automotive) 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 go. And also you’ll seemingly use it rather more than that!

And even when you aren’t taking the bullet trains, the go nonetheless is sensible. For instance, a visit on an area practice from Kyoto to Tokyo prices round 8,360 JPY — as an alternative of 13,320 JPY for the bullet practice. Nevertheless, the native practice journey takes 9 hours and requires a number of transfers, as an alternative of a direct three hours, making it a lower than excellent alternative for many vacationers (particularly when you’re tight on time). It’s typically 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 Regularly Requested Questions

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

Can Japan Rail Cross be used on the Tokyo subway?
Yep, a few of the subway strains (although not all) in Tokyo are run by JR, which suggests you may entry them without spending a dime along with your JR Cross. That is true for your entire nation. Metro strains and native subway strains are excluded from the go.

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

How do I activate the Japan Rail Cross?
To activate the JR Cross, carry your change order and your passport to a JR workplace in Japan. As soon as they confirm your identification and visa standing, they may activate your go.

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

Are buses included in JR Cross?
Sure, JR does run some bus strains, 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 may cancel your go 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 practice. Whereas shopping for a rail go may look like a pricey alternative, it’s going to prevent a ton of cash — and it’s a uniquely Japanese expertise that you just gained’t overlook!

Click on right here to get your Japan Rail go at this time!


Guide Your Journey to Japan: Logistical Suggestions and Methods

Guide 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 all the time know no stone is left unturned!

Guide Your Lodging
You may e book your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the largest stock and greatest offers. If you wish to keep someplace apart from a hostel, use as they persistently return the most affordable charges for guesthouses and low-cost inns. A few of my favourite locations to remain in Japan are:

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes flawed. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions previously. My favourite firms that provide the perfect service and worth are:

On the lookout for the Finest Corporations to Save Cash With?
Try my useful resource web page for the perfect firms to make use of whenever you journey. I listing all those I take advantage of to economize once I’m on the street. They may prevent cash whenever you journey too.

You should definitely try the Japan Rail Cross when 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 Info on Japan
You should definitely go to our sturdy vacation spot information on Japan for much more planning suggestions!

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