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All Your Frequently Asked Questions About The JR Pass Answered

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Hew Lee Yee

Klook Travel Curator

Japan Rail Pass, or commonly known as JR Pass for short, is a discounted ticket that provides passengers unlimited access to various selected forms of transportation operated by the Japan Railways Group in Japan.

There are many types of JR Passes to suit different needs, whether it’s nationwide or citywide coverage. They also come in packages of 7, 14 and 21 days, with options of Green or Ordinary pass.

For a basic understanding of how JR Pass works and where you can buy the passes, you can take a look at the Klook JR Pass guide. For more detailed guides, read up on the Klook articles on Hokkaido JR Pass and Kansai JR Pass. For everything else, check out the following FAQ!

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General FAQ


1. What’s the difference between the Klook voucher, Exchange Order, and JR Pass?

Klook Voucher This is the voucher you receive upon completing your booking on Klook. If you have selected a pickup option from Klook office, you only need this to redeem your Exchange Order. You CANNOT use the Klook voucher to redeem the JR Pass in Japan.

Exchange Order Also referred to as an "MCO", an Exchange Order is what you receive from your Klook pickup point or by mail. You MUST have this Exchange Order with you in Japan to exchange for the actual JR Pass.

JR Pass This is the actual pass you will use on the transportation systems in Japan. You MUST exchange for this pass in Japan with the physical Exchange Order described above. You will need both the Exchange Order and the original passport associated with it to redeem for the actual JR Pass.

2. Where and how do I exchange my Exchange Order for the JR Pass?

Once you’ve received your Exchange Order from Klook, the next step is to bring it with you to Japan. At the JR Ticket Office in Japan, present your Exchange Order with your passport to receive your JR Pass. Here is the the complete list of JR Ticket Offices in Japan.

3. When can I exchange my voucher for the JR Pass?

Your Exchange Order will remain valid for 90 days from the day of booking from Klook. Once you pick up your Exchange Order or receive it from mail, you can bring to Japan to redeem your JR Pass any time within the validity period. Hence, you should purchase from Klook not more than 90 days before the date you intend to redeem your JR Pass in Japan.

4. How do I activate my JR Pass?

When exchanging your Exchange Order for a JR Pass, you can choose your start date.

This date will be the official date for which your JR Pass will be active for use, so do plan out your trip and choose wisely! The start date can be any day within 30 days and doesn’t have to be the date of exchange.

5. Do I need to activate the pass as soon as the voucher is exchanged?

No, the start date for your JR Pass doesn’t have to be on the day your voucher is exchanged. You can choose to activate your pass at any time within 30 days following the redemption of your JR Pass.

6. How far ahead should I book my JR Pass before my trip to Japan?

It’s recommend that you book your JR Pass from Klook 2 months before your trip to Japan. This allows enough wiggle room in the validity period of your Exchange Order.

You can’t purchase your JR Pass more than 90 days before your trip, as it’s passed the validity period of your Exchange Order. Also, avoid purchasing your JR Pass too close to the date you’re leaving for Japan. You might not have enough time to pick up your Exchange Order or receive it from mail.

7. What if I did not enter my full name?

You will need to cancel your booking and rebook your JR Pass with your full name. During cancellation, you will also need to incur the cost of 10% administration fee.

8. Do I need to type in my own prefix when keying in my name?

No, you do not. Simply fill in your full name as per how it shows on your passport.

9. Can I use my nickname instead of my real name?

No, you cannot. You have to use your full name as per how it shows on your passport.

10. If I have two parts to my name - i.e. Lai Kim Bing (Esther Deng) - do I need to include the name in brackets?

Yes, you will need to include everything as per how it shows on your passport. This is because your Exchange Order is only deemed valid if the name you filled in and the name on your passport match.

11. What if I selected the wrong gender?

You will need to cancel your booking and rebook your JR Pass with the correct gender. During cancellation, you will also need to incur the cost of 10% administration fee.

12. Can I order JR Pass for someone else?

Yes, you can order for someone else, as long as you fill in the right details that corresponds with the traveller. Ensure that the name and gender of the passholder matches his/her passport.

13. If I’m booking for my friends, can I use one name for all the passes?

No, you cannot. The name used for each JR Pass has to correspond with its respective pass holder.

