1. How to Exchange Your Japan Rail Pass at Narita Airport

    When spending any time travelling in Japan, a Japan Rail Pass is a necessity. The savings that can be made are quite extraordinary if making several trips on the Shinkansen. A seven day pass just about pays for itself by doing a return trip from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka so any other trips you then make on the pass are a bonus. I once worked out that in seven days I had done ¥68,000 worth of rail travel when the pass had originally cost me ¥28,300 – quite amazing.

    As you can only purchase the Rail Pass outside of Japan, when you arrive in the country you will need to swap your Exchange Order for the pass itself. The process is very easy and simple – all my photos were taken in Terminal One of Narita Airport however the process is exactly the same in Terminal Two as well as the major train stations across Japan.

    Once in the arrivals hall, follow the “Railways” signs – this will take you to the main station area of the terminal where you will find both JR and Keisei ticket offices.


    You will need to go to the JR East Travel Service Center to exchange your Rail Pass. Even though the office can get quite busy at certain times of the day when lots of international flights arrive, it is better to get your Rail Pass here even if you do not intend to start using it for a few days as the exchange office at Tokyo Station is tiny and the queues are usually longer and slower.


    Before joining the queue you will need to fill an application form which are located on a table outside the office. You need to state your name, nationality, passport number as well as the day you would like the pass to start – it does not need to be the day you pick it up. I have always asked for my pass to start a few days later as I generally spend a few days in Tokyo before heading off further afield into Japan.


    Once in line inside the office, make sure to have your exchange order along with your passport and application form ready for the staff at the desk. They will check your passport to make sure that you are eligible for a Rail Pass so everyone will need to be present at the office as you cannot pick up passes for anyone else.


    If you wish to make any seat reservations (free with a Japan Rail Pass), you can do this at the same time as picking up your Rail Pass. If you are starting your Rail Pass that day and travelling straight into Tokyo, the staff will also make a reservation on the Narita Express to Tokyo Station, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku or Ikebukuro for you. If you do not start your Rail Pass immediately but are travelling into Tokyo you can either then book the Narita Express or cross the concourse to the Keisei ticket office and take the Skyliner train (which is both quicker and cheaper) into Ueno Station.


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    12 thoughts on “How to Exchange Your Japan Rail Pass at Narita Airport

    1. Danica

      Jr pass is definitely helpful for the travelers especially in exploring the entire country. It is a lot more convenient than any other vehicles. You can choose from several types of trains which will make your travel fun and at ease.

    2. Liz

      hey Nikki,
      i will be traveling to tokyo tomorrow and will be doing the JR pass exchange. can you pls tell me on which floor is the office. i know that the arrival hall is on the first floor. hope for quick response .. many thanks,

    3. Nikki

      Hi Liz. The Rail Pass Exchange office is on the same floor as the railway stations which is B1F so you need to go down one floor from the arrivals level. It is B1F in both terminals one and two. Hope this helps and have a fantastic time in Japan – it’s one of my favourite countries in the world.

    4. Anonymous

      Thank you so much, I was worried about how I was going to find where to exchange! The images and description is very helpful. Thank you.

    5. Luke

      This post has been incredibly useful for planning our trip to Tokyo. I wasn’t sure exactly how easy it was going to be finding the office after a long flight, but your photos and description really help! Thanks

    6. Hanta

      Hi Nikki, hi everyone.
      I have a question. In January my plane will arrive in Narita terminal 1 at 9pm. On my JR leaflet, office hours for Narita says:
      JR East travel service centre : 8:15 – 19:00
      Ticket office : 6:30 – 8:15. , 19:00-21:15

      Is it also possible to exchange the pass at the ticket office (instead of JR East travel service centre), which will be open when I arrive?

      Thank you

      1. Nikki Post author

        I believe that you can only exchange your Rail Pass at the service centres – you will not be able to do it at the ticket office as they will also be closed at that time. Are you heading into Tokyo straight away? If so, it is probably easier to pay for the train that night when you arrive and then exchange your Rail Pass the next morning in Tokyo – there’s a list of stations and opening times where you can exchange it here.

    7. Carol

      Hi. My family and I will be traveling to Tokyo in May. We plan to purchase the Japan Rail Pass but will wait to exchange in after a few days there since we’ll be in Japan for 9 days. Can we take the Narita Express from Narita to Shibuya station even if we have not exchanged our JR Pass yet? Or do we need to activate our JR pass first. Thank you!

      1. Nikki Post author

        Hi. You can exchange your pass after landing and tell them what date you want the pass to start – it does not have to be that day. For example, I have often asked for mine to start three days later. You can take the Narita Express without a JR Rail Pass – the fare from Narita to Shibuya is 3190 Yen.


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