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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do I reserve a seat on the JR trains?

JR Pass holders are entitled to book a seat on all Japan Rail trains free of charge. All seats should be booked before boarding the train. The JR Group does not allow to change to a reserved seat, once you have boarded the train.

To make a reservation, please go to any Ticket Office (Midori-no-madoguchi), spread through all Japanese train stations. Alternatively, go to a Travel Service Center or a Travel Agency ticket sales office. Once there, go to any of the ticket counters. The kind Japanese staff will ask for your Japan Rail Pass, which allows you to book seats for free. State your destination and preferred departure time and let the staff member find the best option for your trip. 

Those who wish to take any of the Limited Express or Shinkansen trains and book a private compartment will be required to pay an extra fee. Traveling in a sleeping car also requires additional payment.

Japan Rail Pass - Am I guaranteed a seat on a JR train?

Available seats are not guaranteed on the busy commuter trains going to and from Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. There are no crowds in the intercity trains so available seats tend to be available. However, it is recommended to book a seat before boarding any train during the following peak seasons:

April 27th through May 6th

August 11th through 20th

December 28th through January 6th

All of the dates mentioned above are holiday periods during popular travel seasons. Should you decide to go to Japan during this time of year, make sure always to book your seats in advance. Learn more about Japanese train stations in our blog.