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Memories of Japan V: Japan Rail Pass

In today's Memories of Japan installment, we'll start moving around Japan through its extraordinary railway network with a magic ticket: the JRP (Japan Rail Pass).

Photo by susielomovitz

Before you start traveling around Japan, you have to get the Japan Rail Pass. It’s a magic ticket that allows you to use all the trains on the JR railway network and even some subways, as many times as you want! It’s wonderful if you are going to visit a few different towns, since you will probably spend one or two days in each place.

Once you have bought the JPR, the adventure starts!

To get out of big cities you have to go to huge, busy train stations and ride incredible bullet trains (shinkansen). About halfway during your trip, stewards will offer you something to drink and food in traditional trolleys that don’t match the futuristic aesthetics of the train. I was quite shocked by this small detail, I imagined everything would be ultra-modern. But no, technology is used only when required and they maintain everything old as long as it works properly.

(I can’t believe I haven’t got any pictures from the bullet-trains in my lomohome!)

The further you get from big cities, the less shinkansen you will find and you will start travelling in more ordinary trains — older, beautiful and perfectly kept. You will see humbler but charming stations.

The more further you get from civilization, the narrower railways will be. Trains will get smaller, people will be more modest and landscapes more beautiful.

A few curiosities:

  • We are in Japan, so you can imagine trains’ punctuality… delays just don’t happen.
  • I recommend that you be respectful with the other passengers during your travel. You will soon realize that they travel in absolute silence and some are even sleeping.
  • Look at the the uniforms of the staff and their perfect protocol, it’s a beautiful spectacle.
  • You can eat in trains, a small box of bento bought at the station or at the train. You will be able to enjoy landscapes with your belly full of Japanese delicacies.
  • Make sure you clean everything after you are done. You will soon realize everything is spotless.

I hope to come back soon with another memory of Japan and breathtaking corner of this fascinating country!

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written by susielomovitz and translated by ladyfromthepast

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The original version of this article is written in: Spanish. It is also available in: Deutsch.