（1）What is JR Pass?
The Japan Rail Pass (also commonly called JR Pass) is a very cost effective rail pass for long distance train travel in Japan.
The pass can be used by foreign tourists only, and offers unlimited use of JR trains for one, two or three weeks at a cost that residents of Japan can only dream of. It comes in two types: ordinary and green car. The latter is valid on green cars (first class cars) that offer more spacious seats than ordinary cars.
The Japan Rail Pass is valid on:
- JR trains
The pass is valid on almost all trains operated on the nationwide network of JR(Japan Railways), including shinkansen, limited express, express, rapid and localtrains. Below is a map showing the major train lines that can be used with the pass.
- Tokyo Monorail to/from Haneda Airport
- JR Ferry to Miyajima
- Some non-JR trains to access isolated JR lines
A small number of non-JR trains to access remote, isolated JR lines that would otherwise be inaccessible. However, pass holders may only get on and off at stations that provide a transfer to JR lines. The following non-JR trains may be used:
- Aoimori Railway between Aomori, Noheji and Hachinohe to access the JR Ominato Line to the Shimokita Peninsula.
- IR Ishikawa Railway between Kanazawa and Tsubata to access the JR Nanao Line to the Noto Peninsula.
- Ainokaze Toyama Railway between Toyama and Takaoka to access the JR Himi Line and JR Johana Line.
- Local JR buses
The pass is valid on local buses operated by JR (but not on highway buses). There are not too many, but among them, the following can be useful to foreign tourists:
- Yamaguchi – Hagi
- Kyoto Station – Ryoanji – Takao
- Kanazawa Station – Kenrokuen
- JR buses to Lake Towada
- JR tourist loop bus in Hiroshima
- JR city buses around Sapporo
- JR local bus to Kusatsu Onsen
The Japan Rail Pass is not valid or requires a supplement fee in case of the following exceptions:
- Nozomi trains along the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen
- Mizuho trains along the Sanyo/Kyushu Shinkansen
- JR trains using non-JR tracks
- Special compartments and berth
- Trains requiring Liner Tickets
- Highway buses