Who can buy a Japan Rail Pass?
You can buy a JR exchange order note (which you swap for a Japan Rail 7, 14 or 21 Day Pass once you’re in Japan) from any authorised sales agent in Australia if you fall into one of the following categories:
An Australian citizen (see example 1) or;
A permanent resident of Australia (PR VISA, see example 1) or;
You’re a non-Japanese citizen with an Australian postal address or can arrange pick-up from one of our offices (see example 2) or;
You’re a Japanese citizen in either a married to a non-Japanese citizen who is a permanent resident outside of Japan (see example 3). Note that you will not be eligible to buy other JR Passes including Hokkaido, East, West or Shikoku passes.
For each of the categories above you’ll need to show documentation (a Australian passport for Australian citizens) for verification.
An additional requirement is that you aren’t currently in Japan or hold a Japanese VISA (with the sole exception of the “Temporary Visitor” VISA). Please note that according to strict interpretation of the Japanese Immigration Law, “temporary visitor” status differs even from other types of stays that also for only short time periods.
If you’re eligible and then visit our Japan Rail Pass page now to buy yours.
If you’re still not sure if you’re eligible then read through some of the examples below.
Examples of who can buy a JR Pass
Example 1: You’re an Australian citizen or Permanent Resident (PR VISA) and you’re in Australia at the time you order your pass. You’re eligible and can order your Japan Rail Pass through this website. This is the case with 97% of our customers.
Example 2: You’re two friends from Sweden (or any country other than Japan) and you’re travelling in Australia before going directly from Australia to Japan. You can both buy a Japan Rail Pass in Australia just so long as you’re able to collect it from an Australian delivery address or one of our offices.
Example 3 (ineligible to buy in Australia but eligible to buy the pass elsewhere): You’re an Australian citizen traveling in New Zealand and you plan on going straight from New Zealand to Japan then you cannot get a JR pass from an Australian provider. But you can, instead, buy your pass from a provider in New Zealand (like JTB New Zealand).
Example 4: You’re a Japanese citizen who’s living in Australia (but not on a Permanent Resident VISA) and you’re married to, say, a Polish national who is a permanent resident of Poland (but not Australia) then both of you are eligible for the JR Pass (so long as you can show supporting documentation).
Example 5 (totally ineligible): You’re a Japanese national and you’re studying in Australia on a student VISA and your spouse/partner is a resident of Japan then you are ineligible to buy a Japan Rail Pass not only in Australia but anywhere in the world.
Example 6 (temporarily ineligible): You’re currently in Japan. You cannot get a Japan Rail Pass unless you leave the country.
Example 7: (temporarily ineligible): You’re not a Japanese citizen but you’re currently hold a VISA status in Japan that is something other than “Temporary Visitor”. You cannot get a Japan Rail Pass until your VISA status changes and you are outside of the country.
Why are there these rules for Japan Rail Passes? Glad you asked! These are the rules that the JR group in Japan imposes on agents they permit to sell the pass. They aren’t optional for us – they’re required.