The JR passes are your solution for an incredibly economical way to travel throughout Japan by rail. Offered by the 6 rail companies that make up the Japan Railways Group (JR Group), you can access to a wide range of must-see spots all over Japan. These passes can only be used by foreign tourists, providing unlimited rides of JR trains for up to three weeks. It comes in 2 different types: ordinary and green car, with the latter offering more spacious seats than ordinary cars.
1. A foreign tourist visiting Japan from abroad for a sight-seeing purpose, under the entry status of “temporary visitor”
You must be a “temporary visitor” in Japan in order to get the Japan Rail pass or regional passes. You will be required to prove your temporary visitor status by showing the immigration stamp on your passport to the officer upon exchanging the pass.

Other statuses, such as trainee, entertainer or reentry permit, are not accepted for the pass exchange, even if you visit Japan with a pass exchange order. According to the Japanese immigration law, the temporary visitor status is different from other statuses, however short the visit may be and allows a stay in Japan of 15 days or 90 days for sightseeing, visiting relatives, inspection tours, conferences and meeting or any other activities. Examples of the “temporary visitor” immigration stamp:
Temporary Visitor Pass

[1 June 2017] 2. A Japanese national living outside of Japan
People who have both their Japanese passport and written proof obtained from the embassy or legation of Japan in the foreign country where they live for 10 consecutive years or more.
The passes are valid on:
  • Almost all trains operated by JR (Japan Railways), including shinkansen, limited express, express, rapid and local trains
  • Local buses operated by JR (but not highway buses)
  • JR ferry to Miyajima
  • Tokyo monorail to & from Haneda Airport
  • Some non-JR trains to access isolated JR lines (*pass holders may only get on and off at stations that provide a transfer to JR lines):
    • Aoimori Railway between Aomori, Noheji and Hachinohe to access the JR Ominato Line to the Shimokita Peninsula.
    • IR Ishikawa Railway between Kanazawa and Tsubata to access the JR Nanao Line to the Noto Peninsula.
    • Ainokaze Toyama Railway between Toyama and Takaoka to access the JR Himi Line and JR Johana Line.
The Japan Rail Pass is not valid or requires a supplement fee in case of the following exceptions:
  • Nozomi trains along the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen
  • Mizuho trains along the Sanyo/Kyushu Shinkansen
  • JR trains using non-JR tracks
  • Special compartments (e.g. berth on night trains)
  • Trains requiring Liner Tickets
In order to activate any JR Passes, you will need to head to a JR office (Midori-no-madoguchi) and exchange your voucher there.

JR Pass Office Seat Reservation Midori no Madoguchi

These offices can be found at the airport or at major train stations, but opening times will vary. Fill out the form with your details and show your passport to the staff to verify that you’re a foreigner. You will need to decide a start date, but this does not have to be the same day as the exchange date. However, the mentioned date also cannot exceed 30 days after the exchange.

Once your pass is validated, you will be able to use it starting it on the date you have chosen. Remember to check whether the pass is valid for a specific consecutive number of days or flexible within a certain time frame.

Seat Reservation
You may make seat reservations on trains with reserved seats without additional payment. Kindly note that the JR Pass is not valid for any seats on “NOZOMI” trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen. Perhaps having a specific seat is more comfortable than looking for empty seats in the unreserved cars, especially if you are traveling with your family and would like to sit together.

Simply head to any Travel Service Center or a Reservation Office at a JR station or the retail store of a JR-associated travel agency. You will then be asked about your destination and preferred departure time. You can also look up the train times in advance on transport websites like Hyperdia, or seek assistance from one of the friendly staff to find the best option for your trip. The staff will issue you your reserved seat ticket, stating the departure time, arrival time, name of train, car and seat number once everything is confirmed. For example: Tokyo – Sendai / 12:36 / Yamabiko 53, Car 7, Seat 7E.

Japan JR Pass Shinkansen Reservation Ticket Sample

During crowded periods, there will be no guarantee of seats on specific trains. Always make sure to book your seats in advance should you decide to travel to Japan during these time periods.

Green Pass holders are also advised to book a seat in advance to guarantee traveling on a green car, otherwise they may be relocated to a standard car.

Busy Periods:
  • December 28 to January 6 – Majority of the Japanese will return to their hometown as they celebrate the New Year holidays.
  • April 27 to May 6 – The “Golden Week” consists of numerous consecutive holidays in a week and many will travel throughout Japan for their vacation.
  • August 11 to August 20 – Many Japanese would travel back to their hometown during the Obon season to pay respects to their late ancestors.

  • Some seat reservations are available online for certain train routes at the JR-East Train Reservation Service (Ekinet).

    These eligible trains include:
  • The Hokuriku Shinkansen (Tokyo-Kanazawa),
  • Shinkansen & major limited express trains at the north of Tokyo,
  • Shinkansen, limited express & rapid airport trains at the JR Hokkaido area (some exceptions may apply).

  • You can book a seat on a JR train up to a month in advance. You may make seat reservations for your entire trip if you have already planned out your itinerary.

    You can only book seats in person at any travel service or JR reservation office (Midori-no-madoguchi) in Japan as your passport and original JR pass will be required for verification purposes.
    Cancellation policies apply. Please contact us for more information.
    Frequently Asked Questions:
    Q: What do I have to provide to make a booking?
    A: We will only require the names of all the passengers as per how it is spelt in the passport. You may purchase on behalf of your friends as well if you have their exact name sequences. The names on the JR passes must exactly match each passport names and H.I.S. International Travel Pte Ltd will not be held responsible should you be unable to exchange your pass due to the wrong name provided.

    Q: Does the price fluctuate with the exchange rate?
    A: Yes, it does. Please contact us to check on the price beforehand. If you have visited this page before, please remove your Internet Explorer/Firefox/Chrome’s cache & refresh / press F5 as your device might be reflecting an older version of this page with outdated price.

    Q: How long in advance do I have to make a booking for the JR Pass?
    A: As the exchange orders are only valid for 3 months after the date of issuance, you will only be able to make purchases at most 3 months before arrival in Japan. We are able to issue the passes INSTANTLY, thus you can even purchase the pass from our store on your departure day!

    Q: Can I get a discount if I buy 10 or XXX number of passes?
    A: As per the Japan Railways Group’s regulations, discounts are strictly not permitted. Any agency offering you a discount is in violation of JR pass sales regulations. We offer very competitive prices for all JR passes and you can approach us for assistance in both Singapore and Japan at any of the 300 branches.

    Q: Can I pay in Japanese Yen (JPY)?
    A: Unfortunately, we are unable to accept Japanese Yen and only payments in local currency, Singapore Dollars (SGD).

    Q: Can I purchase the JR pass if I am a Japanese?
    A: If you are holding a Japanese passport, you will also have to bring written proof of permanent residency in a foreign country, or marriage certificate to a foreigner not residing in Japan (not holding a Japanese passport).

    Q:Can I make seats reservations for trains at your store?
    A: Please refer to the Seat Reservation section above.


    JR East & West

    JR East JR West Pass Pop Up Japan