How & Where to buy Japan Rail Pass

Hi! Welcome to our blog! We are a couple from Barcelona that has had the great luck of being able to visit Japan on more than one occasion and after some comments and questions we have decided to create this mini-guide to help you, our friends and a lot of travelers (if you prefer, you can check our blog in Spanish here:

Discover in this article 5 tips to buy your Japan Rail Pass safely.

1. Buy it online or in Japan?

Although you can buy a Japan Rail Pass at certain train stations and airports in Japan, you should know that it is more expensive to buy it in Japan.

In addition, the best thing about buying it online is that once you buy it you receive it within a few days and you have it ready to put in your bag, backpack or suitcase, while if you buy it in Japan you will have to locate where the few offices that sell it and you will lose time traveling to them.

2. Where to buy your Japan Rail Pass? Our experience

The first time we visited Japan we spent days and days searching in different websites, information, forums, etc., and doubting where to buy it.
After a lot of searching, asking and researching, we finally decided on this official seller:

Every time we have bought the Japan Rail Pass through them we have been very satisfied with their service and customer care.

Why did we choose them?

  • They are one of the few official sellers.
  • They have very good user reviews.
  • They send us the Japan Rail Pass in 24h/48h.
We leave here the link to their website in case you want more information:

3. What you'll receive at home?

What you are going to receive are not the Japan Rail Pass. You will receive the coupons that you will have to exchange for the Japan Rail Pass once you arrive in Japan. Yes, coupons: don’t panic. In the next step we show you how you can exchange them for the Japan Rail Pass once you land in Japan.

We leave you some pictures of the coupons we received from so you can see how they look like:

4. How to activate your Japan Rail Pass

In any of the different airports that you land in Japan, there will be an office to activate your Japan Rail Pass. The offices are perfectly signposted and you just have to follow the signals. They usually have a large number of foreigners at the door willing to exchange their tickets, but do not worry, the process is quite fast.

1.- Upon entering the office, they will attend you very kindly and will ask you for the passport and the Japan Rail Pass coupon that you received at your home. Once verified that everything is correct, they will deliver a information sheet on which you must fill in:

  • First name, middle name and last name.
  • Nationality.
  • Passport Number.
  • First day of use.
  • Contact in Japan (you can put the name and phone number of the first hotel where you stay).

2.- Once the information is filled in, you will have to deliver the information sheet, your passport and the coupon you received at your home at a counter and (finally) they will give you the Japan Rail Pass, which is a green card with the company’s stamp .

Attached are some pictures so that you can see what the information paper and the office (the one at Narita airport).

Information paper
Narita office

Once all the registration is done, you will finally have your Japan Rail Pass in your hand! We attach an image of our 2019 Japan Rail Pass so you can see what it looks like (we deleted out the data for confidentiality :)).

Our 2019 Japan Rail Pass

5. Reserve your seats!

Our recommendation is that you take advantage of the same moment in which you are activating the Japan Rail Pass to reserve the seats of the trains that you have planned to travel, since some trains fill up quickly and you run the risk of having to go to the wagons without reservation.

To do this, you just have to tell the person at the counter the city of origin, the destination city and the time you want to take the train approximately. They will show you what trains and seats are available and, if you agree with that info, they will print the tickets there!

On the tickets (we leave you an image below) you will see the following information reflected:

  • Origin station
  • Departure time
  • Destination station
  • Check In

Nothing else! Enjoy your Japan Rail Pass and your stay in Japan!