Enquiries before arriving in Japan
Travel related enquiry
Yes, orders can be placed as far as 180 days before travel commences with the Japan Rail Pass. Exchange orders with a lead time more than 3 months will be dispatched closer to your travel date.
The JR Pass can be used on local JR buses. This includes: JR Hokkaido Bus Company, JR Bus Tohoku Company, JR Bus Kanto Company, JR Tokai Bus Company, West Japan JR Bus Company, Chugoku JR Bus Company, JR Shikoku Bus Company, JR Kyushu Bus Company. Note that travel operated by other companies is not included in the JR Pass.
The Japan Rail Pass is valid on the JR Ferry to Miyajima. Other Ferries, are not included.
Yes, the Japan Rail Pass can be used in Osaka. The city has an extensive JR Network. Which includes the JR Osaka Loop line, JR Yumisaki line, JR Kansai Line and many others.
Yes, to a limited extent. JR lines run to the west and south of Kyoto, with access to highlights such as Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari and Uji. Additionally, a local JR bus runs from Kyoto station to north Kyoto.
The Nozomi Shinkansen train service, is the fastest train service between Tokyo, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka and western Japan. The Nozomi is not included in the JR Pass but users can ride the Hikari Shinkansen service on the same route.
The answer is, it depends. Fuji is a large mountain with many spots around it worthwhile visiting. We recommed reading:Itinerary tip: Mt. Fuji.
The Shinkansen is the Japanese word referring to the famous bullet trains that travel at very high speed. Using the JR Pass, you can travel on any bullet train line in Japan. Some restrictions do apply.
Yes, Daniel-san is 100% real and you can ask him anything about travel on the Japan Rail Pass forum.
The Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansen trains are not included in the JR Pass. You can use the Hikari and Sakura Shinkansen on the same route.
Yes, the Haruka Express is included in the Japan Rail Pass for quick access to and from Kansai Airport.
Yes, the Narita Express is included in the Japan Rail Pass and is the fastest and most comfortable way to travel into Tokyo.
Yes, the JR Pass covers all bullet train lines. Take note that different train services run on the Shinkansen lines. The Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansen Shinkansen are not included in the JR Pass but the Hikari and Sakura Shinkansen can be used instead on the same route.
The JR Pass already is a heavily discounted rail ticket compared to normal rail tickets, no further discounts are given (such as senior, student, etc.).
It depends on your travel plans. To learn more read: Expert guide to rail passes in Japan
Yes, most stations have English signs and announcements.
Yes, see: www.jrpass.com/map
Yes, travel to all the Airports of Haneda, Narita and Kansai are covered. See our blog for detailed airport access guides.
No, as these are not run by JR. However, local JR lines can be used for travel within cities. For details see the JR MAP.
The JR Pass covers all JR Lines nationwide, including the Shinkansen bullet train lines and conventional lines. For details see our JR Map.
Validity related questions
Yes, the JR Pass can be ordered up to 6 months before planned activation date. The Japan Rail Pass exchange voucher is valid for 90 days after issue date, so we will send the actual tickets closer to your travel date.
Once issued, the JR Pass duration can not be changed, please make sure to order the right ticket.
The Japan Rail Pass can be activated up to 3 months after issue date. At point of activation it is possible to select a "Starting date" for up to 30 days in the future.
For infants, Japan Rail states that they they may travel for free and do not need a ticket, but this also means that the infant is not entitled to a seat. In unreserved, reserved and Green Car carriages you may seat them in an empty space, but should the train be very busy or seat reserved/required, the infant will be expected to sit on an accompanying persons’ lap. www.jrpass.com/blogs/japan-rail-passes-for-children.
There are many perks travelling by First class(Green Car), such as the green car seats on the bullet trains have more leg room space and are much more comfortable especially for travel long distance compared to ordinary seats. Furthermore, having a First Class (Green car) pass significantly increases your chance to reserve a seat when you take bullet trains. For more information regarding Green cars, please see this link.
JR pass can be used unlimitedly on Japan Railway Group operated trains, across the whole of Japan. This includes all JR Group Railways Shinkansen "bullet trains" (except any reserved or non-reserved seat on "Nozomi" and "Mizuho" trains), limited express trains, express trains, (Narita Express) and rapid or local trains (with some exceptions). Further information regarding validly can be found here: japanrailpass.net. Subways and Metros are run by municipal and Japan rail pass doesn't cover them. For more detail, we would recommend reading our article Which lines does the JRPASS cover
By the day. For example, if you activate your 7 day rail pass at 3pm on 1st April, it will be valid until end of 7th April not 3pm on 8th. For full detail see: Can I use my JR Pass with breaks between days?
The exchange order voucher is valid for 3 months from the date of issue.
You are free to activate your exchange order voucher in Japan any time within the 3 month time frame.
Therefore, we generally advise customers to consider making a purchase anytime up to 2 and a half months before their date of use. Fore more detail, please see: www.jrpass.com/blogs/exchange-order-validity-period
Eligibility related enquiry
The Japan rail pass will NOT be activated in Japan if the passenger is a visa holder of any other entry status or visa type regardless of duration.
