But when we were applying for our visa we found out that the agency was also selling Japan Rail Pass. We were like, Yey!
What’s great is that they print it out the voucher right there. We got ours within fifteen minutes of application. Super convenient instead of ordering online then worrying/waiting for the voucher to be shipped to you.
I was not able to note the exact price, I remember they computed for the exchange rate so the price might be in yen but they’ll convert it to peso and you can pay for it there. The travel agency we use and trust is in Dusit Thani in Makati, I pulled their details from google below.
|Address||3F Dusit Thani Manila Ayala Center Makati city Philippines 1226|
|Phone||893-8180 / 810-9622 ( Tagalog/English ) / 840-1060 ( Japanese )|
Using the pass:
You have to exchange your voucher on stations or JR offices in Japan. Don’t worry about the language barrier here because the train personnel usually know a little English. All you really have to do is show your pass to the personnel and they will let you in the station.
If you avail from the agency they’ll help you find the closest station or office where you can exchange the voucher for your pass. There’s a list on the booklet in case you have a change your mind.
Keep in mind that they count in days not hours, so if you used it on 3PM Wednesday that already counts as one day. On Thursday you will already be on your second day. This is why we planned to use ours on the second day of our trip since we were arriving really late in Japan and we wanted to maximize our days.
Oh and you can’t use it on all trains. It’s only for JR railways excluding Nozomi and Mizuno shinkansen. The trains have digital signs at the sides so always check and the signs in the stations also indicate what kind of train is coming. When in doubt ask someone. Otherwise you need to pay for your entire ticket cost 😳
But do you really need the pass?
Most trips won’t be able to maximize the JR Pass. It’s only worth it if you’re going to ride the Shinkansen twice or thrice, and even then I’d still say that it depends on how far you’re going. We maximized ours by traveling from Nagoya to Osaka (just for Harry Potter seriously) then Osaka to Tokyo, and then Tokyo back to Nagoya for our flight. If I remember correctly Nagoya to Tokyo and back plus our planned JR rides is just breakeven of the regular train rates versus the pass. So it really only pays off if you’re planning to go across the country and back during your 1 week trip.
“Unlimited rides” sounds exciting and it might be slightly more convenient to just flash your pass at the gates but as always plan your itinerary well before buying the pass. That’s the only way to make sure you’re making the most out of your money. Remember, Hyperdia also lists the cost of your train rides. If you ‘d like, you can check out previous post on how to save money during your Japan trip.