Japan Rail Pass FAQ - Frequently asked questions about the JR Pass (2023)

Enquiries before arriving in Japan

Travel related enquiry

  • Can the JR Pass be ordered more than 90 days in advance?

    Yes, orders can be placed as far as 180 days before travel commences with the Japan Rail Pass. Exchange orders with a lead time more than 3 months will be dispatched closer to your travel date.

  • Can I use the JR Pass on the bus?

    The JR Pass can be used on local JR buses. This includes:JR Hokkaido Bus Company, JR Bus Tohoku Company, JR Bus Kanto Company, JR Tokai Bus Company, West Japan JR Bus Company, Chugoku JR Bus Company, JR Shikoku Bus Company, JR Kyushu Bus Company.Note that travel operated by other companies is not included in the JR Pass.

  • Is the JR Pass valid on the ferry?

    The Japan Rail Pass is valid on the JR Ferry to Miyajima. Other Ferries, are not included.

  • Can I use the JR Pass in Osaka?

    Yes, the Japan Rail Pass can be used in Osaka. The city has an extensive JR Network. Which includes the JR Osaka Loop line, JR Yumisaki line, JR Kansai Line and many others.

  • Can I use the JR Pass in Kyoto?

    Yes, to a limited extent. JR lines run to the west and south of Kyoto, with access to highlights such as Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari and Uji. Additionally, a local JR bus runs from Kyoto station to north Kyoto.

  • What is the Nozomi?

    The Nozomi Shinkansen train service, is the fastest train service between Tokyo, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka and western Japan. The Nozomi is not included in the JR Pass but users can ride the Hikari Shinkansen service on the same route.

  • Can I travel to Fuji with the JR Pass?

    The answer is, it depends. Fuji is a large mountain with many spots around it worthwhile visiting. We recommed reading:Itinerary tip: Mt. Fuji.

  • What does Shinkansen mean?

    The Shinkansen is the Japanese word referring to the famous bullet trains that travel at very high speed. Using the JR Pass, you can travel on any bullet train line in Japan. Some restrictions do apply.

  • Is Daniel-san at JRPass.com a real person?

    Yes, Daniel-san is 100% real and you can ask him anything about travel on the Japan Rail Pass forum.

  • Can I use the JR Pass on the Nozomi/Mizuho trains?

    The Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansen trains are not included in the JR Pass. You can use the Hikari and Sakura Shinkansen on the same route.

  • Is the Haruka Express included in the JR Pass?

    Yes, the Haruka Expressis included in the Japan Rail Pass for quick access to and from Kansai Airport.

  • Does the JR Pass include the Narita Express (NEX)?

    Yes, the Narita Express is included in the Japan Rail Pass and is the fastest and most comfortable way to travel into Tokyo.

  • Can I use the bullet train?

    Yes, the JR Pass covers all bullet train lines. Take note that different train services run on the Shinkansen lines. The Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansen Shinkansen are not included in the JR Pass but the Hikari and Sakura Shinkansen can be used instead on the same route.

  • Can I get a discount on the JR Pass?

    The JR Pass already is a heavily discounted rail ticket compared to normal rail tickets, no further discounts are given (such as senior, student, etc.).

  • Should I use a JR Pass or Regional Pass?

    It depends on your travel plans. To learn more read: Expert guide to rail passes in Japan

  • Do stations have English signs?

    Yes, most stations have English signs and announcements.

  • Do you have a map with all JR lines?

    Yes, see: www.jrpass.com/map

  • Can I use the JR Pass to travel from/to the Airport?

    Yes, travel to all the Airports of Haneda, Narita and Kansai are covered. See our blog for detailed airport access guides.

  • Does the JR Pass cover the Metro/Subway systems?

    No, as these are not run by JR. However, local JR lines can be used for travel within cities. For details see the JR MAP.

  • What lines are included in the JR Pass?

    The JR Pass covers all JR Lines nationwide, including the Shinkansen bullet train lines and conventional lines. For details see our JR Map.

  • Validity related questions

  • Can the Japan Rail Pass be ordered in advance?

    Yes, the JR Pass can be ordered up to 6 months before planned activation date. The Japan Rail Pass exchange voucher is valid for 90 days after issue date, so we will send the actual tickets closer to your travel date.