- Long term visas which allow to stay in Japan more than 90 days
- Student visa
- Permanent residency visa
- Tokubetsu Eijuken holders (Special permanent residency visa)
- Entertainer visa
- Trainee visa
- Working holiday visa
- Military entry status Any other visas which are not a temporary visitor visa with the purpose of sightseeing. If you are unsure or would like confirmation of eligibility status, please contact us.
As long as you have the temporary visitor visa, you will be eligible. For full eligibility details see: Japan Rail Pass eligibility page.
The Japan Rail Pass passengers must enter Japan with a temporary sightseeing visitor visa of 15 or 90 days duration. Passport holders from 68 countries will automatically receive this visa on arrival into Japan if entering for 90 days or less of non-paid activity. Other nationalities must apply for the temporary visitor visa before they arrive in Japan. Please see the visa guide at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information on the visa applications procedure.
Questions after purchasing the Japan rail pass
Order related questions
The Japan Rail Pass can be ordered starting 6 months or 180 days before your travel date. Orders with a longer lead time than 3 months will be dispatched about 2 months before your flight, so the JR Pass arrives well on time. For more details see JR Pass shipping details.
Yes, we provide free Japan Rail Advice in our community forum.
Please do not worry. JR regulations state that only the first and last name should be an exact match as it appears in the passengers passport. There is no requirement to include the middle name, and it is optional. For further questions, please contact JR Pass.
We use both FedEx Express and UPS for fast, secure and reliable shipping.
Please contact us replying your order confirmation email or contact JR Pass. We will deal with it right away!
If you live in the UK, the US or Europe, most of the delivery time will be 1-2 working days after dispatch Please check delivery speed here.
Reservation related enquiry
Seat reservations are free for all JR pass holders. While you can take a non-reserved seat, we recommend reserving a seat in advance.especially during the busy period or festive seasons. This way you are secure of seating and don't have to queue up on the platform beforehand. Some trains such as the Narita Express, Hayabusa and Kagayaki Shinkansen always need a reservation beforehand. Local trains do not have reserved seats. Also see: How to make seat reservations with the JR Pass
Trains can be very busy during public holidays and making reservations 2-4 days in advance is highly recommended. Note that the exact dates can change on a yearly basis. Public holidays are: The New Year holidays (end of December to early January), Golden Week (end of April to early May), Obon season (mid August).
Seat reservations generally can only be made inside of Japan after activate your Japan rail pass. Reservation in advance is only available for JR East area. We have some information on seat reservations here.
Cancel or Lost
If you've lost something on a Japan Rail train or at JR station, don't give up! It’s not guaranteed but it’s highly likely you will recover your belongings as long as you are still in Japan. Please note that we are not Japan Railway so that we are unable to check your lost property. Visit the JR station lost and found as soon as possible. JR stores lost properties for a week. After this, belongings are transferred to the regional Police Lost & Found Centre where usually there is no English service available. Before visiting the JR lost and found, make sure you know:
- The date you lost your property
- The train you took when you lost your property
- Train number eg. Kodama 653
- Departure and arrival station
- Boarding/Arrival time
- Train car number and seat number
- Detailed description of your property
- Item name
- Brand, colour etc.
If you have lost your activated Japan rail pass at one of JR stations, visit JR Lost and Found as soon as possible and report your lost pass. They should be able to help you to check lost properties. Unfortunately, once the pass is activated, refund/reissue are not available.
Unfortunately, you need to buy a new voucher. However, a refund is still available though it takes longer to process. In these circumstances we will declare your voucher as lost to Japan railway. Once they confirm the voucher has never been used, we will issue the refund minus a processing surcharge. This process usually takes approximately 6 months from the first date we declare it as lost. Please contact us using contact form below. Please note that refund is only available by your ticket issuer. Please double check where you purchased your pass from then contact your travel agency.
In order to activate your Japan rail pass, you must bring the physical exchange order. Due to strict Japan Railway rules, a scanned copy of your voucher , or our invoice, or order confirmation email is not sufficient to activate your Japan rail pass. You must bring the Japan Rail Pass Coupon with you to Japan and present it at the Japan Rail Pass counter. If you do forget it, please contact [email protected] and return your unused voucher when you come back from Japan for a refund minus a processing surcharge. Please note that refund is only available by your ticket issuer. Please double check where you purchased your pass from then contact your travel agency.
Cancellation before dispatch:
Please contact us as soon as possible with your order number. At our discretion, we offer a 100% refund for orders that are cancelled before we ship/dispatch your order.
Refund: If your exchange order has not been activated, your exchange order can be refunded within a year from the date of issue. Cancellation fee will apply. Please note that the refund can only be made on receipt of your unused tickets, the ticket has to be firstly be returned to our office in the U.K. (Please contact us with your order number on using contact form for the returns address and instructions.)