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Japan Rail Pass Questions 2017

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We have used the rail pass many times but it was 10 years ago since we were in Japan and there have been some changes. I would really appreciate hearing from others who have had recent experience on the trains.

If we buy a 'Green Card' rail pass can we automatically get a seat in the Green Car carriages without a reservation?
We are traveling between these destinations
Tokyo - Hiroshima
Hiroshima - Himeji - Kinosaki
Kyoto - Nagoya
Nagoya - Takayama
Takayama - Tokyo

There seem to be very few if any trains other than Nozumi which leave early in the morning. Nothing before 8am in a few locations. Am I reading this wrong.

In Hyperdia I want to put Hiroshima - Himeji - Kinosaki but can only put one destination.

We are traveling in April 1 - 16th so quite a busy time and we will have airplane carry on bags to take with us therefore is it best to get the last seats in the carriage and put our bags behind the seats. There are 8 adults traveling together.

It has been suggested that I print of from HyperDia a copy of all of the trains we want to book and then in Tokyo get reservations on all of these trips. Does this mean we ALL need to go to Tokyo or Shinjuku Station office to do this. We are staying 3 days in Ueno.

The trip planning is coming together really well thanks to Fodors Forum and I will post a trip report when we return.

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