【Japan Travel Advice】 Mastering the Rail System

【Japan Travel Advice】 Mastering the Rail System
The rail system is used as a means of transport by many people in Japan. As you might expect, the total length of rail line in Japan is considerable, extending to 27,182 km and ranking 11th worldwide*. We’d like to introduce some information that will make your use of trains in Japan easier and more convenient.

1) Open tickets

When journeying around sightseeing areas, it’s expensive and tiring to have to buy countless tickets for each and every short trip. So in this case, we recommend one-day tickets. They can be a very economical option because by using one you can get on and off a particular transit system as much as you want in one day. One of the best among them is the Tokyo Tour Ticket (also known as the “Tokyo Free Kippu”), which can be used in the Tokyo area. With just this one great ticket, you’ll be able to ride on the JR Railway and Tokyo Metro systems, as well as on the Toei Subway and Toei Bus lines.

Transit systems and terms of use:https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/tokyo_free.html

The Tokyo Tour Ticket is sold at Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway stations as well as at the ticket windows of major JR East stations. Of course, you can also buy one-day tickets for use on just one transit system, like the Tokyo Metro’s 1-day open ticket. One-day tickets are available for day trips outside of Tokyo as well as in other parts of Japan, so be sure to check before you start your travels!

For those who will be traveling throughout Japan, we recommend the Japan Rail Pass. With this incredibly convenient pass, you’ll be able to ride as much as you’d like on rail and bus systems managed by the JR Group throughout Japan. This pass is only sold at travel agencies outside of Japan, so you must purchase before arriving in Japan.

JAPAN RAIL PASS:http://www.japanrailpass.net/en/index.html

2) IC Cards

Next, we’d like to introduce the IC card system. There are a variety of cards for the different regions of Japan, but the most popular IC cards can be used all across Japan.
Suica
PASMO
By charging up your card beforehand, you’ll be able to save on the time you’d otherwise spend lining up in front of the ticket machines. Simply touch your card to the ticket gate and walk through. How simple is that?

Besides all of the time you save and hassle you avoid, IC cards are great for three more reasons.

The first is that you don’t end up carrying around a lot of change. The smallest unit used in calculating fares in Japanese transit systems is 10 yen, so if you’re not careful, your wallet or purse will quickly fill up with coins. However, if you pay using an IC card, you don’t need to worry about that at all.

The second is that some railway companies give a small discount on your fare if you use an IC card. This varies by rail company, so you’ll need to check for yourself.

And the third is that IC cards can also be used for purchases outside of the rail system. For example, you can use it to pay for bus or taxi fare, at the convenience store or market, and even at vending machines and coin lockers.
IC cards
taxi
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Make your day easy and simple by loading up your card with money in the morning and using it for getting around, buying things, and taking care of your luggage. Many overseas visitors settle their bills with a credit card when they travel. Although credit cards are convenient, they often have extra fees when used in foreign currencies and are not accepted at all shops and restaurants. What’s more, shifts in the exchange rate after you arrive can change how much an item is worth in your home currency. These shifts are felt most noticeably when you spend a lot of money on your vacation. By using an IC card instead, you’ll be covering your expenses with Japanese yen you’ve already purchased, allowing you to shop without worrying about the exchange rate.

Everyone has their own way of going out and seeing the world. So whatever your way, be sure to match your plans to your style and have a lovely trip!

* See http://top10.sakura.ne.jp/CIA-RANK2121R.html

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