questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

jr pass use on nozomi

JR Pass use on Nozomi

My wifeand I will be purchasing a Green JR Pass to use during our 1 month visit to Japan in April.This is not our first time to Japan so we are familiar with the Pass rules There is one rule that is bothersome.With the historical increase in the number of Nozomi trains and reduction in Hikari trains why are JR Pass holders excluded from Nozomi trains.Tourists using the pass would be very happy if this changed.
Thank you


Hi there,

JR is typically tightlipped about changes to validity in the JR Pass, however in 2011 some JR companies (JR-East and JR-Kyushu) allowed broader use of new JR services. The new JR-East Hayabusa shinkansen from Tokyo-Shin Aomori was released and made available for Japan Rail Pass holders, as was travel on the new Kyushu Shinkansen. The Hayabusa is the fastest shinkansen in operation and the Kyushu shinkansen is a totally new line that opens up more of Japan to JR Pass holders for no increase in cost. All these things could point to an eventual use of the JRPass on the Nozomi in the future, however we shall have to wait and see!

It's worth bearing in mind that although the Nozomi is not available to JR Pass holders, the Hikari service is a pretty regular service, with 2 trains per hour on the Tokyo - Shin-Osaka Tokaido route and 1 Sakura/Hikari per hour on the Sanyo line from Osaka to Hakata. In general these services are perfect for holiday use as they are fast and regular enough to make travel easy. I can certainly see some cases where Nozomi would be handy though, and also hope that one day JR opens up the service to JR Pass holders.

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