14. Can my friends pick up the pass on my behalf? Can someone else redeem my JR Pass on my behalf?

No, they aren’t able to redeem the JR Pass on your behalf. You will have to redeem it yourself at a JR Ticket Office in Japan during which a JR staff will need to verify the identity of the passholder.

You will need to present your passport together with your Exchange Order when redeeming your JR Pass. You will also need to complete a form and present your passport for proof of identification and immigration status with a temporary visitor stamp.

15. Can I buy a JR Pass for someone who’s already in Japan?

You can purchase a JR Pass for someone who is already in Japan only if they possess a temporary visitor stamp or sticker in their non-Japanese passport. If they live or work in Japan without a temporary visitor status, they will not be able to exchange the voucher for a JR Pass.

16. Can I buy JR Pass in Japan?

Only on a trial basis, JR Pass can be purchased in Japan from 8 March 2017 to 31 March 2018. Do keep in mind that if you choose to purchase your JR Pass in Japan, it’s more expensive and you’re also required to pay in Yen.

You can only purchase them from these selected stations - Sapporo, Sendai, Niigata, Tokyo, Shinjuku, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Takamatsu, Hakata, New-Chitose Airport, Narita Airport Terminal 1, Narita Airport Terminal 2-3, Haneda Airport International Terminal, and Kansai Airport.

17. Am I eligible for JR Pass if I have dual citizenship?

Yes, you are eligible for JR Pass as long as you’re using your non-Japanese passport to enter the country. You’re eligible for JR Pass as long as you enter Japan for travel or leisure purposes and obtain a temporary visitor stamp or sticker from the Japanese immigration.

18. How do I cancel my JR pass?

To cancel your JR Pass, send an email to support@klook.com. Do note that there is a 10% cancellation fee withheld from the refund.

19. Why am I being charged when I requested a refund/cancellation for my JR pass?

The 10% charge incurred during refund is due to an administration fee implemented by Japan Rail for changes made, which is beared by the customer.

20. What do I do if I haven’t received my JR pass?

Klook provides 24-hour support and you can get in touch via several methods:

(i) Send an email to support@klook.com

(ii) Message Klook on Facebook chat

(iii) Chat on the Klook website live chat

(iv) Call the Klook hotline on one of these numbers:

  • (+852) 3462-6208 (Hong Kong)
  • (+886) 2-55933778 (Taiwan)
  • (+65) 3158-3270 (Singapore)
  • (+81) 3-4530-6990 (Japan)
  • 400-869-4088 (Mainland China)
  • (+63) 2626-3888 (Philippines)
  • (+60) 3-92128-188 (Malaysia)

Simply provide Klook support with your order number and request for a tracking number or updates on your order.

21. What’s the difference between Ordinary and Green pass?

Commonly found on Shinkansen (bullet trains) and Tokkyu (limited express trains), the Green Car is equivalent to the first class cabin in airplanes, and is more expensive. On top of good service, guests can expect foot rests, bigger seats, magazines, personal luggage space and even a radio set!

Additionally, the Green Car option is increasingly popular during the peak periods because it offers seat reservation. This also means that you have to make reservation for each trip that you take.

22. How do I reserve my seats?

To reserve your seat, head to a Travel Service Center, a “Midori-no-madoguchi” (ticket office) at a JR station or a sales office of a JR-affiliated travel agency. Then, present your JR Pass and request for a reserved seat on the train you wish to board.

Do note that there are certain trains that require additional charges or do not have reserved seats carriages.

23. Is it recommended to reserve seats?

Even though it’s not mandatory, it’s good to reserve your seat for a peace of mind. After all, the last thing you want when you’re travelling is an extra thing to worry about!

If you’re travelling in a group, it’s also a good idea to reserve your seats so you can sit together. Reserving your seat when travelling during crowded periods will guarantee you a seat as well, in case the unreserved seats cars are full.

24. If I don’t reserve seats,will I still get a seat?

You will need to make reservations if you’re using a Green pass, as Green train carriages do not have unreserved seats. However, if you’re using an Ordinary pass, you will still be able to get a seat without any reservations in the unreserved seats carriages.

Nevertheless, it is advisable to reserve your seats during peak seasons to ensure that you’re secured a seat. Some of the peak seasons in Japan to watch out for are during 28 December – 6 January, 27 April – 6 May (“Golden Week”), and 11-20 August (Obon season).

