1. What is a Japan Rail Pass?
A Japan Rail Pass can be used for unlimited rides on most of the Japan Railway trains. You can also ride the famous Bullet Train, the Super Express Shinkansen.
Great News for JR Pass customers! As of June 2020, JR Pass will be exchanged for a magnetic ticket at the exchange offices in Japan, and the ticket holder is able to use the automatic ticketing gates, There is no need to go through the gate with an actual JR staff. This will be very convenient, just do not forget to pick up your ticket from the gates when you leave the ticketing gates!
Many JR stations are equipped with automatic ticket gates. When passing through the automatic ticket gate, insert the Japan Rail Pass into the ticket insertion slot of the automatic ticket gate. After passing through the ticket gate, the pass will come out from the exit, so be sure to pick it up.* You cannot pass through the automatic ticket gate that says IC only.* Reserved seat tickets alone cannot be used.
There are some exceptions and restrictions, visit HERE to see information from the official Japan Rail Pass website.
2. Am I eligible to use the Japan Rail Pass?
1: Yes, if you are a foreign tourist visiting Japan from abroad, for sight-seeing, under the entry status of "temporary visitor."
*Please click HERE to find out more details regarding eligibility.
2: Yes, if you have a Japanese Passport and you are legally living outside of Japan for 10+ consecutive years.
a.) If you are a Japanese Citizen holding permanent residency in a foreign country, you must provide the following document(s) with your Japanese passport when you exchange the voucher.
1. Copy of your Overseas Residential Registration issued by the embassy or legation of Japan in the foreign country where you live (limited to an Overseas Residential Registration with a date of acceptance at least 10 years earlier)
2. Certificate of Overseas Residence issued by the embassy or legation of Japan in the foreign country where you live (limited to a Certificate of Overseas Residence dated at least 10 years earlier than the date the address was established as your present address)
3. As a special case limited to the USA, Brazil, and Canada, the Permanent Resident Card issued by these countries can be used as written proof until further notice (limited to a Permanent Resident Card confirming your stay in the relevant country for 10+ years).
For more information, please click below.
*You will require Adobe Acrobat
We may need a copy of the document that shows your eligibility. In that case, please send it by fax or as an e-mail attachment. Please be advised that until we receive a copy of the necessary documents we will not be able to fully process your exchange order, so you may want to place order at least 1 week before your departure date. Japan Railway will make the final decision whether to authorize the issuing of the JR pass. If you do not meet the eligibility requirements or if the JR officer is unable to verify the status, it will not be possible to exchange the JR Pass. We kindly ask you to check the above points carefully before placing your order.
3. What kind of information needed to purchase the Japan Rail Pass?
We will require your first and last name, EXACTLY as it would appear on your passport. We also require your billing address, mailing address, the dates of travel, and payment information. For orders from certain countries, our representative may contact you via email for further information to verify your order.
Payment by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, and Diner's Club are accepted.
4. What is a "Green Car” vs an "Ordinary Car"?
The Green Class Car is equipped with upscale seats and has wider space. The car is also carpeted, has extra room for luggage, and the attendant will provide you with a hot towel upon boarding. Depending on the season, the Ordinary Class Car will become very crowded, with little space to place luggage.Ordinary Car
5. Do you sell other types of Japan Rail Passes?
There are other types of passes that are limited to regional use.
If your plans are to travel within a specific area of Japan, such as "only around Osaka area" or "just in Kyushu area", the "Regional Japan Rail Pass" might suit your needs better. Similar to the nationwide Japan Rail Pass, each Regional Pass allows the same unlimited travel benefits on designated Japan Rail trains, buses, and ferries, but are limited within the region.
The following sites can provide you with more details about regional passes.
- Hokkaido pass offered by JR Hokkaido HERE
- East pass offered by JR East HERE
- Central pass offered by JR Central HERE
- West pass offered by JR West HERE
- Shikoku pass offered by JR Shikoku HERE
- Kyushu pass offered by JR Kyushu HERE
It must be noted that these regional passes can only be used by foreign tourists, under the entry status of "temporary visitor".
Please contact us and our representatives will help you to understand the regional passes.
6. Can I use the Japan Rail Pass to board any train, bus, or ferry in Japan?
You can use the Japan Rail Pass on most railways and buses that are operated by the Japan Railway Group. The exceptions are as follows.
- Sleeper cars
- Private Compartments
- Certain Bullet Trains such as Shinkansen "Nozomi Super Express" & "Mizuho".
- Express Bus
You can use the pass on the Tokaido Shinkansen, Sanyo Shinkansen, and Kyushu Shinkansen but the pass is limited to the “HIKARI,” “SAKURA,” “KODAMA,” or “TSUBAME” trains. If you use a “NOZOMI” or a “MIZUHO” train, you will be asked to pay the basic fare AND the limited express surcharge. You can also use the Tokyo monorail.
