How to read Japan Railway’s reserved seat ticket

Reserved seat ticket for Shinkansen
Reserved seat ticket for Shinkansen

When you use Japan Rail Pass, you will have a reserved seat ticket. But the ticket is written in Japanese only. I will show you a sample and explain it.

This above image is Shinkansen reserved seat ticket. These following information are shown on the ticket.

  • Departure station
  • Arrival station
  • Departure time
  • Arrival time
  • Month
  • Day
  • Train name
  • Train number
  • Car number
  • Row
  • Seat number
  • Smoking or non

You can guess month(月), day(日), time, train number, car number(号車), row(番), seat number(席) and smoking or non. So you have to care about Station and train name.

8 thoughts on “How to read Japan Railway’s reserved seat ticket”

  1. I have a question about seat reservation on Tokyo-Osaka Shinkansen. When I reserve a seat can I choose the seat number also? Or is the seat number allotted by Japan Rail automatically?

    1. Hi Rajaram,

      When you book, the stuff usually ask where you go, which date you travel, what time you want to depart, and window side or isle side. But you can choose the specific seat number, such as 1A, as long as it’s not occupied.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hello Takeshi,
    The routes I planned are “Direct Limited Express – Wide View Hida” from Nagoya Station to Takayama Station and “Nohi bus” from Takayama (Nohi Bus Center) to Shirakawa-go. I’m not decided yet to choose the type of transportation on the way back to Nagoya Station, perhaps I will get on the bus through Meitetsu, JR Tokai, or Nohi company in stead of JR Train. I noticed that any means of transportation I mentioned have reserved seat and some trains/buses on the timetable are required to be reserved only as well.

    As you explained to me, I totally understand how necessary the reserved seat is. It will help me to ensure the boarding at the time I selected, even though there are non-reserved seats left.

    By the way, I’d like to ask you a little bit more on the first paragraph of your reply that you mentioned “Mostly reserved seat car and non reserved seat car are different.”, You mean that the reserved and non-reserved seat can be mixed in the same train but must be separated to the different car, right?

    Thanks for your very helpful information.

    Best regards,
    Juui

    1. Hi Juui,

      Yes, you are right. For example, Wide View Hida (Nagoya-Takayama), it has reserved ordinary seat, non reserved ordinary seat and reserved Green seat (business class). You can find train information at the link below:
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/limited-express/limited-express-wide-view-hida.html

      The seat is exactly same between reserved and non reserved. You may find the images of the seat in the link above too.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hello Takeshi,
    The routes I planned are “Direct Limited Express – Wide View Hida” from Nagoya Station to Takayama Station and “Nohi bus” from Takayama (Nohi Bus Center) to Shirakawa-go. I’m not decided yet to choose the type of transportation on the way back to Nagoya Station, perhaps I will get on the bus through Meitetsu, JR Tokai, or Nohi company in stead of JR Train. I noticed that any means of transportation I mentioned have reserved seat and some trains/buses on the timetable are required to be reserved only as well.

    As you explained to me, I totally understand how necessary the reserved seat is. It will help me to ensure the boarding at the time I selected, even though there are non-reserved seats left.

    By the way, I’d like to ask you a little bit more on the first paragraph of your reply that you mentioned “Mostly reserved seat car and non reserved seat car are different.”, You mean that the reserved and non-reserved seat can be mixed in the same train but must be separated to the different car, right?

    Thanks for your very helpful information.

    Best regards,
    Juui

  4. Good afternoon Takeshi/JP Rail,
    I need your help to clarify how different in term of Go/NoGo about Reserved or Non-Reserved
    seat. In my point of view, in case the train/bus number we’d like to travel need for reservation
    of the seat but still allowing Non-Reserved seat as well for that train/bus, right? (Separate car for Reserved and Non-reserved if there are both on the same train?).

    If I choose Non-reserved seat, my curious to know is Reserved and Non-reserved seat are mixed in the same car (I don’t know this is actual or the car for Reserved and Non-Reserved),
    or they are separated in the different car.

    and in case every seat on that car or train is reserved, there will be no allowable seats left for Non-reserved seat even if the reserved seat is booked after me. Is my understanding right?

    As I mentioned above, if I’m arriving at the ticket counter, not reserved in advance ’cause I’m
    just walking-in, (For any kind of Trains or Travel Buses) and there are Reserved and Non-reserved seat available for me to choose for that train/Bus. My point is I have to select
    reserved seat to guarantee the travel ’cause I will get the seat number as well in this choice.

    Non-reserved seats will be permitted to board or travel depending on vacant seat left from
    reserved seats only. I’m not sure whether my understanding is right or not.

    I have to make an apology for my quite long inquiries, but I think your reply for my ambiguous
    understanding would make me do it according to the rule and serving my need, too.

    Thanks & Best regards,
    Juui

    1. Hi Juui,

      Mostly reserved seat car and non reserved seat car are different.

      If you book reserved, you can secure your seat, of course. If you take non reserved seat, you have to purchase single ticket and express surcharge ticket if you take limited express or express trains. But if you have Japan Rail Pass, JR East Pass or similar passes, you don’t need to purchase any ticket.

      If you take non reserved seat, you may not get a seat. Especially in peak period, there are lots of passengers who stand on isle or passenger’s deck. In non reserved car, seat is for first come, first serve.

      Regarding bus, it depends on what type of bus is. Standing passengers are allowed in commute bus. But it is not allowed in highway bus. But there are too many bus companies in Japan to explain it.

      Anyway, as long as reserved seat is available, I recommend you to book it.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

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