Use Credit Cards for Purchasing JR Short-distance Tichets (English edition)

Ticket vending machines at a JR East station

In this article, I will share how to pay with a CREDIT CARD to purchase short-distance tickets on JR lines using a vending machine. (Of course you can reserve / purchase all the JR train tickets as well.)
This article is mainly for those who are tourists and/or residents in Japan, especially in Tokyo.

Unbelievably we are not able to pay with a credit card buying train tickets at almost all the stations in Japan, though paying for a credit card are very common in other countries.

However, we have a good news that we can purchase the tickets using credit card in some JR East stations.
The method posted in this article is mainly available only in selected JR East area stations that a ‘Multi Ticket Vending Machine (so-called “MV”)’ is available.

Ticket vending machines at a JR East station

I will demonstrate how to operate the vending machine to purchase a short-distance one-way basic fare ticket which amount is quite small.
Remember the procedure until issuing tickets is rather complex and cumbersome.
In addition, you need knowledge of fare system in Japan to operate the machine properly.
If you are irritating with it or you need information, I recommend you to ask station staff for issuing ticket at an manned ticket counter without using the machine.

Black colored vending machines DO NOT accept credit cards

You will find various types of ticket vending machines at the station. You will also find GREEN colored machines and BLACK colored machines there.

Black colored ticket vending machine at a JR station

The machines have an English interface on the touch screen.
However, those machines do not accept credit cards for payment, therefore you will have to pay with cash to purchase regular tickets.
(They actually accept credit cards only when buying season tickets for commuters and students.)

Touch screen of a ticket vending machine in English

Multi Ticket Vending Machines DO accept major credit cards

On the other hand, light-blue colored machines called Multi Ticket Vending Machine (MV) accept major credit cards for payment of all the regular tickets. MV has English, Chinese, and Korean interfaces, so you will able to operate easily. It is convenient but note the operation is quite cumbersome.

Multi Ticket Vending Machine at a JR East station

Operation of Multi Ticket Vending Machine (MV)

Here I will show you the procedure of buying train tickets paying for credit cards.
By following this instruction, you will be able to purchase tickets whose origin / destination of the journey is not only JR East area but also all the JR stations in Japan, of course paying for credit card.
Also, you can reserve Shinkansen, express trains, and resort trains (which requires a reservation ticket) using MVs from one month before departure.

In this example, the origin is Shibuya station in Central Tokyo and the destination is Akabane station in Northern Tokyo (which the fare amount is JPY220).

Note that I DO NOT guarantee that MV accepts all the cards such as ones issued outside Japan.

1. Find MV like the picture below in the JR stations.

Multi Ticket Vending Machine at a JR East station

2. Initially press [English] button on top right of the touch screen.

3. In the next screen, press [Purchase tickets using route search].

Function buttons of MV

* You will have to operate Japanese screens to purchase other than regular price tickets such as promotion tickets (Otoku-na Kippu) and season tickets.

Set your search criteria

4. You will find a following screen. You can set search criteria on the screen. You can specify;

– Departure station (origin) All JR stations in Japan can be specified (including some stations on connecting railway companies such as Fujisan and Kawaguchiko station in Fujikyu line)
– Arrival station (destination)
– Departure date and time
– Number of pasengers (adults and children)
– Conditions: Whether Shinkansen is included in the journey or not.
– Via station

Search criteria on MV

5. If the departure station is other than a station where you are now, type the name of the station. Press the name of the station that you want to start your journey.

Selecting your origin station

6. Select your destination station with typing the name of the station. Press the name of the station that you want to end your journey.

Selecting your destination station

7. The same screen as 4. above is displayed. After setting them press [Search].

Confirm your journey

8. Combinations of the trains on the journey are displayed. After finding the journey (itinerary) and confirming the amount press [Select]. In this case (when purchasing non-reserved tickets), you do not need to mind the time displayed, you can press any [Select] buttons.

Selecting your journey (itinerary)

9. In this case you will purchase a non-reserved basic fare ticket. Press [Purchase basic fare ticket] button.

Confirming your journey (starting and ending stations)

10. Basically you will purchase an one-way (single) ticket. If you want to buy a round-trip (return) ticket, [Select] Round-trip basic fare ticket.

Selecting one-way or round-trip.

11. Finally your itinerary with the origin / destination stations, one-way or round-trip, starting date of the journey, the number of passengers. If OK, press [Confirm].

Final confirmation screen appeared

Insert your credit cards with PIN for settlement

12. Insert your credit cards in the left of the machine.

Inserting your credit cards

13. Enter your four-digit PIN in the keypad below. You need to input PIN, otherwise you will have to go to an manned ticket counter.

Entering your PIN

14. If you need your receipt, press [Receipt].

Waiting for issuing your tickets

Congratulations! Here are your tickets

Here are your tickets!
You will get fare tickets like a picture below. [C制]or[東C] indicates that the tickets are paid for credit cards. Usually the one-way ticket is good for one day and stopover other than the destination is not permitted.

Sample basic fare ticket

You will also receive a slip for paying by credit cards. It is available in Japanese only.

Sample credit card sales slip

In this way, you do not need to wait in a queue for a long time although you need knowledge of fare system in Japan. Why do not you try using this machine?