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Activate your JR Pass: A detailed guide

Japan Rail PassActivate Your JR Pass

The Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) is your key to hassle-free travel throughout Japan. Get unlimited rides on JR trains, including the iconic Shinkansen bullet trains, saving you time and money. But before you hop on board, activating your JR Pass is essential. This guide will walk you through the simple process, answer all your questions, and get you ready to explore the wonders of Japan. Read on to ensure a smooth journey and unlock the full potential of your JR Pass!

How to activate your JR Pass?

How to activate your JR Pass - Step 1

Book online

When purchasing your JR Pass online, the date you select is your intended departure date for Japan.

How to activate your JR Pass - Step 2

Receive your Exchange Order

Once your order is confirmed, you'll receive a physical exchange order (voucher) mailed to your address.

How to activate your JR Pass - Step 3

Head to a JR Office & verify your documents

Locate a JR office at an airport or train station. Show the staff your JR Pass Exchange Order and your passport.

How to activate your JR Pass - Step 4

Receive your JR Pass

Once everything is verified, you'll receive your physical JR Pass. Congratulations! You're now ready to explore Japan by rail.

JR Pass activation: The essentials

Where to activate:

  • Head to a JR Railway (JR) office. These are conveniently located at most major airports and train stations across Japan.
  • For your reference, JR offices are readily available in major cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and many more.

What to bring:

  • Your original JR Pass Exchange Order: Don't forget this voucher! This is the official document you received after purchasing online.
  • Your passport: Ensure your passport is valid and has a clear temporary visitor stamp.

Activate your JR Pass: Pre-requisites & arrival in Japan

A woman opening an envelope on a desk at home

Before you arrive in Japan (Pre-activation to-dos)

Unlike some travel passes, you cannot activate your JR Pass outside of Japan. To ensure a smooth start to your trip, you'll need to book it online before you travel.

Pro tip: It's recommended to book your JR Pass at least 2 weeks before your departure date to allow for processing and delivery.  The date you select when booking is typically your intended arrival date in Japan.

Receive your Exchange Order: Once you place your online order, you'll receive a physical JR Pass Exchange Order (voucher) mailed to your address. Hold onto this document – it's crucial for activation in Japan!

A exchange of tickets - Jr pass

Upon arrival in Japan

  1. Present Your Documents: Approach the counter at a JR office and present your original JR Pass Exchange Order and your passport.
  2. Verification and Activation Date: The staff will verify your information and ask you to choose your desired JR PAss activation date. Remember, you can activate your pass anytime within 30 days of exchanging the voucher. 
  3. Receive Your JR Pass: Once everything is confirmed, you'll receive your official physical JR Pass and can begin exploring Japan

Green Class Pass Holders: If you opted for a Green Class JR Pass, you can only reserve your designated seating after activating your pass.




Book your JR Pass

JR West Kansai Area Rail Pass
Free Cancellation
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
2 hr. - 96 hr.
More details
from
¥2,800
5 Day JR Kansai Wide Area Pass
Free Cancellation
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
2 hr.
More details
from
¥12,000
JR Pass: Kansai with Hiroshima or Hokuriku
Free Cancellation
Extended Validity
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
1 hr. - 168 hr.
More details
from
¥17,000
7 Days Kansai-Hokuriku Area Pass
Free Cancellation
Extended Validity
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
168 hr.
More details
from
¥19,000
5 Day JR Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass
Free Cancellation
Extended Validity
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
10 hr. 9 min.
More details
from
¥15,000
JR Pass: Whole Japan Access with Ordinary Seats
Extended Validity
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
10 hr. 9 min.
More details
from
¥50,000
5 Day JR Okayama-Hiroshima-Yamaguchi Area Pass
Free Cancellation
Extended Validity
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
120 hr.
More details
from
¥17,000

Things to remember regarding your JR pass activation

  1. Regional passes come in electronic form (e-tickets).  When you arrive in Japan, show the QR code at a JR railway station's exchange office to receive and activate your JR pass.
  2. This pass can be mailed to most countries except for Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei.
  3. Exchange orders are valid for 3 months (90 days). Once you activate your pass, it's valid for 30 days.
  4. You can choose your travel duration within the 30-day validity period. Options include 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 14, or 21 days.

Frequently asked questions about the JR Pass activation process

Can I activate my JR Pass before I arrive in Japan?

No, JR Pass activation can only be done at a JR office in Japan.

Can someone else activate my JR Pass for me?

No, ID verification is required. Only the passport holder named on the JR Pass Exchange Order can activate it.

Can I change the activation date after the exchange?

No, unfortunately. Choose your activation date carefully during the exchange process at the JR office.

How long does the activation process take?

Usually a few minutes. However, waiting times can vary depending on office congestion.

How do I activate my Regional JR Pass?

Regional JR passes come in e-tickets. However, you don't actually activate the e-ticket itself. Once you arrive in Japan, you need to exchange your e-ticket for a physical pass at a JR railway station's exchange office. Present the QR code on your e-ticket to the staff for them to process the exchange.

Does JR Pass offer mail delivery?

Yes, Exchange Order mail delivery is included for all countries except Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei.

What if I don't speak Japanese?

Most JR offices, especially in major cities, have staff who speak English. Additionally, some offices offer activation instructions in multiple languages.

Do I need to activate my JR Pass at the same airport I arrive at?

No, you can activate your JR Pass at any JR office throughout Japan, not necessarily the airport you arrive at.

Is there a deadline to activate my JR Pass after exchanging the voucher?

Technically no, but the JR Pass validity starts from the activation date. However, activating it too late might limit your travel time.

My travel plans changed. Can I delay activating my JR Pass?

Your exchange orders are valid for 30 days, so you can still activate your JR pass within that period. However, there's no way to delay activation once you've exchanged the voucher and activated your pass. We recommend holding on to your exchange order if your plan's delayed within 30 days and activating it when you're ready to start exploring.