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JR News: Travel around Eastern Japan by rail with the JR-East Train Reservation

JR News: Travel around Eastern Japan by rail with the JR-East Train Reservation

Updated as of 5 December 2023
Originally published on 16 April 2021


Travelling to Japan soon? If you plan to get around Eastern Japan by rail with the JR EAST PASS, then why not purchase it online from the JR-EAST Train Reservation? The website offers a one-stop solution for all your rail pass needs, with more benefits than through regular methods. Want to know more about the website enables you to do? Then read on!


Purchasing your rail pass with a click of a button

The JR-EAST Train Reservation. (Image credit: JR East)


With the JR-EAST Train Reservation, travellers can not only purchase JR East and JR Hokkaido rail passes, but they can also reserve seats (for free with the relevant rail passes) and ordinary train tickets, and then collect them at the Reserved Seat Ticket Vending Machines equipped with a passport reader at selected JR stations.


Types of rail passes available on the JR-East Train Reservation. (Image credit: JR East)


No more long lines at the ticket counter!

Reserved Seat Ticket Vending Machine with a passport reader. (Image credit: JR East)

With the website, travellers do not need to queue at the counter to collect the passes anymore, which is particularly time-consuming in popular stations during peak hours. Travellers who purchase their rail passes and reserve their seats on the JR-East Train Reservation can use Reserved Seat Ticketing Machines that are equipped with passport readers to collect them on the spot! You can refer to the link here to check the locations of the ticketing machines.


Collect your pass and hop on the train in an instant!

Moreover, travellers previously had to collect their reserved tickets by 9pm the day before boarding the train. With the JR-East Train Reservation, travellers can collect and use them even up to 6 minutes prior to boarding their train (*excluding some reservations).


Previously, travellers had to collect their passes at the ticket counter. (Image credit: JR East / Date)


Take note of the following important points for rail pass purchase and collection:

  • Credit card information is required to purchase the rail passes on the JR-East Train Reservation
  • The Reserved Seat Ticket Vending Machines with the passport readers are only applicable to those who purchased the JR EAST PASS and reserved the seats via the JR-East Train Reservation  
  • Actual passports with valid IC chips are required for rail pass collection at the ticket vending machines


Depending on where you purchased your JR EAST PASS or reserved your seats, the locations where you collect the rail passes and reserved tickets also vary, as well as the items you need to produce at the point of redemption will vary. Please refer to the following chart for a breakdown:


Summary of requirements when picking up rail passes and seat tickets . (Image credit: JR East)


Operating hours for reservations

The JR-EAST Train Reservation is available from 5am to 1:50am the following day (excluding 11:50pm to 12:10am, Japan Standard Time). Depending on the services, operating hours or the deadline to purchase / book may differ. For more details on the type of tickets and their respective deadlines, have a look at the summary below:


Ticket type and their respective application deadlines. (Image credit: JR East)


What's more, seats are open for reservation on the JR-EAST Train Reservation one month before the scheduled services, which is the same for the physical ticket counters. With the website, foreign travellers can easily reserve their seats online even before arriving in Japan, which is particularly useful if you plan to ride on Joyful Trains, which are high in demand and have very limited seat availability (tip: some of them can be fully booked on the day seats are open for reservation!)


Choose your favourite seat and more!

Furthermore, the website provides ordinary train ticket sales (for non-pass users) and seat reservation services with seat mapping so that travellers can choose their preferred cars and seats for their selected trains. This applies to rail passes bought via JR-EAST Train Reservation or from external sources such as travel agencies. Customers who bought a rail pass via JR-EAST Train Reservation can indicate that they have purchased their rail pass on the website, and users who bought their passes from a travel agency must indicate their rail pass type first before proceeding with seat reservation.


Seat reservation option page. (Image credit: JR East)


If you know where and when you want to go, select the “Select by Station” option, fill in the necessary information (starting location, destination, date and time of departure/arrival) and the best candidate will show up.


Sample trip selection. (Image credit: JR East)


You can either let the website assign a seat for you automatically, or select your favourite seat (e.g. aisle or window seat). You can even specify the car number if you have a preference in mind. JR EAST PASS users are only allowed to select seats on Ordinary Cars with the JR-EAST Train Reservation.


Seat map for a selected train car. (Image credit: JR East)


Tickets for the Green Car and Gran Class are also available as standalone purchases. For JR EAST PASS users, there is an option to purchase only the Super (Limited) Express Train tickets, as the basic fare portion for these train classes are covered by the pass.


Selected the highlighted option if you have the valid rail pass. (Image credit: JR East)


Do note that the system is applicable for point-to-point journeys only. A separate seat reservation is required if your journey requires a transfer (for example, if you plan to transfer from a Shinkansen train to a Limited Express train, you need to reserve a ticket set).


Travellers can also choose from nine language settings on the website, including Chinese (traditional / simplified), Thai, and Indonesian.



Please make full use of the JR-EAST Train Reservation when planning your very first or next trip to Eastern Japan and even Hokkaido!


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