The JAPAN RAIL PASS is a special ticket that is available only to travellers visiting Japan from foreign countries for sight-seeing. To be eligible to purchase a JAPAN RAIL PASS you must meet one of the following two conditions.
1. You are a foreign tourist visiting Japan from abroad for sight-seeing, under the entry status of "temporary visitor."
"Temporary Visitor" entry status, according to Japanese Immigration Law, allows a stay in Japan of 15 days or 90 days for "sight-seeing, etc." If you apply for a "stay for sight-seeing" when you enter Japan, entry personnel will stamp your passport as "Temporary Visitor," as shown below. Only persons who have a passport bearing this stamp can use a JAPAN RAIL PASS.
2.You are a Japanese national living in a foreign country,
a. who is qualified to live permanently in that country, or
b. who is married to a non-Japanese residing in a country other than Japan.
The JAPAN RAIL PASS is valid for the railways, buses, and ferry boats as follows.
Railways: All JR Group Railways-Shinkansen "bullet trains" (except any reserved or non-reserved seat on "NOZOMI" trains), limited express trains, express trains, and rapid or local trains. (With some exceptions)
Buses: Local lines of JR bus companies (JR Hokkaido Bus, JR Bus Tohoku, JR Bus Kanto, JR Tokai Bus, West Japan JR Bus, Chugoku JR Bus, JR Shikoku Bus, JR Kyushu Bus) and some of JR highway bus services (Sapporo-Otaru; Morioka-Hirosaki; Tokyo-Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Tsukuba Center; Nagoya-Kyoto, Osaka; Osaka-Tsuyama, Kasai Flower Center).
Ferry: Only the JR Miyajima ferry is covered. The JR Hakata-Pusan (Korea) ferry is not covered.
The JAPAN RAIL PASS is not valid for any seats, reserved or non-reserved, on "NOZOMI" trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines.(The pass holders must take “HIKARI” or “KODAMA” trains.)If you use a "NOZOMI," you must pay the basic fare and the limited express charge, and for a Green Car the Green Car surcharge. Note also that passengers using JR trains on non-JR lines must pay additional fares and charges for sections traveled on such lines.