Users just download the free SmartEX app and register their credit card information. Then, they can use it to buy shinkansen tickets and reserve seats. Once in Japan, they can pick up their tickets at the station by swiping their registered credit card at special dedicated machines. Or, if the rider has an IC card such as Suica or Pasmo, they can register that and use it for ticketless travel. The app can also be used to make changes to a reservation.
The app will initially be available for download beginning on October 30, 2017, at 10 a.m. (Japan Standard Time) for users in America, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong, with a more extended rollout slated to follow.
At the moment, it does not appear that the app can be used in conjunction with the Japan Rail Pass.
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