  • Can the JR Pass duration be changed?

    Once issued, the JR Pass duration can not be changed, please make sure to order the right ticket.

  • How long is the JR Pass valid for?

    The Japan Rail Pass can be activated up to 3 months after issue date. At point of activation it is possible to select a "Starting date" for up to 30 days in the future.

  • Does my child (under 5 years old) need the child pass?

    For infants, Japan Rail states that they they may travel for free and do not need a ticket, but this also means that the infant is not entitled to a seat. In unreserved, reserved and Green Car carriages you may seat them in an empty space, but should the train be very busy or seat reserved/required, the infant will be expected to sit on an accompanying persons’ lap. www.jrpass.com/blogs/japan-rail-passes-for-children.

  • What is the difference between the Green pass and ordinary pass?

    There are many perks travelling by First class(Green Car), such as the green car seats on the bullet trains have more leg room space and are much more comfortable especially for travel long distance compared to ordinary seats. Furthermore, having a First Class (Green car) pass significantly increases your chance to reserve a seat when you take bullet trains.For more information regarding Green cars, please see this link.

  • Which lines can I use with Japan Rail Pass? Can I use subway and Metro?

    JR pass can be used unlimitedly on Japan Railway Group operated trains, across the whole of Japan. This includes all JR Group Railways Shinkansen "bullet trains" (except any reserved or non-reserved seat on "Nozomi" and "Mizuho" trains), limited express trains, express trains, (Narita Express) and rapid or local trains (with some exceptions). Further information regarding validly can be found here: japanrailpass.net.Subways and Metros are run by municipal and Japan rail pass doesn't cover them. For more detail, we would recommend reading our article Which lines does the JRPASS cover

  • Is JRPASS validity period counted by the hour or by the day?

    By the day. For example, if you activate your 7 day rail pass at 3pm on 1st April, it will be valid until end of 7th April not 3pm on 8th. For full detail see: Can I use my JR Pass with breaks between days?

  • When to order?

    The exchange order voucher is valid for 3 months from the date of issue. You are free to activate your exchange order voucher in Japan any time within the 3 month time frame.
    Therefore, we generally advise customers to consider making a purchase anytime up to 2 and a half months before their date of use. Fore more detail, please see: www.jrpass.com/blogs/exchange-order-validity-period

  • Eligibility related enquiry

  • Who is NOT eligible?

    The Japan rail pass will NOT be activated in Japan if the passenger is a visa holder of any other entry status or visa type regardless of duration.

    • 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
    • Trainee visa
    • Working holiday visa
    • Military entry status
    • Any other visas which are not a temporary visitor visa with the purpose of sightseeing.If you are unsure or would like confirmation of eligibility status, please contact us.
  • I have a double/multiple entry status, am I eligible?

    As long as you have the temporary visitor visa, you will be eligible. For full eligibility details see: Japan Rail Pass eligibility page.

  • Who can use the Nationwide Japan rail pass?

    The Japan Rail Pass passengers must enter Japan with a temporary sightseeing visitor visa of 15 or 90 days duration. Passport holders from 68 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.

  • Questions after purchasing the Japan rail pass

    Order related questions

  • When can I order the Japan Rail Pass?

    The Japan Rail Pass can be ordered starting 6 months or 180 days before your travel date. Orders with a longer lead time than 3 months will be dispatched about 2 months before your flight, so the JR Pass arrives well on time. For more details see JR Pass shipping details.

  • Can I get help to plan my Japan trip?

    Yes, we provide free Japan Rail Advice in our community forum.

  • Didn't include my middle name/ second surname. Is this problem when I activate my Japan rail pass?

    Please do not worry. JR regulations state that only the first and last name should be an exact match as it appears in the passengers passport. There is no requirement to include the middle name, and it is optional. For further questions, please contact JR Pass.

  • Delivery

  • How do you deliver the JR Pass?

    We use both FedEx Express and UPS for fast, secure and reliable shipping.

  • I haven't received the order yet. Help!

    Please contact us replying your order confirmation email or contact JR Pass. We will deal with it right away!

  • How fast is delivery speed for the Japan Rail Pass?

    If you live in the UK, the US or Europe, most of the delivery time will be 1-2 working days after dispatch Please check delivery speed here.

