Japan Rail Pass or popularly known as JR Pass is a transportation ticket which gives you access to a wide range of local and rapid trains as well as Shinkansen bullet trains all over Japan. It can also be used in most of JR bus lines and some ferry services.
I got my JR Pass online. I purchased it via KLOOK and I got it in less than a week. I opted to get the 7 days pass since I will only be in Japan for a week. I planned of going to Sapporo to experience a snowfall and I initially looked for cheap tickets from Tokyo. My flight was in the afternoon so I will be arriving in Tokyo in the evening. The flights to Sapporo are only during day time so if I choose to fly, I will have to go to Tokyo from Narita and come back the next day. Staying in the airport wasn’t an option because Narita Airport is not operating 24 hours and it’s winter so I really have to go to Tokyo to spend the night. (Read: Cheap Places to Stay in Tokyo Near JR Train Station)
Another option I was considering was to take a train from Tokyo to Sapporo. With all the research, I decided to purchase a JR Pass since it can help me save a lot of cost in transportation.
With my JR Pass, I was able to save thousands of pesos in transportation. I was also able to explore more of Hokkaido, in fact I was able to go to the northernmost part of Japan – Wakkanai. So, here’s my tip for you want to maximize the value of your JR Pass. Check rates and options.
Plan your journey and route ahead of time
You need to plan your trip ahead of time so you can maximize using the JR trains. Do some research on what to do in a certain place and see if a JR train is passing by the area. It’s best if you use your JR Pass on a long route and on a Shinkansen bullet train. What I did was to use it from Tokyo to Hakodate on a bullet train and transferred to a rapid train going to Sapporo. If you have much time to spend, then by all means use a JR Pass. If you are in a limited time, it might not be wise to use a JR Pass if you can’t use the full value of the pass. Rent a Japan 4G Wifi for seamless connection in Japan.
Stay in a place near a JR Train station
When in Tokyo, stay in a place near a JR Train station so you will not have to pay for transportation cost to your accommodation. Remember that the JR Pass also covers the Narita Express train, so if you are on a JR Train station then your journey to the airport is covered.
Activate your JR pass in the morning
If you are staying in Japan for more than 7 days and you got a 7-day pass, activate it the next day so you can use it’s full value. I stayed in Japan for exactly 7 days so I activated mine upon arrival in Narita. I was able to use it on the Narita Express train up to my hostel near Uguisudani station in Tokyo. I did not spend any amount on transportation when I arrived in Japan because all the area I visited were covered by JR Pass.
Take a random train and go on sightseeing
If you have a spare time, take a random train going somewhere. You can also just browse the web for any interesting places nearby. I had much time on my last day so I decided to take a bullet train to Shin-Fuji Station to have a good view of Mount Fuji. There are a lot of places to visit in Japan, even just taking a train can give you a magnificent view of the cityscape as well as the countryside.
Discover the amazing adventures the JR Pass can offer when you travel to Japan. There is no limitation to the trips allowed, and the price of a 7-day JR Ticket is equal to twice the lower price of a Tokyo-Kyoto train tickets. Definitely a huge saving in transportation cost.
Order your JR Pass online. You will receive an Exchange Order (delivery in Japan available), which then needs to be exchanged and activated in Japan for the actual JR Pass.