JR East Pass - Tohoku Area : FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I validate my JR East Pass?
- What is the difference between Ordinary and Green?
- What is the difference between a Super Express, Limited Express and Express train?
- What is a Shinkansen train?
- Do I need to make reservations?
- How does the cost of a Japan Rail Pass compare to P2P tickets?
- When are the busy travel periods?
- How do I identify a station name during travel?
- Is English speaking assistance available?
- What dining facilities are available on board the trains?
- Are there extra costs to book sleeping berths?
- Are there any luggage restrictions?
1. How do I validate my JR East Pass
When you have fully paid for your pass you will receive an Exchange Order which must be presented at a JR Station in East Japan. Click here for a list of JR Exchange Offices.
Important: Your Exchange Order will be an e-ticket. Print out a copy that shows the details of the e-ticket (name, reservation number) and take it with you.
The Exchange Order must be redeemed for a JR EAST PASS within three months of Exchange Order issuance.
2. 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).
3. What is the difference between a Super Express, Limited Express and Express train?
The difference is the number of stops the trains makes.
E.g. 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.
4. What is a Shinkansen train?
A Shinkansen is commonly known as a bullet train. The Nozomi Shinkansen is the only bullet train which is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass. The Nozomi runs between Tokyo and Osaka and from Tokyo all the way to Hakata (Fukuoka) stoping at major stops along the way. Japan Rail Pass holders should use Hikari trains on these services.
5. 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.
6. 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 (Subject to change)
7. 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.
8. How do I identify a station name during travel?
All stations have their name in both Japanese and English.
9. Is English speaking assistance available?
Japan Rail provides a convenient telephone information service for details on rail timetables, suggested routings etc.
Please note: Seat reservations cannot be accepted by this telephone service.
Service operates from 10am - 6pm (except during the year-end/new year holiday period)
10. What dining facilities are available on board the trains?
Shinkansen trains offer either a dining car or buffet car. Both 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.
11. Are there extra costs to book sleeping berths?
If you have a Green- or Ordinary-type JAPAN RAIL PASS and want to use a berth on a limited express or ordinary express sleeping car, you must pay (locally) the limited express or ordinary express charge in addition to the berth charge.
Moreover if you travel on a sleeping car that passes through Morioka to Aomori, you must pay on board the basic fares for the two local sections travelled over: IGR Iwate Ginga Railway (Morioka-Metoki) and Aoimori Railway (Metoki-Aomori).
12. Are there any luggage restrictions?
- Travellers may bring up to two pieces of luggage on board free of charge
- Each piece of luggage must not exceed 250 cm (total length x width x height)
- Length must not exceed 2 meters
- Weight must be no more than 30 kilograms (items such as umbrellas, handbags, etc. are excluded
Travelling from late May 2020 (details still be confirmed & are subject to change)
- All shinkansen (bullet train) passengers are required to reserve storage space for extra-large luggage
- Reservations are free of charge
- Extra large luggage is any item that whose length, width, and height total 160-250 cm.