Here’s How You Can Apply For a Commuter’s Pass in Japan

You can get a huge discount on the train fee by using this pass.

Congrats, you landed a job in Japan! Are you ready to start working and living here? Did you know that most railway companies, if not all, offer a discounted fare? All you have to do is apply for a commuter’s pass or
teikiken. Applying for the pass may be difficult for the first time. As a foreigner who is working in Japan, here is an easy guide for you on how to get your own teikiken.

The pass will be created in the form of an
IC card. You can get a huge discount on the train fee by using this pass. To apply for this pass, you just need to follow these three simple steps: 1. go to the station, 2. fill in the necessary information needed on the forms provided, 3. pay the fee.

Go to the station

There are two ways to buy the pass: either at the ticket vending machine or
at the service center. You can buy the pass from 14 days prior to the start date upon using.

Fill in the necessary information needed on the forms provided

If you buy at the ticket vending machine, you key-in data through the touch screen. Meanwhile, if you buy at the service center, you need to fill out the application form provided. These are some of the information required.

* Your name in katakana or in English
* Date of birth
* Contact number (in order to contact you in case you lose the pass and someone finds it for you)
* Start date of use
* Duration (1 month, 3 months, or 6 months - it gets cheaper, the longer it is)
* Name of the station close to your home (where you get on the train) and your workplace               (where you get off)

Pay the fee

Aside from the pass fee, you need to deposit
¥500 at first for the issuance of the IC card. You can pay the total amount by cash or credit card. Most companies will ask you to pay at your own expense first, then the amount will be transferred to your account together with your salary the following month.

Some railway companies offer other convenient services. For example, to shorten your waiting time, you can pre-register online. If you are the type of person who is forgetful and messy, why not combine the commuter pass with your smartphone? This can be done by downloading the railway company’s app. All you have to do is input the necessary information for registration. However, the information in the app is written in Japanese only.


If you’re in Japan as a student, you may also apply for a student’s commuter pass called
tsuugaku-teikiken which is cheaper and would only require you to present a school ID as proof.

 (21 April 2019)

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