questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

what areas does the japan rail pass not cover?

What areas does the Japan Rail Pass not cover?

I understand that the Japan Rail Pass does not cover all of Japan. What areas does it not cover? Is there a separate rail pass for some of these areas, and, if so, what does it cost?


Hi there,

The JR Pass covers all JR operated lines across the whole of Japan. For the bullet train, the JR Pass covers all bullet lines, but you are not able to use the Nozomi or Mizuho class trains. There are always alternative Hikari or Sakura bullets which are valid for use with the rail pass, reach the same top speeds, but stop at a few more stations on the way.

The key thing to note is that the Japan Rail Pass does not cover travel on non-JR lines which must be paid for separately (with the exception of the Tokyo Monorail). This includes the Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto Metro, the Odakyu lines running up to Hakone (though the JR Pass will get you to Odawara as a base), and the Fujukyu lines running up to Kawaguchiko (thought the JR Pass will get you to Otsuki as a base). Depending on which lines you want to use there are often passes available.

If you let me know a bit more detail about your plans I'll be able to advise you in more detail.

Expert button 2

Thanks for your initial reply. Someone in Japan wrote to me regarding the JR Rail pass as follows: "Make sure you'll finish in Kansai area (Kyoto/Osaka). Then get a West Japan Rail pass to get down to Fukuoka (Kyushu), or the one including Shikoku and Kyushu."

Does this mean that the JR Rail pass does not cover transportation on the southern island (e.g., from Fukuoka to Nagasaki and Kagoshima), or on the island where Kochi is? At this time, I am not sure I will be visiting these places, but I may well want to if there are interesting places to see there. Do you advise going to these islands? I will be in Japan for seven weeks and would like to see all that I can without rushing around too much.

Can you tell me how much a West Japan Rail pass costs and what areas it covers?


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