Japan Railways offers the Japan Rail Pass, an affordable way to see the country. It can be used on all JR trains including the Shinkansen "bullet" trains—except for Nozomi trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo lines and Mizuho trains on the Kyushu shinkansen. Hikari or Kodama trains and Sakura or Tsubame trains, however, serve these same respective routes and are included. The pass is also valid on local JR buses and on the JR ferry to Miyajima. 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 on 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 and summer.
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