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A couple questions regarding regional passes

Hello, good people of the internet.

I'm going to Japan for two months in October and November. Main attractions to me are rugby and castles, which means a bunch of travelling. But since I've got plenty of time, I aim to take it rather slowly, to work my way from Kyushu to Tokyo in the aforementioned two months. I'll probably use regional rail passes to travel. Which brings me to my questions.

1) I'm spending probably around two weeks on Kyushu. The regional pass for Kyushu is for three or five days. Can I get three five day passes and simply activate them one after another?

2) How does crossing the reginal borders of the rail passes work? For example, I'll want to go from Kumamoto to (probably) Hiroshima. Kumamoto is in the Kyushu rail pass area, Hiroshima is not, it's the JR West area. Can I have a regional rail pass for Kyushu and for Hiroshima area active at the same time? Or is it generally better to get individual tickets for the rides across regional borders?

Actually, I just thought of a bonus question... my two months are longer than the duration of any one rail pass I can get, and even longer than the 30 days of deferrment one can get while activating the pass. Can I have multiple rail passes in my name and activate them on different dates so that I have transportation for the whole trip?

Thanks, I very much appreciate any and all answers.


  • Hi,
    1) Yes you can. Whether it makes economic sense to do so though is another issue. If you travel too little, you can lose money on a pass as well. Plus you can't get everywhere by train. Some places you need a bus, and for some, only by rental car.
    Depending on your plans, a Sun-Q pass might be worth considering too.

    2) For going beyond a pass service area, you simply pay the difference when you get to your station, or if the conductor walks by and looks at everyone's tickets/passes, you just pay on the spot. You might consider getting a JR Sanyo Sanin Northern Kyushu Pass if it suits your plans.

    3) Yes, same as #1. But you can't have more than of the same type of pass active concurrently. For JR West passes, you can buy as many as you want before your departure, but once in Japan you can only buy one of each type of pass per visit.
    Just to reiterate the point, if you don't travel enough, you will lose money on a pass as well. They are meant for long distance travel, so if you are staying put in a city, it makes little sense to have a rail pass. Some people mistakenly think that if they have a 2 week trip in Japan then the 14 day pass is the one they should get. In reality, you only need one for when you are on the trains.

    You can check on train info on Hyperdia - you can see regular fares, routes, and schedules.

    Also, you can look at some previews of some of the best places to see in Japan on:

    There are also loads of other tips on

    Best regards.
  • edited September 2019
    I see, I'll have to work on my itinerary a lot more before I go, it would seem. All righty then, time to figure out what I actually want to see specifically :) Thank you, good sir.

    edit/quick question: I was under the impression, that railpasses are vali not only for trains, but also for the public transportation in cities (trams, busses and so on). That would not be the case then?
  • For JR Passes, they are valid on JR trains, as well as local JR buses (not highway buses). There are not many of them, however. They are *not* valid on city subways and non-JR lines like Nishitetsu.
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