THE JAPAN RAIL PASS
If you are thinking about traveling to Japan for business or leisure, you should consider purchasing a Japan Rail Pass, or JR Pass for short.
Visit Japan - Planet Africa Tours is one of the only providers of Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) in South Africa. Our service is unique in that you can buy it from our offices directly, or, you can order one and we will courier it to you wherever you are in South Africa or Africa for that matter! Read below to learn some important information about the Japan Rail Pass or JR Pass. Please contact us for more information or to order yours! The JR Pass can be issued immediately after inquiry or a maximum of 2 days with courier. This is ideal, because even if you've left your planning late, we can still get you your pass!
WHAT IS THE JAPAN RAIL PASS (JR PASS)?
JR stands for Japan Rail Company is the biggest rail company in Japan. The JR Pass is a special pass available only to foreigners who are travelling to Japan. It allows you to ride on all JR trains (including the bullet trains) for an UNLIMITED number of times. This means you don't have to worry about buying any train tickets (and some subway, bus or ferry tickets). You simply need to find a platform and hop on a train! It is a very convenient way to travel and get around Japan and is well worth it, as train tickets between Kyoto and Tokyo for example is about R1000 one way. The pass allows you to take the most convenient trains and not worry about spending your precious souvenir money!
HOW DOES IT WORK?
There are different types of Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass): Green or Ordinary. Green class passes are "first class". These passes allow you onto the first class carriage of the trains whilst ordinary just allows you onto ordinary carriages. This is the only difference. The JR Pass also has different validity periods. You can get a pass for 7 days, 14 days or 21 days. This means that you can either get a pass for 7, 14 or 21 CONSECUTIVE days. Once you have bought your JR Pass with us, we will give you a voucher. When in Japan, you can choose when to activate it during your trip at a station. Simply present the JR Voucher and your passport at the "Midori no mado guchi" (Green Office) and they will administer your pass. Then simply show the station manager your pass and he will let you onto the platforms.
CAN I BUY THE JR PASS IN JAPAN?
The answer is yes but comes with conditions. Japan has only recently started selling JR Passes in Japan. However, as it is a trial run they are not guaranteed, they are sold at a limited number of stations and are more expensive than buying before entering the country. The benefit of buying it beforehand is that it is cheaper, it is immediate, there is no language barrier and you don't have to worry about trying to find one in Japan taking precious time out of your travels!
SHOULD I BUY THE JR PASS?
It depends. If you are travelling all over Japan and don't have transport arranged for you, then yes. If you are only staying in Tokyo for a few days on a business trip, then no. When booking tours through Visit Japan - Planet Africa Tours, we will advise you whether or not we think it is necessary for you to get the JR Pass or not. So never forget to contact us with any questions about Japan!