Last week, West Japan Railway – the JR company that runs trains on the western part of the Japanese mainland for the most part – announced a new set of rail passes for foreign tourists visiting the west part of the country, while announcing an expansion of rail passes that already exist. In order to qualify, you must be in Japan as a tourist – specifically, the “Temporary Visitor” stamp must be on your passport.
These are additions and changes that are being made by JR West – the national Japan Rail Pass right now remains unchanged as far as coverage.
Available from March 1, 2015:
San’yo-San’in Area Pass: 20,000 yen for 7 consecutive days (1,000 yen discount if purchased overseas)
San’yo-Hiroshima Area Pass: 14,000 yen for 5 consecutive days (1,000 yen discount if purchased overseas)
Hiroshima-Yamaguchi Area Pass: 12,000 yen for 5 consecutive days (1,000 yen discount if purchased overseas)
Kansai Area Passes from JR West will have coverage expanded, and prices will go up for tickets sold on or after March 1, 2015:
Kansai Area Pass: 1, 2, 3 and 4 consecutive day passes ranging from 2,300-6,500 yen (100-200 yen discount if purchased overseas)
Kansai Area Wide Pass: 9,000 yen for 5 consecutive days (500 yen discount if purchased overseas)
All passes are sold at a discount of 50% for children aged 6-11.
These will replace some other rail passes: The JR West San’yo Area Pass and the San’yo-Shikoku-Kyushu Area Passes will both be discontinued when the above passes take effect.
I will talk more about these passes soon, but in the meantime you can read the brochure on JR West’s website: https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/