Travelling Japan by train and shinkansen is one of the most enjoyable ways to explore the country, but it can be costly. Yes, there are discount rail passes, but these are usually reserved for tourists on short-term visit visas – until now. With no inbound tourism for much of the last two years, Japan Railway has finally extended its much coveted rail passes to foreign residents living in Japan. Covering almost the breadth of the country from Hokkaido to Kyushu, these money-saving passes will help you see more of Japan for a lot less.
To help you plan your travels, we’ve compiled a list of all the current JR rail passes you can enjoy with your foreign passport. Just remember to bring along your passport when you go purchase one of these passes.
How much: ¥10,180 (children ¥5,090)
What it includes: Three consecutive days of unlimited rides on shinkansen and limited express trains in the Kanto region. You can even hop on selected Joyful Trains (novelty and sightseeing trains) such as the steam locomotive SL Gunma. For detailed lines covered by the pass, visit here.
Where you can travel with the pass: Head north to Nikko, Utsunomiya or the picturesque Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki. For views of Mt Fuji, you can head inland to Karuizawa or to Lake Kawaguchiko. You can even hit the ski slopes at Gala Yuzawa in Niigata, go hot spring bathing in Gunma’s Kusatsu Onsen town, or travel down the Izu Peninsula for a beachside getaway.