25. What happens if I missed the train where I reserved the seat?

If you’ve missed the train in which you reserved a seat, nothing particular happens except your seat is wasted and is unavailable for other passengers. Do try to cancel your reservation if you know in advance you won’t be able to make it, so that your seat can be released to another passenger.

You can also make a new reservation for the next train or get on the unreserved seats carriage. To cancel and make new reservations, you can do so at a Travel Service Center, a “Midori-no-madoguchi” (ticket office) at a JR station or a sales office of a JR-affiliated travel agency.

26. Does my child need a ticket?

For children below 6, they do not need a JR Pass. However, they’re not allowed to take up a seat and they can only sit on an adult’s lap. If you want a seat for them, then they would need a JR Pass.

27. My child is 11 now, but will be 12 when we’re in Japan. Can I buy him/her a child pass?

Your child can have a child pass if they’re still 11 during the date of issue of the Exchange Order. Only those who are 12 and above when the Exchange Order is being issued will need an adult pass.

28. What happens if I am on a train when the pass expires at midnight?

Your JR Pass will remain valid until the end of your journey if you happen to be on the train at midnight, given that you boarded the train before midnight. If you’re transferring to a shinkansen, limited express or express train after midnight, however, your JR Pass does not cover the extra charges.

Physical Pick-Up vs. Mail Order


1. Should I select pick-up or mail order when booking my JR Pass?

When booking your JR Pass, you should select the location that is relevant to you. Make sure that you’re able to receive or collect your Exchange Order in your selected location before travelling to Japan.

Mail delivery is available for Mainland China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and South Korea. Meanwhile, pick up is available for Singapore and Hong Kong.

2. What should I do if I filled in the wrong address for mail delivery for my JR Pass?

Reach out to Klook support immediately with your booking number and the changes you need to make. Klook provides 24-hour support and you can get in touch via several methods:

(i) Send an email to support@klook.com

(ii) Message Klook on Facebook chat

(iii) Chat on the Klook website live chat

(iv) Call the Klook hotline on one of these numbers:

  • (+852) 3462-6208 (Hong Kong)
  • (+886) 2-55933778 (Taiwan)
  • (+65) 3158-3270 (Singapore)
  • (+81) 3-4530-6990 (Japan)
  • 400-869-4088 (Mainland China)
  • (+63) 2626-3888 (Philippines)
  • (+60) 3-92128-188 (Malaysia)

Do note that handling and postage fees will apply when making corrections to Mailed Exchange Orders (MCO). If changes are made 30 days after a booking is placed, a 10% change fee (of the cost of your JR Pass) will also apply.

3. Which date should I select for the date I intend to receive the Exchange Order via mail?

When selecting mail delivery for Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Mainland China, Taiwan, or South Korea, the date selected is the date you want to receive your Exchange Order before going to Japan.

Do note that your Exchange Order is valid for 90 days from the date of booking. So, make sure that the date you want exchange your voucher for JR Pass in Japan is not more than 90 days from the date you book on Kloook.

4. When selecting pick up in Hong Kong or Singapore, what date should I select?

If you are picking up your pass in Hong Kong or Singapore, the pick up date should be the date you selected during your booking. When picking up your Exchange Order, do stick to the date and time slot you have selected to ensure a smooth collection process. The Exchange Order may not be ready for collection if you try to pick up earlier than the selected date.

5. When can I pick up my pass? (only applicable to Singapore and Hong Kong pick up)

You can pick up your pass on the date you selected during your booking. When picking up your pass, make sure to present your Klook voucher, NOT your order summary.

In the event you aren’t able to pick up on your selected date, do reach out to Klook support immediately to reschedule for a new timeslot. Klook provides 24-hour support and you can get in touch via several methods:

(i) Send an email to support@klook.com

(ii) Message Klook on Facebook chat

(iii) Chat on the Klook website live chat

(iv) Call the Klook hotline on one of these numbers:

  • (+852) 3462-6208 (Hong Kong)
  • (+886) 2-55933778 (Taiwan)
  • (+65) 3158-3270 (Singapore)
  • (+81) 3-4530-6990 (Japan)
  • 400-869-4088 (Mainland China)
  • (+63) 2626-3888 (Philippines)
  • (+60) 3-92128-188 (Malaysia)