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Bullet train tourist pass

Austin, Texas
4 posts
2 reviews
Bullet train tourist pass

I may have this whole "free pass" thing mixed up. I've seen it mentioned here and there on the internet that tourists who are in Japan for 2 weeks can get a free pass for the bullet train. However, I can't find any solid details on how this actually works or how to get the pass. Am I completely misreading the idea of a free pass? Is it actually a pass you PAY for, but once you have it it's free to take any train once you've got the pass? Or is there some kind of special ticket only available for tourists - as if it was some kind of initiative to promote tourism throughout the country? Any clarification is much appreciated.

Other info: We're trying to travel between (in no strict order) Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Mt. Fuji, and Niigata.

Thank you!

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6 replies to this topic
San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
Level Contributor
68,594 posts
72 reviews
1. Re: Bullet train tourist pass

There is a JR pass you pay for and then you don't pay again for travel on those trains. NOwhere does it say on line that tourists ride trains for free!!!There is no free pass!!

Austin, Texas
4 posts
2 reviews
2. Re: Bullet train tourist pass

Thanks. I think that's all I was trying to clarify. When taking in so much info for travel and tourism (other than just bullet trains) one comes across pretty sketchy info from time-to-time. In any case, Im quite certain I did see some vague-but-not-to-be-trusted info about "free travel for tourists." I'm glad not to be scammed.

Tokyo and California
Destination Expert
for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
Level Contributor
29,132 posts
69 reviews
3. Re: Bullet train tourist pass

Wouldn't it be nice to have a free pass, lol! Rail companies will go broke in no time if there is such a thing. Japan doesn't need tourists that badly, actually I think we're getting too many already.

The JR Pass is only offered to a short term foreign visitors so you do get a big break Japanese residents don't get.

Level Contributor
1,089 posts
7 reviews
4. Re: Bullet train tourist pass


There is the Hakone Free Pass but it's not free though!


Destination Expert
for Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
58,525 posts
67 reviews
5. Re: Bullet train tourist pass


Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
12,368 posts
25 reviews
6. Re: Bullet train tourist pass

In Japan sometimes the word free is used slightly differently. They may call a pass a free pass, meaning once one buys it, you can travel for free in a designated area and timeframe.

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