What is a Japan Rail Pass?

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.

Who is eligible to use JR 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.

What is a Green Pass?

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.

Which JR pass should I get for my Japan travels?

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.

Would I need to purchase a JR Pass for my child?

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.

Can I purchase the pass on behalf of a friend/family member who is in Japan?

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.

If I am already in Japan, can I purchase the pass for a friend/family member?

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.

Is the pass exchangeable between myself and another traveller(s)?

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.

How and when can I purchase a JR Pass?

You can purchase them online from Travel Recommends, at least 4 working days before your collection date (or departure date). It is recommended to get them online for a smooth travelling experience.


Please remember to enter your full name (as shown in your passport) when you are booking your JR Pass.


Where can I collect my Japan Rail Pass?

For JR Passes that provides physical tickets, 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 https://www.travelrecommends.com/my/locateus

Note: EO is valid for 3 months only from date of issuance.


For JR Passes that indicates (E-Ticket), a confirmation email with a QR code will be sent to your designated email address. You will be able to redeem the ticket at the ticket vending machines located in Kansai Airport Station, Kyoto Station, Shin-Osaka Station, Osaka Station, Sannomiya Station (Kobe City), Nara Station by scanning both the QR code and your passport (Biometric)

Note: If the machine breaks down or the passport have no IC chip, please proceed to JR-WEST Ticket Office to exchange physical ticket.

Where and how can I use my Japan Rail Pass in Japan?

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.

Can I select the date I wish to use the JR Pass?

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.

Example scenario:

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.

Does my pass expire while I’m on the train?

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.

How do I enter the station with my Japan Rail Pass?

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.

Should I reserve a seat?

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.

How do I make a seat reservation?

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.

What are the types of trains can I use with my Japan Rail Pass?

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:

  • Private Rail Lines;
  • Super Express-Only Shinkansen trains i.e. 'Nozomi' and 'Mizuho'
  • Inner city subways/trams;
  • Sleeper wagons/private wagons in night trains;
  • Special compartments which require an extra fee.

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.


What are the bus and ferries lines available with the Japan Rail Pass?

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:

  • Samani → Erimo Misaki (Cape Erimo)
  • Aomori station → Aomori airport
  • Hachinohe/Aomori → Towada Lake
  • Morioka → Ryusendo
  • Tateyama → Awa Shirahama
  • Naganohara Kusatsuguchi → Kusatsu Onsen-Shirane Kazan
  • Yokokawa → Karuizawa
  • Kyoto Station → Ryoanji → Takao → Shuzan

You can also access the JR Miyajima Ferry with your JR Pass (not inclusive of the ferry to Korea).


What can I do if my Japan Rail Pass was stolen or lost?

Unfortunately, you will need to purchase a new pass again as there is no replacement for any lost or stolen passes.

Can I smoke on the trains?

There are smoking and non-smoking carriages. Please board the appropriate carriage if you wish to smoke on the train.

Can I eat on the trains?

Absolutely! Please try out the various unique meal boxes from different regional trains. These yummy meals only cost upwards of 1,000 Yen.

Can I use my mobile phone on the train?

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.

My travel plans have changed. Can I change my pass or cancel them? Will I get refunds for cancellations?

Unused Japan Rail Pass Exchange Orders must be returned to any of our airport or city counters within 1 year from the date of purchase as long as the Exchange Order has not been redeemed for a Japan Rail Pass. Stolen, damaged or misplaced Exchange Orders will not be valid for cancellation. For cancellations, do note that there will be a 10% administrative fee and a 90-days processing time.

Please contact us for any inquires on cancellations or returns of Japan rail pass exchange order.

Will I get a refund or compensation if my pass becomes unusable or affected due to unforeseen circumstances?

In the event of an unforeseen circumstance, Travel Recommends and its operators shall not be liable to provide refunds or compensations to the affected parties. This includes but is not limited to

  • Act of God (e.g. fires, floods, earthquakes, explosions, droughts, etc.)
  • Civil Disorder (strikes, industrial blockage, civil disturbance)
  • Acts or threats of terrorism
  • Other unforeseeable circumstances beyond the control of Travel Recommends and its operators
Why do some of the JR Pass comes with (E-ticket) option?

Some of the JR Pass will come with E-ticket options. When you have selected to purchase a JR Pass that is in E-Ticket form, a confirmation email with a QR code will be sent to your appointed email address.


Please proceed to GREEN ticket-vending machines and pick up physical ticket by scanning QR code of e-ticket and your non-Japanese passport. (Operation menus of machine can be displayed in Japanese, English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, or Korean.)

The physical pass will then be successfully redeemed.

Redemption Location:

Kansai Airport Station, Kyoto Station, Shin-Osaka Station, Osaka Station, Sannomiya Station (Kobe City), Nara Station


Note: If the machine breaks down or the passport have no IC chip, please proceed to JR-WEST Ticket Office to exchange physical ticket.