questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

reserving shinkansen seats?

Reserving Shinkansen Seats?

Hi there!

I will be staying in Tokyo for 7 weeks, and then my mom is flying in for a week. We are planning on buying the 7-day pass to travel in Tokyo/Yokohama for 2 days, shinkansen to Kyoto for 2 days, 1 day in Nara, 1 day in Hiroshima, then back to Tokyo for another day. The last time I was in Japan I stayed on a cultural studies visa and was ineligible for the pass, so I had to book my shinkansen tickets through a travel agent. How do we use the pass to book shinkansen tickets? Can we book reserved seats on the shinkansen lines eligible for the pass without upgrading the pass? Do I have to do this in person at a station or can I do it through a site?

Thanks for your help!


Hi there,

Seat reservations are free with a Japan Rail Pass. The best way to make reservations for non-Japanese speakers is to visit the JR ticket office once you have activated your rail pass, and place your reservations in person. If you would like to make all your seat reservations at once, that is also possible provided you know your itinerary.

In general, unless you are travelling during rush hour, or during the Golden Week period (April 29th - May 5th), you should be fine to reserve seats on the day of travel before you board your train.

If you can read Japanese, then you can reserve seats online (again for free) through

Hope this helps!

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