The famous Japan Rail Pass — which gives you unlimted travel on JR trains around the country — is actually just one of MANY rail passes. There are a growing number of regional rail passes, which cover train travel in different regions of the country, from Hokkaidō to Kyūshū. Regional rail passes are cheaper than the countrywide JR Pass, which means — depending on where you want to go — they may save you even more money.

Like the countrywide JR Pass, these regional rail passes are all issued by JR (Japan Rail), or more correctly, a JR — JR East, JR West, JR Central, JR Shikoku, JR Kyūshū, or JR Hokkaidō. You see, the JR network is regional as well. So to track down all the information about the different passes, you’d have to visit the websites for all the different JRs. Or you can just skim this handy article we compiled instead.

Jump to:

What are JR regional rail passes?

shin-osaka station
Who doesn’t love a ride on the Shinkansen? | Photo by iStock.com/Sanga Park

Generally speaking, JR regional rail passes give you unlimited rides on all JR trains within the confines of a specific region. There are a few passes that work a little differently, covering routes rather than regions (like the Hokuriku Arch Pass).

Regional rail passes vary widely in their scope: they may cover travel in a greater metro region (such as Kantō or Kansai) or whole islands (like the passes for Hokkaidō, Shikoku, and Kyūshū).

Almost all passes cover Shinkansen travel IF there is a Shinkansen running in the region covered by the pass. (So, for example, the Shikoku rail pass won’t cover any Shinkansen travel because there are no Shinkansen on Shikoku). All passes cover travel on JR limited express trains.

Important! There is no regional rail pass that covers travel on the Tokaidō Shinkansen — the one that travels between Tokyo and Kyoto. If you want a rail pass that will cover this journey, the countrywide JR Pass is your only option.

Some passes cover reserved seats on Shinkansen and limited express trains, but others cover only un-reserved seats — though there may be an option to reserve seats at a discount. A few passes cover additional, non-standard things like ferries, buses, and/or municiple trams. Regional rail passes from JR West, for example, include free rental cycles from JR West Ekirin rent-a-cycle shops. Some also come with discount coupons for area sights or other modes of transport.

In all cases you’ll want to dig into the fine print to work out exactly what is covered and what isn’t, in order to make the most of the pass.

Who can use JR regional rail passes?

Most Japan rail passes can only be used by travelers entering Japan on a foreign passport with a “temporary visitor” visa (aka a tourist visa).

Not eligible? The following passes are currently available to foreign residents of Japan (meaning you have a foreign passport but some other kind of visa, like a work visa):

  • Tokyo Wide Pass
  • JR East Tōhoku Area Pass
  • JR East Nagano & Niigata Area Pass
  • Kansai WIDE Area Excursion Pass (until March 31, 2023)
  • JR Central’s tourist passes (until September 4th, 2022)
  • JR Shikoku’s 3-day pass for foreign residents (until Septmber 30th, 2022)
  • All JR Kyūshū passes (until September 30th, 2022)
  • JR Hokkaidō’s Sapporo–Noboribetsu Area Pass and Sapporo–Furano Area Pass (until September 30th, 2022)

Check out our guide to rail passes for foreign residents for more details.

JR Izuhakone Tetsudo-Sunzu Line with Mt. Fuji
Trains in Japan can take you almost anywhere you’d want to go | Photo by iStock.com/ake1150sb

Where can I buy a regional rail pass?

Currently all regional rail passes can be purchased both inside Japan and overseas. However — and this is important! — some passes are cheaper if purchased overseas, which can be done online.

Note that some passes eligible for purchase by foreign residents of Japan may require said residents to purchase said pass in Japan. In other words, you have no choice but to pay the higher price. Again, read the fine print or consult our guide to rail passes for foreign residents

Purchasing passes in Japan

JR regional rail passes can be purchased at major JR train stations within the scope of the pass (more or less). This means you cannot, say, buy a JR West pass in Tokyo or at Narita Airport (that would be JR East’s territory); you have to buy it from a station operated by JR West (like in Kansai or at KIX). There are some exceptions; just bear this in mind when making your travel arrangements.

