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JR Pass: Green or Ordinary; need help deciding.

JR Pass: Green or Ordinary; need help deciding.

Old Jan 31st, 2011, 09:44 AM
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JR Pass: Green or Ordinary; need help deciding.

Hi:

I'll be visiting Japan from March 26th through April 8th for viewing Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo and Kyoto with day trips to other cities. (itinerary here: http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...inerary.cfm?20) Based on the train fares at Hyperdia, it makes sense for me to purchase a 7-day JR Pass for travel between Shinjuku-Nikko-Shinjuku-Kyoto-Nara-Kyoto-Hiroshima-Kyoto-Shinjuku.

Given that we would like to be seated on our train journeys (have a 5-yr old with us), should I be purchasing the Green pass or the Ordinary pass? I read that even with an Ordinary pass, you can reserve seats for no extra charge, but those seats are subject to availability. However, with the Green pass, reserved seats are guaranteed.

Is my understanding above correct? If yes, do you recommend going with the Green pass since we are traveling during a busy season? If not, how do these passes work and which one should I be buying?

Thanks,
D
dukkar is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2011, 10:18 AM
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Extensive discussions on the exact subject:

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...dinary-car.cfm

and

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...s-ordinary.cfm
DonTopaz is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2011, 01:39 PM
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No seats,even green, are ever guaranteed. If no seats are available in the green car(s)then you would be offered a seat in 2nd class if available. If no seat available there then catch the next train.

Yes green vs 2nd class has been endlessly discussed here. rizzuto gives good examples above for a blind carpenter.....

Aloha!
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Old Jan 31st, 2011, 01:46 PM
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With the exception of a few local trains that happen to have green cars, reservations are required for green cars. But they are not guaranteed. If it is full it is full and you can choose to ride in the ordinary cars of thAt train or take another train with green car seats available. Green cars tend to sell out last as most people don't use them.

If you are not buying a pass for your 5 year old, the bit of extra space the green car offers would be nice.

In the case of ordinary cars, on most trains there are reserved and non-reserved cars. If you could not get a reservation you can always ride the non-reserved. Generally, though, except very peak travel time, which you are not traveling during, you can reserve seats the same day. If you know which trains you want, you can reserve all of them when you exchange your voucher.
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Old Jan 31st, 2011, 04:27 PM
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FWIW, we were in Japan on almost exactly the same dates two years ago--I think our (ordinary) JR Passes were active from March 31-April 6. We really had no problems making seat reservations for our train trips, which included Tokyo-Kyoto, Kyoto-Himeji-Kyoto, Kyoto-Hiroshima-Kyoto, Kyoto-KIX and probably something else I've forgotten (we also used the passes for some local trains). For Tokyo-Kyoto, we made the seat reservations three days in advance when we exchanged the voucher. I recall that we maybe ended up taking one train later (30 minutes?) than our original choice so we could get seats together on the three-seat side. Otherwise, we made our reservations the evening before or day of travel.

Enjoy your trip! It's a wonderful time to be there.
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Old Jan 31st, 2011, 05:16 PM
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Thank you everyone for the replies.

Regards,
D
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Old Feb 3rd, 2011, 01:35 PM
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dukkar - thanks for asking as these were some of my questions too! I'll be there practically the same time as you, mar 25-april 7, but with a reversed itinerary. Seems like there will be lots of fodorites there during this time =)
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Old Feb 8th, 2011, 07:17 AM
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I was there in April. I got the train I wanted provided I made a reservation at least a day ahead.

However, when my schedule was not certain and had to take whatever next train was available in the afternoon from Hiroshima as well from Kyoto, I had to wait couple of hours at the station to get a reservation in ordinary car (we needed 4 seats together.) Green cars had seats we could sit together without waiting.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 04:47 PM
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Thanks for your replies. I have decided to go with the Green pass.

Regards,
D
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