Shinkansen Ticket Online Booking : Reserve Without the Hassle 

Read this article before you purchase JAPAN RAIL PASS

December 14, 2016

Read this article before you purchase JAPAN RAIL PASS

Many foreign tourists prepare this Japan Rail Pass once they decide to travel Japan, it is a special discount pass only for international temporary visitors. It must be purchased before you leave your country, it can not be purchases in Japan, only through online or a travel agent. There is a list where you can purchase JR Pass at the JR website :

Once you make the one-time purchase, it allows for unlimited ride of JR’s trains including most of Shinkansen (Bullet trains). There are variety of passes, 7 days, 14 days and 21 days.

JR Pass is only for JR’s trains, not for Metro lines

Of course, JR pass is useful as you don’t need to purchase anymore once you make it, however you can use only for JR’s trains and actually if you are inside the city, you might not have many chances to take JR lines but metro lines. If you see the map of Tokyo, JR Yamanote line has a big loop shape, all the metro lines spread like a net inside the loop and all the touristic spots are inside the loop.

Plan ahead when and where you start to use your JR Pass

In large cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Kyoto, metro lines are more useful than JR lines. So, if you are staying in those cities, you'd better to plan ahead when and where you start to use your JR pass. For example, if you land at the Haneda airport in Tokyo, stay in Tokyo for a few days and travel to Kanazawa or other local destinations, you don't need to activate your JR pass when you land at the airport. It is wise to start to use your JR Pass when you leave Tokyo and you might be able to reduce the duration of JR Pass from 14 days to 7 days.

Consider to buy individual tickets to be a smart traveler

If you stay in a few cites or stay more than 5 days in each cities, it is better to combine inner city pass / transit card AND individual Shinkansen tickets. You can save not only cost but time by taking the fastest Shinkansen called NOZOMI that JR Pass holders can not ride.

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Other useful tips

We can recommend you to use a prepaid transit card such as PASMO or SUICA while you explore the city. These cards are very useful, you can use it at most of the transportations (trains (JR and the others), metros, buses, taxies, coin lockers, parking lots etc…) and shops (most of convenience stores and kiosks, vending machines etc…). And you can recharge it easily at stations and convenience stores.

You should deposit 500 JPY to have a card but you'll get refund when you return the card. Good to keep in mind to use up or cancel before going back home.


Also there are 1-day to 3-day open tickets from Metro, if you ride many times in a few days.

Tokyo Metro | To Customers Visiting Tokyo | Tokyo Subway Ticket

Or, if you plan to explore many spots in Tokyo for one full day, "Tokyo 1-Day Ticket" may be the best solution.
It allows unlimited rides on local JR trains, subways, and buses within 23 ward area in Tokyo.

Tokyo 1-Day Ticket



If you are interested in this topic, please refer to our following article as well.

Compare Japan Rail Pass and Single Shinkansen Tickets