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Japan Rail Pass
JR East Pass
JR West Pass

Japan Rail Pass
( Picture enlarges by clicking )

Japan railroad map

The Japan Rail Pass is a special ticket that is available only to travelers visiting Japan from foreign countries for sight-seeing.
A Japan Rail Pass cannot be purchased inside Japan. You must purchase an Exchange Order from an authorized sales office or agent, preferably the India Center, before you come to Japan. When you enter Japan, entry personnel will stamp your passport as "Temporary Visitor" . Only persons who have a passport bearing this stamp can use a Japan Rail Pass. Your Exchange Order must be turned in for a Japan Rail Pass within three months of the date the Order was issued.
pass types and durations
There are two types of Japan Rail Pass: Green (for superior-class Green cars), and Ordinary. Each of these types is available as a 7-day, 14-day, or 21-day Pass. Pass prices for children apply from age 6 to and including age 11.With a Green-type Japan Rail Pass you can use either class, while with an Ordinary-type Japan Rail Pass you can use only Ordinary Cars without paying an additional charge.
railways: All JR Group Railways--Shinkansen "bullet trains" (except any reserved or nonreserved seat on "Nozomi" trains), limited express trains, express trains, and rapid or local trains. (With some exceptions)
buses: JR Bus Companies: Local lines of JR Hokkaido Bus, JR Bus Tohoku, JR Bus Kanto, JR Tokai Bus, West Japan JR Bus , Chugoku JR Bus, JR Shikoku Bus Company, and JR Kyushu Bus. JR Highway Bus Lines: Sapporo-Otaru; Morioka-Hirosaki/Aomori; Tokyo-Nagoya/Kyoto/Osaka/Tsukuba Center; Nagoya-Kyoto/Osaka; Osaka-Tsuyama/Kasai Flower Center (Not accepted on some lines)
JR-highway connections: Sapporo - Otaru; Morioka - Hirosaki/Aomori; Tokio - Nagoya/Kioto/Osaka/Tsukuba; Nagoya - Kioto/Osaka; Osaka - Tsuyama/Kasai Flower Center
Is not valid on some lines.
ferry: JR Ferry (Miyajima - Miyajimaguchi), except "Beetle2" (Hakata - Pusan)
note: The Japan Rail Pass is not valid for any seats, reserved or nonreserved, on "Nozomi" trains on the Tokaido and San'yo Shinkansen lines. If you use a "Nozomi," you must pay the basic fare and the limited express charge, and if in a Green Car, the Green Car charge. Passengers using train on non-JR lines must pay respective fares and charges applicable to sections traveled on such lines

JR East Pass ( Picture enlarges by clicking )
East Japan railroad map
JR East Pass

JR East covers 7 500 kms of railways east of Tokyo. The most convenient way to travel on this region is the JR East Pass, which must be purchased in advance, preferably from the India Center. You get an Exchange Order, to be exchanged for a JR East Pass after your arrival in Japan - within three months from the date the Order was issued. Your passport must be stamped Temporary Visitor by the immigration authorities.
pass types and duration
There are two types of JR East Pass, Ordinary and Green (better wagons). Both are available as a 5 days, 10 days or flexible 4 days Pass. The latter can be used on any four days within a month. Ordinary tickets are sold in three age groups: adults (26 years or older), youth (ages 12 to 25) and children (6 to 11). Green tickets are sold for adults (12 years or older) or children (6 to 11).
JR East Pass is valid on all the 72 lines of JR East: express trains (except private compartments or berths) including Shinkansen super express trains and local trains (except "Liner" / "Home Liner"). If you want to use the cars or trains referred to in parentheses above, you must pay additional charges. Note: Some JR East trains also travel on other companies' lines. Passengers using such trains must pay the fares and charges applicable. Please note the names of the following JR East-line trains that travel on non-JR East lines: Super-Hakucho, Hakucho, Hakutaka, Raicho, Hokuetsu, Shinano, Odoriko, Super-View Odoriko, Tokai. Also note: The JR East Pass is not valid for the Tokaido Shinkansen and the Sanyo Shinkansen lines, which connect Tokyo and western cities such as Kyoto, Osaka or Fukuoka, and which start from the Tokyo station like JR East's five Shinkansen lines. The Tokaido Shinkansen and Sanyo Shinkansen lines are run respectively by JR Central and JR West. (Between Tokyo and Atami, use Odoriko, Super-view Odoriko, or local trains.)
other conditions
Use of a JR East Pass is limited to the signer. You must carry your passport during travel, and show it if requested. Neither an Exchange Order nor a Pass can be reissued if lost or stolen. Neither refunds nor extensions of the validity period can be made on a Pass in the event of train non-operation, delay, or the like. Use of the Pass in violation of these conditions will render it void and confiscated, and a sum of three times the fares and charges for the sections traveled will be collected.

JR West Pass (picture enlarges by clicking)

Buy the Exchange Order from the India Center before leaving for Japan. In Japan you can exchange it for a JR-West Rail Pass. Note Your passport must be stamped Temporary Visitor by the immigration authorities.
Sanyo area pass
A pass which enables unlimited travel on the Osaka-Okayama-Hiroshima-Hakata area. Pass types and durations
The Pass can be bought for 4 or 8 days. It can be used in the following trains and transportation services operated by JR-West: Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama Sanyo Shinkansen super express trains, Haruka limited express trains, ordinary-class cars on local trains (reserved and non-reserved seats), and the Miyajima ferry line in Hiroshima.
When using reserved seats, you must obtain a reserved seat ticket (at no extra charge) from a JR-West ticket office "Green Window" or a TiS travel agent prior to boarding the train.
Kansai area pass
For excursions on the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe-Nara-Himeji area.
Pass types and durations
The pass can be bought for one day or 4 days. The pass allows unlimited travel, within the designated area, using non-reserved seats in ordinary-class cars on local trains operated by JR-West (including rapid service and special rapid service trains). This pass can not be used for Shinkansen trains. When boarding limited-express and express trains other than Shinkansen trains, a surcharge ticket must also be purchased.
JR-West Visitor Sightseeing Group Ticket
Available for six or more foreigners traveling together between Kansai airport and Hiroshima. Valid in the Haruka limited express trains running between Kansai airport and Shin-Osaka, as well as for regular reserved seating aboard Sanyo Shinkansen super express trains running between Shin-Osaka and Hiroshima. You can stop along the way and do some sight-seeing at Osaka, Shin-Kobe, Himeji or Okayama.
For customers using the JR-West Rail Pass or the JR-West Visitor Sightseeing Group Ticket, a substantial discount is offered on rent-a-car charges.