How to Use JAPAN RAIL PASS? | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan


By Guidable Writers Sep 15, 2016

Efficient Travel is Possible with JAPAN RAIL PASS (No.2)


I have written about the JAPAN RAIL PASS – what it is, who can purchase it, and what the JR line is in the previous article. I would now like to emphasize how riding the Shinkansen train cheaply is a very important benefit of this pass.


Cost of Different JR Passes

So once you make a travel itinerary, you can pick up the best kind of JAPAN RAIL PASS according to your plan. It’s a “free pass” type of ticket and you can choose the dates you would like it to be valid. Please note that you will need to validate the card within 3 months of purchasing it, so plan accordingly.




“Green” stands for the green car. In green car, the bigger and the more luxurious seats are available and you can spend a more comfortable time traveling. Shinkansen and some other JR lines have the green car seats. If you would like to ride in the green car section of the Shinkansen and the other JR lines, you need to reserve your seats in advance.




“Ordinary” means the ordinary car with reserved and non-reserved seats mainly in Shinkansen. You can sit in a reserved seat with an ordinary pass, but you need to make a reservation in advance. In other JR trains, usually they have only ordinary seats except for the green cars.




However, there’re so many restrictions using this pass. For example, “Nozomi” and “Mizuho” are not permitted with this pass – both are the fast Shinkansen of Tokaido, Sanyo, and Kyshu. But at the same time, you also have the right to ride local JR busses and the ferry going to Miyajima with the pass as well as the Sinkansen and other JR trains! You should check the details and availability in advance with this Website:


How to Purchase

You should first buy your exchange order for the JAPAN RAIL PASS while still in your home country. You can purchase it at one of the sales offices or agents that are specified before coming to Japan.
(sales office:

Then, after arriving at Japan, trade the exchange order for the JAPAN RAIL PASS at the major JR stations.
(major stations:

They might want to see your passport to prove that you are coming to Japan as a tourist.

There’s an official website I often refer from:

I recommend you check out this website before purchasing.


I hope you travel smart in Japan using the JAPAN RAIL PASS!