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About Japan Rail Pass
Who is eligible for a Japan Rail Pass ?
The Japan Rail Pass is a special ticket that is available only to travelers visiting Japan from foreign countries for sight-seeing. To be eligible to purchase a Japan Rail Pass you must meet one of the following two conditions.

1. You are a foreign tourist visiting Japan from abroad for sight-seeing,under the entry status of "temporary visitor ."
"Temporary Visitor" entry status, according to Japanese Immigration Law, allows a stay in Japan of 15 days or 90 days for "sight-seeing, etc." If you apply for a "stay for sight-seeing" when you enter Japan, entry personnel will stamp your passport as "Temporary Visitor," as shown below. Only persons who have a passport bearing this stamp can use a Japan Rail Pass.

Examples of the "Temporary Visitor" entry status stamp
( Image Courtesy of Japan Rail Pass )
Caution :
Even if you visit Japan with an Exchange Order, to be turned in for a Japan Rail Pass, the exchange cannot be made unless you have "Temporary Visitor" status; if you enter Japan under any other official status, such as "Trainee," "Entertainer," or "Reentry Permit," you cannot change the Exchange Order for a Japan Rail Pass. Please note that according to strict interpretation of the Japanese Immigration Law, "Temporary Visitor" status differs even from other types of stays that are also for only short time periods.
2. You are a Japanese national living in a foreign country,
   a. who is qualified to live permanently in that country, or
   b. who is married to a non-Japanese residing in a country other than Japan.

Note: Persons meeting conditions a or b above must be required to show proof of same at the point of purchase of an Exchange Order and obtaining a Japan Rail Pass.

Persons meeting condition b must provide written proof of the following :
   • That they are married to a non-Japanese
   • That their spouse is living outside Japan

Even if an applicant presents electronic data or other documentation, establishing their compliance with conditions a and b above, the pass may be denied if the clerk is unable to verify that compliance.
Japan Rail Pass Validity
1. Transportation services
♦ The Japan Rail Pass is valid for the railways, buses, and ferry boats shown in Table 1.
  Railways : All JR Group Railways-Shinkansen"bullet trains" (except any reserved or non-reserved seat on "NOZOMI" and "MIZUHO" trains) limited express trains, express trains, and rapid or local trains. (With some exceptions)
* From October 21, 2010, the JAPAN RAIL PASS can be used for the Tokyo monorail.
* Aoimori Railway (Metoki-Aomori. However, the use of local or rapid trains between Aomori-Hachinohe, Aomori-Noheji and Hachinohe-Noheji is permitted. Passengers disembarking on Aoimori Railway lines in these sections must pay separate fares. However, passengers disembarking at Aomori Station, Noheji Station, or Hachinohe Station do not need to pay separate fares.
  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 Kyushu Bus) and some JR highway bus routes*
(Pass validity for particular routes is subject to change.)
* Sapporo–Otaru (Kosoku Otaru daytime service), Morioka–Hirosaki (Yodel daytime service), Tokyo–Nagoya (Tomei Highway Bus daytime service, Dream Nagoya overnight service, Ladies’ Dream Nagoya overnight service, Dream Toyota overnight service), Tokyo–Kyoto/Osaka (Dream overnight service, Ladies’ Dream overnight service), Tokyo–Tsukuba Center (Tsukuba daytime service), Nagoya–Kyoto/Osaka (Meishin Highway Bus daytime service), Osaka–Tsuyama/Asuteer Kasai (Chugoku Highway Bus daytime service)
  Ferry : Only the JR Miyajima ferry is covered. * The JR Hakata-Pusan (Korea) ferry is not covered.
  Important Notes : The Japan Rail Pass is not valid for any seats, reserved or non-reserved, on "NOZOMI" and "MIZUHO" trains on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen lines. (The pass holders must take "HIKARI," "SAKURA," "KODAMA," or "TSUBAME" trains.) If you use a "NOZOMI" or "MIZUHO" train, you must pay the basic fare and the limited express charge, and for a Green Car the Green Car surcharge. In addition, if you use the GranClass car of the Tohoku Shinkansen, you must pay the limited express charge and the GranClass car surcharge. Note also that passengers using JR trains on non-JR lines must pay additional fares and charges for sections traveled on such lines.
Some JR trains use the lines of private railways for direct services.
Table 1
2. Train accommodations
♦ Most JR trains have Ordinary Cars (coach class) while many long-distance trains also offer Green Cars (superior class). With a Green-type Japan Rail Pass you can use either class, while with an Ordinary-type Japan Rail Pass you can use only Ordinary Cars without paying an additional charge. Refer to the table2 below for details.
♦ The cars with can be used with Japan Rail Pass.
♦ Use of the cars with requires paying additional charges.
♦ There are no Green Cars on most HIKARI and KODAMA trains on the Sanyo Shinkansen line (Shin-Osaka-Hakata), or on TSUBAME trains on the Kyushu Shinkansen line(Shin-Yatsushiro-Kagoshima-chuo )
Trains Accomodations Green Ordinary
"NOZOMI" and "MIZUHO" trains on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen *1 Green Car
Ordinary Car
"HIKARI," "SAKURA," "KODAMA" and "TSUBAME" trains on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen and any trains on the Tohoku, Yamagata, Akita, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen. GranClass *4
Green Car *2
Ordinary Car
Ordinary private Compartment
Limited express and ordinary express Green Car *3
Ordinary Car
Green private Compartment
Ordinary private Compartment
Sleeping Car
Local and rapid trains Green Car
Ordinary Car
Table 2
Remarks :
*1 The Japan Rail Pass is not valid for any seats, reserved (incl. Green Car) or non-reserved, on ”NOZOMI” and “MIZUHO” trains.
*2 There are no Green Cars on most “HIKARI” and “KODAMA” trains on the Sanyo Shinkansen line (Shin-Osaka—Hakata), or on Series 800 trains on the Kyushu Shinkansen line.
*3 If you use a "DX Green" (operated by JR Kyushu), you must pay the limited express charge in addition to the DX Green charge.
*4 If you use the GranClass car, only the basic fare is covered with your Japan Rail Pass for both Green Car and Ordinary Cars and you must pay the limited express charge and the GranClass car surcharge additionally.
Private Compartments are available on some of "HIKARI" and "KODAMA" trains on the Sanyo Shinkansen.
Green Private Compartments are on certain limited express trains, such as "Super-view Odoriko."
Use of "Home Liner" and other "liner" trains requires an additional charge.
3. Validity period
♦ The validity period of a Japan Rail Pass is the consecutive 7, 14, or 21 days beginning on the date the Pass is first used.
♦ Within three months from the date the Exchange Order was issued, you must turn in your Exchange Order to obtain your Japan Rail Pass. At that time, you have to specify the date that you want to start using the Pass. It can be any date within one month from the date the Pass is received.
♦ Once the Pass has a starting date written on it, the date cannot be changed.