New! From April 2021, you can scan your passport at certain Reserved Seat Ticket vending machines at major JR East stations to purchase any JR East regional rail pass. Stations include Tokyo, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Shinagawa, Ueno, Ikebukuro, Hamamatsuchō, Yokohama, and Narita Airport, among others. You will also be able to make seat reservations on these machines, saving you the extra step of going into the ticket office. As an added bonus, you can also go straight through the automatic ticket gates, instead of being restricted to the staffed gate. These changes also apply to the JR Tokyo Wide Pass and the Hokuriku Arch Pass.

Getting your rail pass with an exchange voucher

If you buy a rail pass overseas (including online), you’ll get a voucher that you’ll need to exchange for the actual pass at a JR ticket office. Make sure to have your passport with you, because they will check!

You do this at the same JR stations where you would buy the pass. For JR East and JR Hokkaidō passes, see this list of stations; for JR West and some JR Central passes, see this list of stations. See also the individual sections and/or pages for each rail pass.

Activating your regional rail pass

When you purchase a pass or exchange your voucher for a pass, you will be asked when you would like to activate the pass. This can be the same day, so you can start your travels immediately, or a later date.

You can make seat reservations for Shinkansen and limited express trains at the same time, if your pass includes seat reservations. You really do want seat reservations if you’re traveling during a holiday period, like Golden Week (end of April through early May).

Pro tip: If you have a lot of luggage, or even one huge bag, consider sending it on ahead with a luggage delivery service. New Shinkansen luggage rules from May 2020 dictate that luggage with dimensions of over 160cm but under 250cm will require special reservations (at no extra cost), and bags over 250cm won’t be allowed onboard the bullet train at all.

Traveling with a regional rail pass

Most regional rail passes are similar to the Japan Rail Pass — roughly passport-sized and made of card paper. These don’t work in the automatic ticket gates, so you’ll have to use a gate where staff are present. Usually, you just show the pass to the station staff and they will wave you through.

There are some regional rail passes that are more like regular train tickets, which you can use in the automatic ticket gates.

Fancy a journey through the Japanese countryside? | Photo by iStockphoto/Jirobkk

Tokyo Wide Pass

If you’re planning to base yourself in Tokyo, with a couple of day trips or an overnight adventure to one of the nearby prefectures, this may be the best Japan rail pass for you.

Unlike most other JR passes, this one can be used by all foreign passport holders (not just tourists!). So, foreign residents: keep this pass in mind next time you’ve got a long weekend.

JR Tokyo Wide Pass at a glance:

Pass Regions covered Shinkansen Eligibility Validity period Price Booking link
Tokyo Wide Pass Kantō Hokuriku Shinkansen to Sakudaira; Jōetsu Shinkansen to Gala Yuzawa; Tōhoku Shinkansen to Nasu Shiobara Foreign passport holders 3 consecutive days ¥10,180 Reserve online

The Tokyo Wide Pass covers travel from Tokyo to many popular excursions, including: Nikkō, Izu, Fuji Five Lakes, Karuizawa, and ski resort Gala Yuzawa.

It also includes travel to/from Narita and Haneda airports. Read more about the Tokyo Wide Pass and how to make the most of it.

JR East passes

JR East passes cover rail (and some bus) travel in the central, eastern, and northeastern parts of Japan — i.e. Kantō, Nagano, Niigata, Tōhoku, and (parts of) Hokkaidō. There are a couple of passes to chose from, two of which can now be purchased by foreign passport holders on any visa.

