Japan Rail buses

JR Pass holders enjoy access to the comfortable local lines of JR Bus at no extra cost. Discover more about the JR bus lines and how to use them.

Buses covered by the Japan Rail Pass

The JR Pass includes the services of local buses, spread throughout Japan, allowing access to JR local bus lines operated by:

  • JR Hokkaido
  • JR Tohoku
  • JR Kanto
  • JR Tokai
  • JR Shikoku
  • JR Kyushu
  • Nishinihon JR Bus
  • Chugoku JR Bus
These buses are easily recognizable by the JR logo on the front of the bus. The fast highway buses are not part of this list.

Bus route

Features of the JR Buses

  • Wide lazy-boy style seats
  • 40° seat reclining angle
  • Multi-angle footrest
  • Spacious legroom
  • Large luggage space
  • Seats with individual radios
  • Snacks on the Kyushu lines.

How to use the Japanese local buses

While the Japan Rail Pass serves all the main tourist routes, some travelers prefer to discover less trodden paths. Small towns and villages are generally only accessible by local buses which are punctual and comfortable. The payment process for Japanese local buses, outlined below, is different from most standard methods.

  • Enter the buses from the back doors. The entrance is always at the back, as well as the ticket machine. The exit doors are located at the front of the buses.
  • Ticket machines are close to the back doors and you need to take a ticket when you get on. You pay later depending on your final stop. If you are using a transport card such as an IC card, then you just need to tap your card on the sensor.
  • An electronic display located above the driver’s cabin will show the upcoming stops and the corresponding fare of each one.
  • If your stop is next, you need to press one of the buttons on the sides of the bus, to inform the driver that you wish to get off.
  • You pay the bus fare when you exit the bus. There are change machines on board which give you smaller coins if you do not have the exact change.
  • When exiting the bus, put your ticket and the exact fare into the designated box, located close to the driver. If you are using an IC Card, touch the card on the sensor.
The process mentioned above does not apply to all buses in Japan. In the big cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto you pay a single flat fare, which means that no matter how far you go, you always pay the same price.