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The JR Green Car | Upgrade Your Japan Rail Journey

Osaka JR PassJR Green Car

The Japan Green Car, also known as "First Class," is your pass to elevating your travel experience on select JR trains, including Shinkansen bullet trains and limited express services. Enjoy superior comfort with wider, reclining seats and ample legroom, perfect for stretching out on long journeys.

Picture wider, reclining seats with legroom to stretch out. Plus, footrests, reading lights, and sometimes even a hot towel? Now that's an upgrade. While Green Car seating comes at a premium compared to Ordinary Car, the added comfort and amenities can be a worthwhile upgrade if you're seeking a more relaxing and enjoyable train journey in Japan. 

Read on to get your one-stop guide to everything Green Car: what it is, its amenities, who it's perfect for, and how to book your Green Car seat with ease.

JR Green Car versus Ordinary Car

Feature
Green Car
Ordinary Car
1
Seating Configuration
2 x 2 seating
3 x 2 seating
2
Legroom
More spacious (often 30-40% more legroom)
Less legroom
3
Seat Reclining
Reclining seats
Limited or no reclining
4
Amenities
Footrests, larger windows, reading lights, and sometimes hot towels (Oshibori)
No footrests, and some trains may have reading lights
5
Atmosphere
Quieter due to fewer passengers
Can be more crowded and noisy
6
Disembarkation
Priority disembarkation on some trains
Standard disembarkation
7
Luggage Allowance
Same as Ordinary Car (typically 2 x 23kg suitcases)
Same as Ordinary Car (typically 2 x 23kg suitcases)
8
Price
¥70,000
¥50,000

Should you consider the JR Green Car?

This decision depends on your individual needs and priorities.  If comfort and a touch of luxury are important, the Green Car is a worthwhile upgrade.  However, if budget is a major concern,  Ordinary Car seating can be a perfectly suitable option for your Japan train travel. Here's are some things to consider:

Green Car is ideal for:

  • Long-distance travelers: For journeys exceeding a few hours, the extra legroom, reclining seats, and footrests in the Japan Rail Green Car can make a world of difference for your comfort.
  • Seniors or travelers with mobility limitations: Wider seats, easier access due to fewer passengers, and amenities like footrests can significantly enhance accessibility and comfort.
  • Families with kids: The extra space and amenities in the Green Car provide a more relaxed environment for families with young children.
  • Luxury travelers seeking an upgrade: If you prioritize a touch of luxury and a premium travel experience, the Green Car offers a step up from Ordinary Car.

Consider Ordinary Car if:

  • You're on a tight budget: Ordinary Car offers a comfortable and efficient way to travel by train in Japan, especially for shorter journeys.
  • Legroom isn't a major concern: If you're comfortable in standard airplane seating, you might find Ordinary Car on JR trains perfectly adequate.

JR Green Car booking & reservations

You'll need to make a reservation in advance, separate from your JR Pass (if applicable). Here's a step-by-step guide to securing your Green Car seat:

Book & activate your JR Pass

Once you arrive in Japan, trade your physical Exchange Order for your JR Pass at the station and activate it. You'll only have to do this once.

Reserve your seats online

Many JR train operators offer online reservation systems. Search for the specific train company operating your desired route. Look for a booking section or "Green Car" option. You'll need your JR Pass details, passenger information, desired travel date, and preferred departure time.

Pick your Green Car seats

Choose your preferred seats within the Green Car section. Consider factors like window or aisle preference. Then, follow the instructions to complete your reservation.

Collecting your tickets

Visit the ticket office at your departure station. Show your JR Pass and reservation confirmation to collect your Green Car tickets. You can also skip the ticketing line by using a reserved seat ticket machine at the station. Insert your JR Pass (if applicable) or scan the reservation barcode to collect your tickets.




JR Pass: Whole Japan Access with Ordinary Seats
Extended Validity
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
Flexible Duration
More details
from
¥50,000
JR Pass: Whole Japan Access with Green Class Seats
Extended Validity
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
Flexible Duration
More details
from
¥70,000
JR Pass: Kansai with Hiroshima or Hokuriku
Free Cancellation
Extended Validity
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
Flexible Duration
More details
from
¥15,000
JR East Pass: Nagano & Niigata or Tohuko
Extended Validity
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
Flexible Duration
More details
from
¥27,000
JR Kyushu Rail Pass
Extended Validity
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
Flexible Duration
More details
from
¥10,000
JR West Kansai Area Rail Pass
Free Cancellation
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
Flexible Duration
More details
from
¥2,800
JR Hokkaido Rail Pass
Free Cancellation
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
Flexible Duration
More details
from
¥20,000

JR Green Car availability: Don’t miss out on your upgrade!

An important factor to consider with the Green Car experience is availability. While incredibly comfortable, Green Cars are typically limited in number on each train. This means seats can fill up quickly, especially on popular routes and during peak travel seasons like Golden Week and Obon.

Here's what this means for you:

  • Book early: To secure your Japan Rail Green Car experience, especially for long journeys or popular routes, reservation in advance is crucial. Don't wait until the last minute – plan your trip and book your Green Car seats as soon as possible.
  • Limited availability: Remember, with fewer seats available compared to Ordinary Car, there's a higher chance of missing out if you delay your booking.

Frequently asked questions about the JR Green Car

Can I use my JR Pass for Green Car access?

Yes, if you’ve purchased JR Passes with Green Car seating, you’ll be able to access your Green Car seats with ease. However, you'll need to make a separate reservation in advance for your seat.

Can I upgrade my existing Ordinary Car ticket to a Green Car seat?

Depending on availability and the specific train operator, some stations might allow upgrades to Green Car seats for a fee. However, it's not guaranteed, so booking a Green Car pass in advance is always recommended.

Is the Green Car experience worth the extra cost?

This depends on your priorities and budget. If comfort, extra legroom, and a touch of luxury are important for your journey, especially on long distances, the Green Car can be a worthwhile upgrade. However, if you're on a tight budget and prioritize affordability, Ordinary Car can still be a comfortable and efficient way to travel by train in Japan.

Are there Green Car-only train cars?

No, Green Cars are not separate train cars. Green Car seats are designated sections within specific train cars.

Is the luggage allowance different for Green Car passengers?

Typically, no. Green Car reservations often come with the same luggage allowance as Ordinary Car (usually two 23kg suitcases). Always double-check your specific JR Pass information for confirmation.

Does the Green Car offer food and beverage service?

No, the Green Car itself doesn't have a dedicated food and beverage service. However, most Shinkansen trains have vending machines and refreshment trolleys selling snacks and drinks that you can enjoy in your Green Car seat. Additionally, some stations have convenient "Ekiben" shops selling delicious boxed meals perfect for train journeys.

How does the Green Car compare to luxury cars offered by private railways?

While both Green Cars and private railway luxury cars offer a premium travel experience, there are some key differences. Green Cars are a standard offering on JR trains, providing a wider seat configuration, more legroom, and additional amenities compared to Ordinary Car. Private railway luxury cars, on the other hand, can be even more luxurious with features like personal entertainment systems, meals included in the ticket price, and even attendant service. However, these come at a significantly higher cost compared to the Green Car.

Is the Green Car accessible for travelers with mobility limitations?

Green Cars can offer some accessibility benefits over Ordinary Cars. Wider seats and aisles can provide easier maneuverability, and some Green Car sections might have designated priority seating for passengers with disabilities. However, it's important to note that accessibility features can vary depending on the specific train model and operator.