  • Reservation related enquiry

  • Do I need to make a seat reservation?

    Seat reservations are free for all JR pass holders. While you can take a non-reserved seat, we recommend reserving a seat in advance.especially during the busy period or festive seasons. This way you are secure of seating and don't have to queue up on the platform beforehand. Some trains such as the Narita Express, Hayabusa and Kagayaki Shinkansen always need a reservation beforehand. Local trains do not have reserved seats. Also see: How to make seat reservations with the JR Pass

  • When are public holidays in Japan? and what does this mean for reserving train seats.

    Trains can be very busy during public holidays and making reservations 2-4 days in advance is highly recommended. Note that the exact dates can change on a yearly basis. Public holidays are:The New Year holidays (end of December to early January),Golden Week (end of April to early May),Obon season (mid August).

  • Can I make reservation online?

    Seat reservations generally can only be made inside of Japan after activate your Japan rail pass. Reservation in advance is only available for JR East area. We have some information on seat reservations here.

  • Cancel or Lost

  • What to do in case of Lost Property?

    If you've lost something on a Japan Rail train or at JR station, don't give up! It’s not guaranteed but it’s highly likely you will recover your belongings as long as you are still in Japan. Please note that we are not Japan Railway so that we are unable to check your lost property.Visit the JR station lost and found as soon as possible. JR stores lost properties for a week. After this, belongings are transferred to the regional Police Lost & Found Centre where usually there is no English service available.Before visiting the JR lost and found, make sure you know:

    • The date you lost your property
    • The train you took when you lost your property
    • Train number eg. Kodama 653
    • Departure and arrival station
    • Boarding/Arrival time
    • Train car number and seat number
    • Detailed description of your property
    • Item name
    • Brand, colour etc.

    Be sure to include any unique characteristics rather than giving a generic description, this will ensure your enquiry has the greatest chance of success.

  • Lost activated Japan rail pass

    If you have lost your activated Japan rail pass at one of JR stations, visit JR Lost and Found as soon as possible and report your lost pass. They should be able to help you to check lost properties. Unfortunately, once the pass is activated, refund/reissue are not available.

  • Lost your voucher

    Unfortunately, you need to buy a new voucher. However, a refund is still available though it takes longer to process. In these circumstances we will declare your voucher as lost to Japan railway. Once they confirm the voucher has never been used, we will issue the refund minus a processing surcharge. This process usually takes approximately 6 months from the first date we declare it as lost. Please contact us using contact form below. Please note that refund is only available by your ticket issuer. Please double check where you purchased your pass from then contact your travel agency.

  • Left your JRPass voucher at home

    In order to activate your Japan rail pass, you must bring the physical exchange order. Due to strict Japan Railway rules, a scanned copy of your voucher , or our invoice, or order confirmation email is not sufficient to activate your Japan rail pass. You must bring the Japan Rail Pass Coupon with you to Japan and present it at the Japan Rail Pass counter. If you do forget it, please contact [emailprotected] and return your unused voucher when you come back from Japan for a refund minus a processing surcharge. Please note that refund is only available by your ticket issuer. Please double check where you purchased your pass from then contact your travel agency.

  • How can I cancel/Refund my JRPass?

    Cancellation before dispatch:
    Please contact us as soon as possible with your order number. At our discretion, we offer a 100% refund for orders that are cancelled before we ship/dispatch your order.
    Refund:If your exchange order has not been activated, your exchange order can be refunded within a year from the date of issue. Cancellation fee will apply. Please note that the refund can only be made on receipt of your unused tickets, the ticket has to be firstly be returned to our office in the U.K. (Please contact us with your order number on using contact form for the returns address and instructions.)

  • FAQs

    What happens if JR Pass doesn't arrive in time? ›

    If your pass does not arrive in time due to unforeseen circumstances (like a storm!), then we can offer you a refund or delivery to your accommodation in Japan.

    What trains can you not take with JR Pass? ›

    The JAPAN RAIL PASS is not valid for any seats, reserved or non-reserved, on “NOZOMI” and “MIZUHO” trains on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen lines. (The pass holders must take “HIKARI,” “SAKURA,” “KODAMA,” or “TSUBAME” trains.)

