JR East Mobile Ticket Basics
JRE POINT Integration
eTicket and Ticketless Use
Mobile Ticket Basics
The JR East online train ticket reservation system comes in 2 flavors: multi-lingual JR East Train Reservation for inbound visitors, and Japanese Eki-Net for domestic users. Both of these differently branded services share the same basic system, internet domain name and similar account registration process. However the accounts are not compatible as ticket menus, discounts and related services are different. Japanese Eki-Net is a sprawling travel service portal that covers everything from train tickets to package tours and car rentals, far too large to cover here. This guide is limited to setting up and using eTicket and Ticketless services of the Eki-Net Japanese web site and app, and using them with Apple Pay Suica which gives you the best value with JRE POINT integration.
To understand how and when to use Eki-Net, it helps to know the basic categories of JR East mobile ticketing:
- Regular Train Lines
- Suica (Transit IC cards) pays the station to station distance based fare using the Stored Fare balance of the card (SF).
- Eki-Net Ticketless: Limited Express reserve seat mobile tickets (Narita Express, Azusa, Kaiji, Odoriko, etc.) used in combination with Suica to pay fare.
- Shinkansen Lines
- Touch and Go: a ticketless non-reserve Shinkansen option that uses Suica • Transit IC card SF for non-reserved seat travel on JR East Shinkansen lines. It works exactly the same as Suica for regular transit, no discounts but there are JRE POINT transit rewards for Suica. Free pre-registration required.
- Eki-Net eTicket: a Shinkansen mobile ticket that bundles Shinkansen distance fare + Limited Express seat reservation in one eTicket attached to a Suica or Transit IC card. Eki-Net eTickets do not use the Suica SF balance but attaching an eTicket to Apple Pay Suica for example, makes for extremely convenient and seamless local train to Shinkansen connections with just iPhone or Apple Watch.
Eki-Net Tokudane discounts
One of the nice things about Eki-Net is that it offers the same discount rates to all Eki-Net users unlike the 2 tiered EX service which has smartEX with tiny discounts and EX-Press Reserve with large discounts.
Eki-Net discount eTicket and Ticketless are called ‘Tokudane’ and are reserve seat only. Tokudane eTickets are also limited in number for each each train and can disappear quickly. The general rule of thumb is, the bigger the discount, the faster they disappear. Tokudane Tickeless are limited to reserve seat capacity of the train and are easy to get at the last minute.
Eki-Net • JRE POINT Integration
Eki-Net is highly integrated with the JR East JRE POINT system and just like any ‘mileage club’ out there, ticket purchases come with JRE POINT rewards that can be turned around and used for ticket purchases and Green Car seat upgrades. Basic point rewards are earned with any Eki-Net registered credit card purchase. JR East VIEW CARD purchases earn extra JRE POINT rewards.
Registering and managing an Eki-Net account can only be done via the web site.
The Eki-Net registration YouTube video has a quick visual explanation of the steps:
Steps 3~5 (0:33~0:53) enter email address to receive the registration URL.
Step 6 (1:07) register name, address, phone number, account ID and password.
Step 7 (1:29) register a credit card. Foreign issue credit cards can be registered if 3-D Secure compliant.
Step 8 (1:50) register Mobile Suica or plastic card ID numbers (up to 6).
Step 9 (2:17) sign up or decline Eki-Net promo emails, confirm info and tap register (2:48).
Eki-Net Ticket Purchases
You can either use the Eki-Net website or Eki-Net app to search trains and purchase eTicket and Ticketless train tickets. You can bypass manual login with Eki-Net app that supports Face ID / Touch ID login, download Eki-Net from the Japanese App Store.
It’s helpful to know to know a few basics.
- You can purchase Eki-Net tickets up to one month in advance.
- You can apply to purchase Eki-Net tickets up to month plus one week in advance but there is no guarantee the application will be successful. You will be notified by email the day tickets are available for purchase and application result (success/fail). If successful you have a limited purchase window to complete the purchase.
- eTicket purchases can be cancelled but refunds come with cancellation fees.
Step 1~2 (0:37) enter station points, date, departure time, number of people and tap search.
Step 3 (0:51) select the train.
Step 4~5 (1:05) select the seat type: eTicket non-reserve, Tokudane discount (reserve), Green Car, JRE POINT Green Car upgrade, etc., then select having a seat assigned or select via the seat map.
Step 6 (1:49) select your credit card, enter security code and purchase you eTicket.
Step 7 (2:27) link eTicket with Apple Pay Suica or other registered IC Transit cards.
Here are screenshots of the steps using Eki-Net iOS app.
Apple Pay Wallet and Suica App do not have any of your mobile ticket information and you do not need to launch an app to use eTickets or Ticketless. Just get on your train.
The only notification you will receive is a reminder email from Eki-Net before departure. You can confirm your mobile ticket in Eki-net app or website but you do not use them for transit or validation. Your eTicket is linked to Apple Pay Suica, all you do is tap the Shinkansen transit gate and go through, seen here using Apple Pay Suica on Apple Watch.
Once you have your Ticketless seat reservation, simply get on assigned train car and take your assigned seat. Conductors already have your seat information and do not check or validate your seat assignment.
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