questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

jr pass and valid student visa but not in use

JR pass and valid student visa but not in use


I was an exchange student in Japan for 6 months and left Japan. I want to go back and travelusing the JR Pass but am not sure if I am eligible for it because my student visa and landing permission is valid for one year and has not expired. When I re-enter Japan, I am not sure if I will be issued a temporary visitor visa or if I will enter based on my student visa and landing permission.

Should I still buy the JR Pass exchange order?

Thank you.


Hi there,

This may or may not be a bit of a problem. In order to make use of a JR Pass, you have to enter Japan under a 90-day tourist visa.

There are a couple of things you could do here:

-Ask the customs person to place a tourist visa in your passport when you enter Japan. This require you to abandon your student visa however.

-Get a new passport, this means you won't have any visas at all, meaning you will get a new visa.

-Contact the Japanese embassy beforehand and apply for a tourist visa. While this is not necessary for many countries, you can still do it.

-If you do enter Japan under a tourist visa, submit an application for change of status of recidence.

What I would do is contact your local embassy and ask them what the easiest way would be to enter Japan under a tourist visa. I don't think it will involve a lot of work but it is good to know beforehand.

I hope this helps,


Hi Daniel,

Thank you so much for you reply! It helps a lot. One question, on the fourth point did you mean if I enter with a student visa? Or do I need to change my status of residence even if I enter with a tourist visa?

Thank you again!


Hi Moriko,

Sorry if the last part was not clear, you can submit a change of residence application only when you are already in Japan. I mentioned this option as one you can use if you enter Japan under a student visa but want to make use of the JR Pass (and thus change your visa status to tourist).


Order your Japan Rail Pass Online

Starting from $255.00 for 7 days of unlimited Japan Rail travel

Please note: we are only able to handle order related enquiries via our online direct support. Commercial advertising is prohibited as per our website terms.