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Do you need to book a train trip if you already have the JR?

Burnie, Australia
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Do you need to book a train trip if you already have the JR?

We have purchased JR passes for our trip to Japan. We are travelling between Tokyo, hakone,Kanazawa, Kyoto and other places. My question is, is it essential that we book tickets? How likely is it that we can not get onto the train we want on that particular day?

We are travelling during the second and four weeks of April.

8 replies to this topic
Dublin, Ireland
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1. Re: Do you need to book a train trip if you already have the JR?

The last week of April is a peak season so I suggest you plan your train time and reserve the seats in advance. I don't use the term "booking" as it's more like "reserving seats". You only need to reserve seats on long trip e.g on shinkansen. Check hyperdia.com/en/ for your train time. Any train that has an option for "seat fee" can be reserved. Make sure you unclick Nozomi/Mizuho/Hayabusa option as JR Pass doesn't cover these train.

Go to any JR station and inform them which train you wish to take and they will give you seat reservation tickets. This is free of charge if you show them your JR pass beforehand.

Tokyo, Japan
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2. Re: Do you need to book a train trip if you already have the JR?

The Golden week holidays start from 26th this year.

If you dont wanna be bothered. you don't have to go to the ticket office to reserve your seat since most trains have unreserved seat. You might have to walk around on the train to find a vacant seat, though.

Please read "2) Seat categories" http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2016.html

Burnie, Australia
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3. Re: Do you need to book a train trip if you already have the JR?

Thanks so much for your advice. Your response is appreciated.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: Do you need to book a train trip if you already have the JR?

Once you have the Japan Rail Pass, you can get seat reservations at no extra charge. If you can plan ahead, it's a convenience to have reserved seats. They will generally print your seat reservation receipt in English, and it has handy information like the departure and arrival times printed on it. If you can't plan ahead, you can still get a reservation just before you get on the train.

Shikoku, Japan
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5. Re: Do you need to book a train trip if you already have the JR?

As long as you don't travel during Golden Week you shouldn't have any problems reserving seats. What I like to do is make all my reservations and get my tickets when I exchange my vouchers for the rail passes. It means you have to plan in advance but then you'll never have to go to another ticket window/office (Midori no madoguchi) or go online for the rest of your trip. Saves time and reduces stress.

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Do you need to book a train trip if you already have the JR?

The problem with people booking all their trips when they exchange their pass is is makes the line ups long for others waiting to exchange their vouchers. At Narita at busy times, they will not always allow people to reserve a number of journeys all at once.

Vermont
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7. Re: Do you need to book a train trip if you already have the JR?

Certainly book in advance if you know your routes.

You are entitled to reserved seats with your JR pass, so especially for the long trips, why not make the reservation in advance? You don't need to do all your trips at once at Narita, any JR station will do and we've never had an agent who didn't know English.

Tokyo, Japan
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8. Re: Do you need to book a train trip if you already have the JR?

You don't have to book tickets at the departing station, which may have large queues (like Tokyo Station or Shinjuku Station; you don't wait for that long though- we're not talking about Russia). Many stations or rather most stations in the cities have a Midori no Madoguchi, or Ticket Office. Those in Central Tokyo includes Akabane, Akihababara, Asagaya, Asakusabashi, Iidabashi, Ikebukuro, Itabashi, Ichigaya, Ueno, Ebisu, Oji, Oimachi, Osaki, Otsuka, Okachimachi, Ogikubo, Ochanomizu, Kamata, Kanda, Kitasenju, Kichijoji, Kinshicho, Koenji, Gotanda, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinkiba, Shinjuku, Shibbashi, Sugamo, Takadanobaba, Tamachi, Tokyo, Nakano, Nishiogikubo, Nippori, Hamamatsucho, Harajuku, Meguro, Yurakucho, Yotsuya, Ryogoku ...

The ticket office staffs know their work. They can guess what foreign tourists want, and of course they know basic English related to their business.

Edited: 27 February 2015, 23:21
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