Japan Rail Pass - Japanspecialist

Japan Rail Pass

The Japan Rail Pass is the most convenient way to travel around Japan. As an official vendor of the pass you can purchase on-line with us and have it delivered to your home within a few days. Below is a selection of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to the Japan Rail Pass.

It really is the most convenient way to travel around Japan. If you buy a Japan Rail Pass you can save a lot of money. For example – travelling from Kyoto to Tokyo roundtrip costs 28,340 JPY and a 7 day JR Pass just 29,650 JPY. Not only that, you only need one ticket for all travel, including the high-speed bullet trains and you can reserve your seat.

The Japan Rail Pass is valid on all the JR lines. This includes JR Trains (please see map below), Tokyo Monorail to/from Haneda Airport, JR Ferry to Miyajima, local JR buses and some non-JR trains needed to access isolated JR lines.

The JR Pass is not valid on Nozomi trains along the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen or Mizuho trains along the Sanyo/Kyushu Shinkansen. Furthermore, a supplement fee is required on JR trains using non-JR tracks and on highway buses. More details.

You can buy the Japan Rail Pass using the form at the top of the page. Once the payment is confirmed we will send you an exchange order. Upon arrival in Japan you can activate the JR Pass at one of the many Japan Rail Pass exchange offices. These are located in all main line Japan Rail stations as well as many international airport terminals including Tokyo Narita, Tokyo Haneda and Osaka Kansai International Airport.

Please note that the exchange order is a paper voucher (you will not receive a digital copy!), which you will need to bring to Japan. In case you forget this, it will not be possible to claim your Rail Pass in Japan. 

Refund applications for non-used rail pass vouchers are possible, but an administration fee if 15% of the JRP value will be applicable.

Once your Japan Rail Pass is activated you can enjoy the speed and the comfort of all the JR lines with one unlimited pass during your stay in Japan.

The Japan rail pass can only be used by foreign tourists and Japanese nationals living outside Japan who meet certain conditions.

Non-Japanese passport holders
When you travel to Japan as a tourist you will receive a temporary sightseeing visitor visa (single entry) of 15 or 90 days duration. All European and British citizens automatically receive this visa on arrival in Japan if travelling as tourists. 

You are not eligible to activate your Japan Rail Pass in Japan if you are holding these types of Visa:

  • 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 a temporary visitor visa with the purpose of sightseeing.

Japanese nationals living outside of Japan
If you are a Japanese national and you have lived outside of Japan for 10 years or more, you can purchase a Japan Rail Pass if these conditions are met:
You will need to provide one of following documents that proves foreign residence outside of Japan for at least 10 years at the time of purchase. This must be:

  1. Copy of your Overseas Residential Registration (在留届の写し) issued by the embassy or legation of Japan in the foreign country where you live.
  2. Certificate of Overseas Residence (在留証明書) issued by the embassy or legation of Japan in the foreign country where you live [USA, Brazil and Canada only]
  3. Permanent Resident Card (永住カード) issued by your country of residence. This is only a special case and limited to the USA, Brazil, and Canada. The length of recorded residence on the card should be at least 10 years.

For Japanese children below the age of 12
Japanese children under 12 years old can only use the Japan Rail Pass if they are accompanied with an adult Japanese Japan Rail Pass holder. They must conform to the following rules:

  1. The Overseas Residential Registration verifies that he/she lives with the child applicant and whose stay in the country is 10* consecutive years or more
  2. The child must also use the Japan Rail Pass with the adult applicant.

*In case that “the date of arrival” in the overseas country is at least 10 years earlier, but “the date of acceptance“ by Japanese embassy for the Zairyutodoke is less than 10 years, than such a case does not meet the eligibility requirements.

The full regulations can be found here in English and here in Japanese.

We cannot issue any Japan Rail Pass exchange order unless the above conditions are met.

Exchanging in Japan
At the time of exchange in Japan, you must bring your passport, proof (as outlined above) that you have lived outside of Japan for at least 10 years, and your exchange order. Failing to bring any of these will result in the Japan Rail Pass not being issued.

The Green Class is the First Class equivalent of the Japan Rail Pass. Enjoy the extra comfort as you explore Japan.

(Standard Class)
(First Class)
Unlimited travel all over Japan
Free seat reservations
Ride the High Speed Shinkansen bullet trains
Access to separate First Class carriages
Comfort with extra wide seats
More space for your luggage
More privacy
Extra free amenities


As a Japan Rail Pass holder, you are entitled to book a seat free of charge on all Japan Railways Trains.
Please note, it's important to book your seat before boarding the train because the JR Group does not allow you to reserve a seat once you are already on board. 

