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Types Of Bullet Train Tickets And Seats Explained #1: Ordinary Vs. Green

Bullet trains are a great time-efficient transportation option while traveling long-distance in Japan. In this article. This article will look into the types of bullet train seatings - Ordinary Vs. Green, rules about booking bullet train seats with JR Pass, and JR Pass, a special flat-rate pass which grants train access to almost anywhere in Japan, only available to international visitors.

When traveling in Japan on the train, whether if it is your vacation or a business trip, bullet trains are often a great option. Bullet trains are one of the main attractions not just to many international visitors who are traveling to Japan. It also serves Japanese people in daily commute and long-distance travel. It allows us to save a lot of time compared to the conventional train system or other transportations such as cars or buses. In this article, we will look into the types of bullet train seatings and tickets.

Choose the comfort level - Types of bullet train seats

Most of the shinkansen (bullet train) offers two types of seats, just like airplanes have the economy and business class. 

Green-Car seats 

Green-Car seats are reserved for and assigned accordingly to individual green-car ticket holders, which may vary between train sets but usually comes in 2x2 seating arrangements with bigger leg-rooms and less crowded due to the higher price. 

Ordinary seats 

Ordinary seats still offer generous leg-rooms and comfort levels. Ordinary seats usually come in 3x2 seating arrangements and have Reserved vs. non-reserved sections in separate train cars.  Ordinary seats are more affordable than the gree-car seats, however, it also means that the reservations of the seats are not promised by the purchase of the tickets.  

Gran Class is now available on certain Bullet Trains

A new additional class tier, Gran Class, is now available on some of the Tohoku Shinkansen, Hokuriku Shinkansen, Joetsu Shinkansen, and Hokkaido Shinkansen. Gran Class offers even bigger leg space, more comfortable seats, and additional amenities and services, just like the first class on airplanes. 

Shinkansen, reserved seats view

Shinkansen, reserved seats view | PHOTO BY: FLICKR@ANDREW SMITH


Usually, there is an additional charge for reserved seats (Shiteiseki), however, Japan Rail Pass users are able to book reserved seats (Shiteiseki) with no additional fee.

What is JR Pass?

A JR Pass is a 7, 14, or 21-day flat-rate unlimited ride ticket for use on trains run by JR (including bullet trains!). JR Pass is only available to travelers visiting Japan from foreign countries for sightseeing. 


At the moment, the purchase of a JR pass is only available upon an inquiry. You may submit your inquiry via the methods listed below: 


Upon submitting the inquiry, please kindly include the information below: 

  • First [middle*] Last name: MUST match the one on the passport

    IF you’re ordering for other people than yourself, please provide the name of each person who’s like to order a pass. 
    Also, please check the name is correct and matches the information listed on the passport.

  • Your departure date (if you have)

  • Type & number of pass you’d like to order (choose one from each sub-bullet point)

    • Adult / Child

    • 4 / 7 / 14 days 

    • Green / Ordinary

  • Your shipping address

  • Phone number

  • Email address

  • Credit Card Information

    In case of a rush order, providing this information upon submitting the order helps expedite the process.

Once you arrive in Japan, to pick up JR Pass, please visit JR customer service center/ticket office, "Midori no Mado Guchi", at a nearby train station. "Midori no Mado Guchi" is located at major stations with green signs.

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