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A Full Information to the Japan Rail Go


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 this planet. The serene fantastic 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 fame, particularly amongst price range vacationers, as being too costly. “Higher skip Japan and head to Southeast Asia, the place your cash goes additional,” they are saying.

But you’ll be able to journey Japan on a price range. Meals, sights, and even lodging (it’s the land of capsule inns!) will be discovered for a comparatively low value if the place you look.

But one facet of touring in Japan that does dwell as much as its expensive fame is transportation — notably prepare journey.

Japan’s iconic bullet trains (referred to as shinkansen) are stunning, comfy, 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 manner round that truth.

Fortunately, there may be one simple factor you are able to do to chop your prepare ticket costs in half (or extra): purchase a Japan Rail Go. 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 manner that actually forces you to purchase one).

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

 

What’s the Japan Rail (JR) Go?

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

The go 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 possibility, regardless that you gained’t be taking the prepare every single day.

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

In brief, 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 Go to get round Kyoto and Tokyo as a substitute of shopping for native metro tickets.

The JR Go 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 prematurely (extra under).

How the JR Go works

The JR Go could be very simple to make use of — you simply want to recollect to buy it beforehand, whereas in your house nation, because the go is barely out there to guests. (Whilst you can buy it at choose ticket places of work in Japan till March 2023, in-person passes value considerably extra, so it’s higher simply to order it prematurely).

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 Go)
  • 14 days: 47,250 JPY (64,120 JPY for a Inexperienced Go)
  • 21 days: 60,450 JPY (83,390 JPY for a Inexperienced Go)

The Inexperienced Go is the first-class possibility. For the reason that trains in Japan are already superb, you seemingly don’t want to purchase the Inexperienced Go until you actually need some luxurious. Moreover, touring in inexperienced automobiles will be extra of a problem if you happen to wish to be spontaneous, as you could all the time reserve a seat prematurely in inexperienced automobiles, requiring you to go to the ticket workplace or automated reservation machines forward of time to take action. In strange automobiles, you’ll be able to 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 the whole 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, often ranging between one and 7 days.

You should buy JR passes for six areas:

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

If you happen to’re simply going to be specializing in one area of the nation, think about shopping for a JR regional go. If you would like entry to the whole nation, get the common JR Go.

If you happen to’re a first-time customer to Japan, you’ll seemingly need the common JR Go, because it covers all the foremost locations.

In sum, to get a go, that you must:

  1. Choose the time length on 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 (all the nation or a single area)
  4. Pay the price and order the go earlier than you permit residence

Getting and utilizing Your JR Go

The best strategy to get a Japan Go is by ordering it on-line (there are lots 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 simply’ll flip in to select up your precise go in Japan. Don’t neglect your change order at residence, as you could carry this doc to select up your go in Japan!

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

You might have three months from the date printed on the change order to select up your JR Go, however you don’t want to begin utilizing the go on the identical day that you simply choose it up.

For instance, say that you simply 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’ll be able to choose any date inside one month of exchanging the order as your beginning date. (However as soon as the go is issued, you’ll be able to’t change the beginning date.)

When you’ve bought your go in hand, you don’t want to fret about getting tickets, as you merely use your go to go proper by 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 traces operating by metropolitan areas (resembling Tokyo and Osaka)
  • Free seat reservations (in any other case, seat reservations value round 330-930 JPY)

The JR Go isn’t legitimate for:

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

Is the Japan Rail Go price it?

Completely! Although you would possibly get sticker shock initially when buying a go, you’ll save a whole lot of {dollars} throughout your journey with one — even if you happen to 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 will get a seven-day rail go 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 “strange” (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’ll be able to see, it solely takes one longer-distance journey from Tokyo (resembling to Hiroshima or Fukuoka) to justify the price of the go. And also you’ll seemingly use it way more than that!

And even if you happen to aren’t taking the bullet trains, the go nonetheless is smart. For instance, a visit on a neighborhood 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 very best alternative for many vacationers (particularly if you happen to’re tight on time). It’s usually merely not price the associated fee financial savings.

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

Japan Rail Go Incessantly Requested Questions

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

Can Japan Rail Go be used on the Tokyo subway?
Yep, among the subway traces (although not all) in Tokyo are run by JR, which implies you’ll be able to entry them at no cost along with your JR Go. That is true for the whole nation. Metro traces and native subway traces are excluded from the go.

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

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

Can I take advantage of JR Go 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 Go?
Sure, JR does run some bus traces, that are included within the JR Go. Some locations the place JR has buses embody Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu.

Can I cancel my Japan Rail Go?
You’ll be able to cancel your go so long as it has not been activated, however as soon as it’s activated, you’ll be able to’t.

***

Practice journey is one of the simplest ways to see Japan. The trains are clear, quick, and the surroundings attractive. I like touring the nation by prepare. Whereas shopping for a rail go would possibly look like a expensive alternative, it can prevent a ton of cash — and it’s a uniquely Japanese expertise that you simply gained’t neglect!

Click on right here to get your Japan Rail go at the moment!

 

Guide Your Journey to Japan: Logistical Suggestions and Tips

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’ll be able to ebook your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the largest stock and greatest offers. If you wish to keep someplace apart from a hostel, use Reserving.com as they constantly return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low-cost inns. 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 fallacious. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions prior to now. My favourite firms that provide the most effective service and worth are:

Searching for the Finest Corporations to Save Cash With?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for the most effective firms to make use of while you journey. I listing all those I take advantage of to save cash once I’m on the street. They may prevent cash while you journey too.

Make sure you try the Japan Rail Go if you happen to’ll be touring across the nation. It is available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes and might prevent a ton of cash!

Need Extra Info on Japan
Make sure you go to our sturdy vacation spot information on Japan for much more planning ideas!

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