JR East passes at a glance:

Pass Regions covered Shinkansen Eligibility Validity period Price Booking link
Nagano & Niigata Area Pass Kantō, Nagano & Niigata Hokuriku Shinkansen to Jōetsu Myōkō; Jōetsu Shinkansen to Niigata; Tōhoku Shinkansen to Nasu Shiobara Foreign passport holders 5 consecutive days ¥18,000 Reserve online
Tōhoku Area Pass Kantō & Tōhoku Hokuriku Shinkansen to Sakudaira; Jōetsu Shinkansen to Gala Yuzawa; Tōhoku Shinkansen to Shin-Aomori (Aomori) Foreign passport holders 5 consecutive days ¥20,000 Reserve online
East–South Hokkaidō Pass Kantō, Tōhoku & Hokkaidō Hokuriku Shinkansen to Sakudaira; Jōetsu Shinkansen to Gala Yuzawa; Tōhoku Shinkansen to Shin-Aomori (Aomori); Hokkaido Shinkansen to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto (Hakodate) Foreign passport holders with a temporary (tourist) visa 6 consecutive days ¥27,000 Reserve online
Tōhoku–South Hokkaidō Pass Tōhoku & Hokkaidō Tōhoku Shinkansen between Shin-Aomori (Aomori); Hokkaido Shinkansen to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto (Hakodate) Foreign passport holders with a temporary (tourist) visa 6 consecutive days ¥24,000 Reserve online

It doesn’t matter if you buy these passes overseas or in Japan — the price is the same. All but the last pass (the Tōhoku–South Hokkaidō Pass) cover travel starting in Tokyo, including transport to/from Narita and Haneda airports.

Read more about JR East passes here, including info on key destinations that you can visit with each pass.

JR Central passes

JR Central’s “tourist passes” cover destinations in the region between Kantō and Kansai. These passes are a little different from the other regional rail passes: Rather than covering travel in a broad area, they cover travel along certain rail lines. This means the route is pretty much set — though it remains up to you which places you choose to stop at.

Through September 4, 2022 foreign passport holders on any visa can purchase theses passes — that includes foreign residents.

JR Central tourist passes at a glance:

Pass Regions covered Shinkansen Eligibility Validity period Price (purchased in Japan) Price (purchased outside of Japan) Booking link (overseas price)
Takayama–Hokuriku Area Kansai, Takayama, Shirakawa-go & Kanazawa Hokuriku Shinkansen between Toyama & Kanazawa Foreign passport holders 5 consecutive days ¥15,280 ¥14,260 Reserve online
Alpine–Takayama–Matsumoto Area Pass Kiso Valley, Matsumoto, Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route & Takayama Foreign passport holders 5 consecutive days ¥19,600 ¥18,600 Reserve online
Ise–Kumano–Wakayama Area Kansai, Ise & Kii Peninsula Foreign passport holders 5 consecutive days ¥12,220 ¥11,210 Reserve online
Mt Fuji–Shizuoka Area Pass Izu Peninsula & Fuji Five Lakes Foreign passport holders 3 consecutive days ¥5,080 ¥4,570 Reserve online

Notably, a few passes cover transport around Japan’s Alpine region (in Nagano and Gifu prefectures). This means potential stops in popular destinations like the Kiso Valley, Matsumoto, Takayama, and Shirakawa-gō, plus travel along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

Other passes hit destinations that include: Mt Fuji, the Izu Peninsula, Ise, and the Kii Peninsula (where the Kumano Kodō pilgrim trails are located).

For more details, check out our complete guide to JR Central passes, which includes sample itineraries for each pass.

train running by seaside of Izu, Shizuoka, Japan (Odoriko, E257 series)
Or maybe a trip along the coast, to the Izu Peninsula? | Photo by iStock.com/ziggy_mars

Kansai Area Pass & Kansai WIDE Area Pass

The Kansai Area Pass and the Kansai WIDE Area Pass are for travel on JR trains in and around the Kansai region. This includes popular destintions like Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Kōbe, and Himeji. Both passes also cover travel to/from Kansai International Airport (on the limited express Haruka train)

With the Kansai Area Pass, you can choose how many days you want to use the pass:

Validity period Price Booking link
1 day ¥2,400 Reserve online
2 days ¥4,600 Reserve online
3 days ¥5,600 Reserve online
4 days ¥6,800 Reserve online

The price is the same, purchased in or outside Japan.

