can I use the Japan Rail Pass?

Japan Rail Pass eligibility

Eligibility banner big 1

Notice for Japanese Passport Holders: As of March 31 2017, JR stopped the sale of the Japan Rail Pass to Japanese Passport holders. The eligibility requirements seen below apply until then. Exchange Orders purchased before that date can be turned in for the Japan Rail Pass until June 30th 2017.

The sale of the Japan Rail Pass to non-Japanese passport holders remains unaffected.

海外在住日本人へジャパンレールパスの販売中止のお知らせ:

これまで一定の利用資格条件を満たす海外在住の日本人への販売を行っておりましたが、利用資格条件が改定されたため、日本人への引換証販売は2017年3月31日を持ちまして終了いたしました。4月1日よりは日本国以外の旅券のみを有する方に販売が限定されます。何卒ご了承をよろしくお願いいたします

The Japan Rail Pass offers an incredibly economical way to travel throughout Japan by rail. Please be aware however, that the Japan Rail Pass is primarily intended for use by non-Japanese nationals who wish to visit Japan for short tourism visits of up to 90 days and cannot be used by all visitors. Japanese nationals living outside Japan are also permitted to use the Japan Rail Pass under certain strict conditions, and must show proof of eligibility on activation of the Japan Rail Pass in Japan.

These eligibility rules apply to all Japan Rail Pass passengers, including children, tour groups and those of dual-nationality. Please ensure you have read and understand the eligibility requirements and that all passengers are eligible for the Japan Rail Pass before you make your purchase. If a passenger does not match these eligibility requirements they will, without exception, be unable exchange and use the Japan Rail Pass once in Japan.

If you are unsure or would like confirmation of eligibility status, please contact us.

Non-Japanese passport holders

To use the Japan Rail Pass passengers must enter Japan with a temporary sightseeing visitor visa single entry of 15 or 90 days duration. Passport holders from 67 countries will automatically receive this visa on arrival into Japan if entering for 90 days or less of non-paid activity. Other nationalities must apply for the temporary visitor visa before they arrive in Japan. Please see the visa guide at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information on the visa applications procedure.

Who is NOT eligible?

  • Long term visas which allow to stay in Japan more than 90 days
  • Student visa
  • Permanent residency visa
  • Tokubetsu Eijuken holders (Special permanent residency visa)
  • Entertainer visa
  • Working holiday visa
  • Military entry status
  • Any other visas which are not temporary visitor single entry visa for sightseeing
If you are unsure or would like confirmation of eligibility status, please contact us.

Japanese passport holders

The following instructions only apply to Exchange Orders purchased before the 31st of March.

Japanese nationals are eligible for the Japan Rail Pass if they are living overseas and are either:

  • Officially qualified to permanently reside in that country
  • Married to a non-Japanese residing permanently in that country

The Japanese nationals must provide the following documentary proof when activating the Japan Rail Pass in Japan:

  • If officially qualified to permanently reside in that country
    1. Proof of official permanent resident status, e.g. green card or permanent visa.
    2. Proof of residence outside Japan, documents issued by an official institution with name and address of passenger. E.g. tax documents, national insurance or address registration document.
  • If married to a non-Japanese residing permanently in that country
    1. Proof of residence outside Japan. E.g. letter issued by an official institution with name and address of passenger.
    2. Proof of marriage to a non-Japanese individual: marriage certificate.
    3. Proof of residence of their non-Japanese spouse outside Japan. E.g. letter issued by an official institution with name and address of spouse.

Note: If you are a Japanese national, a non-Japanese passport, driving license, temporary resident card or work permit are not acceptable forms of proof of permanent residence abroad. Even if in possession of multiple passports, the passenger must provide the applicable documentation listed above on exchange of the Japan Rail Pass in Japan. Japan Rail (JR) will not authorize the Japan Rail Pass unless the passenger is able to provide the correct documentation at the point of activation in Japan.

Dual nationality holders

If the passenger holds dual nationality with Japan and another country they must enter Japan as a 'Temporary Visitor' using their non-Japanese passport in order to be eligible for the Japan Rail Pass. If they enter Japan using their Japanese passport, they will NOT be able to use the Japan Rail Pass.

This rule also applies to children of all ages holding dual nationality. If you are entering Japan as Japanese national with children of dual nationality and intend to use the Japan Rail Pass we recommend you contact airport staff on arrival and ask that your children be chaperoned while waiting for passport clearance as 'Temporary Visitors' using their non-Japanese passport.

Note: Presenting a non-Japanese passport, Birth certificate or any other documentary evidence that the dual national is a permanent resident outside Japan is not sufficient to use Japan Rail Pass. The dual national passenger must enter Japan under their non-Japanese passport with 'Temporary Visitor' (15 or 90 day) entry status.

If you are unsure about eligibility

If you are unsure or would like confirmation of eligibility status, please contact us directly and we will be happy to advise. You should also check the current full eligibility criteria for Japanese passport holders at the official JR website.

The final decision to authorize the Japan Rail Pass will be made by JR. If a passenger does not match the eligibility requirements or if the JR clerk is unable to verify passenger compliance with the criteria it will not be possible to exchange and use the Japan Rail Pass. We kindly ask you to check the above points carefully before your purchase.