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Green Pass - The Japanese First Class experience

The Green Pass stands for a 1st class ticket, which allows you to access the most comfortable and spacious seating areas on all Shinkansen bullet trains and certain fast lines. Apart from all the advantages the Japan Rail trains have to offer, allow yourself to submerge in the world of amazing speed and a plane-like emotion when entering the Green Cars, and feel like you are flying with the amazing speed of traveling with over 320 km/h

Following are the seating area specifications, which make for an unforgettable journey:

  • Wider and softer lazy-boy style seats
  • 40° seat reclining angle
  • Multi-angle footrest
  • Larger legroom
  • Large luggage space
  • Seats with individual radios
  • Snacks offered on the Kyushu lines
  • Larger windows and amazing top-deck views on all the non-bullet trains
  • Separate smoking areas
  • Magazines
  • No waiting in lines
Note: The JR West’s Hikari Rail Star train does not offer Green Car seats. However it does operate on a 2-2 seat layout for the seating spaces booked in advance. It is important to understand the trains are all operated by different JR Companies, which means the on-board services and train designs differ from one another. Many passengers see this as one of the biggest advantages the JR Pass has to offer, as you get to experience the train diversity by traveling limitlessly around all of Japan.

Benefits of the JR Green Pass

The different trains have to offer various special services, each more interesting and compelling to some that the other.

Some offer the traditional oshibori. This is a small towel that can be either hot or cold, depending on the season and whether you seek to warm yourself up or refresh with an icy cold towel.

On board you will be offered a refreshing beverage, different magazines for your taste and enough space to relax and enjoy the ride.

Amongst all the JR Lines, the Japan Rail Hikkado is one of the most popular of its type. It is known for offering very high-class services. However, this line goes only to and from Hakodate.

Smoking areas on some trains are becoming more and more popular among travellers. The newest model of the Shinkansen N700 offers spacious smoking area with an advanced ventilating system, allowing for an enjoyable trip all day long.

The busy months

Buying the Green Pass is ideal for the busy months in Japan. In particular if you are travelling in the summertime between June and September. This is due to the endless colorful festivals and national celebrations, which attract many Japanese as well as tourists from all over the world.

Jan.
Feb.
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Aug.
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Oct.
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The Green Pass guarantees a spacious and comfortable seat in the air conditioned cars of all the JR lines. The only thing you need to do is book your seat for free. You can do this a day in advance or just before boarding the train.

The Green Cars

green cars sign

The Green Cars on all trains are indicated by a Green Clover on the side of the 1st class carriage, just by the entrance doors. Usually the doors are located on the front side of the trains, so they are always easy to find.

toilet

Furthermore, the isolated front part of the trains allows for the comfort of the passengers and the fact that less people will be using the same bathroom facilities.

smoking

The newest model of the Shinkansen N700 offers spacious smoking area with an advanced ventilating system, allowing for an enjoyable trip all day long.

Green Pass VS Ordinary

Below you will find a detailed comparison table to better understand the differences between the Green and the Ordinary class.

TrainsAccommodationsGreenOrdinary
“NOZOMI” and “MIZUHO” trains on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen (*1)Green Car--
Ordinary Car--
“HIKARI,” “SAKURA,” “KODAMA” and “TSUBAME” trains on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen and any trains on the Tohoku, Yamagata, Akita, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen.Gran Class (*4)
Green Car
Ordinary Car
Ordinary Private Compartment
Limited express and ordinary expressGreen Car
Ordinary Car
Ordinary Private Compartment
Ordinary Private Compartment
Sleeping Car
Local and rapid trainsGreen Car
Ordinary Car

*1 The JAPAN RAIL PASS is not valid for any seats, reserved (incl. Green Car) or non-reserved, on ”NOZOMI” and “MIZUHO” trains.

*2 There are no Green Cars on most “HIKARI” and “KODAMA” trains on the Sanyo Shinkansen line (Shin-Osaka~Hakata), or on some “SAKURA” and “TSUBAME” Series 800 trains on the Kyushu Shinkansen line.

*3 If you use a “DX Green” (operated by JR Kyushu), you must pay the limited express charge in addition to the DX Green charge.

*4 If you use the GranClass car, only the basic fare is covered with your JAPAN RAIL PASS for both Green Car and Ordinary Cars and you must pay the limited express charge and the GranClass car surcharge additionally.