You cannot use the Japan Rail Pass for NON-Japan Railway Group services like Tokyo Metro or Odakyu. Please click HERE to find out more details about the types of transportation you can use.
7. Should I get the Japan Rail Pass now? Will the Japan Rail Pass expire?
Since the Japan Rail Pass cannot be purchased in Japan (until March 7th 2017), it is necessary to buy it before your departure. Once you purchase your Japan Rail Pass, we will send an "Exchange Voucher" which will need to be presented at a Japan Railway Exchange Office in Japan, and the actual Japan Rail Pass will be provided. It is important to know that the "exchange" MUST happen within 90 days from your purchase.
When you exchange your voucher at the Japan Railway Exchange Office you will be asked to choose a "Starting Date" for your Japan Rail Pass. This date must be within 30 days of the exchange. From this start date, your Japan Rail Pass will be valid for the number of days you have purchased.
For more information about how to exchange the Japan Railway Exchange Voucher, please click HERE.
8. How do I purchase and use the Japan Rail Pass?
Purchase it on our site, or contact us. Select from Green or Ordinary Seat Class, 7 days, 14 days, or 21 days. When prompted for a passenger name, make sure you enter it correctly and that it matches the name on the passport! We will send you the Exchange Voucher via FedEx!
Visit any Japan Rail Pass Exchange Office (Click HERE for locations) to exchange your voucher. You will be asked to fill out a simple form and asked to present the Exchange Voucher and your passport for a screening process of eligibility. Once the eligibility is verified, you will be asked the desired starting date, and you will receive your Japan Rail Pass!
You now have the pass! You are ready to go!
9. How do I book reserved seating?
Once you obtain the Japan Rail Pass, you have the option to make seat reservations for trains that have reserved seats. Most trains have regular seats in which you don't have to reserve seats. You will not be able to make reservations for reserved seats until you make the exchange from the Exchange Order. That means we cannot make reservations in advance.
Many express trains will accept seat reservations without additional fees. Simply visit a JR Travel Service Center or Reservation Office (called "Midori No Madoguchi", with a green sign) located within many JR stations. Show your JAPAN RAIL PASS, tell the operator which train you want to take and receive your reserved-seat ticket. Seat reservations are not accepted via phone or online.
To find out details about seat reservations, click HERE.
10. Are there any porters or lockers at the stations?
Porters are not available at any Japan Railway Stations. Coin operated lockers are available at many stations. Look for the sign at Japan Railway Stations.
11. What is the refund policy?
1: Exchange Voucher
An Exchange Voucher that has not been turned in for a Japan Rail Pass and has not exceeded one year after the date of issue, can be refunded by the same company that issued the Voucher. A handling charge and a communication fee, set forth by the regulations of the issuing company, will be deducted at the rate of 10%. Any passes being returned to NTA America Inc. will need to have NTA USA GLA written in the place of issue. Purchases from Japan Experience and Jrailpass, cannot be refunded through us. You will need to contact them directly for a refund.
2: Japan Rail Pass
After the Exchange Voucher is exchanged for a Japan Rail Pass and before the Japan Rail Pass is used, the Japan Rail Pass can be refunded at any Japan Rail Pass exchange offices of the Japan Railways Groups.
- 10% of the Japan Rail Pass price in Japanese Yen will be deducted as a handling fee.
- No refund can be made for any reason on or after the first day of use (start date).
- Neither refunds nor extensions of the validity period can be made on a Japan Rail Pass in the event of train's non-operation, delay, or the like.
- The cost of shipping will not be refunded. In addition, shipping fee for any Exchange Vouchers required to be shipped back to NTA America (issuing company of My JR Pass) will be the responsibility of the customer.
12. What happens if my Exchange Voucher or Japan Rail Pass is lost or stolen?
Neither an Exchange Voucher nor a Japan Rail Pass can be reissued if it’s lost or stolen.
13. What size luggage can I take on a Bullet Train(Shinkansen)?
Starting May 2020, passengers are required to reserve a seat with oversized baggage area, when bringing baggage larger than 160 cm/62 inches onto the Tokaido Shinkansen and all JR Kyushu Shinkansen. This size is roughly the same as oversized baggage on international flights.
This policy is not only for JR Pass holders, but for all passengers. Charges (JPY 1,000) will only be applied if passengers do not reserve a seat with large baggage area prior to their travel. If these seats are needed, please notify the agent at the ticket office that the passenger is traveling with large baggage (2 suitcases per person).
Passengers will be charged JPY 1,000 for their large baggage if they travel in non-reserved seats. Their baggage will then be set in a designated area on the shinkansen. Some shinkansen may not have large baggage areas, please check on the JR website before travelling.
Please kindly check the below information from JR Central HP.
For JR Kyushu, the rule is the same as JR Central. For your reference, please check the following press release (only Japanese) HERE.
We hope we have answered your question adequately.
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