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Trains - Reserved vs non Reserves

Melbourne
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Trains - Reserved vs non Reserves

Hi Everyone

Question regarding the trains:

- we are spending 2,5 weeks in Japan in January and will be buying JR pass.

Our trips will include Tokyo-Kyoto, Kyoto-Hiroshima, Hiroshima-Nagano and shorter trips.

On those long trips - is it necessary to book in advance your seat or we just show up and jump on the train that we need?

Thank you

Katia

Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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1. Re: Trains - Reserved vs non Reserves

With a JR Pass, seat reservations are free. There is no reason not to reserve as you can do it even just minutes before your train's departure. Otherwise, you have to take your chances in unreserved cars.

Melbourne
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2. Re: Trains - Reserved vs non Reserves

How well in advance you suppose to book your seat? I mean - we are talking months? a week? a couple of days?

Hong Kong, China
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3. Re: Trains - Reserved vs non Reserves

If you are not traveling during the very beginning couple days of January, you can typically make reservations on the day or even minutes before your departure. Trains are usually not full.

If you know exactly what trains you will be taking, once you exchange for your pass, you can make reservations at the same time. You can also modify your reservations as needed.

England, United...
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4. Re: Trains - Reserved vs non Reserves

As Sammy has said you can do this as you get to the station just before you board. We reserve seats for every journey just in case. Some trains have been quiet some not so but at least you will get a seat if you take that couple of minutes to do so.

If you know what times and what trains your wanting to travel on you can go to the station and reserve them all together. I prefer the 2 seats (I think they are D&E or E&F this is for standard class not the Green car) traveling as a couple. And if your a non smoker you know your not going to end up in the smoking carriage.

The JR pass is an excellent buy so use it to its full advantage including reserving your seats

England, United...
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5. Re: Trains - Reserved vs non Reserves

Just to add, I have always found the staff esp at Kyoto main station very helpful with reservations and booking trains. You will find the counter in the ticket office at the far end of the office.

Melbourne
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6. Re: Trains - Reserved vs non Reserves

Thank you very much, I got it now!

.
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7. Re: Trains - Reserved vs non Reserves

Most big JR stations have multiple ticket windows so go to the JR Reservation Office - you will see a green sign with symbol of a reclining chair, see a picture here: http://www.japanrailpass.net/eng/en007.html

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Trains - Reserved vs non Reserves

At non peak holiday times you can usually reserve just before departure, but it is often just as easy to reserve the night before your journey. So if you are day tripping somewhere, just make your reservation when you arrive back at the JR station. This can save you some time because the ticket windows can be busy first thing in the morning on some routes.

Hong Kong, China
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9. Re: Trains - Reserved vs non Reserves

Agree with MapleG's advice. Whenever I make reservations, I try to go later in the evening. The lines are usually much shorter.

SF
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for Fukuoka, Kyushu-Okinawa
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10. Re: Trains - Reserved vs non Reserves

I don't reserve my seat most of time even though I can w/ my JRPass. Even if required, i.e. to the north, I get on w/o reservation when booked out but no problem). I just hop on at the last min. as I don't want to be tied to my train, seat or queue up for the seat reservation. Generally, Hikari is not full as most of Japanese use Nozomi. Flexibility suits my travel style.