Akasaka Azabu

How to buy JR pass in Tokyo
  • Date Published: April 30, 2024

The Japan Rail Pass is a beneficial all-in-one ticket that enables visitors from abroad to use the major Japan Railways National trains, including the Shinkansen, which are high-speed bullet trains. If your itinerary includes Tokyo and other regions of Japan, acquiring a JR Pass in Tokyo provides a handy alternative. This concise guide will assist you in buying a JR Pass in Tokyo to help you enjoy unrestricted rail travel and cut down on transportation expenses.

Key Takeaways:

  • Purchasing a JR Pass in Tokyo is convenient for exploring Japan.
  • The JR Pass allows unlimited travel on major Japan Railways National trains.
  • The pass includes access to the iconic Shinkansen bullet trains.
  • Save on transportation costs by buying a JR Pass in Tokyo.
  • Follow the steps in this guide to purchase your JR Pass in Tokyo.

How to Use the JR Pass in Tokyo

Once you have obtained your JR Pass in Tokyo, here’s how to make the most of it:

  1. Activate your JR Pass at a designated JR Pass exchange office in Tokyo, such as the one at Tokyo Station.

  2. Before boarding a train, present your activated JR Pass at the ticket gate and show it to the station staff.
  3. For Shinkansen (bullet train) travel, make seat reservations at the JR ticket office or use the non-reserved seating. Reservations are recommended during peak travel periods.
  4. Enjoy unlimited travel on JR trains within the validity period of your pass. This includes the iconic Shinkansen, local trains, and even some JR buses.
  5. When exiting a station, present your JR Pass at the ticket gate or to the station staff for validation.
  6. Take advantage of the convenience and flexibility the JR Pass offers by exploring Tokyo and beyond. Visit popular attractions like Tokyo Disneyland, Mount Fuji, or explore other cities such as Kyoto or Osaka.

With your JR Pass in hand, you can effortlessly navigate Tokyo’s extensive rail network and experience the city’s top sights and hidden gems.

Benefits and Considerations of the JR Pass

The JR Pass is a convenient option for travelers looking to explore Tokyo and beyond. Here are some benefits and considerations to keep in mind before purchasing your JR Pass in Tokyo:

Benefits of the JR Pass

  • Unlimited travel: The JR Pass allows for unlimited travel on Japan Railways National trains, including the famous Shinkansen bullet trains. This means you can hop on and off trains without worrying about individual ticket costs.
  • Cost savings: If you plan to do a lot of traveling within the validity period of the JR Pass, it can save you money compared to purchasing individual train tickets. The pass covers a wide network and can be especially cost-effective for long-distance journeys.
  • Convenience: With the JR Pass, you don’t need to worry about buying tickets each time you travel. Simply show your pass at the designated gate, and you’re good to go.

Considerations before purchasing

  • Validity period: The JR Pass is available in different durations, ranging from 7 to 21 days. Consider the length of your stay and the number of days you plan to travel extensively to make sure you get the most out of your pass.
  • Travel plans: Take into account your specific travel plans and destinations. While the JR Pass covers a vast network, it may not be the most economical option if you plan to stay within Tokyo and have limited intercity travel. Evaluate your itinerary and compare it with the coverage of the pass to determine if it suits your needs.
  • Seat reservations: Although the JR Pass allows you to board trains without a reserved seat, it’s advisable to make reservations for popular routes and peak travel periods. This guarantees you a seat and avoids any inconvenience.

Keep these benefits and considerations in mind when deciding whether to purchase a JR Pass for your Tokyo adventure. It’s a fantastic option for those planning to explore more of Japan beyond the capital city, while offering convenience and cost savings.

Type of Traveler Benefits
Exploring multiple cities – Unlimited travel on major Japan Railways
Long-distance travel – Cost-effective for extensive journeys
Frequent train travel – Convenience of not purchasing individual tickets
Intra-city travelers – Evaluate coverage and cost-effectiveness

“The JR Pass provides unlimited travel on Japan Railways National trains, allowing visitors to explore iconic destinations such as Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Osaka. It’s a fantastic option for those looking to make the most of their time in Japan.” – Travel Expert

Tips for Using the JR Pass in Tokyo

If you’ve purchased a JR Pass in Tokyo, here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience:

1. Plan your itinerary

Before starting your journey, plan your itinerary to make the most efficient use of your JR Pass. Research the places you want to visit and identify the JR lines and stations that will take you there. This will help you save time and avoid confusion at the stations.

2. Make seat reservations

If you are traveling during peak seasons or on popular routes, it’s advisable to make seat reservations in advance. This will ensure that you have a guaranteed seat and a more comfortable journey. You can easily make seat reservations at the JR ticket offices located in major stations.