The Kansai WIDE Area Pass, meanwhile, covers a little more ground than the Kansai Area Pass. Notably, it includes travel to Kansai’s most popular hot spring town, Kinosaki Onsen, and the Kii Peninsula. It also allows you to travel over the Great Seto Bridge to Takamatsu, on the island of Shikoku.

Kansai WIDE Area Pass at a glance:

Pass Regions covered Shinkansen Eligibility Validity period Price (purchased within Japan) Price (purchased outside Japan) Booking link (overseas price)
Kansai WIDE Area Pass Kansai west to Okayama + Takamatsu Sanyō Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Okayama Foreign passport holders with a temporary (tourist) visa 5 consecutive days ¥11,000 ¥10,000 Reserve Online

The Kansai Area Pass and the Kansai WIDE Area Pass are only for foreign tourists. However, through March 2023, foreign passport holders (with any visa) can purchase a 3-day Kansai WIDE Area Excursion Pass, which covers the same ground that the Kansai WIDE Area Pass does. The pass costs ¥10,000 and you can buy it here.

JR West regional rail passes

JR West covers the western half of Honshū: that’s everything from Kansai westward to the Kanmon Strait (which separates Honshū and Kyūshū). If your travels are focused on this part of the country — and especially if you are flying into Kansai International Airport (KIX) — these passes might interest you.

JR West passes at a glance:

Pass Regions covered Shinkansen Eligibility Validity period Price (purchased within Japan) Price (purchased outside Japan) Booking link (overseas price)
JR West All Area Pass Kanazawa, Kansai & the rest of Honshū to the west + Fukuoka Sanyō Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka & Hakata (Fukuoka); Hokuriku Shinkansen between Kanazawa & Jōetsu Myōkō Foreign passport holders with a temporary (tourist) visa 7 consecutive days ¥25,000 ¥23,000 Reserve online
Kansai–Hiroshima Area Pass Kansai west to Hiroshima + Takamatsu Sanyō Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Hiroshima Foreign passport holders with a temporary (tourist) visa 5 consecutive days ¥16,000 ¥15,000 Reserve Online
Kansai–Hokuriku Area Pass Kanazawa & Kansai west to Okayama Sanyō Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka & Okayama; Hokuriku Shinkansen between Kanazawa & Jōetsu Myōkō Foreign passport holders with a temporary (tourist) visa 7 consecutive days ¥19,000 ¥17,000 Reserve Online
Sanyō–San’in Area Pass Kansai & the rest of Honshū to the west + Fukuoka Sanyō Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka & Hakata (Fukuoka) Foreign passport holders with a temporary (tourist) visa 7 consecutive days ¥22,000 ¥20,000 Reserve Online
Hokuriku Area Pass Kanazawa & Noto Peninsula Hokuriku Shinkansen between Kanazawa & Kurobe Unazaki Onsen Foreign passport holders with a temporary (tourist) visa 4 consecutive days ¥5,600 ¥5,090 Reserve online
Okayama–Hiroshima–Yamaguchi Area Pass Okayama, Hiroshima & Yamaguchi + Takamatsu & Fukuoka Foreign passport holders with a temporary (tourist) visa Sanyō Shinkansen between Okayama & Hakata (Fukuoka) 5 consecutive days ¥16,000 ¥15,000 Reserve online
San'in–Okayama Area Pass Okayama, Tottori & Shimane Foreign passport holders with a temporary (tourist) visa 4 consecutive days ¥5,600 ¥4,580 Reserve online
Hiroshima–Yamaguchi Area Pass Hiroshima & Yamaguchi + Hakata (Fukuoka) Sanyō Shinkansen between Hiroshima Airport Station and Hakata (Fukuoka) Foreign passport holders with a temporary (tourist) visa 5 consecutive days ¥14,000 ¥13,000 Reserve online

Many of these passes include travel in Kansai — so including what’s covered in the Kansai Area Pass or Kansai WIDE Area Pass — plus additional regions, like Hiroshima, for example. Other passes don’t include travel in Kansai — though there is an option to stack one of these passes with the Kansai Area Pass or Kansai WIDE Area Pass for longer, deeper travel.

