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Ordinary vs Green Compare the JR passes

Getting the best Japan Rail Pass for your trip can be hard, but don’t have to. Are you a couple, a group of friends, or a family who visit Japan for the first time and want to travel as easily as possible? Then the Standard Pass is for you. Are you a returning visitor who used the Japan Rail Pass in the past? Why not try out the Green Pass and enjoy more free amenities along your journey across Japan? The trains are pretty spacious and clean overall and regardless of what you choose, you’re welcome on the same trains and lines.

Ordinary PassGreen Pass
Unlimited Shinkansen rides
Free seat reservation
Narita Express NEX
Limited Express Haruka
Tokyo Monorail
Discount on 80+ JR Hotels
Discounts and gifts
Miyajima Ferry
First class wagons
Wide and luxurious seats
Free Amenities
More luggage options
Less crowded wagons

What is a Ordinary Pass?

The Ordinary Japan Rail Pass, as the name suggests, provides standard-class access to the majority of JR trains. This pass offers comfortable, economy-class seating, making it a budget-friendly option for travelers exploring Japan.

It’s by far the best value for the buck and allows you to freely move around in Japan with everything from shinkansen bullet trains, normal trains, rapid trains, busses, and even boats… with unlimited fairs! A very well-recommended alternative for first-time visitors or travelers on a budget.

What is a Green Pass?

The JR Green Pass is the first class pass offered by the Japan Railways (JR) Group, allowing travelers to enjoy first-class services on most JR trains. This pass grants access to the luxurious Green Car seats, featuring spacious seating, enhanced amenities, and a quieter, more exclusive atmosphere.

Get your Green Japan Rail Pass includes the same things as a standard pass, but comes with a few extra luxury features onboard. It’s a train pass for those who’d like some extra space, bigger seats, free amenities and better service.

What pass is for me?

There are certain benefits to the Green Pass, but it comes with a higher price tag, so it’s not for everyone. Having a Green Pass will grant you access to the green cars on Shinkansen trains and some other trains, where you are given more space, amenities, and less crowded wagons. Read more about the two and see which pass fits your budget the best.

Which wagons can I use?

All Shinkansen trains have wagons with reserved seating and without reserved seating. The reserved one requires booking in advance, but luckily it’s included unlimited times in the Japan Rail Pass. There are also wagons with non-reserved seats where you just enter, take a seat, and enjoy the ride. Green Pass holders can use ordinary cars as well as the Green Cars, while Ordinary Pass holders are limited to the normal wagons only. Most trains consist of 15 train cars, where 3 are for non-reserved seating, 7 for ordinary with reserved seating, and 5 for Green Pass holders with green cars. Keep in mind that all Green Cars require a seat reservation, they don’t have any non-reserved seats. Seat reservation with a Japan Rail Pass is free of charge and for unlimited times.

What are the JR benefits?

Jr ticket machine.

Save time and energy

Get yourself a Japan Rail Pass and save a lot of time by not having to click around on poorly translated machines and timetables. If you don’t feel like pre-reserve your seats, just walk right past all the controls and ticket machines with your JR Pass and enjoy any ride you want. Your JR Pass can be used for the automatic gates at each track and station. Save both time and energy with a JR Pass!

Airport narita express

Airport transfer

A Japan Rail Pass can be activated directly at some of Japan’s major airports and save you hundreds of euros. The JR Pass includes all of JR’s routes to and from the airport. Among others, N’EX Narita Express from Narita Airport to Tokyo, Tokyo Monorail from Haneda Airport to Tokyo, and Haruka Express from Kansai Airport to Osaka and Kyoto. There are also several other alternatives to Shinagawa, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro.

Metro line jr

Train & subway

Use your JR Pass for much more than just high-speed trains. Travel painlessly and free of charge with Japan Railways’ other means of transportation. Your JR Pass works on regular trains, the Shinkansen express train, the JR metro, commuter trains as well as on some buses and boats.

Seats inside of train

Seat booking

Seat reservation is free with a Japan Rail Pass. You can just enter any included JR train and take a seat if you want to without a reservation, but all trains have some carriages for travelers with pre-booked seats that require pre-reservation. You will always be able to ride the train, regardless of whether you have booked a seat or not, but to avoid having to stand up on longer and more popular routes if all seats are occupied, we recommend a visit to the nearest JR office or any Shinkansen Ticket Machine and free of charge reserve your seats and tickets by scanning the QR Code on your JR Pass.

Speed train bullet

Green cars

Green Pass provides access to Japan Railways’ equivalent of business and first class, “Green Car”. Take advantage of wider and more comfortable seats, more legroom, fewer passengers per carriage, and access to several different amenities. What is available varies from line to line.

mt fuji mountain

Discounts on JR Hotels

JR Hotels offer a valuable perk for Japan Rail Pass holders, passengers with a JR Pass can enjoy accommodations at JR Hotels, strategically located near major transportation hubs and popular attractions at discounted prices. You may read more about JR Hotel Discounts here.

golden pavilion

Tourist facility discounts

Japan Rail Pass holders also enjoy a large amount of benefits and discounts at various tourist facilities nationwide. Museums, attractions, and cultural sites often offer reduced entry fees, providing pass holders with cost-effective access to Japan’s rich heritage. This added value encourages exploration and cultural immersion, making the Japan Rail Pass an all-encompassing solution for tourists eager to discover the country’s diverse offerings while enjoying significant savings on admission to key tourist destinations. Read more about the discounts.

Gate tori entrance

Unlimited daytrips

Move quickly by high-speed trains and enjoy the entire country at 320 km/h. Jump on a Shinkansen bullet train and experience a new city every day. A train pass for the whole country and endless opportunities in one of the most beautiful countries in the world!


Ultimately, the choice between the Green Pass and the Ordinary Japan Rail Pass depends on your priorities and budget. If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience with added comfort and amenities, the Green Pass is worth considering. However, if you’re seeking a budget-friendly option that still provides access to Japan’s extensive rail network, the Ordinary Japan Rail Pass is an excellent choice.

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