JR Rail Pass and Reserved Seating

  • JR Rail Pass and Reserved Seating

    Posted by demarie on February 28, 2019 at 5:10 am

    We (4 of us) will be in Japan from May 28 to June 12, flying into Narita.  5 days in Tokyo, 2 days in Hakone, the rest in Kyoto with days trips to Nara, Osaka, Kobe, and Hisoshima.  Given we have a wheelchair traveler, should we get a 7 day or 14 day JR Rail Pass?  Also do we need reserved seating?  If so, how do we reserve a seat?

    Accessible Japan replied 5 years, 3 months ago 3 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Accessible Japan

    February 28, 2019 at 12:25 pm


    The 7 day pass may be best.

    To get to Hakone, you do not use JR train lines.  Also, in Tokyo, the subway and private lines are often more convenient than JR lines – and not covered by JR Pass.  The pass makes sense for travel between cities and would pay for itself on your Kyoto/Hiroshima trip.  But you can only use it while valid, so you need to make sure your plans for that trip finishi within 7 days if you get the 7 day pass.

    Yes, you need to book the shinkansen’s wheelchair seat and it is recommended you do so a few days before your trip.  Go to a Midori no Madoguchi (Green Ticket Window) at a major JR station to book your ticket.  Booking can take up to 1hr for a wheelchair seat.

    Hope that helps.

  • astrogrrl

    March 10, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    We have had a little trouble using the JR Pass when going from the airport to Shinjuku.  It turned out we had green tickets (supposedly the better type) however there was no actual wheelchair spot in that section.  I had to sit back in the luggage area which was a bit annoying. Luckily it was pretty quiet so I just sort of blocked the aisle to talk to my family.
    From what I understand (based on the information our Japanese friend said who was trying to translate for us) there are different ticket types eg ‘Green’ & ‘Blue’ which indicate the carriage you go in.  Apparently there is a wheelchair spot in the ‘Blue section’.
    They seem to get very stuck on rules here. eg because we had green tickets they made us travel in that carriage even though I am pretty sure there would have been a better spot for me in a different (cheaper) carriage.

    It does seem to work differently than here in Australia where they  would have just moved us all to the more accessible spot regardless of if we had first class tickets – or at least would of offered it.

    Things also seem to take ages to organize.  Thank goodness for our friend who speaks Japanese as even with her understanding the language it took over an hour and going back 3 times to try and book our wheelchair spots for the rest of the trip – and we still need to go back tomorrow to confirm everything and pick up the tickets.



  • Accessible Japan

    March 10, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    Sorry to hear that. Yes, everything is by the manual here.

  • Accessible Japan

    March 10, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    When you got your JR Pass, was there any documentation that came with it?  If so, was there any information for wheelchair users?

    Where did you buy it?  They should have warned you about the Green Tickets.

    • astrogrrl

      March 12, 2019 at 12:05 pm

      [quote quote=8332]When you got your JR Pass, was there any documentation that came with it? If so, was there any information for wheelchair users?

      Where did you buy it? They should have warned you about the Green Tickets.


      We just got them through the travel agent.  So are the green tickets meant to be the better tickets.  Was a bit annoying that they couldn’t just put us in the accessible section.  We think we have it sorted now (maybe) but it took our Japanese friend 3 days of over an hour each time trying to fix it and book the rest of our journey.

  • Accessible Japan

    March 12, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    I totally understand, rules are held to a very high degree here!

    I’ll try to bring it up with my contacts in the government that the travel agents should be made aware about green tickets.

  • Accessible Japan

    March 18, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Hello again,

    If you have any other issues, JR East has an English information line: 050-2016-1603 (10:00 ~ 18:00)

    Hope that helps

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