Most (but not all!) passes cover travel along all or part of the Sanyō Shinkansen — the Shinkansen that runs between Shin-Osaka (Osaka) and Hakata (Fukuoka, in northern Kyūshū). A couple of passes also cover travel to parts of Hokuriku, including Kanazawa and the Noto Peninsula.

More coverage of JR West regional rail passes here.

The pink Hello Kitty Shinkansen
With JR West passes you can ride the pink Hello Kitty Shinkansen! | Photo by iStock.com/CHENG FENG CHIANG

Hokuriku Arch Pass

The Hokuriku Arch Pass is a joint pass from JR East and JR West. It covers travel between Tokyo and Kansai — the only pass to do so, other than the countrywide Japan Rail Pass. The catch? It doesn’t cover the fastest, most convenient way to get between the two: the Tokaidō Shinkansen.

Instead, it covers travel on the Hokuriku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Kanazawa, via Karuizawa and Nagano; and then the limited express train that connects Kanazawa and Osaka, via Kyoto. As it turns out, this is actually an excellent itinerary, which we detail here, along with more info on the Hokuriku Arch Pass.

Hokuriku Arch Pass at a glance:

Pass Regions covered Shinkansen Eligibility Validity period Price (purchased within Japan) Price (purchased outside Japan) Booking link
Hokuriku Arch Pass Kanto, Nagano, Hokuriku & Kansai Hokuriku Shinkansen between Tokyo & Kanazawa Foreign passport holders on a temporary visa 7 consecutive days ¥25,500 ¥24,500 Reserve online

It’s a better deal to buy this pass overseas. But you can purchase it in Japan, at major JR East and JR West train stations that fall within the scope of the pass.

JR Shikoku passes

JR Shikoku’s All Shikoku Rail Pass covers rail travel around the island of Shikoku for three to seven consecutive days:

Validity period Price (purchased within Japan) Price (purchased outside Japan) Booking link (overseas price)
3 consecutive days ¥9,500 ¥9,000 Reserve online
4 consecutive days ¥10,500 ¥10,000 Reserve online
5 consecutive days ¥11,500 ¥11,000 Reserve online
7 consecutive days ¥13,500 ¥13,000 Reserve online

The All Shikoku Rail Pass is only for tourists. However, for a limited time — through September 2022 — JR Shikoku is offering a 3-day rail pass for foreign residents, which you can purchase online here.

JR Shikoku also has a regional rail pass, the Kagawa Mini Rail and Ferry Pass, which covers travel in Kagawa, one of Shikoku’s four prefectures. For more details on JR Shikoku rail passes, plus ideas for where to travel in Shikoku, read our guide to Shikoku rail passes.

A train crosses a bridge over a field of yellow flowers in Tokushima prefecture, Japan
You could do worse than seeing Shikoku by rail | Photo by iStock.com/SAND555

Setouchi Area Pass

Like the Hokuriku Arch Pass, the Setouchi Area Pass is a joint pass — this one from JR West and JR Shikoku. It covers travel between the major cities of Kansai; Shinkansen travel between Shin-Osaka and Hakata (Fukuoka); travel in northern Shikoku, between Takamatsu and Matsuyama; the ferry to Shodōshima, and island in the Seto Inland Sea; and also the ferry between Matsuyama and Hiroshima.

Setouchi Area Pass at a glance:

Pass Regions covered Shinkansen Eligibility Validity period Price (purchased within Japan) Price (purchased outside Japan) Booking link
Setouchi Area Pass Kansai, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Kagawa, Ehime & Fukuoka Sanyō Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka & Hakata (Fukuoka) Foreign passport holders on a temporary visa 7 consecutive days ¥21,000 ¥19,000 Reserve online

In Japan, the pass can be purchased at major JR West and JR Shikoku train stations that fall within the scope of the pass. But we recommend booking online overseas to get a better price.

