The Japan Rail Pass usage restrictions are simple and clear. Please read on and ensure you qualify for the Japan Rail Pass to avoid disappointment!
non-Japanese visitors to Japan
If you are non-Japanese, you need a valid ‘Temporary Visitor’ entry status stamp in your passport. If you are visiting Japan for a holiday or for sight-seeing you will automatically receive this at airport Immigration so do not need to apply in advance.
For non-Japanese entering Japan under a different entry status, such as a work or study visa, you will unfortunately not be eligible for the Japan Rail Pass.
Are there any exceptions?
I’m afraid not! Japan plays by the rules and you need to show your ‘Temporary Visitor’ stamp to personnel when activating your Japan Rail Pass. If you cannot present a valid ‘Temporary Visitor’ visa stamp, JR will not be able to activate your Japan Rail Pass. Other statuses not allowed are: Trainee, Entertainer, or Re-entry Permit.
The Japan Rail Pass is not available for residents inside Japan, however Japanese nationals living overseas are eligible if:
- you are qualified to permanently live in that country
- you are married to a non-Japanese residing permanently in that country
Please note that if you qualify for either of these points you must show documented proof of eligibility when activating your Japan Rail Pass.