I have my Japan Rail Pass Exchange Order – now what?

When you buy a Japan Rail Pass from an agent authorised to sell them by Japan Rail you will first receive an Exchange Order.  It’s a physical voucher you take with you to Japan where you can swap it for the actual rail pass you’ve paid for.

Here’s the step-by-step process:

Make sure you get your Japan Rail Pass Exchange Order before you leave the country

It’s against the rules for any agent to deliver to a Japanese address or even an address outside of Australia.  So make sure you have the Exchange Order in hand before you leave for Japan.  The Exchange Order can be swapped for the JR Pass any time within 3 months of issue.  After that it expires so don’t buy it more than three months before you plan on using it.

Enter Japan as a “Temporary Visitor”

If you’re entering Japan on a non-Japanese passport (for example, an Australian passport, New Zealand passport, Ugandan Passport, etc) then you need to enter on a “Temporary Visitor” VISA. That’s the only VISA that’s eligible for the JR Pass – other short term VISAs are not.  Please note that the passport you enter on must be the same passport you bought the pass under in order to be eligible for the JR Pass.  Check out our JR Pass Eligiblity FAQ page for more info.

Find the easiest JR Exchange Office for you

To exchange your pass you need to go to a Japan Rail Office commonly referred to as a “Green Window” (Midori no Madoguchi in Japanese).  But there’s a common misconception that you can go to any Green Window to exchange your pass – you can’t.  The only ones you can go to for swapping your Exchange Order for your JR Pass are listed on this page.  Tip: if convenient you can do this on arrival at Haneda or Narita Airports to save time.

Swap your Exchange Order for your Japan Rail Pass

Go up to the window, smile kindly at the person behind the counter and present your passport (with temporary visitor stamp) and exchange order.  You’ll have to nominate the date that you want the pass to become active on.  You don’t have to reserve any tickets at this point but you can if you want to (for up to one month in advance).

And that’s all there is to it.

Get your Japan Rail Pass today.

Have another question?  Visit our Japan Rail Pass FAQ page or contact us for a conversation.