questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

reserving seats while still in europe

Reserving seats while still in Europe

Hello Daniel-san,
I read in one of your most informative answers to another client that it is possible to book shinkansen seats on the website e5489. Can you give me some information about this. Can the seats be booked without having the actual JR pass, while still in our home country? Do we have to pay for the tickets and will they be delivered or is it just an online reservation and we get something that we can show that our seats are reserved?
If we can at least book the seats when we have to travel around the 11 - 15 August, it would give us peace of mind. The computer makes automatic translation from Japanese to English so we might be able to figure out how to reserve seats if this is possible and feasible.
Thank you always for your very helpful advice.


Hi Godfrey,

The e5489 service is an online booking system for train tickets in Japan, you pay for the tickets online with a creditcard and collect them at the station with a code or printable bar code. However it is only available in Japanese and does not work together with the JRPass.

I guess it would be possible to buy the tickets online, then collect them have the JR Staff refund them (a 210 Yen refund price per ticket applies) and re-book the tickets with the JR Pass. However I would not recommend doing this as it is somewhat uncharted space and I don't know anyone who has actually done it this way, so it may be hard work out. Additionally foreign credit cards are not always accepted by the online booking system.

What I would recommend is reserving the tickets when you arrive in Japan and exchange your JR Pass. There are a lot of trains going every day and I have never experienced a day that all trains were sold out.

I hope this helps,

PS: 5489 in Japanese sounds like goyoyaku, meaning to reserve or promise.

Expert button 2

Thank you. We will reserve the seats as soon as we arrive in Japan. Safer that way! Thank you for your valuable and helpful advice.


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