Traveling Kagoshima to Tokyo, I was able to visit 12 cities in seven days with the cheapest JR Pass!
With low-cost airlines now offering cheap flights from the Philippines, a vacation in Japan is now more accessible to budget travelers more than ever, despite being a relatively expensive country to visit. Last year, I was able to book a flight from Manila to Fukuoka for the unbelievable fare of only PHP 801 or USD 15.
But while it’s possible to snag dirt-cheap airfares, land transportation within the country can still seriously burn your pockets. A roundtrip shinkansen (bullet train) ride between Tokyo and Kyoto, for example, would cost you a whopping JPY 26,160 or PHP 12,150.
While still pricey when compared to how much one spends traveling in budget destinations (eg. Southeast Asia), Japan’s railway passes are the most economical way for you to cover a lot of ground using the country’s super-efficient high-speed train system. Clocking speeds of more than 300 kph, a shinkansen train can take you from Tokyo to Osaka – about the same distance between Manila and Legazpi – in only 2 hours and 30 minutes.
The JR Pass is the most economical and efficient way to explore the country by railway.
Aside from local trains and bullet trains, the JR Pass covers JR buses and the JR West Miyajima Ferry!
So if you’ll be hopping across long distances within the country during your visit, booking a Japan Rail Pass beforehand would be a wise and practical investment. The JR Pass allows temporary visitors to take unlimited rides within a specified number of consecutive days on the extensive nationwide railway network of the JR Group, which includes the lighting-fast skinkansen or bullet trains (except Nozomi and Mizuho trains).
Moreover, JR buses and the JR West Miyajima Ferry – which takes visitors to the famous World Heritage-listed “floating” shrine gate of Itsukushima (photographed above) – are also covered by the pass.
JR Passes can cover 7 days, 14 days and 21 days on either an economy-class Ordinary Car or a first-class Green Car. With my Ordinary Car 7-Day JR Pass, I was able to visit 12 cities between Kagoshima to Tokyo, covering a distance of 1,360 km.
Where can I book the cheapest JR Pass?
In the Philippines, the cheapest JR pass can be purchased from Klook – the largest travel activities booking platform in Asia. The most affordable JR Pass is the 7-day Ordinary Car Whole Japan Pass for only PHP 13,051.
This is at least PHP 486 cheaper than buying from local travel agents and other booking platforms where they sell the very same pass for at least JPY 29,110 or PHP 13,537.
You can also enjoy additional big discounts with Klook’s HOLIYAY Promo. Use <HOLIYAY800> for PHP 800 off your mobile app booking, and use <HOLIYAY500> for PHP 500 off your web booking. Minimum spend of PHP 10,000. Promo ends December 31, 2018.
Plus, if you book 3 Ordinary Car -Day Whole Japan Rail Passes, you will receive a PHP 1000 Uniqlo Gift Certificate for your winter clothes shopping! Promo ends November 30, 2018.
Am I eligible for a JR Pass?
Before ordering your rail pass, make sure you are eligible to use one. The following are eligible to claim and use a JR Pass:
- Foreign tourists visiting Japan from abroad for sight-seeing, under the entry status of Temporary Visitor. Upon entry to Japan, immigration personnel will stamp your passport as Temporary Visitor. In order to claim and use a JR Pass, your passport must bear this stamp or sticker.
- Japanese citizens living abroad who meet the following conditions.
How do I book a JR Pass on Klook?
Booking and claiming your JR Pass is quick and easy!
- At least two weeks before entering Japan, choose between the 7-day, 14-day or 21-day JR Passes.
- Select your departure date (ie. the date you will arrive in Japan) and fill out your passport information accurately.
- A Klook Voucher will be emailed to confirm your booking. This voucher cannot be used to claim your JR Pass.
- The Exchange Order will be mailed to your address within 7 (seven) business days. Double check your personal details for any misspellings or errors. Please claim your JR Pass within 3 (three) months of the issuance of the Exchange Order.
- Bring your Exchange Order when you travel to Japan. Present your Exchange Order with your passport at JR train stations and major airports to claim your Japan Rail Pass and select the activation date (i.e. when you want to start using your pass). Note that the activation date cannot be changed.
How do I use my JR Pass?
Check train schedules at the station or online at Hyperdia. To board your desired train, simply present your JR Pass to the attendant at a manned ticket gate to access the designated platform. The pass cannot be used at automatic ticket gates. Make sure you board a non-reserved car.
While only recommended during busy holiday seasons, you may use the JR Pass to make a seat reservation at any JR ticketing office beforehand. If you have a seat reservation, make sure you wait at the section of the platform for your designated car and find your assigned seat.
A JR Pass may be used within the specified number of consecutive days including the day of activation. For example, a 7-day JR Pass activated on October 15 can be used until 11:59 PM of October 21.
Read my next post on how to maximize your JR Pass. Enjoy your amazing train-all-you-can adventure across Japan!