Rail travel in Japan

Japan Rail Pass

Bullet_train_Hikari_2The Japan Rail Pass is an amazing product for people visiting Japan. The Japan Rail Pass can be used on all Japan Rail lines, the passes are also valid on the legendary high speed Shinkansen bullet trains, throughout the whole Japan Rail network.

The Japan Rail Pass is valid for either a 7, 14 or 21 day period.


Take in the spectacular scenery and experience Japan’s amazing Shinkansen “Bullet Trains” where you’ll travel high speed to some fantastic cities.

It’s an economical way to travel throughout Japan’s extensive rail network, considered to be one of the most efficient in the world.


Where can the pass be used?

A Japan Rail Pass can be used on all Japan Railways (JR) lines and the Shinkansen bullet trains. (Except the pass is not valid on “NOZOMI” and “MIZUHO” trains on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen lines)

The Japan Rail Pass is offered by the six companies that make up the Japan Railways Group (JR Group), including JR Kyushu, JR Shikoku, JR West, JR Central, JR East and JR Hokkaido.

The Japan Rail Pass can also be used for the Tokyo monorail.

For more information on the Japan Rail Pass please see the Japan Rail Pass FAQS.


  • A Japan Rail Pass can be purchased and used by Tourists visiting Japan from abroad, under the entry status of “temporary visitor.”
  • Japanese nationals who can show they have residency abroad.
  • Pre-booking time – 1 year
  • “My Son lives in Japan, can I visit him and also purchase a JR Rail Pass for them?” The simply answer is No.
  • When you enter Japan you have to enter as a “temporary visitor” status stamp on your passport.
  • You will get that stamp if you put “tourism” or “business” on the landing card as a reason for visiting Japan, however you will not get the stamp if you are going into Japan to work or study.



  • Children 6-11 years pay approximately half the adult fare.
  • Child under 6 years of age travel free if not occupying a seat, and accompanied by an adult in possession of a Japan Rail Pass.


Additional Details

  • Once a Japan Rail Pass is purchased, the customer will receive an Exchange Order Voucher by mail, which they will exchange in Japan for the actual Japan Rail Pass.
  • These Stations have Japan Rail Pass exchange offices. (This must be done WITHIN 3 MONTHS from the date the Exchange Order Voucher was issued.
  • At the time of exchange, the customer must specify the date that they want to start using the pass. It can be any date within one month from the date the actual Japan Rail Pass is received.
  • Once the Pass has a starting date written on it, the date cannot be changed.)
  • You cannot buy a Japan Rail Pass in Japan. An Exchange Order Voucher must be purchased outside Japan, prior to your trip.
  • For more information on the Japan Rail Pass please see the Japan Rail Pass FAQS.

Refunds: an unused Exchange Order Voucher can be returned for refund less a 25% administration fee within one year from date of issue. Once the Exchange Order Voucher has been exchanged for an actual Japan Rail Pass, it becomes 100% non-refundable.

  • When travelling with a Japan Rail Pass, do not use an automatic ticket-reading gate with a Japan Rail Pass. Please show the Pass at a manned ticket gate.
  • Seat reservations: Shinkansen bullet trains and most Limited Express and Ordinary Express trains have reserved Green Car seats (First class) and both reserved and non-reserved Ordinary Car seats (Standard class). For a non reserved seat, simply show your Japan Rail Pass to board.
  • To make a seat reservation, visit any Travel Service Centre or reserved-seat ticket office called “Midori-no-madoguchi” at a Japan Railways station in Japan.
  • Caution: Please note that during crowded periods you cannot be guaranteed a seat on a specific train.
  • The periods when seat reservations are particularly difficult to secure are as follows:
  • December 29 to January 5 (The New Year holiday period is the most popular travel time for Japanese people, for vacations and returns to hometown areas.)
  • April 29 to May 5 (Due to consecutive holidays in a comfortable travel season, there is large – scale travel throughout Japan for leisure and recreation.)
  • August 13 to 15 (The “O-bon” season, another traditional time for travel to hometown areas.)
  • In major cities avoid traveling during the morning and evening rush hours (7:30-9:30 and 17:00-20:00).
  • The Japan Rail Pass is also valid for the following buses: local lines of JR bus companies (JR Hokkaido Bus, JR Bus Tohoku, JR Bus Kanto, JR Tokai Bus, West Japan JR Bus, Chugoku JR Bus, JR Shikoku Bus, JR Kyushu Bus) and some of JR highway bus services (Sapporo-Otaru; Morioka-Hirosaki; Tokyo-Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka,Tsukuba Center; Nagoya-Kyoto, Osaka; Osaka-Tsuyama, Kasai Flower Center), and ferry: the JR Miyajima ferry.

You can book your Japan Rail Pass online from our online store

The price quoted includes:
– Delivery to a UK address by Royal Mail Special Delivery (usually within 2 to 3 business days)
– A complimentary Japan Rail Pass information guide.
– Direct access to our UK customer service number for any questions you may have.

The Japan Rail Pass is refundable if it has never been exchanged, A cancellation fee of 25% will be charged at the time of the refund.

RailTourGuide provide these Japan Rail Passes to the trade and private customers alike.

Why book with us?
– We are authorised Agents for the Japan Tourist Board.
– We will guarantee delivery, usually within a few days of booking.
– Competitive prices which include delivery.
– UK based friendly and knowledgeable company.
– Secure online purchasing facility.

To book your Japan Rail Pass online please just visit our online store

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If you have any questions about the Japan Rail Passes please contact us on

0191 246 0708 or email sales@railtourguide.com