The Convenience of the JR Pass

     When my wife said that we would have to buy a Japan Railway (JR) Pass in order for us to get around Japan, it reminded me of the Eurail Pass I got for Europe some 15 years ago when I backpacked my way around Europe after my medical training in Isarel.  It also reminded me that it does not come CHEAP at all.  Of course, we got it through Lakbay Capiz Travel & tours.




My JR Pass, valid Sept 3-9, 2010. Availed through Lakbay Capiz Travel & Tours (LCTT).



     The 7-day UNLIMITED JR Pass was priced at Y28,300 (P15,370) – very expensive indeed.  But we had to go from Kyoto to Tokyo to Hakone back to Tokyo, then to Osaka to Nara then back to Osaka and finally, from Osaka to Kansai Airport.  If we had bought individual train tickets for all these trips, we would have spent over Y46,300!  As an added bonus, we were also able to use our JR Pass for the city trains in Tokyo and Osaka.




You exchange the travel pass with the JR Pass in any of the JR Ticket stations. This is also where we got our reserved seat tickets.



     One has to buy the JR Pass here in the Philippines since it is not available at all in Japan.  The travel pass issued here had to be exchanged for the actual JR Pass once you get to Japan.  In our case, we had it exchanged in Osaka when we landed in Kansai Airport.




With the JR Pass, you skip all the queue ... just flash the card!



     Traveling around Japan by JR Pass was so convenient for us - we did not have to queue to buy our tickets, nor queue again to enter the gates.  The coaches are also so comfortable – especially the bullet trains (Shinkansen) that we used from one city to another.  It’s like traveling business class by plane – wide seats that can be reclined and so much leg room in between seats.  There were only a few coaches that allow smoking (usually car no. 1 & 3 out of 16 cars).  But we always traveled using the non-smoking coaches.


     By the way, food (for sale) is also offered in the trains. But we opted to buy our bento boxes before boarding the train – in fact one of our best meals in Japan was a bento box we bought in a food outlet in Daimaru Department Store in Tokyo!




Big comfortable seats with lots of leg room


Our bento box lunch ... YUMMY!


With our all-time favorite drink in Japan - C.C. Lemon ... allegedly contains the equivalent of vitamin C from 70 lemons.



     What we also found so convenient with using Japan Railways is that there are big lockers in all stations where you can deposit your big luggage after checking out of your hotel and have time to go around without lugging the bulky luggage with you all the time.  We did this twice – once in Tokyo en route to Osaka (to tour the Tokyo Imperial Palace) and when we were on our way to the airport at the Shin-Osaka station (to go to Himeji Castle before going to the airport).



Coin-operated lockers. Price depending on the size of the locker. This LARGE locker was Y600 for one day's use.


Bullet train to Himeji



     We will definitely miss the efficiency and the comfort of the Japan Railway trains … When we return to Japan, we would surely get another JR Pass.  This time, we will explore the mountains of Japan.



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3 responses to The Convenience of the JR Pass

  1. A really informative post. Saw this link while backreading the Japan thread in Pex. I guess I really have to get in touch with a travel agency to get the JR railpass.

  2. Administrator

    Thanks for dropping by. Yes, it is best to get the JR Railpass from the authorized travel agency in Manila.

  3. Babette

    Lots of very helpful and insightful tips in your website — Thank you!!!
    JR pass (must be purchased BEFORE coming to Japan) is always a good buy if you have at least 2 distant places to go to (in our case, Tokyo-Kyoto round trip). JTB -USA is a good resource also.
    The temples you featured in your website are MUST-SEE for travelers. Thanks again for the tips. Since we only had a 2 days to spend in Kyoto/Nara — we prioritized the temples included in the World Heritage list and the ones you included in your website: Sanjusangendo, Kiyumizudera, Fushimi Inari, Kyoto Imperial palace, Nijo Castle, Ginkakuji/Silver pavilion, Kinkakuji/Golden pavilion; plus the Todaiji temple, Nara deer park, and Kasuga Taishi shrine in Nara. All all of them were awesome!

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