questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

starting day of jr pass

Starting day of JR Pass

Hi there,

If I exchange a voucher to JR Pass on a day (let's say 20/3/15) and make a reservation on 20/3/15 for a seat on a Shinkansen on 23/3/15 (I don't travel by any train from 20/315 to 22/3/15). Then, the JR Pass will be counted from the reservation date 20/3/15 or the actual traveling date 23/3/15?

And, is there any way to check for seat availability (nobi-nobi) of the night train Sunrise Seto or Sunrise Izumo online? Any chance if I book for a seat on the same day? I'll be in Narita in the morning of 25/3/15 and would like to reserve a seat on such train on the same night 22:00 25/3/15.



When you exchange your voucher for the actual Pass, you must designate a date on what your Day 1 will be. As you wrote, it does not have to be the day you make the exchange. This allows you to start using the pass from any JR station on a future date.

Boarding the train or not is irrelevant. When you get the actual pass, it will have a starting date on it that you specified. If you get the Pass with the same date that you are making the exchange, your Day 1 is from that moment of activation to midnight (i.e. Day 1 is not 24 hrs).

So to use your example, if you activate the Pass to start on Mar. 20th, that is your Day 1. If you activate it for Mar 23rd, then the 23rd will be your Day 1. Whether you take a train that day or not does not matter - the countdown has started.

Has this clarified it for you?


Thank you Toraneko. It's clear now on the JR Pass.

As for the Sunrise Seto or Sunrise Izumo, do you have any advice for me?


Hello Duc,

I see Toraneko already answered your first question in a great manner.

Going on to the Sunrise express, it's hard to say for sure if seats will be available. Sometimes the train is fully booked 3 weeks in advance, sometimes there are free seats at departure. It's busier in the weekend than on normal days.

Given that you arrive at Narita Airport the same day, I'd recommend trying to make the seat reservations right away at Narita Airport. Simply ask first seats are available before exchanging your JR Pass.

Although it is not very helpful in your case, you can use the following website to check availability for Sunrise trains going towards Tokyo.

You can also use this website to check availability up to a week in advance:

It's in Japanese only but I think that you can understand it. The first trains (サンライズ出雲) is the sunrise, you see the dates on the left. 普通 ノビノビ座席 = NobiNobi seat. As you can see, they are all sold out for the coming week, I i'd also expect them to be sold out for journeys outbound of Tokyo, so be sure to have a plan B ready if the Sunrise does not work out.

Hope this helps,


Thank you, Daniel,

Your answer is highly appreciated. The seats seem to be all reserved. I should have a plan B then.



Going off of Toraneko's answer, if i get a 7 day pass and activate on a given day, at what time on the 7th day does the pass expire? Thanks!


Hi guy, as far as I know, they don't apply 24 hours day but calendar day. So whenever you activate your pass the first day will be counted and it will be ended at 24:00 of that same day. And the pass will expire at 24:00 of the 7th day. So, try to activate it in mornings.


Thanks, Duc! Answers my question exactly! :)


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