questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

reservation of seats in advance

Reservation of seats in advance

Hi, We are two travellers planning to travel to Japan in from November 10th-18th.We are planning to visit Tokyo, Kyoto and Nikko.
Can you reserve seats online on the trains using the railpass? From what i read the reservation has to be done at ticket counters at the station. Is there no way i can do the reservation before my travel to Japan, so that i can be assured of the seat? My only worry is that seats may not be available. I come from India, where seats on the railways are a precious commodity. Seats on the indian rails get completely booked 3 months in advance.
Any help on the matter will be appreciated.



Hi there,

I'm afraid you cannot reserve online before you arrive in Japan except on certain JR-East lines (please note the strict terms of use!).

But no not worry! There are many trains on the routes you mention so you will have no problems at all in reserving a seat when you arrive in Japan, or even using non-reserved open seating (though you should make free reservations to ensure you sit together). At that time of year you will have no problems (no national holidays etc) aside from during rush hour periods where the trains will get busier as normal.

I recommend that you place all your JR reservations at once when you land at the JR ticket office. That way you'll be able to travel with more security and enjoy your trip.

I hope this helps!

Expert button 2

Thank you Mari, this certainly helps! i will do as you recommend and place the reservations when we arrive in Japan


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