3. Familiarize yourself with the train schedules

Take some time to familiarize yourself with the train schedules, especially if you plan on using the Shinkansen or other limited express trains. Knowing the departure and arrival times will help you plan your day effectively and avoid any unnecessary delays.

4. Use the Suica or Pasmo IC card for convenience

In addition to the JR Pass, consider getting a Suica or Pasmo IC card. These rechargeable smart cards can be used for non-JR transportation such as buses and subways in Tokyo. They also offer the convenience of cashless payments at various shops and vending machines.

5. Take advantage of JR Pass discounts

With the JR Pass, you can enjoy discounts and special offers at select attractions, restaurants, and shops. Make sure to check the official JR Pass website or ask at the JR ticket offices for the latest information on discounts available with your pass.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to carry your passport with you when using the JR Pass, as it may be required for ticketing and identification purposes.

JR Pass in Tokyo

Tip Description
Plan your itinerary Prioritize your destinations and optimize your travel routes.
Make seat reservations Ensure a comfortable journey by booking seats in advance.
Familiarize yourself with the train schedules Be aware of departure and arrival times to avoid delays.
Use the Suica or Pasmo IC card for convenience Enjoy seamless travel on non-JR transportation and cashless payments.
Take advantage of JR Pass discounts Save money on attractions, restaurants, and shopping.


The JR Pass is a valuable tool for exploring Japan, including Tokyo, with ease and cost savings. With the JR Pass, you can enjoy unlimited travel on JR trains, including the iconic Shinkansen, and access various destinations within and beyond the city.

By following the steps to purchase and use the pass in Tokyo, you can make the most of your travel experience. Consider your travel plans and the coverage of the JR Pass, ensuring it aligns with your intended destinations. If needed, make seat reservations in advance to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Whether you’re visiting popular attractions like Tokyo Disneyland or venturing to historic Kyoto, the JR Pass makes it convenient to travel across Japan. Take advantage of this valuable tool and make the most of your time exploring the Land of the Rising Sun. Happy travels!


How can I buy a JR Pass in Tokyo?

To purchase a JR Pass in Tokyo, you can visit any Japan Rail Pass exchange office, such as the one located in Tokyo Station. You will need to present your passport and fill out an application form. Payments can be made in cash or by credit card.

Where can I buy a JR Pass in Tokyo?

In Tokyo, you can purchase a JR Pass from various locations, including major Japan Railways stations like Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station, or Ueno Station. Additionally, authorized travel agencies and online platforms also offer JR Pass sales.

Can I buy the JR Pass online and pick it up in Tokyo?

Yes, it is possible to purchase the JR Pass online and collect it upon arrival in Tokyo. Several authorized agencies offer this service, allowing you to conveniently obtain your pass at designated exchange offices in Tokyo.

How long is the JR Pass valid for?

The JR Pass is available in multiple durations, including 7, 14, or 21 consecutive days. The validity period starts from the date of exchange or activation, allowing unlimited travel within the specified period.

Can I use the JR Pass on all Shinkansen trains in Tokyo?

Yes, the JR Pass allows you to travel on all Shinkansen trains, including those departing from Tokyo Station. However, please note that seat reservations are recommended due to the popularity and high demand for Shinkansen services.

Can I use the JR Pass on local transportation within Tokyo?

While the JR Pass mainly covers intercity and long-distance travel, it can also be used on JR trains within Tokyo, such as the Yamanote Line, Chuo Line, or Keihin-Tōhoku Line. However, it does not cover subway or non-JR private railway lines.

Are there any limitations or blackout dates for the JR Pass in Tokyo?

The JR Pass has nationwide coverage and can be used on most Japan Railways National trains without any blackout dates. However, some exceptions may apply to certain high-speed trains that require additional fees for premium seating or limited express trains that require seat reservations.

Can I make seat reservations with the JR Pass in Tokyo?

Yes, seat reservations can be made with the JR Pass in Tokyo. To ensure a seat on busy trains, especially during peak travel periods or on popular routes, it is recommended to make reservations in advance at JR ticket offices or through the reservation system available at major stations.

Can I use the JR Pass immediately after purchasing it in Tokyo?

No, the JR Pass cannot be used immediately after purchase. You will need to activate it at an exchange office in Tokyo or at selected major stations before starting your journey. The activation date will serve as the starting point for the pass’s validity period.

Can I share my JR Pass with someone else?

No, the JR Pass is strictly personal and non-transferable. Only the person whose name is printed on the pass can use it. You may be asked to present your passport along with the JR Pass when using it for validation purposes.

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