New site to allow shinkansen tickets to be booked outside Japan


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For prospective foreign visitors who buy a Japan Rail Pass Exchange Order before arriving in Japan, it would be nice also to be able to book tickets. The Exchange Order can only be converted into a Pass (and then seats booked on trains) after arriving in the country.

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It continues to flummox me why there can't be a single portal site for buying Japanese rail tickets across all the various JR companies. Missing from the above initiative is JR East and that sticks out like a sore thumb. Japan is so good as so many things except when it comes to this compartmentalized "silo mentality".

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Great idea. Why not a single portal (which tourists needs to create an acocunt for) for the JR Rail Pass and actually booking seats. That way of too many booked seats are 'missed' there is the ability to cancel all future bookings.

This stops people opportunistically booking seats with no intention of actually using them.

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It is a mess in Japan to book easily from the distance. And still no electronic ticket ?

Otherwise, quality of traveling is exceptional.

I miss so much the shinkansen seats ! ( I travel often in French hopeless TGV)

Byt he way, we don't hear anymore of number of tourists per month, and per year now. What are the figures ? I have my ideas about the trend.

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Jonathan PrinToday  02:50 pm JST

Byt he way, we don't hear anymore of number of tourists per month, and per year now. What are the figures ? I have my ideas about the trend.

In answer to your question, Oct was about 2.5M inbound visitors, with it likely to be just under 35M for the 2019. They did get a boost from the Rugby World Cup in Sept, and who knows what kind of a bumper crop next year will bring with the Olympics and Paralympics etc.

The figures from JNTO are usually 2-3 months behind and focus on inbound visitors, not tourists alone. Tourists, however, now make up the vast majority of those numbers.

Bare in mind that in 2000, there were only 4.8M inbound visitors for the entire year. Japan now does that in less than 2 months.

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This is a very smart idea. And as an American, I’m very happy that they’re doing this.

however, I was in Japan Myself about a month ago, and I can attest to what some people are saying, About the lack of one consistent JR rail pass. Or at least when I was there, had to buy separate passes for separate sections of the metro. Kind of frustrating.

But I also agree with those people when I say that the Shinkansen IS exceptional. And both the Tokyo and Kyoto metro systems are exceptional in service as well.

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Good to hear.

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The JR Central app which is tied to my Apple Wallet Suica is quite good for booking shinkansen tickets; especially allowing for last-minute changes of trains and seats. (I am American spending about 120 days per year in Japan). I am mostly disappointed that JR East doesn't have an English language one that has the same functionality. For the Akita shinkansen, it's still a separate trip to the station or a long line to buy a ticket. It's a shame that JR East can't lease or reimburse or otherwise compensate or borrow the same functionality from JR Central. Is anyone reading this a rail insider who can tell us why (maybe there is a particular technical reason or is it just provincialism among the different rail companies)?

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My frustration is its easy to buy the tickets here in the UK, but the bottle neck or pain in the bum is having to que up at the ticket booth in Japan to pick up the rail card, most of the time it take over an hour to get a JR card pass.

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