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Rail Pass noob Questions

I'll be arriving to Japan on the 19th of August and I'll be staying for 2 weeks. During those two weeks, I plan to spend a few days from the 23th to the 27th to visit the mainland beyond Tokyo, thus I want to buy a week of rail pass. I have a few of questions about the purchase purchasing and the procedure.
1. While I attempt to buy it, I'm prompted to insert my arrival date. What should I fill there? I don't plan to use it from day one, as I won't begin my in-land traveling until a later day.
2. Once complete the purchase, how do I activate it? As said, I don't plan on using it until much later on my visit.
3. I plan on using the bullet train where I have to book a ticket before hand. How do I make use of the Rail Pass? Should I book my seat before even getting it on my hands?

Thanks in Advance!


  • Hi,
    1. You can just fill in your arrival date. The main point is that the rail pass voucher must be exchanged within 3 mos of issue.

    2. You have to go to one of the stations that can activate it.
    You can set a future date as your first day.

    3. You don't ever have to get a ticket if you have a rail pass. But a few trains require seat reservations, which are free with the pass. So if you'd like a window seat for example, why not do it? The only down side is that it does make you stick to a particular train and time.

    You can check on train info on Hyperdia - you can see regular fares, routes, and schedules.
    Under "More Options", with a full JR pass, be sure to uncheck the Nozomi box since you can't ride that train using the pass.

    You also didn't give your itinerary, and you should make sure you'll be getting your money's worth before getting any pass.

    There is no sense in getting a pass if you lose money. For some, a regional pass might make more sense.

    Also, you can look at some previews of some of the best places to see in Japan on:

    There are also loads of other tips on

    Best regards.
  • So I will be arriving in Japan on the 27th of August and staying until September 4th. I will be staying at Hotel Francs in Chiba and am planning to attend a concert at Makuhari Messe.

    I want to go to all the popular places in Tokyo and I'm not sure if I should get a pass or not.
  • If you are only going to Tokyo or Chiba, the JR Pass would be a horrible money loser for you. It is made for long distance travel.
  • Should I get a regional pass?
  • Unless you are traveling a lot more than what you have written so far, the answer is no.
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