anybody have experience with Japan Rail Pass

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by jonspencer, Jun 19, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. jonspencer

    jonspencer Silver Member

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    curious which agency I should order the rail pass from and suggestions for routing + itinerary

    it is a business trip but I plan to take in some cultural activities over an 8 day visit

    I will will start with 2 night stay in Tokyo with a scheduled business meeting, then it will be cold calls in a few other cities if I can find anyone in my industry who speaks English outside Tokyo :eek:

    I have only visited Tokyo on prior visits but plan to visit up to 3 or 4 other cities

    thank you in advance for any reliable advice
     
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  2. newbluesea
    Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

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    http://www.japan-rail-pass.com/jr-pass

    For our last trip we bought the 14-day Green car pass before we left the US which is valid for all trains except the Nozomi Shinkansen ( which the very fastest of the trains but not that much quicker on long trips) but also includes travel from NRT to Tokyo by the Narita Express or from HND by the mono-rail.

    There is a 7 day pass also, unless things have changed you need to buy the rail passes no earlier than three months before arrival. You will get a voucher which needs to be validated on arrival and the actual passes will be then issued. The period starts on the validation date.

    There are also regional passes which cover the regions which are more flexible... they allow 5 five days within 14 days but if you are going from say Tokyo to Osaka or Kyoto you will need two regional passes if going on further to Hiroshima you will need passes for three regions.

    You will not need to book seats for all journeys on the shinkansen but its advisable you will need reserved seats on the Narita Express although they allowed us to stand once when we were pressed for time to catch a flight from Tokyo station to NRT.

    Enjoy the best train system in the world.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
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  3. stravels

    stravels Silver Member

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    No advice to your main question but wanted to share my experience. Bought a rail pass for one trip where we stayed on after a tour, but because we were doing only one long ride in addition to needing to get around in the Tokyo/Yokohama area we were told to just buy the ticket and get the rail pass refunded. Last trip we visited multiple cities and my cousin who now lives in Japan and bought tickets as we went along spent more than twice the cost of my rail pass. Sorry, don't remember what I bought; I didn't research it.
     
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  4. KA Schneider

    KA Schneider Active Member

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    We purchase our JR pass vouchers from JTB. Since we are in the Los Angeles area, we go to their Torrance location and pick them up. In April, we picked them up 3 weeks in advance with no difficulty. We use the trains in Tokyo constantly and have traveled into the Japan Alps and into the Kansai area with stops in Kyoto and Osaka. We find the pass to be very convenient and cost effective. I also recommend getting familiar with the Hyperdia website ( I would put the website here but the upload won't let me - just do a search for Hyperdia) to plan your travel. It is an online trip planner and is a great resource so you don't get to confused when you are in the thick of the train station traffic. Have a great trip. I hope you enjoy Japan as much as we always do.
     
  5. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Correct ....the cost of a regular R/T ticket purchased locally from Tokyo to Hiroshima (which well worth visiting BTW) by the shinkansen is almost the same as buying a 14 day Green Car (First Class) pass.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
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  6. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    I found the cost difference of buying a First Class Green Car pass was well worth the investment and wasn't that much more at all over other classes. We bought from JTB. We were in Japan during a potentially busy time & there was sound peace of mind knowing that we could walk up to any ticket office, show our pass & train we wanted to catch and know that we nearly 100% chance of getting a seat.
    any upload would be beneficial IMO. We went in 2001 and were not as high tech as we are now. We used the easy to carry time table book that JTB sent us with our tickets.
    I'm sure Jon will, Mrs Willie & I were thrilled with our trip & have promised to get back, only problem is there are sooooo many places to experience on this planet.

    Mrs Willie & I also liked the little jingle sounds before the upcoming stop name was announced, you can hear it in this vid just after the 1min mark
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014

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