The Japan Rail (JR) Pass is a special pass valid for unlimited travel on Japan Railways(JR) transportation, including all JR trains (shinkansen “bullet trains” except “NOZOMI” and “MIZHUO” service. limited express trains, express trains and rapid or local trains)*, JR bus company local lines (JR Hokkaido Bus, JR Bus Tohoku, JR Bus Kanto, JR Tokal Bus , West Japan JR Bus, Chugoku JR Bus, JR Kyushu Bus) and the JR Miyajima ferry.
The JR Pass is available only to overseas visitors tha enter Japan as a Temporary Visitor. This includes sightseeing, visiting relatives, inspection tours, conferences and meeting or other activities during a short stay in Japan
Note: Visitors who enter Japan under other statuses including: “Re-entry Permit”, “Entertainer” or “Traine” are not eligible
For complete information on entering Japan, please check with your nearest Japanese Consulate-General or Embassy.
If you are a tourist visiting Japan from abroad for sightseeing:
You must be visiting Japan under the entry status of “Temporary visitor” according to Japan Immigration Law. When you enter Japan for sightseeing, entry personnel will stamp the passport as “Temporary visitor”. Only a person who has a passport bearing this stamp can use a JAPAN RAIL PASS. Please note that according to strict interpretation of the Japanese Immigration Law, “Temporary visitor” status differs even from other types of stays that are also for only short time periods. A Japan Rail Pass Exchange Order MUST be purchased outside Japan, prior to your trip.
If you are a Japanese national living in a foreign country:
a) be qualified to live permanently in that country; or
b) be 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 shown in below:
The Japan Rail Pass (also commonly called JR Pass) is a very cost effective rail pass for long distance train travel in Japan. It can be used by foreign tourists only, and offers unlimited use of JR trains for one, two or three weeks at a cost that residents of Japan can only dream of.
The Japan Rail Pass must be purchased before your arrival to Japan, because it is not available for sale inside Japan. The pass comes in two types: ordinary and green car. The latter is valid on green cars (first class cars) that offer more spacious seats than ordinary cars.
Travelling to Japan isn’t cheap as the transportation fee takes up a big parentage of the total expenses.
Because Japan’s land shape is long and thin, normal ticket costs JPY 28,900 (Approx S$250) even if you travel from Tokyo to Osaka. And the JR Pass Ordinary for 7days only cost JPY 29,110.
So it is better to purchase a rail pass to travel around Japan.
Information source: japan-guide.com