questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

railway usage

Railway usage

So a friend and I are going to Japan next year and have never ever been so I apologize for any stupid questions here.
We live in New Zealand.

  1. How long before leaving for Japan should we buy our JR passes?
  2. Do we activate them when we get to Japan? How do we activate them?
  3. We will be getting 21 day passes, in this 21 days can we use our passes as much as we like? We will be exploring a lot.
  4. for other trains besides the bullet trains, are there indications if they are a JR train? I was informed JR passes only work for JR bullets and normal trains/ferries.
  5. How do you buy normal tickets for trains and buses if they're not JR?

Thanks for any help and I'm so sorry these are silly questions! (=


Hi there,

1.) Shipping to New Zealand is around 4 business days, I would at least order 1 week beforehand but 2 might be better.

2.) You can activate the JR Pass at the major JR Stations, for more see here.
3.) The JR Pass is truly unlimited for its validity period.
4.) All JR stations are clearly marked. You also have to show your JR Pass when entering/exiting the station.

5.) Just like you would do at home, from the bus driver, ticket machine or ticket counter.

Hope this helps,


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