Activating your Japan Rail Pass once you arrive in Japan is quite easy. If you land at the Narita International Airport, the process of getting your rail pass ready for use only takes minutes. Here are some important things that you need to know about activating your JR Pass before you head out of the airport:
Narita is one of Japan’s largest and busiest airports, serving both domestic and international flights. It is located in the Kanto area and is pretty accessible to and from Tokyo, with numerous buses and trains operating from early in the morning until late at night.
Upon disembarking from the plane, proceed to the immigration line, claim your luggage, and walk towards the arrivals area. The entire procedure generally requires at least 30 minutes to one hour to complete, depending on the volume of travellers coming in.
The train station can be found on the airport’s B1 floor, or lower level, and it is where you need to go to activate your JR Pass.
JR Pass Exchange Office
There is a JR East Travel Service Centre on the B1 floor, and this is where you should head to for your rail pass activation. It is open from 6:30 am until 9:45 pm, so make sure to take note of that.
Prepare to show your passport and Exchange Order or voucher to a staff member to get your official Japan Rail Pass. You will be asked to fill out a form with your name, passport number, and rail pass activation date. And, after about ten minutes, your JR Pass should be ready.
The process for exchange is the same whether you are at the ticket office at Terminal 1 or Terminal 2 at Narita Airport.
Train to Tokyo
If you set the activation date for your pass as that same day, you can use it to ride the Narita Express to Tokyo. Because a seat reservation is necessary to get on this train, you have to remember to make a reservation at the JR East Travel Service Center after receiving your rail pass.
Here’s a tip: You can always choose to activate your pass on a later date and just buy individual tickets until then.