JR Kyūshū passes

JR Kyūshū’s All Kyūshū Pass covers rail travel on Kyūshū, including use of the Kyūshū Shinkansen, which runs between Hakata (Fukuoka) in the north and Kagoshima-chūō (Kagoshima).

Validity period Price Booking link (overseas price)
3 consecutive days ¥17,000 Reserve online
5 consecutive days ¥18,500 Reserve online
7 consecutive days ¥20,000 Reserve online

In addition to the All Kyūshū Pass, JR Kyūshū has a pass just for the northern half of the island and one for the southern half of the island. Read more about JR Kyūshū regional rail passes.

Good news! While the JR Kyūshū passes are normally only available for foreign travelers on a tourist visa, for a limited time — until September 30, 2022 — foreign passport holders on any visa can purchase and use them.

Sanyō–San’in Northern Kyūshū Pass

The Sanyō–San’in Northern Kyūshū Pass — a joint pass between JR West and JR Kyūshū — covers everything that JR West’s Sanyō–San’in Area Pass does, plus what JR Kyūshū’s Northern Kyūshū Pass covers. (Meaning it covers Kansai west to Kumamoto, in central Kyūshū).

Sanyō–San’in Northern Kyūshū Pass:

Pass Regions covered Shinkansen Eligibility Validity period Price (purchased within Japan) Price (purchased outside Japan) Booking link
Sanyō–San’in Northern Kyūshū Pass Kansai & the rest of Honshū to the west + Fukuoka to Kumamoto (in Kyūshū) Sanyō Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka & Hakata (Fukuoka); Kyūshū Shinkasen between Hakata and Kumamoto Foreign passport holders on a temporary visa 7 consecutive days ¥25,000 ¥23,000 Reserve Online

Note that even though any foreign passport holder can currently purchase JR Kyūshū passes, this pass is only for foreign tourists.

It can be purchased in Japan at at major JR West and JR Kyūshū train stations that fall within the scope of the pass — but it’s cheaper if you buy online from an overseas agent.

A green train travels along a curve on the coast
A train on its way to onsen hotspot Beppu | Photo by iStock.com/takafumi99

JR Hokkaidō passes

The JR Hokkaidō’s All Hokkaidō Pass covers rail travel on Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaidō. It does not cover the Hokkaidō Shinkansen, which connects Hokkaidō with Honshū. Instead, it covers travel on the network of rail lines (including limited express trains) that connect Hokkaidō’s major cities and tourist destinations, and also New Chitose Airport.

The pass, which is only for tourists, is good for five or seven consecutive days of travel:

Validity period Price (purchased within Japan) Price (purchased outside Japan) Booking link (overseas price)
5 consecutive days ¥20,000 ¥19,000 Reserve online
7 consecutive days ¥25,000 ¥26,000 Reserve online

JR Hokkaidō’s Hokkaidō Free Pass, meanwhile, can be used by anyone, regardless of passport or visa status (it’s just not as good of a deal).

JR Hokkaidō also has two new regional rail passes: the Sapporo–Noboribetsu Area Pass and the Sapporo–Furano Area Pass. Through September 2022 these two passes can be purchased by foreign passport holders on any visa.

For more details on these passes and more, see our guide to JR Hokkaidō rail passes.

Regional rail pass FAQs

What is the difference between the Japan Rail Pass and JR regional rail passes?

The Japan Rail Pass covers rail travel across the country (except for Okinawa) while regional passes cover travel only in certain parts of the country. In exchange for limited scope, regional rail passes cost less (how much so depends on the pass). So the Cheapo trick here is to work out if you can reasonably confine your travels to a particular area, in order to make use of a cheaper pass.

Or, on the other hand, to decide if it is worth paying a little bit more to have more flexibility over where you can travel.

Another important difference is that only the countrywide Japan Rail Pass covers travel along the Tokaidō Shinkansen — the most popular Shinkansen and the one that most conveniently connects Japan’s two most popular destinations, Tokyo and Kyoto.

