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Question about booking train tickets in Japan

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Need some advice on booking train tickets in Japan. I am flying into Tokyo for a few days and want to take the train to and from Yudanaka to see the snow monkeys. I have done some research and see that I need to take two trains each way.

My question is how would I book tickets in advance? Is there a way to book from abroad or do I just show up to the train station the day I want to travel?

I am flying into Tokyo late the night before I want to take the train so buying tickets the day before is not an option. I don’t want to risk not being able to get there or not having a seat.

I don’t think the rail passes make sense so would be looking to buy individual tickets.
Thanks in advance for your help.