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JR Rail Pass help

Old Apr 27th, 2006, 05:04 PM
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JR Rail Pass help

We are visiting Japan 3rd week of May. We are debating whether to buy the Green pass or the ordinary pass. We are wondering if it will be easy to get seats on the trains w/o reservations using the ordinary pass. Here is where we would like to use the pass:

1.Odawara to Kyoto
2.Kyoto to Hiroshima and back
3.Kyoto to Tokyo

Should we buy the green pass to make sure we get seats?

Also in order to use the pass on Nozomi trains we need to pay additional charge. I didn't understand how much extra we need to pay say to go from Kyoto to Tokyo.

Thanks for helping me
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Old Apr 27th, 2006, 05:10 PM
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I'm doing research on this right now. My understanding is that the JR pass is not valid at all on the Nozomi trains and that you must buy the additional fare. So, you should make sure you ride on a Hikari so that your JR pass can be used (it's only 20 minutes slower).

Also, I don't think you necessarily stand more of a chance of getting reserved seats having a Green seat vs. a regular seat. It's just class of service. Green is first class, the other is regular.

Hope this helps.
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Old Apr 27th, 2006, 05:58 PM
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ebflo is right about the Nozomi. Your choice is to get a JR Pass and NOT take the Nozomi OR take the Nozomi and not get a JR Pass.

You do have a better chance of getting a reserved seat in the green car.

Do you understand that you can get free resserved seats with the ordinary pass.

I would never get a green car pass. I don't any physical limitation that would absolutely require me to have a seat but I surely don't like standing. Reserved seats are not that hard to get. If your "we" is more than 2 or 3 people, then there is more of an issue in getting more seats.

Your biggest trouble might be the first leg from Odawara since the train will get a big load of passengers in Tokyo and more in Shinagawa and/or Shin Yokohama. Note that the Nozomi trains do not stop there. You should also check the schedule for that trip since you will want to catch a Hikari shinkansen train to go to Kyoto. Not many Hikari stop at Odawara. Most of the shinkansen that stop at Odawara are Kodama trains which make all the stops, so are slower.

Can't tell if you need a JR Pass or not. If the first trip from Odawara is on "Day 1", then on what Day are you going to Hiroshima? What day back to Kyoto? What day to Tokyo? What day are you flying (I assume) out of Tokyo?
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Old Apr 27th, 2006, 06:17 PM
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Two weeks ago I was standing in Nagoya station in front of the shinkansen entrance. I had been out all day and had no firm plans for the evening but figured to be heading back to my Nagoya hotel and have a relaxing evening.

That's when I noticed that the Hiroshima Carp were playing the Giants at Tokyo Dome at 6PM. There was a Hikari train for Tokyo leaving at 4:13. It was at 4:10PM when I decided to go to the game.

Went through the gate showing my JR Pass, made a pit stop, then up the escalator. The train appeared appeared 5 seconds after I got to the platform. Car 5, unreserved, had plenty of empty seats. Car 4, unreserved, was more than half empty. This was a weekday.

On April 16, I went to Kyoto station to get the shinkansen back to Nagoya. I got there at 8 minutes before 8PM and saw that there was a Hikari train to Nagoya at 8PM. I saw no line at the ticket office so I stopped there to get a reserved seat, which I got but didn't really need, and made it to the train with two minutes to spare.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 06:10 PM
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Thanks for your replies. Our day 1 trip is from Odawara to Kyoto. The trip from Kyoto to Hiroshima round trip will be on day 3. We will be back to Tokyo on day 4 and leaving tokyo on day 6. From your emails I understand we can go with ordinary pass and plan our schedule and make the reservations. When we buy the pass here in US can we make those reservations? Thanks again.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 07:19 PM
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You buy a voucher in the US and exchange it for the JR Pass when you get to Japan. That is when you can make seat reservations. You need a plan for doing the exchange because you can do it only at a limited number of stations and during certain hours.

You should get a 7-day pass.

What are you doing on Day 0? If that is the day you are going to Odawara then you could use it for that trip, too.
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Old May 6th, 2006, 10:26 PM
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We had an ordinary pass and had no problems getting seat reservations although we do to our last-minute changes we were in a smoking car for one leg of the trip - I was quite pleased

Due to the large number of school groups around Kyoto I would certainly get seat reservations (which are free and easy to obtain).
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Old May 6th, 2006, 11:32 PM
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We had a different experience than other postings on ordinary vs Green. It probably depends on what "we" means, particular day and hour travelled, plus a statistical bad luck.

We were a group of 4, and one time coming back from Kyoto in the afternoon, we could not make a last a minutes reservation around 1pm. The next available one was around 3:30pm, unless we either split 3 here and 1 elsewhere on one after the next train, or ride a Green car; in which case we could sit together on any train we chose. I waited in the line for about 10 minutes.
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Old May 11th, 2006, 11:07 AM
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Can we use our pass from narita to shinjuku? I understand there is a service center at Narita to exchange our voucher to the pass. We arrive on 21st and depart 28th. So if we start to use our pass on 21 we can use it only until 27th. Is that right? Thanks again for your help.
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Old May 11th, 2006, 11:24 AM
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7 day pass is good 7 days from date you start it, and the day you start counts as day 1. So if you start it on 21st, it is good through midnight on the 27th.
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