Meanwhile, some regional rail passes do include travel on non-JR trains, local buses, ferries, and/or trams that the countrywide JR Pass doesn’t.

A few regional rail passes can be purchased by foreign residents of Japan (i.e. foreign passport holders not entering the country on a temporary tourist visa). For more details on those passes and how to purchase them, see our guide to JR passes for foreign residents.

Are regional rail passes a good deal?

Generally speaking, JR regional rail passes are a good deal. They tend to pay off if you make one round-trip Shinkansen journey (or limited express train journey) to one of the more far-flung destinations covered by the pass.

See individual rail pass pages — for JR East, JR Central, JR West, JR Shikoku, JR Kyūshū, and JR Hokkaidō — for a closer look at the value of individual passes.

One thing to keep in mind though is the cost of getting to the region covered by the pass, especially if you are coming in from overseas. Far and away most international flights arrive at Narita Airport, followed by Haneda and Kansai Airport (KIX); moreover, flights to Narita tend to be the cheapest.

Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports fall within the scope of the Tokyo Wide Pass, most of the JR East passes, and the Hokuriku Arch Pass — but no other passes. Likewise, only the Hokuriku Arch Pass, Setouchi Area Pass, Sanyō–San’in Northern Kyūshū Pass, JR West passes that include Kansai, and some JR Central passes cover travel to/from KIX.

For other passes you are looking at a flight to a regional airport, or additional train/bus fare. In which case, a national JR Pass might be better value.

Can I stack passes?

There is no policy that says you can’t! By stacking regional rail passes, you can possibly spend less than you would on a 14- or 21-day national JR rail pass.

What happens if my pass gets lost or stolen?

Don’t let this happen! It will not be replaced! If this does happen, head to the nearest JR station lost and found. Since passes can only be used by the person whose name is on the pass, someone might find it and turn it in.

Can I travel from Tokyo to Kyoto with a regional rail pass?

There is only one regional rail pass that covers travel between Tokyo and Kyoto and that is the Hokuriku Arch Pass. However — and this is a big however! — you cannot use the Hokuriku Arch Pass to ride the Tokaidō Shinkansen (the Shinkansen that travels between Tokyo and Kyoto). Instead, the Hokuriku Arch Pass allows you to travel between the two cities by way of Nagano and Kanazawa, which is not at all a direct route (though it does take you to some lovely places).

There is no regional rail pass that covers the Tokaidō Shinkansen!

Can I travel to/from Narita Airport with a regional rail pass?

Only the following passes cover travel to/from Narita Airport: the Tokyo Wide Pass; JR East’s Nagano & Niigata Area Pass, Tōhoku Area Pass, and East–South Hokkaidō Pass; and the Hokuriku Arch Pass. Travel is on the JR Narita Express (N’EX) train.

Both terminals 1 and 2 have JR East Travel Service Centers where you can purchase and activate rail passes.

Can I travel to/from Haneda Airport with a regional rail pass?

The same passes that cover travel to/from Narita Airport also cover travel to/from Haneda Airport on the Tokyo Monorail.

There is a JR East Travel Service Center at Haneda’s International Terminal, where you can purchase and activate rail passes. That said, unless you are getting on the Shinkansen that day, it is probably not the best use of your pass (since getting to Tokyo from Haneda only costs ¥500 on the monorail).

Can I travel to/from Kansai Airport with a regional rail pass?

Only the following passes cover travel to/from Kansai Airport (KIX): the Kansai Area Pass, Kansai WIDE Area Pass, and Kansai WIDE Area Excursion Pass; JR West’s All Area Pass, Kansai–Hiroshima Area Pass, Kansai–Hokuriku Area Pass, and Sanyō–San’in Area Pass; JR Central’s Takayama–Hokuriku Area Pass and Ise–Kumano–Wakayama Area; the Hokuriku Arch Pass, Setouchi Area Pass, and Sanyō–San’in Northern Kyūshū Pass.

Travel to/from KIX is on the JR limited express Haruka train, a ¥1,200¥1,800 value one-way.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change.

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