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Using an activated Rail Pass without a passport?

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  • Using an activated Rail Pass without a passport?

    I'll might be going to Japan visiting my boyfriend who is studying there. We would love to travel around the country for about a week. Problem is that while I can buy a Rail Pass he can't as he's in Japan on a student visa.

    Now to my idea. A friend of him will visit him just before I arrive. If his friend (also a guy with a western name) buys and activates a Rail Pass and gives that to my boyfriend what are the odds that someone will ask my boyfriend for his passport during our trips with the shinkansen and local trains. We would go for non reserved seats. Of course there are night buses but they can't compare with the Rail Pass when it comes to flexibility and efficiency as we would like to travel great distances as well as visit smaller rural towns where these buses don't go. And I will not be there while the Seishun 18 Kippu offer lasts. :-(

    And what will happen if they actually ask for his passport (on an exit gate or on a train) and he simply says he forgot to bring it with him? Will they just ask him to bring the passport the next time? Will they ask him to get off the train? Will he have to buy a ticket? Will there be some penalty fee (I have heard about different penalty fees – what is really correct in this particular situation)? Will the police be involved? What is the procedure? Is there perhaps also any official statement from JR on how they handle these matters? Please answer only if you know first hand (or specify if it's something you just overheard), the internet is full of stories.

    Now, keep in mind he will have a legit Rail Pass (just with another person's name). He is also looking really western and will be traveling with me who can show a passport together with my Rail Pass upon a control.

    As a side note – I understand that this is morally questionable. I hope I do not offend somebody. We are just a couple who would like to maximize our week together on a tight budget. And then I got this crazy idea. :-)
    Last edited by anna maria; 2011-12-02, 11:35 PM.

  • #2
    It is actually legally questionable too.

    Most likely fraud.

    Although, I think it is called "uttering" or something similar in other countries.

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    • #3
      If he can not prove who he says he is by the name on the ticket then most likely they wont let him board the train or ask him to pay for the ride. He will be stopped at the ticket gate or by the conductor on the train.


      Fraud, yes the word Im looking for. Essentially its stealing a free ride on a train which is the same as shoplifting a candy bar. It's still theft. Its a legitimate ticket, like people using legitimate credit cards but belonging to someone else and forging their signature.
      Last edited by KansaiBen; 2011-12-02, 11:50 PM.

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      • #4
        They never ask for passports. They rarely even glance at the rail pass, you just flash it as you walk through the gates.

        But to activate it, the passport holder will have to be there with the passport.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Effected After View Post
          They never ask for passports. They rarely even glance at the rail pass, you just flash it as you walk through the gates.

          But to activate it, the passport holder will have to be there with the passport.
          yes, this was my experience when I recently used one.

          They may also look more closely (but won't require a passport) if you are going for reserved seats on shinkansen as opposed to the open cars.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jron View Post
            yes, this was my experience when I recently used one.

            They may also look more closely (but won't require a passport) if you are going for reserved seats on shinkansen as opposed to the open cars.
            Thanks for your input! Are you sure? Have you been traveling a lot (or at least seen this procedure a lot)? Traveled to/from both smaller and larger stations? Shinkansen and local trains? There are reports in some forums on the contrary even though most are like you saying they will never check. The odd thing is that those who says they will check often says they do it all the time! Still, no one can say what exactly will happen if you can't show a passport. I mean, will they arrest you for forgetting this? I find that hard to believe. Especially if you travel with a friend who can show both rail pass (with the same dates) and a passport.

            Btw, we consider this whole thing as we find it stupid that poor students (with just another kind of **temporary** visa!) can't enjoy any such rebate while rich tourists can. Also, in a couple of months he will be a regular tourist again. It's just a matter of bad timing as we both won't have time to do the trip then. The way this is designed prevents me from using this benefit if I want his company when discovering Japan. Surely it's a design flaw that not any **temporary** student visa can enjoy the same benefits (to help visitors from other countries discover and in their turn promote Japan). But let's not start this separate discussion in this thread, please.

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            • #7
              I've never gotten anyone to bring me a rail pass, but I have a buddy who has done it twice with no troubles. I also used my brother-in-laws one time for a trip to Osaka and back - no problems.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by anna maria View Post
                I'll might be going to Japan...
                OK, let's start there...can we have a MoD check the IP address, because this sounds like a troll.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Effected After View Post
                  I've never gotten anyone to bring me a rail pass, but I have a buddy who has done it twice with no troubles. I also used my brother-in-laws one time for a trip to Osaka and back - no problems.
                  Thanks! Great to hear. If somebody else got personal stories or information to share. Just bring them on!


                  Originally posted by speedboat View Post
                  OK, let's start there...can we have a MoD check the IP address, because this sounds like a troll.
                  Oh please, just because I haven't ordered the tickets yet doesn't make me a troll. I will most likely be going but I don't have the exact dates. It sort of depends on what our trip will look like (hint hint). Go ahead and check any ip but please spare us such pointless posts.

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