Articles 08 Mar 2024

Getting to Know JR Train, the Largest Train Service Provider in Japan

If you are planning to travel to Japan, you must have heard about the Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) which is only sold to foreign tourists. JR Pass can be used for unlimited rides on train routes owned by JR Train throughout Japan. What is JR Train and how do you ride it? Let’s find out more information about it!

JR Train

The Japan Railways Group (JR Group; JRグループ, Jeiāru Gurūpu) or JR Train is a group of Japanese railway companies that operates around 70% of Japan’s railway network. The company is the successor of Japanese National Railways (JNR), a Japanese government-owned company which was privatized or part of its ownership was released to the private sector in 1987 due to financial issues.

During the privatization process, on 1 April 1987, JNR was divided into seven new JR subsidiaries, namely: JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR Central, JR West, JR Shikoku, JR Kyushu, and JR Freight. The first six companies are operators of passenger railways divided by region and operate long-distance railway services beyond their respective borders, while the last company operates all freight transportation networks in Japan.

Even though the privatization of JNR began in the early 1990s, all shares of JR East, JR Central, JR West, and JR Kyushu were only offered and traded to the public via the Japanese stock exchange in October 2016. Hence, the four JR Train subsidiaries are publicly owned, while JR Hokkaido, JR Shikoku, and JR Freight are still owned by the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT), an independent Japanese administrative agency.

Currently, JR Group or JR Train consists of six passenger railway companies, one freight company and two non-service companies. This group of railway companies operates a large proportion of intercity rail services, including the high-speed rail lines and commuter rail services.

Experiencing JR Train

With evenly spread service coverage, JR Train can take you around Japan from the downtown Tokyo to Wakkanai, Japan’s northernmost city in the Hokkaido region, as well as Ibusuki, the southernmost city in Japan in Kagoshima Prefecture. To explore Japan using JR Train, as a foreign tourist, you need to buy a JR Pass first.

Unlimited ride tickets using the JR Train fleet are available in two types: Ordinary Car and Green Car (executive class). These two types of tickets are also sold for a period of one, two, or three weeks, with the price details as follows:

  1. 7-Day Ordinary Car: JPY 50,000
  2. 14-Day Ordinary Car: JPY 80,000
  3. 21-Day Ordinary Car: JPY 100,000
  4. 7-Day Green Car: JPY 70,000
  5. 14-Day Green Car: JPY 110,000
  6. 21-Day Green Car: JPY 140,000

You can also use various types of trains (such as Shinkansen, limited express trains, express trains, and local trains) from other private companies that have collaborated with JR Group to take you around Japan. According to the Japan Guide website, JR Pass tickets are also valid for Tokyo Monorail to and from Haneda International Airport, JR Ferry to Miyajima (excluding the visitor tax of JPY 100), train transfers to JR Train lines, and several JR local bus routes.

So, are you ready to explore Japan using the various trains owned by JR Train? Before getting there, first buy Travel Insurance to Japan from MSIG Indonesia which will provide comprehensive protection for you and your family during your trip to Japan.

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