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Japan Railways offers the Japan Rail Pass, an affordable way to see the country. It can be used on all JR railways, buses, and ferryboats including the Shinkansen "bullet" trains—except for Nozomi trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines. Slower Hikari or Kodama trains, however, serve these same routes and are included. Passes must be purchased at an authorized JR outlet outside of Japan before your trip and are available for 7-, 14-, or 21-day periods.
Activate them upon arrival at a major rail station or Narita airport. A first-class version allows access to the Shinkansen Lines' special Green Cars. The Seishun 18 pass provides five days of unlimited use of local and rapid JR trains nationwide during special periods in spring, summer, and winter.