A Green Japan Rail Pass, also known as a “Green Pass,” is a special fare pass that allows tourists to travel on Japan Railways (JR) trains, including the Shinkansen bullet train, throughout Japan in first class. The pass is only available to foreign tourists who are visiting Japan on a temporary visitor visa or Japanese citizens who have lived abroad for more than 10 years. It is called a “Green Pass” because it provides access to the “Green Car” or first-class sections of certain trains. The pass can be purchased for periods of 7, 14, or 21 consecutive days and can be used on all JR trains, including the shinkansen and local trains, as well as on some buses and ferries. Nazomi and Mizuho trains are excluded from your Japan Rail Pass on Sanyo, Tokaido & Kyushu Shinkansen lines, regardless of JR Pass type. The Green Japan Rail Pass is a convenient and cost-effective way for tourists to explore and travel around Japan, as it allows for unlimited travel on JR trains at a fixed price in first class.
The green version of Japan Rail Pass is Japan Railway’s version of first class. Travel across Japan in more luxurious wagons with free amenities, more space and less people. A fantastic alternative to the Standard Pass for those who’d like a touch of premium during their stay in Japan.
The green carts offer better, wider and thicker seats with less people per row, allowing each passenger more space and a better ride. Almost every shinkansen has a green cart in the front, with just a few smaller trains being without. You’ll find more information about the excluded trains further down on the page.
Japan attracts a lot of both local and international tourists during their holiday season, which can cause certain trains and lines to be fully booked. You can always book a seat beforehand with both green and standard pass and be guaranteed a spot on the train, but the chance of a train being fully booked is much smaller with a green pass.
Since the carts allow less people due to less seating places, you’ll experience a better train ride with much better access to shared facilities, such as toilets.
Travelling with much luggage? No worries, the green cars allows you to bring an extra full-size suitcase on the train, compared to the normal standard pass wagons. So, are you a happy shopper or just a big family, then the green pass is most definitely a good option for you.
Wifi is actually free and available on both green and standard “cars”, but the signal is usually stronger and better on the green cars due to less people on the wagon. You can always bring your own wifi-dongle on the train, but the free and available one is enough for most people.
The green carts on the train are called “Green Car” and can easily be spotted by their green clovers on the side of the wagon. It’s usually located just beside the entrance.
If you have any more questions regarding Green Pass, feel free to send us an email or visit the Japan Rail Pass official website for updated documentation.
Most Shinkansen trains in Japan will offer you a free selection of drinks and beverages along with free magazines during your trip with green pass. Most will also provide you with a free “oshibori” towel. This traditional towel can be used either hot & cold, and the one you get depends on the season.
Keep in mind that JR is a combination of multiple different railways companies and the services and amenities onboard may vary between the different lines and trains. As an example, the JR West Hikari Rail Star line does not include any green seats, but do however have a 2-2 setup of seats across the train.