FAQs Japan Rail Passes and Train Tickets

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FAQ's Japan

Pass Information

Reservations & Tickets

Facilities & Assistance


How do I validate my Japan Rail Pass?

Your exchange order must be exchanged for an actual Japan Rail Pass in Japan at a JR Rail Office. Details of locations are included with your documentation. An Exchange Order must be exchanged for a rail pass within 3 months from date of issue. The Japan Rail Pass will start from the date of validation or later if you advise the office at the time of exchange.

Once you have performed the exchange and are ready to use the pass, do not use the automatic ticket reading gate. All Japan Rail Pass holders must show their pass at a manned ticket gate.
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What is the difference between Ordinary and Green?

The difference is in the comfort factor similar to airline seating (economy class as opposed to business class). Configuration is 2 seats on each side of the carriage with a middle aisle.

A trolley service is available in both classes offering a range of snack food items and beverages, which must be purchased (not included in the cost of the Japan Rail Pass).
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Who is eligible to purchase a Japan Rail Pass?

1. You are a foreign tourist visiting Japan for sightseeing, under the entry status of "temporary visitor". Only persons who have a passport bearing this stamp can use a Japan Rail Pass.

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Can I purchase a JR Rail Pass in Japan?

No the JR Rail Pass is not for sale in Japan.

Japan Reservations & Train tickets can be purchased locally.
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Can I use my Japan Pass on the Narita Express?

Yes you can as long as you get a seat reservation before you board the train. Seat reservations are free of charge
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Can I use my Japan Rail Pass for overnight services?

Yes you can use your Japan rail pass for overnight services on the Limited Express and Ordinary Express but sleeper supplements apply. These must be purchased locally.
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Do I need to make reservations?

In Green class, reservations are compulsory on Shinkansen and most Limited Express and Ordinary Express trains. Ordinary class has both reserved and non-reserved seating.

There is no charge to reserve seats. Reservations must be made in Japan and can be performed at any JR Rail office or at a sales office of a JR associated travel agency. At the time of making a reservation, you must present your pass to obtain your reservation ticket.
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Where can I find timetables?

Please use this link to view timetables


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When are the busy travel periods?

In most major cities, the peak morning and evening times are 0730hrs, 0930hrs and 1700hrs, 1900hrs. The traditional holiday periods include: Dec 28 to Jan 06, Apr 27 to May 06 and Aug 11-20.
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How does the cost of a Japan Rail Pass compare to P2P tickets?

Purchasing individual rail tickets in Japan can become quite expensive. For example, the average cost of a one way ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto is: Ordinary class AUD220 / Green class AUD300.
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What is the difference between a Super Express, Limited Express and Express train?

The difference is the number of stops the trains make.

The Super Express from Tokyo to Kyoto will make limited stops however an ordinary Express train on the same route may stop 15-20 times.
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What is a Shinkansen train?

A Shinkansen is commonly known as a bullet train. The Nozomi Shinkansen & the "MIZUHO" trains are the only bullet trains which are not covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
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What kind of dining facilities are available on the trains?

Shinkansen trains offer either a dining car or buffet car. Western and Japanese food is available. Most long distance train services also offer mobile trolley services offering box lunches of local specialty Japanese food as well as snacks and drinks.
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Is English speaking assistance available?

Japan Rail provides a convenient telephone information service for details on rail timetables, suggested routings etc.. This service is not available for making reservations. The service operates Mon-Fri from 10:00 and 18:00.
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How can I identify station names?

All stations have their name in both Japanese and English.
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