    How many times can you use JR Pass? ›

    Your Japan Rail Pass will expire at the end of the 7th / 14th / 21st day of use at midnight. After this time you cannot use it again to board a JR train, bus or ferry. For example if you activate a 7-Day Pass at 1pm on 1st July, it will expire at midnight on 7th.

    Can multiple people use one JR Pass? ›

    Each person will need their own JR Pass.

    Do you need to use the JR Pass on consecutive days? ›

    No – and it doesn't matter which pass you buy. You can only use it for consecutive days after the start date. Even if you choose not to use the pass one day, you will not be able to keep the day for one later in the week.

    Is it cheaper to buy JR Pass online or in person? ›

    Aside from being cheaper, buying your JR Pass online is much more convenient. You can have the JR Exchange Order delivered to your home address or at an address of your choosing in Japan. You can also avoid queuing to buy your pass and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing your JR Pass has already been arranged.

    Which lines are not covered by JR Pass? ›

    Simple rules. Subways, metros and underground are run by municipal and the JRPASS does not cover them. Train lines, stations do not have JR logo, the JRPASS basically does not cover. Although there are the same station name, JR and non JR companies have their own stations.

    Can I eat inside JR train? ›

    It is considered bad manners to eat or drink inside trains, the exception being on the Shinkansen or other long-distance express trains. The smell of the food offends those around you and there is always the possibility of spilling drinks or food, so please avoid bringing food and drinks into the train.

    Can you not use Shinkansen with JR Pass? ›

    Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansen bullet trains (both reserved and non-reserved) are not included with the JR Pass. These two types of trains operate on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen lines.

    Does JR Pass expire? ›

    The validity of a 7, 14 or 21 day JR Pass is based on calendar days (midnight to midnight), rather than 24 hour periods. For example, if you start using your pass at 2pm on day 1, it will expire at 11.59pm on day 7, rather than 2pm on day 8.

    Does JR Pass cover all Japan? ›

    The JR Pass is the only one that covers all of Japan. You can use it to travel to and within each of Japan's four main islands; Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. That's where you'll find all of Japan's major tourist attractions, like Mount Fuji, the Imperial Place in Tokyo, and Osaka Castle.

    Can I use JR Pass to Mount Fuji? ›

    If you have a Japan Rail Pass you can ride a part of the Fuji Excursion (Shinjuku – Otsuki) without needing an additional ticket. This means that JR Pass holders need to buy a ticket for the 'Otsuki – Mount Fuji / Fujikyu Highland / Kawaguchiko' section of the journey: Otsuki – Kawaguchiko: 1140 yen.

    Does JR Pass cover subway? ›

    JR is the largest train company and covers travel around the whole of Japan using the world famous bullet trains. Subways, Metros, and non JR trains are not covered by the Japan rail pass.

    Does JR Pass cover monorail? ›

    Although the Tokyo Monorail is a private railway, it has been integrated for use of the Japan Rail Pass. To board, simply show your activated JR Pass at the gates. Remember that you can activate your pass at the airport (Haneda JR East Travel Center), near the Tokyo Monorail gate.

    Can I activate my JR Pass anytime? ›

    The activation date of your Japan Rail Pass is the date you wish to start using your pass. Any date that is within 30 days of the exchange date can be selected as "Activation".

    How long is JR Pass valid after purchase? ›

    A Japan Rail Pass can be valid for either 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days. Once you receive the Japan Rail Pass Exchange voucher, you will be able to exchange it within the following 3 months. The voucher can only be exchanged in an Exchange Office in Japan.

    How long does JR take to deliver? ›

    The standard delivery time of our orders is 2 business days.

    Once you have completed your online order, you will receive an email with the tracking number of your shipment. Using the number and the link provided, you have direct access to all relevant delivery information such as the delivery date, address, and time.

    How long does it take to activate JR Pass? ›

    JR Pass Exchange Office

    Prepare to show your passport and Exchange Order or voucher to a staff member to get your official Japan Rail Pass. You will be asked to fill out a form with your name, passport number, and rail pass activation date. And, after about ten minutes, your JR Pass should be ready.

    How late do JR trains run? ›

    The train service begins its services around 4.30am and run until 1am. To ensure to have the accurate operating time of the train line in Japan, we recommend you to check Jorudan.


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