The Japan Rail Pass
(1994, 1995, 1998)
Train travel is the easiest way for a tourist to get around in Japan. A rented car is mostly unnecessary. You have to drive on the left side, parking is difficult, streets are often narrow und will be unable to read many of the signs. Going by rails is easy and comfortable, and the best ticket is a Japan Rail Pass.
It cannot be bought in Japan, you have to buy a voucher in your home country. When you enter Japan, you show the voucher at a special office, and there you get the Rail Pass which is valid from this date. The pass in the picture above was valid for two weeks at a price of Y44,200. If you travel around, it is normally much cheaper with the Rail Pass than with ordinary tickets. A single ticket Tokyo-Kyoto would cost about Y13000, but before you start to calculate - the Rail Pass has many advantages. You can already use it on the express trains to the Tokyo and Osaka airports, you save the time and effort for buying single tickets, you can walk through all barriers of Japan Rail. You can get around in Tokio with Japan Rail instead of the subway, and it is even valid on some ships that are operated by JR, for instance when you visit Myajima. You get reservations without additional charge. Recently, many additional kinds of Rail Passes have been introduced, which are cheaper still than the normal one. There are passes now for West Japan only, for single days, and so on. You should ask you travel agent for an up-to-date information.