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How to upgrade your JR Pass to Nozomi & Mizuho

Let’s discuss how we can use the Nozomi Shinkansen and Mizuho Shinkansen with a Japan Rail Pass. Starting from October 1, 2023, JR is offering an option to purchase a special upgrade ticket for JR Pass holders to board the Nozomi and Mizuho trains.

Some ticket price examples

There are hundreds of routes that can be upgraded on the Tokaido, Sanyo, and Kyushu Shinkansen lines.

Tokyo to Nagoya – 4,180 JPY

Tokyo to Kyoto – 4,960 JPY

Tokyo to Shin-Osaka – 4,960 JPY

Tokyo to Hiroshima – 6,500 JPY

Shin-Osaka to Hakata – 4,960 JPY

Kyoto to Himeji – 2,530 JPY

Tokuyama to Tokyo – 7,040 JPY

Shin-Kobe to Hiroshima – 4,170 JPY

Kyoto to Hiroshima – 4,170 JPY

Nagoya to Okayama – 4,170 JPY

Fukuyama to Kyoto – 4,170 JPY

Hiroshima to Kumamoto – 5,930 JPY

Nagoya to Kokura – 5,930 JPY

Shin-Osaka to Tokuyama – 4,620 JPY

Shin-Osaka to Sendai – 8,830 JPY

Sendai to Hakata – 3,870 JPY

Is an upgrade really worth it?

The faster NOZOMI and MIZUHO trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Lines are not included with the JAPAN RAIL PASS. But, if you get a special ticket called “ONLY WITH JAPAN RAIL PASS NOZOMI MIZUHO Ticket” before you get on the train, you can use these speedy Shinkansen trains with your JR Pass.

This ticket gives you more choices and faster transportation but comes with a hefty price tag. “NOZOMI” and “MIZUHO” are the quickest Shinkansen trains, yes, but it’s not that much faster.

The time difference between Hikari and Nozomi between Tokyo and Kyoto is only 15 minutes, taking you to Kyoto in 2h 30m with Nozomi Shinkansen instead of 2h 45m with Hikari Shinkansen.

Pros with an upgraded ticket


Faster trains

The train itself is not faster, but does fewer stops along the way, getting you to your destination faster.


Faster long distance

Some long-distance cities may require less changes of trains while using the Mizuho or Nozomi Shinkansen trains.

Cons with an upgraded ticket


Only valid on one train ride

The upgrade ticket is only valid for a single ride. If you intend to do roundtrips, you need to upgrade each train ride.


Expensive for what you get

The hefty price tag for the upgrade is not worth it for most people and visitors for the time you save using other trains.


Only bought in japan

The upgrade can only be bought while in Japan and after your Japan Rail pass has been activated.

kimono bench

Where can I purchase the upgrade?

The “Only with Japan Rail Pass Nozomi Mizuho ticket” is available for purchase at various locations across Japan. You can buy them at JR ticket offices, also known as “Midori-no-madoguchi,” as well as from reserved seat ticket machines and Travel Service Centers.

sensoji temple

Can I upgrade to Green cars?

Japan Rail Pass holders can purchase tickets for Green cars, reserved seats in standard cars, and non-reserved seats in standard cars.

However, Ordinary JR Pass holders can only buy tickets for reserved seats and non-reserved seats in standard cars, while Green JR Pass holders can upgrade to a class (Except Grand Class). 

The tickets for Green cars and reserved seats in standard cars are sold per train, while non-reserved seats in standard cars are available on a one-way basis. 

It’s important to note that there are limits on the number of reserved seats in both Green and standard cars, and availability may vary, even if there are open seats.

happy child school

Can we upgrade JR Passes for children?

Children with JR passes can also upgrade to the Nozomi Mizuho Ticket for the Japan Rail Pass, but at a cheaper price. This upgrade allows them to access the high-speed Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansen trains.

woman with umbrella

Help with refund

The following information is provided by JR and is only regarding the Nozomi & Mizuhu upgrade: Refunds for tickets can only be processed at the locations where the tickets were purchased.


Refunds are allowed before the ticket’s valid term or within the valid term if unused, minus a handling fee. The handling fee is 340 yen for Green car and standard car reserved seats, and 220 yen for standard car non-reserved seats. 


No refunds are given after the start of travel. In cases where trains can’t run, refunds are granted up to the price of one ticket, following regulations. The refund deadline is within one year from the incident date.

shinkansen train

Lost ticket

If you lose your ticket, buy another one for the railway section you’re traveling. Even if you find the lost ticket later, no refunds will be given.


When using a NOZOMI MIZUHO ticket, in addition to the normal terms and conditions, the JR Railways Group’s rules and general conditions of carriage, as well as the laws of Japan, will apply.

himeji forest

Change departure

You can change Green car and reserved seat tickets to the same type before the designated train departs. Non-reserved seat tickets can be changed to a different day within the valid period, as long as it’s for a non-reserved seat in a standard car. 


Changes are allowed only before the departure of the original train.

Shinkansen 320 km/h

Get your Japan Rail Pass

As you prepare for your remarkable journey in Japan, don’t forget your Japan Rail Pass. Your Japan Rail Pass is a requirement to upgrade and the base you need to start travelling across Japan. It’s not just a ticket; it’s your golden opportunity to explore the country while saving big. Whether you’re pursuing cherry blossoms, delving into history, or enjoying Japan’s efficient train system, the Rail Pass ensures a seamless travel experience. Have a safe and enjoyable time on your Japanese dream trip!