A Whole Information to the Japan Rail Cross

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 one in all my favourite nations on the earth. The serene great thing about the mountains and temples, the hustle and bustle of the sprawling towns, the beautiful meals, and its lengthy historical past make for an enchanting position to consult with.

On the other hand, Japan has a name, particularly amongst finances vacationers, as being too pricey. “Higher skip Japan and head to Southeast Asia, the place your cash is going additional,” they are saying.

But you’ll trip Japan on the cheap. Meals, points of interest, or even lodging (it’s the land of pill resorts!) may also be discovered for a rather low value if you already know the place you glance.

But one side of touring in Japan that does reside as much as its expensive popularity is transportation — in particular educate trip.

Japan’s iconic bullet trains (referred to as shinkansen) are stunning, relaxed, handy, and speedy. They’re world-class wonders of transportation, racing round at speeds as much as 320 kilometers (200 miles) in step with hour. They run on particular tracks break away the opposite trains and are an outstanding feat of engineering.

They’re tremendous pricey. There’s simply no means round that truth.

Fortunately, there’s one simple factor you’ll do to chop your educate price tag costs in part (or extra): purchase a Japan Rail Cross. You in reality shouldn’t be touring across the nation with out one (and I’m beautiful positive they value the move and common tickets out in some way that in reality forces you to shop for one).

On this put up, I’ll introduce the JR Cross and give an explanation for the way it works, how a lot it prices, and resolution commonplace questions I am getting concerning the move.


What’s the Japan Rail (JR) Cross?

The Japan Rail Cross (often referred to as the JR Cross) used to be created to lend a hand vacationers get across the nation (very similar to the Eurail move in Europe). JR is the biggest educate operator in Japan, and the move supplies limitless get admission to to all its trains for a collection value.

The move is available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day choices. Notice that those are consecutive days, no longer trip days. So, if you wish to trip round Japan for 2 weeks, you’ll wish to acquire the 14-day possibility, even if you gained’t be taking the educate each day.

A number of JR trains are integrated within the move. The most well liked is the shinkansen (bullet) educate, which is the quickest educate and is going to just about each and every vacation spot and area. The following quickest is the tokkyu (restricted categorical). The kyuko (categorical) educate comes subsequent, adopted via the kaisoku (fast) and kakueki-teisha or futsu-densha (native trains that make each and every forestall).

In brief, which means there are JR trains that unexpectedly trip between areas, some that move between towns with more than one stops, and native commuter-style trains which can be sluggish (however reasonable).

Moreover, JR trains additionally serve some metropolitan spaces, so they are able to be used inside of towns. For instance, on my closing consult with, I used my JR Cross to get round Kyoto and Tokyo as a substitute of shopping for native metro tickets.

The JR Cross must be bought prior to you arrive in Japan and it needs to be mailed to you so that you’ll need to order it neatly upfront (extra under).

How the JR Cross works

The JR Cross is really easy to make use of — you simply want to keep in mind to buy it previously, whilst in your house nation, because the move is handiest to be had to guests. (Whilst you can acquire it at make a choice price tag workplaces in Japan till March 2023, in-person passes value considerably extra, so it’s higher simply to reserve it upfront).

The move has a number of choices (every legitimate for consecutive days, no longer simply trip 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 top notch possibility. Because the trains in Japan are already wonderful, you most probably don’t wish to purchase the Inexperienced Cross until you in reality need some luxurious. Moreover, touring in inexperienced vehicles may also be extra of a trouble should you love to be spontaneous, as you should all the time reserve a seat upfront in inexperienced vehicles, requiring you to consult with the price tag place of job or automated reservation machines forward of time to take action. In extraordinary vehicles, you’ll simply hop on and take any to be had seat.

Along with the usual and inexperienced JR passes, there are regional passes for those who don’t seem to be touring throughout all of the nation. Those choices can prevent much more cash since they’re inexpensive than the common JR passes. Every area has a number of move choices, normally ranging between one and 7 days.

You’ll be able to purchase JR passes for 6 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)

In the event you’re simply going to be specializing in one area of the rustic, imagine purchasing a JR regional move. If you need get admission to to all of the nation, get the common JR Cross.

In the event you’re a first-time customer to Japan, you’ll most probably need the common JR Cross, because it covers all of the main locations.

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

  1. Pick out the time period on your move (7, 14, or 21 days)
  2. Make a choice your category (Inexperienced or same old — once more, same old is greater than enough for many vacationers)
  3. Come to a decision what geographical space you need to consult with (all the nation or a unmarried area)
  4. Pay the cost and order the move prior to you allow house

Getting and the usage of Your JR Cross

The best way to get a Japan Cross is via ordering it on-line (there are lots of legitimate on-line suppliers however I like to recommend this one because it’s been promoting passes for the longest time).

Whenever you acquire a move, you’ll obtain an “alternate order” within the mail, stamped with a date, that you simply’ll flip in to pick out up your precise move in Japan. Don’t put out of your mind your alternate order at house, as you should convey this report to pick out up your move in Japan!

Whenever you get to Japan, you’ll alternate your alternate order (therefore the identify) for a JR Cross at a JR place of job. Remember to have your passport on you (no longer a photocopy) while you move to gather it, as they are going to test to just be sure you have a brief customer stamp for your passport. The JR Cross is handiest to be had to guests and they’re beautiful strict about verifying you’re a vacationer.

