*ARTICLE UPDATED FEBRUARY 20th. See the official press release here
For a full purchasing guide, see our recent article The Ultimate Guide to the Japan Rail Pass: From Plan to Purchase*
Japan Rail Pass is an economical pass only available for foreign tourists under the entry status of “Temporary Visitor” that allows access to the JR network nationwide.
It is a lot cheaper to travel with this pass than to buy the ticket each time you travel, especially when visiting multiple prefectures using the bullet trains. Also, having this pass makes it easy to travel as you do not need to check the ticket price or do the payment every time you get on a train.
Until March 2017, Japan Rail Pass was only available for purchase at some designated travel agencies outside Japan. However, since last March, it can be purchased at designated JR counter in Japan including Narita Airport, Haneda Airport and Kansai Airport as well but at increased prices. As of now, JR says they have extended the period of sales in Japan until March 30, 2020.
The good thing about this is that travelers who did not know about Japan Rail Pass until they landed in Japan will be able to purchase the pass in Japan. However, travelers should be aware that the prices are different when you purchase it in Japan. *Green Car is a first class car with more spacious seats.
There are many rules about the use of the pass. Also, even if you have purchased the exchange order, if you do not meet the qualifications for using the pass, they will not issue the pass in Japan. Please read the website carefully before purchasing one.