Japan by Rail…why?


By the way I have no idea who the person is, in this picture. It’s not me if you were wondering.

I am actually 43, British Born Japanese and male and to answer that question you’re already asking, I don’t speak fluent Japanese, i would probably be in the improver’s class at a language school. My reading and writing is very limited in Japanese.

I had heard about in passing from acquaintances and friend’s of friends about the near mythical or in my mind anyway, Japan Rail Pass that allowed you to travel all over Japan.

For some reason or other I’d never tried to get one or had any sort of desire to do so until recently. I felt now was as good as a time for me to try out a pass and to see more of Japan. I may not be that old to some or old to others but I felt I should do a trip of this ilk while I still could and am still able to.

I have been to Japan before for different amounts of time but nearly always to the same places where relatives lived or for family matters. For the most part those travels have been limited to the major cities of Tokyo and Kyoto.

I would be traveling to Japan for a family matter in Yokohama to start with and in previous had flown back immediately after a week so after attending funerals. This time I had decided that I would like to stay on and to see more of Japan although Tokyo and Kyoto still featured quite heavily.

I purchased the pass online and chose the 3 week pass that would allow me to travel for 21 days once the pass had been issued from a JR (Japan Rail) office in Japan. The pass is available in 7, 14 or 21 day and allows travel on almost all trains nationwide including Bullet trains (it does not include the commuter class super fast ones)

In answer to the questions that might have popped into your head along the lines of…Can I get one? What do I need to qualify?

The following is taken from information online:

Condition 1: You are a foreign tourist visiting Japan from abroad for sight-seeing, under the entry status of “Temporary Visitor”.

“Temporary Visitor” entry status, according to Japanese Immigration Law, allows a stay in Japan of 15 or 90 days with the purpose of “sight-seeing”.

If you apply for “stay for sight-seeing” when you enter, entry personnel will stamp your passport as “Temporary Visitor”. Only persons who have a passport bearing this stamp can use a Japan Rail Pass.

Condition 2: You are a Japanese national living in a foreign country who is:
a) Qualified to live permanently in a foreign country, or
b) Married to a non-Japanese residing in a country other than Japan.

With a loose itinerary in mind I travelled to Japan on July 1st and stayed until the 30th July.

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