Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) is a personal train ticket granting you unlimited usage of JR trains during its validity. The JR Pass gives you access to most of the major Japan Railways (JR) train lines, which the exception of some of the high-speed trains such as Nozomi Shinkansen. Travellers can explore four (4) main islands in Japan with this pass.
Any non-Japanese national who visits Japan as a tourist or with a “Temporary Visitor” status is eligible.
Japanese citizens are NOT eligible for the pass, unless they are Permanent Residents of another country or married to a non-Japanese residing in another country outside of Japan. Foreigners visiting for non-tourism purposes (E.g. Work, military, diplomatic, cultural, research etc.), or holding a long-term visa (E.g. Student, instructor or work) are similarly NOT eligible for the pass.
Yes. You must use non-Japanese passport with a “Temporary Visitor” visa to enter the country.
Green Pass is equivalent to a first class cabin (also known as Green Car) on all Shinkansen and some of the fast trains. You can locate this carriage with its green clover icon on the side of the carriage. This pass lets you enjoy your journey in comfort with a large reclined seat, ample leg space, integrated radio and luggage space.
Green Pass is usually recommended for peak travel seasons (May, August and September) as they are generally less crowded than the normal carriages.
The type of passes available and suitable for you differ very much based on your itinerary.
For instance, you may consider getting Hokkaido regional passes if your trip is entirely within Hokkaido. This grants you full access to the entirety of Hokkaido for a selected number of days.
Alternatively, if you intend to visit many different parts of Japan on your trip, you may wish to get the national pass as it covers the whole of the Japanese archipelago.
Children of ages 6 and below can travel for free with a pass holder, but they are not entitled to any seats. If you wish to secure a seat for your child, you will need to purchase a Child Pass.
Children ages between 6 and 11 years will require a Child Pass, while children above 12 years old will require Adult Passes.
Yes, you are able to order the JR Pass for your friend/family member so long as they meet the requirements set by Japan Railways.
1. The name on the ticket corresponds to the name on the passport of the traveller.
2. He or she must not be working or residing in Japan. Please note that they are able to purchase discounted Japan Rail tickets directly from the train stations in Japan.
Additionally, it is recommended that you only purchase the ticket for yourself to prevent confusion at the train ticket counter.
Yes you would be able to. However, please be advised that the friend/family member will have to meet the requirements for eligibility to use the JR Pass. Additionally, only he/she will be able to exchange the Exchange Order for a JR Pass at the JR Ticket Offices.
Proceed to order and indicate the name as per passport for the person you are purchasing it for, specify the collection location and date, and click on Submit.
You must be present when exchanging the Exchange Order to the JR Pass with your passport. It is not possible to activate the JR Pass on the behalf of someone else as the JR Pass office needs to verify the traveller’s passport and identity.
You can purchase them online at Travel Recommends website, at least 4 calendar day before your collection date (or departure date). It is recommended to get them online for an expedient experience.
Note: Please remember to enter your full name (as shown in your passport) at the point of booking for your JR Pass.
Japan Rail Pass Exchange Orders (EO) are delivered to you by courier service at least 2 days before your departure date. Please exchange the EO in Japan for the Japan Rail Pass.
You can also choose to collect your Japan Rail Pass Exchange Order (EO) at any of the preferred airport or city counters.
Note: EO is valid for 3 months only from date of issuance.
You will need to present the Exchange Order for your JR pass at a Japan Rail Office (available in Japan airports and main train stations).
You will be requested to fill in a form with your details and the passport entry stamp at the Japan Rail Office.
You will need to select a start date for the pass when you hand in your Exchange Order for the JR pass at the JR Ticket Office (the start date does not have to be the same date as the exchange date). The start date of the JR Pass has to be within 30 days of the exchange.
The JR Pass will be valid for the consecutive number of days from your preferred starting date.
Jimmy and his family are on holiday and arrive in Japan on 10th January. Early the next morning, they proceed to the JR Ticket Office to trade in their Exchange Orders for their 7 day JR passes. However, as they will not be using the rail services for the next three days, Jimmy decides to select the JR pass start date for 14th January. As their JR passes are only valid for a period of 7 days, their passes will expire and become invalid on 20th January.
Validity period of these Japan Rail Passes are counted in full days (midnight to midnight), and not 24-hour periods. For example, using your pass at 9am on day 1 and 8am on day 2 will be counted as two separate uses of the pass.
Note: Certain passes allow for flexibility of use within a certain number of days, i.e., 4 days of usage within a period of 6 days.
No, your pass will remain valid until you exit the final station through the ticket gates. This includes transfer of trains past midnight. However, do note that transferring to a Shinkansen, limited express or express train after midnight will incur the express supplement fee.
Unlike normal tickets, the JR Pass does not work with the automatic gates of the train station. Please show your pass to the train staff, in the glass booth next to the gate, for them to let you through.
It is not necessary to reserve a seat as you may use the non-reserved seats by showing your JR Pass. Most trains do not have reserved seats except for trains like Narita Express, which will assign a seat number to you.
If you are travelling in a group and would prefer sitting together, we suggest that you apply for seat reservations.
Kindly take note of the peak hours when you are commuting. Peak hours are usually between 0700 hours and 0900 hours, or 1800 hours and 2000 hours. Do be advised that trains can get booked out several days in advance during public holidays such as Bank Holidays.
Seat reservations are free for JR Pass holders. Simply show your JR Pass at the JR Ticket Offices (Midori-no-madoguchi) in the train stations and proceed to book.
Look out for the logo of the JR Ticket Office (Midori-no-madoguchi)!
Online booking is also possible; however, take note that the websites are usually only in Japanese. The JR East Shinkansen Reservation office is the only one with an English version that allows online booking.
A National Japan Rail Pass allows you to board a majority of trains that run on the JR railway network, including regional routes such as JR Kyushu, JR East, JR West, JR Center, JR Shikoku and JR Hokkaido. You will have access to local and express trains, fast bullet trains, and the 'Shinkansen' on the Hikari or Sakura lines.
The Japan Rail Pass is not valid for the following:
If the JR train uses non-JR tracks during its route, additional fares may be required for that part of the trip. Payment is done either before boarding or after boarding the train.
The Japan Rail Pass gives you access to these JR local bus lines:
JR Hokkaido Bus, JR Bus Tohoku, JR Bus Kanto, JR Tokai Bus, JR Shikoku, West Japan JR Bus, Chugoku JR Bus, and JR Kyushu Bus.
Note: Japan Rail Pass is NOT valid for travel on express bus routes or highway buses.
*Validity for particular routes is subject to change
Useful routes to note:
You can also access the JR Miyajima Ferry with your JR Pass (not inclusive of the ferry to Korea).
Unfortunately, you will need to purchase a new pass again as there is no replacement for any lost or stolen passes.
There are smoking and non-smoking carriages. Please board the appropriate carriage if you wish to smoke on the train.
Absolutely! Please try out the various unique meal boxes from different regional trains. These yummy meals only cost upwards of 1,000 Yen.
Yes, you may use your phone on the train for messaging and games. Talking on the phone is forbidden while riding the train. However, you may make phone calls in the entrance sections of the Shinkansen and limited express trains.
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