questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

twilight express and jr pass

Twilight Express and JR Pass


I am hoping to take the Twilight Express from Kyoto to Sapporo on October 7th. I know the train books quickly so I was wondering:

-Can you reserve Twilight Express seats 1 month in advance? -Is there any way to reserve seats from abroad? I've read that you can only do so in person or call JR West if you speak Japanese. -If I'm able to get a friend who speaks Japanese to call in and reserve for me, will she need to give JR West my credit card information to complete the reservation? What will be the charge for the reservation if I have already purchased a JR pass for use in October? If charged the full fee (including the base fee that the JR pass allows you to waive), will I be able to get a refund when I show my JR pass once I'm in Japan?

Thanks so much for your help!


Hi there!

The Twilight Express can indeed be booked up to one month in advance, however this can only be done in Japan or via the telephone or internet (both are Japanese only), you however do need a credit-card issued in Japan for this, which makes the process pretty impossible for most people.

I would really recommend reading this webside about booking the Twilight express (with the JR Pass). Apparently you can reserve the train by paying the limited express charge as well as the sleeping accommodation charge without having to pay for the normal fare (which is covered by the JR Pass).

Taking some information from one of Mari's great posts The basic fare for the trip from Osaka to Sapporo is ¥16,170 - this is fully covered by the JR Pass. On top of this you will have to pay the room fee that can range from ¥8,400 for the cheapest sleeper car B room, to ¥13,650 for the expensive sleeper car A rooms. Note that you may also have to pay an additional limited express fare Fare ¥ 3,150 if you travel between Shin-Osaka and Kyoto or if you stay on board for additional stations in Hokkaido.

I hope this helps you on your way!

Expert button 2

Thanks, Daniel! The tip about the Japanese-issued credit card was super helpful!


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