What is a Japan Rail Pass?
A Japan Rail Pass is a document that entitles visitors to Japan to unlimited use of the trains that are part of the Japan Rail network. People who stay in Japan for durations from 7 to 21 days are able to purchase a Japan Rail pass and can make significant savings on travelling costs in comparison with buying point to point tickets to each destination. When purchased, it is issued in the form of an exchange order which then needs to be converted to the actual pass at a JR Travel Centre or exchange office upon arrival in Japan.
It can be used for most local trains and Shinkansen however, it cannot be used for the NOZOMI Shinkansen or the MIZUHO Shinkansen that operates on the Tokaido, Sanyo or Kyushu Shinkansen lines. It also cannot be used for any non-Japan Rail service (private rail company lines).
There are varying types of Japan Rail passes that can be bought such as passes for various regions of Japan or a national pass that covers most of Japan. The national pass is ideal for those travellers who desire to travel to different regions of Japan during their stay, but the regional passes are recommended for those who are staying in only one region and enables extensive travel on trains and JR buses within that region.