The JR Pass is a travel pass that allows visitors in Japan unlimited access on the Japan Rail network. In our previous article, we talked about how the JR Pass can help save costs especially if you’re planning to travel to different prefectures. But what if you’re just travelling regionally? With many different types of regional JR Passes, there’s bound to be one that will be the right fit for you.
What’s the difference between the standard JR Pass and regional JR Pass?
The standard JR Pass allows travellers to explore the whole of Japan with unlimited train rides between and within cities, for a period of 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days.
On the other hand, regional JR Passes only cover specific regions and are cheaper than the standard JR Pass that covers all of Japan. Certain regional passes also have non-consecutive day passes, so they allow for more flexibility in your travels.
How many different types of regional JR Passes are there?
There are more than 20 variations of JR Passes! Regional JR Passes are issued by the companies that make up Japan Railways. Namely JR East, JR West, JR Central, JR Hokkaido, JR Shikoku and JR Kyushu.
Let’s take a look at different regional JR Passes that covers different parts of Japan.
JR Hokkaido Pass
The JR Hokkaido Pass is the perfect fit for travelers exploring Hokkaido. It allows unlimited rides on all JR Hokkaido Lines, except for Hokkaido Shinkansen. It is available in five or seven consecutive days.
Sapporo-Noboribetsu Area Pass
With this area pass, you get unlimited rides within the designated areas of New Chitose Airport, Sapporo, Otaru and Noboribetsu. It is only available in four consecutive days.
Sapporo-Furano Area Pass
This area pass will allow you to travel between New Chitose Airport, Sapporo, Otaru, Furano, Biei and Asahikawa. Like the Sapporo-Noboribetsu Area Pass, it is only available for four consecutive days.
JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass
This rail pass connects Tokyo with Sapporo, and is ideal for travelers visiting Tohoku and the southern part of Hokkaido. Apart from unlimited travel on JR East Kanto, JR East Tohoku and JR Hokkaido lines, it also allows travel on the Hayabusa Shinkansen – the fastest Shinkansen in Japan! The pass is valid for six consecutive days.
JR Tohoku-South Hokkaido Rail Pass
If you’re only travelling within the Tohoku region and southern Hokkaido, this rail pass allows for unlimited travel on the JR Line within the two regions. This is great for you if other than Hokkaido, you’re also travelling to places in Tohoku such as Yamagata, Akita and Miyagi. Valid for six consecutive days.
JR East Tohoku Area Pass
Despite its slightly misleading name, this area pass will also allow you to travel on JR East trains in both Kanto and Tohoku regions. This is great for those travelling within Tokyo and want to go by shinkansen to Sendai, Akita, Aomori and more over five consecutive days.
JR Tokyo Wide Pass
If you’re basing yourself in Tokyo, this pass may be ideal for you. It’s also great if you’re planning to take day trips to Nikko, or Lake Kawaguchiko to see Mount Fuji, and plan to stay at onsen towns like Kusatsu Onsen. Available for three consecutive days!
Hokuriku Arch Pass
The Hokuriku Arch Pass is perfect for those going from Tokyo to the less traveled Hokuriku region, and further to visit Osaka, Kyoto, and other places in Kansai. It’s valid for seven consecutive days on JR trains between Tokyo, Osaka and the Hokuriku Shinkansen.
Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Area Tourist Pass Mini
This rail pass provides three consecutive days of unlimited travel on designated trains in Shizuoka Prefecture. This includes JR Tokaido Line between Toyohashi and Atami, JR Gotemba Line between Numazu and Matsuda, JR Minobu Line between Fuji and Shimobe Onsen and Izuhakone Railway between Mishima and Shuzenji.
JR East Nagano Niigata Area Pass
This rail pass is for those travelling within Tokyo and going to Niigata plus areas in Shinshu such as Nagano, Matsumoto, and Hakuba via Shinkansen. Valid for five consecutive days.
Takayama-Hokuriku Tourist Pass
Enjoy unlimited travel on JR trains connecting Nagoya with Takayama and Toyama, and Osaka with Kanazawa and Toyama with this pass. Valid for five consecutive days.
