30 useful tips for travel in Japan

Japan Travel with The Japan Rail Pass
The Japan Rail Pass is a special ticket for the main train network in Japan. With a Japan Rail Pass you can create an itinerary that includes destinations throughout Japan.

Japan Rail Pass gives you access to all JR lines in the country and is valid for 7, 14, or 21 consecutive days. You can use it on the high-speed Shinkansen lines. This makes it extremely cost effective compared to taking the Shinkansen with regular tickets.
Japan travel with the Shinkansen
In combination with local transport, the fast Shinkansen trains are very convenient for domestic travel. The trains run frequently and you can always take the next available train and use a non-reserved seat (jiyu-seki). When you buy a regular Shinkansen ticket there is a fee for reserving seats, but with the JR Pass you can book reserved seats (shitei-seki) without additional charges. It's best to get a reserved seat during busy travel times; do so at JR ticket offices (midori no madoguchi).
Visit more places on your journey
A regular Shinkansen ticket does not allow you to make a stopover on your way. You would need to buy two separate tickets to do it. With a JR Pass, you could for example visit Nagoya on your way from Tokyo to Osaka or visit Himeji Castle on the way from Kyoto to Hiroshima without adding to your transportation costs.

Since the trains are very fast, you can go quite far in just two or three hours. Not only Tokaido Shikansen to Kyoto and Osaka, different routes from Tokyo go to Nagano, Kanazawa (Hokuriku Shinkansen), Niigata (Joetsu Shinkansen), Yamagata (Yamagata Shinkansen), Akita ( Akita Shinkansen), Aomori and Hakodate (Tohoku and Hokkaido Shinkansen). From Osaka, Sanyo Shinkansen continues through Kobe, Himeji, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Shimonoseki, to Fukuoka and Kyushu Shinkansen operates to Kagoshima in Kyushu.

Take a look at the JR network to find destinations for day trips and stopovers that you can add to your journey. Explore Japan and see more than only a few major destinations.