Japan Rail Passes

The Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) is a cost-effective way for tourists travelling by long-distance rail in Japan. It is only available to foreign tourists and allows unlimited train and bus travel for the applicable time period on all major forms of transportation provided by the JR Group in Japan, with a few exceptions (please contact us for a list of operators).

Download the pricelist here:2020 Japan Rail Pass  or ontact us for more information at rail@britishtips.com or 021 975 2047.
(Also available as area passes: Shikoku, Hokkaido, Kansai Area, Kansai Area Wide, and Kyushu.)

More information: 

Japan Pass Full Map



All Japan Rail Passes are CONSECUTIVE. Ordinary Class is standard class; Green Class is first class.

  • With the Pass, no additional fee is required when reserving seats in Japan.
  • To access platforms, show your pass to the JR staff located at the gate to the platform.
  • To reserve a seat, go to see the agents at the ticket office.
  • Always carry your passport along with the Pass! Station staff may check it

Important: Tickets issued are considered an “Exchange Order” which should be exchanged in Japan to receive a Japan Rail Pass within 3 months of date of issue.

Only travellers with “Temporary Visitor” status may use a JR Pass. If you enter Japan under any other official status, such as “Trainee,” “Entertainer,” or “Re-entry Permit,” you are not eligible for a JR Pass – even if you already have an exchange order.

Activating your Japan Rail Pass

In order to activate your JR Pass please exchange your voucher at a JR office. These offices can be found at the airport (Narita, New Chitose and Kansai) or in the main train stations.

An Exchange Order and Pass are ONLY valid for the person named on the Exchange Order and Japan Rail Pass and are not transferable.

You will need: Your passport with entry stamp AND your Japan Pass Exchange order ticket.

  1. At the office, fill out the form there and show the entry stamp in your passport.
  2. Decide on the date you want to start using your pass. This date has to be within 30 days of the exchange.
  3. Once validated you will be able to use your pass starting on the date you have chosen for the consecutive number of days for which your pass is valid.


The validity period of a JR Pass is consecutive and starts on the date the pass is actually first used.

Seat reservations

Travellers cannot reserve a seat until they receive their Japan Rail Pass in Japan. A non-reserved seat (except for NOZOMI trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen) can be used simply by showing your JAPAN RAIL PASS.

  • Green class: reservations are compulsory on Shinkansen and most Limited Express and Ordinary Express trains.
  • Ordinary class: has both reserved and non-reserved seating.
  • JR buses: The JR buses Mizuumi-go between Aomori and Towadako, and Oirase-go between Hachinohe and Towadako require reservations.

Seat reservations can be made without additional payment. To make a reservation, travellers must go to any Travel Service Centre or a Reservation Office (Midori-no-madoguchi) at a JR station, or to the sales office of a JR-associated travel agency.

To which transport options does it provide access? 

It provides access to all train lines operated by Japan Railways (JR) throughout Japan (with the exception of some high-speed trains including the ‘Nozomi’ Shinkansen).

Railways JR Group Railways-Shinkansen *bullet trains* (see below for exceptions), limited express trains, express trains, and rapid or local trains. (With some exceptions).

Tokyo motorail.

For the section of the Aoimori Railway Line between Aomori and Hachinohe, the Japan Rail Pass can be used in the following limited cases: the case where the passenger transits through the section between Aomori Station to Hachinohe Station without getting off the train anywhere in that section and the case where the passenger changes to the Ominato Line at Noheji Station. However, passengers using a train with sleeper cars must pay the Aoimori Railway Kine fares and charges.

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

Some of JR highway bus services: Sapporo-Otaru; Morioka-Hirosaki; Tokyo-Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Tsukuba Centre; Nagoya-Kyoto, Osaka; Osaka-Tsuyama, Kasai Flower Center

Ferry Only the JR Miyajima ferry is covered. The JR Hakata-Pusan (Korea) ferry is not covered.




  • *The JAPAN RAIL PASS is not valid for any seats, reserved or non-reserved, on NOZOMI and MIZUHO trains on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Shinkansen lines.
  • Passholders must take the following trains:

Extra charges will be incurred if the traveller uses:

  • a NOZOMI or MIZUHO train – they will pay the basic fare and the limited express charge.
  • Green Car – they will pay the Green Car surcharge.
  • GranClass car on the HAYABUSA train of the Tohooku Shinkansen – they will pay the limited express charge and the GranClass car surcharge.
  • Some JR trains use the lines of private railways for direct services.

JR trains on non-JR lines – additional fares and charges for sections travelled on such lines. When the JR PASS is used on JR trains that run through non-JR lines, fares and charges for the sections travelled on such lines must be paid to the private railway company concerned. Please pay on the train or at a station on the said company’s line.

For more information about where you can/cannot use your Japan Rail pass, or any other questions you may have, please visit www.japanrailpass.net.

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