JR Hokuriku Area Pass
The Hokuriku Area Pass provides four consecutive days of unlimited travel on designated trains and buses within the Hokuriku Region. This is great for exploring cities such as Toyama, Kanazawa, Kaga Onsen, Fukui.
JR Kansai-Hokuriku Area Pass
Travelling within the Kansai Region, Hokuriku Region and Okayama? This pass combines the areas of Kansai Wide Area Pass and Hokuriku Area Pass into one. You can get it in seven consecutive days.
JR West All Area Pass
Staying within western Japan?The JR West All Area Pass provides seven consecutive days of unlimited travel within the whole service area of JR West. This includes local, rapid and limited express JR trains. Also Sanyo Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Fukuoka’s Hakata Station, and Hokuriku Shinkansen between Kanazawa and Joetsu-Myoko Station.
JR Kansai Area Pass
Unlimited travel on local and rapid JR trains in the region around Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and Himeji. This pass is also valid for the Haruka limited express to/from Kansai Airport. It is available in one to four consecutive days.
JR Kansai Wide Pass
The Kansai Wide Pass covers all areas and transportation in the previous pass, as well as Sanyo Shinkansen between Osaka and Okayama. Valid for five consecutive days.
Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass
This travel pass connects Nagoya with Ise, Kumano region and Osaka. Apart from unlimited use of JR limited express and local trains, it is also valid for buses around Ise and Kumano. Perfect if you’re visiting Ise Shrines or hiking Kumano Kodo over five days!
JR Sanyo-San’in Area Pass
This pass covers the Chugoku region and parts of Kansai region. It provides seven consecutive days of unlimited travel on designated JR trains, bus lines, shinkansen and limited express trains. It also allows for travel on the JR ferry to Miyajima.
JR Sanyo-San’in Northern Kyushu Pass
This pass is essentially a combination of the Sanyo Sanin Area Pass and the Northern Kyushu version of the Kyushu Rail Pass. It is valid for seven consecutive days, providing unlimited travel in Chugoku, northern Kyushu and parts of Kansai.
JR Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass
If you’re travelling in the Kansai region, along Sanyo coast to Hiroshima, this rail pass will cover five consecutive days of travel.
JR Okayama-Hiroshima-Yamaguchi Area Pass
With this area pass, you get unlimited travel in Okayama, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi and the shinkansen to/from Fukuoka. Valid for five consecutive days.
JR Hiroshima-Yamaguchi Area Pass
This rail pass covers five consecutive days of unlimited travel in Hiroshima and Yamaguchi and the shinkansen to/from Fukuoka.
JR San’in-Okayama Area Pass
This pass covers unlimited travel on JR trains in the Sanin and Okayama regions. It’s a great pass for travelling around Matsue, Iwami Ginzan, Hagi and Tottori for four consecutive days. But it pays off for even a one-way trip between Okayama and Matsue alone!
JR Setouchi Area Pass
This pass gives unlimited travel on designated JR trains and selected trams, buses and ferries in the region around the Seto Inland Sea. Available in seven consecutive days.
All Shikoku Rail Pass
Travelling to Shikoku? The All Shikoku Rail Pass gives unlimited train travel for three, four, five or seven consecutive days. Apart from JR trains, it is also valid for trains and trams in Kotoden, Iyotetsu, Tosaden, on Tosa Kuroshio Railway and Asa Kaigan Railway. On top of that, it can be used on selected ferries to Shodoshima and buses in Shodoshima.
JR All Kyushu Area Pass
Take this rail pass for unlimited travel on the trains in Kyushu, including Kyushu Shinkansen and limited express trains, but excluding Sanyo Shinkansen. Available for three, five or seven days.
JR Northern Kyushu Area Pass
This pass covers the northern region of Kyushu. Provides unlimited travel to Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Yufuin, Beppu and more for three or five consecutive days.
JR Southern Kyushu Area Pass
This rail pass covers the lower part of Kyushu including Kumamoto, Kagoshima and Miyazaki. Only available in three consecutive days.
JR Kyushu Rail Pass (Fukuoka Wide)
The Fukuoka Wide rail pass is valid for lines around Fukuoka and does not cover any shinkansen trains. Valid for two consecutive days.