questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

seat reservations.

Seat Reservations.

I have a 21 day JR Pass and a full itinerary and was wondering if I absolutely have to reserve a seat on the shinkansen trains or if I can just hope one is available and if not available I will stand up. Also I will be going to the airport on the Narita express and have been told I have to reserve a seat on this train. Is that true, or can I stand if no seats are available.
I just don't think I am going to have the time to arrange the seat reservations and then possibly not end up catching that particular train any way. Thank you for your help.

mellymoo
mellymoo

Hi there,

All Shinkansen (except the Tohoku Tokyo-Aomori Hayabusa shinkansen) have non-reserved seating which you can simply hop on/hop off. In fact, I have often turned up at the station and done exactly that!

For the Narita Express you do need a reservation, but this is very easy to make. Just before you get on the train simply visit the JR ticket office or Narita Express ticket office showing your JR Pass. You will be issued with a free reservation for the very next train (normally the Narita Express is not very busy so you should be fine).

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Thanks, one more thing, how do I know if I will be taking the Tohoku Tokyo-Aomori Hayabusa shinkansen?
I love this site it is so helpful :O)

mellymoo
mellymoo

If you think you'll be going north of Tokyo up honshu then you may use the Hayabusa. The best way to tell is by using Hyperdia to look for a route. It will show the trains you need to take to get to a destination - if one is a Hayabusa, then you will know you have to make a reservation before boarding :)

Here is an example search with Hayabusa.

You can look up precise train timetables and costs at the Hyperdia travel planning website and learn how to use Hyperdia for JR Pass holders through our video blog.

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Thank you :O)

mellymoo
mellymoo

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