You’re not supposed to be able to buy the JR Pass while in Japan, but there is a way!
The reason why you’re not supposed to be able to get the JR Pass in Japan is to prevent the local people from taking advantage of the pass meant for tourists. If you happen to be one of those local people, you’re in luck! You too, can buy a JR pass in Japan…though you will need to borrow a foreigner to redeem the pass.
On an impulsive trip to Japan, I flew to Okinawa for a week. I realized I was able to take more time off work than I had anticipated and wanted to get a JR Pass in Japan. A lot of official sites and tourism offices stated that you could not purchase the JR Pass in Japan (cue office lady forming arms into an “X”).
I then started considering flying out of Japan to Taiwan to buy my JR pass. I bailed on that plan once I considered how much money that would cost.
Then I thought, let’s see if I can get this JR pass delivered to me in Japan. I placed an order through https://www.japan-rail-pass.com/ to get my JR Pass while in Okinawa. The site was pretty straightforward and seemed legitimate enough so I went for it. When trying to buy the JR Pass in a travel agency office, they ask for your passport. They didn’t ask for any passport information online.
I would be ending my week in Okinawa at the Hyatt Regency Naha (for free on hotel points, of course) and decided to confirm with the hotel if I can send an envelope to the hotel addressed to myself before completing my online order. They said it wouldn’t be a problem.
Bam! I completed the order and it would arrive the same day that I would check-into the Hyatt Regency Naha.
Getting Mail At The Hotel
Upon checking-in to the hotel, they informed me that an envelope had arrived for me. They would bring up the envelope along with my luggage to my room.
After I get to my room, the envelope and my luggage arrive a few minutes later. I opened it up and I had that beautiful JR Pass waiting for me.
Also, it’s pretty sweet getting mail at a hotel.
Where To Stay In Japan
If you’re using the JR pass for a few days or a few weeks, you’ll probably be moving around a lot! On a journey like this, the cost efficient option is to stay in capsule hotels and hostels. I’ve found that the level of cleanliness in Japan is probably the highest in the world. Also, you’re more likely to meet similar travelers and hang out! Check out The 5 Best Party Hostels in Japan for more info!
When To Go To Japan
This was my fourth trip to Japan in 2017. I happened to be there in January, May, August and now I’d be there for a month starting from mid-September. As you can imagine, Japan has four real seasons (unlike my home of Los Angeles) so the weather can really impact your experience. Treksplorer has a detailed post on the best times to go, what to wear and what to expect.