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JR Pass Green confusion

over 11 years ago
2 responses

To try and be brief, I am currently in Japan, and my family in the US is mailing me a JR Green Pass (I personally would have opted for the regular, but I can't complain).

I am currently in Fukuoka (Kyushu), and plan to take a trip from Hakata up to Tokyo.

First, I would like to ask if I can exchange my voucher for the 7-day pass PRIOR to the first "day of use" without eating into those 7 days. I ask because I am told you can't reserve seats until you have the actual JR pass. I would obviously like to reserve a seat ASAP, as opposed to trying to make a reservation on the day of my departure.

Second, I'm still trying to figure out how the rail system works. I'm not even sure which line(s) I'll need to take to get to Tokyo. However, since I will have the Green car pass, I'd like to make full use of it by riding in a green car...even if it means waiting a few hours or departing a bit earlier.

I've been reading, though, that Kyushu shinkansen don't have green cars...? Did my family waste their money on the green pass, or is there something I'm missing? I'm still at the point where any train schedules I can find are baffling.

Please help! Thank you in advance.

1950 posts
over 11 years ago

Hi Asher,

To answer your questions:

1) When you exchange your voucher you can specify an exact start date up to 1 month in the future. This should let you get your seats reserved in good time.

2) The Rail System is a little complex. Luckily there are some good online resources. Hyperdia is one of the better sites, and we have a guide on how to use it for JR Pass holders here. In your case, you will want to take the Bullet train from Hakata (Fukuoka Bullet station) to Tokyo.

Here is a sample itinerary that matches your journey: http://goo.gl/zg83q, with 1 transfer at Osaka. You should make sure you use the "Sakura" bullet train up to Shin-Osaka as they have excellent new Green Car carriages. The train up to Tokyo from Osaka will also have a green car seat. You can discuss this further with the staff when you reserve your tickets.

3) JR Kyushu shinkansen do have green car seats, as you can see here. However, as you will be travelling north, you will travel on the JR-West Sakura and the JR-Central Hikari services up to Tokyo. (each JR zone lines overlap their neighbouring JR zones so that services can be made up and down the country).

Hope this helps and you have a very relaxing journey to Tokyo!


2 posts
over 11 years ago

Thank you SO MUCH! I can't tell you how much your info has helped put my mind at ease.

Very expertly given advice.

1303 posts
over 7 years ago

Just one concern...the OP says s/he is currently in Japan?

You must be in Japan on a Temporary Visitor Status (i.e. tourist visa). If you are residing in Japan, you cannot use a JR Pass. And normally you should buy the exchange order before arriving in Japan. Some late buyers have it sent to them after they've arrived in Japan, but you can't get it within Japan.

Fukuoka is a nice city though with lots to see and do.
There is good info seeing Fukuoka on:



One of the best places there is the Nanzoin Temple - it is mind blowing and completely FREE!


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