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Japan for first timers (older)

Queensland...
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Japan for first timers (older)

My first question is to clarify the JR Rail Pass. When is this pass good value. If you want to travel on the train non stop for 7/14 days from one end of Japan to the other via rail or should we just buy the rail tickets as needed. ie Narita to Tokyo and back. etc

Kanazawa, Japan
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1. Re: Japan for first timers (older)

Whether or not the JR Pass would be good for you depends upon your exact itinerary. You can compare cost of tickets vs pass by using www.hyperdia.com

Brisbane, Australia
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2. Re: Japan for first timers (older)

It really does depend on what you intend on doing and going in Japan.

When I'm just travelling to Tokyo and surrounds, I don't bother with a JR pass. When I went to Hokkaido I didn't bother either (I took a domestic flight). However, when I go to Kyoto from Tokyo, I do get the 7 day pass. I've been to Japan quite a few times, and only get the pass when I know I will travel by train for long distances.

Philadelphia...
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3. Re: Japan for first timers (older)

The JR pass costs a bit more than the round trip between Tokyo and Kyoto. Sounds like you will be traveling more than that. In that case the pass is a good deal. It also gives you the freedom to jump on the train on a whim. Often it is possible to group your long-distance travel into seven days. For example, if you will spend a few days in Tokyo first, and will take the Narita Express, you might get the N'Ex/Suica package--Narita Express plus a prepaid card for travel in the Tokyo area--then activate your pass when you leave Tokyo. Look halfway down this page: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2359_002.html

If you will be going to Hokkaido or Okinawa, check out air passes: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2364.html Also, look into 'open jaws' tickets--flying into one airport and out another.

http://www.japan-guide.com/ has lots of other useful information. Also, enter TRIP REPORT in the search box of Japan Forums to see others' experiences.

Queensland...
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4. Re: Japan for first timers (older)

Thanks for that information. I gather you have to use the JR Rail pass for 7 days in a row. Is that the case?

Philadelphia...
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5. Re: Japan for first timers (older)

Yes. Seven calendar days (starting at midnight, not for example, Sunday Noon to Sunday noon).

Nowy Sacz, Poland
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6. Re: Japan for first timers (older)

Don't forget the Pass entitles you to free seat reservations - and you can reserve seats right up till a few minutes before the train is due. This will get you seats in the reserved cars. Don't reserve and you MUST sit in the non-reserved cars, which may be full. So you may as well reserve for free and be sure of your seats.

Pass cannot be used on the very fastest trains (Nozomi), but in most cases the difference is slight. And standing on the platform as a Nozomi passes through a station at close to full speed is one of the great experiences of Japan (along with, or course, the food, the trad hotels, the hot springs, the people, the chocolate, the scenery .... we loved Japan!).

7. Re: Japan for first timers (older)

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