|Above, two of my Rail Passes in my collection. Photo by Armand Vaquer,|
One of the most useful and money-saving things that Japan has devised is the JR Rail Pass.
I have made use of various Rail Passes over the years and have saved a lot of money when using it to travel around Japan. This was particularly true when I made a "whirlwind tour" of Kyushu in 2007.
But, there's a few things one should know before purchasing a JR Rail Pass. If travel to other places outside of Tokyo, it will save money. But if a visitor is just going to stay in Tokyo, I wouldn't pay to get one.
Travelers Today has an article on 5 things people should know before buying a JR Rail Pass.
They begin with:
Japan is a very diverse and fascinating country, with so many natural landmarks, wonderful towns, cities and old buildings. The Japan Rail (JR) pass is the best way to see what this fascinating country has to offer.
However, before one leaves his country of origin, it is best to plan for the trip. An important information is that one cannot buy the JR pass in Japan. One has to order an exchange voucher online in Australia or New Zealand [or the United States]. One then exchanges this for his official JR pass once he arrives in Japan. The voucher is only valid for 90 days and so it must be exchanged for a JR Pass within this period. Passports are checked upon exchange.To read more, go here.