questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

buying tickets for friends coming to visit

Buying tickets for friends coming to visit

I have two friends coming to visit Japan during Golden Week so would like to reserve their tickets if possible.They arrive on the 29th April and we are hoping to travel to Hiroshima on that day.

I know they go on sale 1 month beforehand, but is it possible to reserve train tickets and still allow them to use a JR Pass? They haven't purchased one yet but will do soon.

My options appear to be:

1 - Booking train tickets in advance for them, but paying a lot more money than the JR Pass would cost.
2 - Buying the JR pass but being unable to reserve seats until the day they arrive.

Does anyone know of a way around this problem?

Thanks in advance!


Hello there,

The JR Pass can only be used to make reservations once it is exchanged, effectively meaning that your friends would have to be in Japan already.

You could buy the tickets as you normally would, then have them cancelled and re-booked under the JR Pass. Here a cancellation fee does apply for every ticket and you would also have to explain what you want in Japanese.

Its generally fine with golden week if you book tickets 2 days in advance, not sure how long you have once they arrive?

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

Hi Daniel,

How would I go about cancelling and re-booking them? Just in a みどりの窓口? Would I have to wait until they arrived to re-book them? That would be perfect really.

We are looking to leave the same day they arrive ideally - or the next day at the latest! Not sure how possible that will be though!

Thanks for all your help, very much appreciated!



Hi Patrick,

You could do so at any ticket window or JR travel centre. You would have to wait with re-booking them until your friends have arrived and have exchanged the JR Pass.

Also note, that this "work around" option is theoretical for me, knowing how the system works but never having to do it like this. I therefore would very much recommend talking to the JR staff first and confirming that this would be possible before purchasing any tickets.

Though it may not be a bad idea, given the short amount of time before you want to travel.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2


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