Video by Becca.  In collaboration with Changi Recommends.

Why, hello!! I've been getting so much questions on my Japan itinerary and how I get around from Tokyo to Osaka and Kyoto so we are going to delve right into it today! Meet The Japan Rail Pass aka JR Pass – It is the most amazing and cost efficient way to get around Japan for tourists especially if you're going from one city to another.  

Let's get started!

• The Japan Rail Pass is a train pass offered by the Japan Railways (JR) Group for tourists, designed to help travelers explore Japan more affordably with convenience.
• JR has an extensive network of trains and bullet trains (shinkansen) throughout the country, and when you have the JR Pass you have access to nearly all of it.
• The JR Pass is available in duration ranging from  7, 14 or 21 consecutive days. 
• There are a variety JR passes available depending on your preference but there are 2 preferred passes I highly recommend – 

JR Pass Ordinary

The Japan Rail (JR) Pass Ordinary grants you access to the coach class carriages available on all JR trains. All JR carriages come with excellent reclining seats and sufficient leg space to ensure your experience on the train is a comfortable one.

Seat reservations for JR Pass Ordinary holders are not necessary but recommended, especially for groups that travel together. You can make your seat reservations directly at the JR service centers located all around Japan! Alternatively, there are online reservation options as well.

JR Pass Green

Travel in luxury with the JR Green pass and get additional access to the Green Car - similar to first class carriages. Experience top quality service from friendly JR staff and exceptional comfort with larger reclining seats and wider personal legroom on the Green Car, a perfect way to rest those weary legs after a long day of exploring.

Green Car seats have an integrated radio set and power outlet and passengers can indulge in small hot towels (oshibori) and refreshing beverages.

As the Green Car is usually less crowded, it is the best way to travel during peak seasons (May, August and September) when finding a seat on a desired train can be difficult.

Personally, I took the JR Pass Ordinary and I find for the seats to be extremely comfortable! There are also toilets and designated spots to stow your luggages so there is absolutely no worry. One of my favourite parts is being able to dine while on the trains. You can purchase bento sets at the train stations and bring them on board and indulge while you go from Tokyo to Osaka! That's one of my favourite things to do. 

Here are some most commonly asked questions I get –

1. Where and how do you activate your JR passes?

After purchasing your JR passes from Changi Recommends, pick them up at the Changi Recommends departure counter before your flight! It comes in a little envelop with your names. *don't lose it!* Please note to not make any errors in your name input as they refer directly to your passport when you activate them in Japan! There are JR service centers located all around in Japan but the one I went to was in Shibuya, Tokyo! You can activate your passes at the counter of the service centers as well as to make your seat bookings for your trips. I highly suggest for everyone to make their seats reservations 3 days prior to your trip – this gives you flexibility with the timings! The service staff at the JR centers can communicate in both English and Mandarin so it was an easy and smooth process. 

2. Why should I get the JR Pass?

If you are traveling purely in Tokyo, I'd recommend getting the PASMO/SUICA card to JR Pass! As the local trains operating under PASMO/SUICA takes you conveniently around Tokyo at a more affordable rate. However, if you're going from Tokyo to Osaka and other cities then the JR Pass is perfect! But it is important that you plan your itinerary in a way it fits the limited time duration of 7/14/21 days! I typically spend a week in Osaka and Kyoto making the last day of my JR Pass available for a trip towards the airport! From the date you decide to activate the JR pass, it takes immediate effect of the 7 days count.

3. How do they verify your JR Pass?

All JR lines have a counter before entry to the station where you can show the service staff your JR Pass for entry! 

4. How do I purchase my JR Pass?

You can purchase it directly from Changi Recommends here! They are a trusted site and it's tried and tested by yours truly. Their site also provides a series of instructions and FAQs too!


I hope this entry helps and if you guys ever need additional information, don't hesitate to send me an email or DM! <3

Rebecca TenComment