questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

reserving tickets for a friend without her pass

Reserving tickets for a friend without her pass

I'm living in Japan and have a friend coming to visit for Christmas and the new year. She will be using a JR pass and I want to reserve our tickets to make sure we get seats. She has yet to purchase her pass.

I am hoping to book the tickets as soon as possible, but will I have to wait until she purchases the pass? Will I need to have the pass in my hands when I book the tickets? If so, would a photo copy/scanned email be sufficient?

Thank you in advance.


Hi there,

Seat reservations can only be made with the actual JR Pass in person. This means that it would normally be impossible to make seat reservations before your friend comes to Japan.

However there's a little work around which you can try. This works as follows, you buy the tickets for you and your friend at a JR Station. Once your friend arrives and she has activated her JR Pass you can ask a refund for one of the tickets and have it re booked at the same time for the JR Pass. There's a small refund fee that the JR will charge you, in order to refund the ticket (this is usually a couple hundred yen).

This way you can reserve seats together even though is does not have the JR Pass.

Hope this helps and good luck!

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