The Japan Rail (JR) Pass will be sold in Japan on a trial basis from March 8 to 31, 2017. Normally, travellers must order their JR Pass in advance before they travel to Japan, but under the trial scheme they will be able to purchase it on the spot after arriving in Japan.
Foreign tourists (i.e. non-residents) will be eligible to buy the Pass without any prior application at many larger JR stations such as Sapporo, Tokyo, Shinjuku, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Hakata, as well as four airports including the international airports at Narita, Haneda, and Kansai.
The Pass offers great value for money for international visitors to Japan, giving unlimited rides on almost all JR group railways (except the Nozomi and Mizuho bullet trains) and all JR bus local lines, as well as JR West’s Miyajima ferry, which sails from Hiroshima to popular island Miyajima, home to friendly deer and monkeys and the famous “floating” torii gate.
Like the internationally sold JR Pass, the domestically sold JR Pass will be available to purchase in three validity periods of 7, 14 or 21-days, with for example a 7-day Ordinary-type Pass costing under £200 for adults and under £100 for children from Japan Travel Centre or Japan Experience.
Since a return ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto by bullet train costs just over 26,000 Yen (about £186), the JR Pass is highly recommended for visitors to Japan who intend to make at least one long-distance train journey by bullet train while in Japan for both its convenience and economy.
Normally, travellers to Japan who wish to use the JR Pass must first purchase an Exchange Order at a designated sales office or agent in their home country before travelling to Japan. After arriving in Japan, they must then swap the Exchange Order for the JR Pass itself at an exchange office in a major JR station.
However, under the trial scheme, travellers will be able to purchase the Pass itself on the spot after arriving in Japan without purchasing the Exchange Order in their home country, an arrangement which may be more convenient for some types of travellers.
The domestically sold JR Pass will only be available to those holding a passport issued by a country other than Japan who are visiting Japan under the usual entry status for tourists known as “Temporary Visitor (Tourists)”.
For more information on usage periods, where to buy, and JR lines that can be used with the Pass, see JR’s website.
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