You could have 3 months from the date imprinted on the alternate order to pick out up your JR Cross, however you do not want to start out the usage of the move at the similar day that you simply select it up.

For instance, say that you need to pick out up the move when you arrive however you need to spend a while in Tokyo prior to heading on to peer the remainder of the rustic. You’ll be able to make a choice any date inside of one month of exchanging the order as your beginning date. (However as soon as the move is issued, you’ll’t trade the beginning date.)

Whenever you’ve were given your move in hand, you don’t wish to concern about getting tickets, as you merely use your move to head all the way through the automated turnstiles.

Along with the usage of the shinkansen and different trains, the JR move offers get admission to to:

  • Native buses operated via JR (such because the vacationer loop bus in Hiroshima or JR buses round Sapporo)
  • Ferries operated via JR (equivalent to the only from Hiroshima to the island of Miyajima)
  • JR traces working via metropolitan spaces (equivalent to Tokyo and Osaka)
  • Unfastened seat reservations (another way, seat reservations value round 330-930 JPY)

The JR Cross isn’t legitimate for:

  • The Nozomi and the Mizuho shinkansen traces
  • Jap electorate or citizens, equivalent to foreigners running in Japan (handiest the ones with a vacationer visa can use the move)

Is the Japan Rail Cross value it?

Completely! Although you could get decal surprise to begin with when buying a move, you’ll save loads of bucks right through your day trip with one — despite the fact that you simply consult with 2-3 towns. For instance, with out a rail move, a price tag from Tokyo to Osaka prices round 27,000 JPY (round-trip), but you’ll get a seven-day rail move that incorporates limitless trip on JR trains for simply 29,650 JPY. So for the cost of one round-trip price tag, you get limitless trip. It’s a no brainer!

Listed below are some extra examples of one-way educate tickets at the shinkansen trains with non-reserved seats within the “extraordinary” (non-green automobile) category:

  • 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 see, it handiest takes one longer-distance adventure from Tokyo (equivalent to to Hiroshima or Fukuoka) to justify the price of the move. And also you’ll most probably use it a lot more than that!

And despite the fact that you aren’t taking the bullet trains, the move nonetheless is sensible. For instance, a day trip on a neighborhood educate from Kyoto to Tokyo prices round 8,360 JPY — as a substitute of 13,320 JPY for the bullet educate. On the other hand, the native educate adventure takes 9 hours and calls for a number of transfers, as a substitute of an instantaneous 3 hours, making it a lower than splendid selection for many vacationers (particularly should you’re tight on time). It’s frequently merely no longer value the price financial savings.

You’re the usage of the bullet trains and reveling within the high-speed enjoy because it whisks you from one improbable vacation spot to some other!

Japan Rail Cross Steadily Requested Questions

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

Can Japan Rail Cross be used at the Tokyo subway?
Yep, one of the most subway traces (even though no longer all) in Tokyo are run via JR, which means that you’ll get admission to them without spending a dime along with your JR Cross. That is true for all of the nation. Metro traces and native subway traces are excluded from the move.

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

How do I turn on the Japan Rail Cross?
To turn on the JR Cross, convey your alternate order and your passport to a JR place of job in Japan. When they test your identification and visa standing, they are going to turn on your move.

Can I exploit JR Cross from Tokyo to Kyoto?
Yep! The space is 445 kilometers (283 miles), and the day trip takes beneath 3 hours at the bullet educate.

Are buses integrated in JR Cross?
Sure, JR does run some bus traces, which can be integrated within the JR Cross. Some locations the place JR has buses come with Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu.

Can I cancel my Japan Rail Cross?
You’ll be able to cancel your move so long as it has no longer been activated, however as soon as it’s activated, you’ll’t.


Educate trip is one of the simplest ways to peer Japan. The trains are blank, speedy, and the surroundings beautiful. I really like touring the rustic via educate. Whilst purchasing a rail move would possibly appear to be a expensive selection, it’ll prevent a ton of cash — and it’s a uniquely Jap enjoy that you simply gained’t put out of your mind!

Click on right here to get your Japan Rail move as of late!


Ebook Your Travel to Japan: Logistical Pointers and Tips

Ebook Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to discover a reasonable flight. They’re my favourite seek engine as a result of they seek internet sites and airways all over the world so that you all the time know no stone is left unturned!

Ebook Your Lodging
You’ll be able to guide your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the largest stock and easiest offers. If you wish to keep someplace rather then a hostel, use Reserving.com as they constantly go back the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and inexpensive resorts. My favourite puts to stick in Japan are:

Don’t Put out of your mind Go back and forth Insurance coverage
Go back and forth insurance coverage will offer protection to you in opposition to sickness, harm, robbery, and cancellations. It’s complete coverage in case the rest is going fallacious. I by no means move on a day trip with out it as I’ve had to make use of it repeatedly prior to now. My favourite corporations that provide the most efficient carrier and price are:

Searching for the Very best Corporations to Save Cash With?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for the most efficient corporations to make use of while you trip. I listing all of the ones I exploit to save cash once I’m at the highway. They’ll prevent cash while you trip too.

Be sure that to try the Japan Rail Cross should you’ll be touring across the nation. It is available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes and will prevent a ton of cash!

Need Extra Data on Japan
Be sure you consult with our powerful vacation spot information on Japan for much more making plans pointers!

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