Japan Railway's vast network of trains that criss-cross the country, combined with an increasing number of multi-lingual signs and staff dedicated to customer service, exploring Japan is made easy when traveling with JR. Make sure to research the different rail pass options to help you travel farther and wider.
The cost of train travel can be one of the major expenses when traveling-especially if you are looking to explore far and wide. Luckily, help is at hand with a selection of rail passes, headed by the (almost) all-encompassing Japan Rail Pass, that offer discounted train trips.
Japan Railway's (JR) Japan Rail Pass offers the traveler unlimited use of its vast train network that criss-crosses the country including the shinkansen (excluding the Nozomi and Mizuho Super Express trains). Note that overseas purchase of an exchange order for this ticket prior to entry is required. Find out everything you need to do to purchase and make full use of your pass here - Japan Railways Group : Japan Rail Pass details The number of places where you can pick up your pass continues to grow, so find the most convenient place to validate your Japan Rail Pass
Hokkaido Rail Pass holders can ride all JR Hokkaido trains (excluding Hokkaido Shinkansen) within a set time period. If you are planning to head up to Japan's great white north, find out all the details here - JR Hokkaido Railway Company : Hokkaido Rail Pass details
A rail pass valid for unlimited rides on trains in the East Japan and Hokkaido area during the designated period. Take a look at the official page for all you need to know - JR East : JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass details
If you are traveling up to the wonderland of the northern Tohoko region, make use of the JR EAST PASS covering the vast Tohoko area. Click here to find out more - JR East : JR EAST PASS (Tohoku Area) Pass details
Similarly, if you are planning on exploring the Nagano and Niigata area, get hold of a JR EAST PASS for this region to travel farther at less expense. All the details are here - JR East : JR EAST PASS (Niigata, Nagano Area) Pass details
If you plan to stay city-centric during your time in Japan, the TOKYO Wide PASS is the one for you. During promotional periods, it is possible to travel farther afield on this pass, so keep an eye on the website for all the details - JR East : JR TOKYO Wide Pass details
Travel from Tokyo and Osaka to the Hokuriku area of Fukui, Kanazawa and Toyama prefectures on the Hokuriku Arch Pass. Take a look at all the details about how to make the most of your travel on this new Golden Route - JR East / West : Hokuriku Arch Pass details
The Alpine Route stretches through the mountainous regions of Toyama, Gifu and Nagano prefectures. The Alpine-Takayama-Matsumoto Area Tourist Pass offers you unlimited rides on JR conventional lines running between Nagoya, Gero, Takayama and Toyama, and between Nagoya, Kiso Fukushima, Matsumoto and Shinano Omachi, as well as on all transportation means of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route between Toyama and Shinano Omachi. Take a look at the official site for more details - JR Central / JR West : Alpine-Takayama-Matsumoto Area Tourist Pass detai
JR offers passes for all of its western regions too, so if you are traveling to Kyoto and Osaka, further west to Toyama and Kanazawa, or down to Okayama and Hiroshima, there will be a pass to match your travel destinations. Take a look at the website for more details on routes and fares - JR West : JR-West Rail Pass (Intercity / Regional, Western Japan) details
The All Shikoku Rail Pass offers you unlimited rides on all six railways on the island of Shikoku. For information on how to prices, routes and how to purchase, check here - Shikoku Railway Company : All Shikoku Rail Pass details
If you are going to be Kyushu focused during your stay, it is worth looking at the travel pass options for Japan's southern island. All of the information is here - Kyushu Railway Company : JR-Kyushu Rail Pass (Intercity / Regional, Kyushu area) details