Booking your seat is not required. As a matter of fact, seat reservation is not available in most of the trains in Japan.
With the JR Pass, you can access trains without ticket, you just need to show your JR Pass to the station attendant at the train platform gate.
Even the Shinkansen (bullet trains) are equipped with several non-reserved seats cars that you can ride with your JR Pass, without booking ticket.
However, it is recommended to book a seat in the Shinkansen when traveling during Japan’s national holiday’s periods.
Important notice: JR Pass Green Class holders are required to book their seats, as non-reserved seats in Shinkansen are only available for ordinary class.
In big JR station, just go to a ticket counter and show your JR Pass to book your seat for free.
If you don’t speak Japanese, write down on a piece of paper the departure and arrival stations, as well as the desired departure times. Station attendants can read Latin-alphabet characters, preferably written in capital letters.
Our private guides in Japan can help you book all your train tickets as a part of their guiding work.