Once you have validated your Exchange Order, and your Japan Rail Pass is active, you can book your seats (up to a month in advance) by going to any of the JR Ticket Offices at any train station. Alternatively, you can also make a reservation using any of the ticketing machines available at the train stations. 

It is possible to book a seat online for certain trains on the JR East Train Reservation Service (Ekinet). These trains are the Hokuriku Shinkansen (Tokyo-Kanazawa), Shinkansen, and major limited express trains in the JR East area north of Tokyo, as well as Shinkansen, limited express, and rapid airport trains in the JR Hokkaido area. Please note that you are NOT allowed to use the Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansen with the Japan Rail Pass.

As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to book a seat in advance in the following cases:

  • If you commute on trains going to and from Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.
  • During peak seasons: Golden week (April 27 to May 6), Summer holidays (August 11-20) and Christmas/New Year holidays (December 28 to January 6)

The rest of the intercity Shinkansen trains are usually not so busy and free seats tend to always be available.
If you are a Green pass holder, it is recommended to book a seat in advance to guarantee your place in a green car (as those spaces are limited compared to the standard seats).

Once you have chosen your destination and preferred time, you will receive a reserved seat ticket with all the details needed to travel (route, departure time, arrival time, train name, car, and seat).

If you wish to book a private compartment or travel in a sleeping car on Shinkansen trains, you will be required to pay an extra fee.

When travelling with a piece of baggage with total dimensions (width + height + depth) of more than 160cm it will be considered oversized. 

Since there are only a small number of seats with oversized baggage storage you will need to book a seat in advance.
When booking a seat at any JR Ticket Office, please specify you have oversized baggage exceeding the size limit. When booking a seat with one of the ticketing machines please select “seat with an oversized baggage area”.
Booking a seat with oversized baggage storage allows you to sit next to your luggage, this is generally the last row of the carriage.

Passengers travelling with oversized baggage who don't have a reservation will be charged a baggage fee (1,000 yen including tax per item of baggage). They will also have to store their baggage in a space designated by the cabin crew.
For more info please click here.

You should receive the Japan Rail Pass exchange order within 1-3 business days when delivered within the EU and to the UK. Our business days are Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 17:00 (CET). During holiday periods delivery may take longer. Please note that if you book your Japan Rail Pass during the weekend, we will process your order on the next available business day. 

Japanspecialist is contracted to UPS services for secure and fast delivery. After placing your order, you will receive an email from us with your unique tracking number. You will be able to track the progress of the shipment at anytime.

In the event you wish to place a last-minute order, e.g. your departure date to Japan is within 5 days of the date you wish to order the Japan Rail Pass, please send us an e-mail to jrp@japanspecialist.com and we will contact you with options to have the Japan Rail Pass delivered at short notice. Delivery costs may be higher due to the urgency of the delivery.

It is possible to cancel your order and get a refund only if the Japan Rail Pass has not been used. The administration fee is 15% of each Japan Rail Pass you have purchased. Please void the document by using a blue pen, by writing a word with “VOID” on it and take a picture of it. Please send a photo proof by e-mail to jrp@japanspecialist.com. Once we receive your request by e-mail we can proceed with a refund to the same card used for the purchase in within 7 business days.

Your voucher must be exchanged in Japan within 90 days from the date it was issued. You only need to contact us if your new intended dates of use will be outside those 90 days. In this case please void the document by using a blue pen, by writing “VOID” on it and taking a picture. Please send the photo by e-mail to jrp@japanspecialist.com along with the new dates of use. An administration charge of 25 EUR per order, plus additional delivery fees, will be applicable for issuing and delivering the new Japan Rail Pass(es). Delivery takes place the same way as per your initial order.

A name change request is possible only if the voucher has not yet been exchanged. Please void the document by using a blue pen, by writing “VOID” on it and taking a picture. Please send the photo by e-mail to jrp@japanspecialist.com along with the correct name. An administration charge of 25 EUR per order, plus additional delivery fees, will be applicable for issuing and delivering the new Japan Rail Pass(es). Delivery takes place the same way as per your initial order. Please note, that you can exchange your order in Japan only if the names in the document are exactly the same as in the corresponding passport. 

You will receive a shipment confirmation e-mail with a tracking number. Please use the link within the e-mail to visit the shipping company website and check the shipping status. If shipment has not been delivered, you may change your delivery address there. 

You can view the Japan Rail Pass Terms and Conditions online here or download a PDF copy for reference here.