Best scenic rides and train views in Japan

All over the world, scenic rail tours have been revived as an alternative to traditional sightseeing. Japan is no exception. A special term has even been coined in the Japanese language to describe those who are pleasantly obsessed with rail travel – densha otaku, literally translated “train nerd.”

If using your Japan Rail Pass to travel about the country, why not include some scenic views in your itinerary? There’s no better way to enhance the value of your travels than to make the journey, and not just the destination, part of the fun!

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Japan joyful trains: thematic, anime, manga and videogame rides

Riding trains in Japan is no longer just about getting from place to place. A ride on Japan Rail’s Joyful Trains – with fun and exciting themed rail cars – is a destination in itself.

Joyful trains appeal to a wide range of interests. Several restored historic trains transport passengers not only from place to place, but seemingly on a journey through time as well.

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日本人は JR パスを購入できますか? 日本人の方々へ向けた新たなご利用資格要件

現時点で日本在住の方はJRパスの購入はできません。しかし、日本国外にお住まいの方は 2017 年 6 月 1 日以降から一定の要件を満たすことでご購入が可能となります。詳細は以下をご覧ください。

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The Limited Express Sonic train in Kyushu

The island of Kyushu is the southernmost, as well as the most westerly, of Japan’s large, main islands. Kyushu is home to mountainous terrain, including the most active volcano in Japan, known as Mount Aso.

The subtropical climate of Kyushu makes it an ideal location for vacationers. Few sights evoke as much awe as the view from a train winding through Kyushu’s countryside, steam floating lazily atop nearby hot springs. The island is also a valuable resource for understanding Japanese culture, as it is famous for its art and its silk.

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Shinkansen Gran Class: The ultimate luxury bullet train

Japan has been a legend in commuter travel for over half a century. Early Japanese train travel featured decadent luxury, such as on Japan’s famous night trains. The introduction of the Shinkansen bullet trains added new levels of speed to the mix, creating excitement and lessening the chances of travel related discomfort.

Japan continues to stay ahead of the game with new innovations – luxury trains such as the Seven Stars Kyushu, and the increased velocities of the soon to be released Maglev. Another such innovation is a new luxury class available on the Shinkansen bullet train lines – the Shinkansen Gran Class.

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Japan Explorer Pass and Other Flight Discounts

Some travelers shy away from exploring the country of Japan because they have been told it is among the most expensive places to travel. This, however, does not have to be the case. A little prior planning can go a long way towards lessening the expense of your next Japanese vacation.

Plane tickets often make up the bulk of travel expenses, followed by accommodations and food. Consider the following suggestions for saving money on the first leg of your journey: getting there. You may also find deals on Japan airlines domestic flights if traveling from one part of Japan to another.

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Train Suite Shiki-Shima and Twilight Express Mizukaze: New luxury trains in Japan

Even before the advent of the shinkansen bullet train in 1964, luxury trains, often called “blue sleeper trains,” were a common sight across Japan. These trains were designed, not only as an efficient mode of transportation but as an experience in themselves. Getting there truly was half the fun.

In recent years, however, the use of luxury trains has largely given way to the rapid travel offered by the shinkansen. The last of the “blue trains” ceased operation in 2015. While some have called this “the end of an era,” luxury seekers are not to be disappointed by Japan’s all-new line up of first class rail accommodations. Beginning in spring 2017, JR East and JR West will be launching two “cruise trains” for your traveling enjoyment.

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Getting around Tokyo with the JR Pass: Metro, trains and more

Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is the most densely populated metropolitan city in the world, home to nearly 40 million people. The Tokyo Metropolis, as the area is officially known, spans nearly 850 square miles (nearly 2,200 square kilometers). Tokyo enjoys a rich cultural history, as it has been the seat of government in Japan since the year 1603.  Tokyo is comprised of twenty-three wards, each operated as an individual city.

Getting around in a city of this size – especially as an international traveler – may at first seem intimidating. However, Tokyo’s public transportation system, which includes airports, trains, buses, taxies, and pedestrian traffic – has been designed operate smoothly. With your Japan Rail Pass in hand and with the help of this travel guide, you will soon be navigating the streets and stations of Tokyo like a pro.

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Riding the JR Thunderbird Express around western Japan

Picture snow covered peaks overlooking lush forests, reflecting into serene blue-green lakes. Steam rises from natural hot springs, where people gather to be rejuvenated by the warm water. Charming towns and villages housing historic architecture dot the map. This is just the ideal scene set by the Japanese Alps, a series of three mountain ranges located on the Japanese island of Honshu.

Now, imagine yourself enjoying this view while traveling to your next destination on one of Japan’s famous bullet trains.

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Getting around Kyoto with the Japan Rail Pass

You’ve read about all the engaging attractions Kyoto has to offer – from its famous temples to its transcendent botanical gardens. After all, Kyoto is considered the premiere sightseeing location in Japan. But as an international traveler, you are also concerned with how to get from place to place once you arrive in Kyoto. Does Japan’s maze of rail and bus lines intimidate you? It doesn’t have to.

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