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Answers (14)

Japan Rail Pass

Japan Rail Pass

  1. Gaurav

    Planning a trip to Japan and looking at options to get a 7day JR pass. Most of the places seem to be in the same ballpark. Does anyone have suggestions on if it is possible to get cheaper/discounted passes? Thanks!

  2. David W

    I dont have any experience purchasing them but my friend did at a local travel agency a few years ago and I think it was slightly cheaper.

  3. PhatMiles

    Not sure about the cheaper rail pass, but CSP and Barc Arriv+ do not count JR purchases as travel 2X. You will have to call in Chase for consideration. YMMV on whether you will be given double points or not.
    If you have other cards better to consider those for JR Pass purchases.
    A while ago, [URL=’http://thriftynomads.com/the-japan-rail-pass-worth-the-cost/’]I saw this a bit useful[/URL]
    If you already know all of that, excuse me 🙂

  4. Cal

    When I went to Japan last year, i also tried to find out if there were discounted JR pass. I did not really find anything. I went through a travel agency and I think they shaved off one or two bucks. Given the Japanese adherence to rules/regs, it might be safe to assume that what you see is what you get.

  5. Gaurav

    Thanks [USER=859]@Cal[/USER], that’s what I am finding too. I found an agent in Boston who sells them so I’l just pop in and grab them locally.

  6. Anonymous

    I will note that depending on how [I]much [/I]train travel you’re planning on doing, it can be a better value to just buy the point-to-point tickets, and supplement with local transit.

    We had one trip with JR passes, which was great, but we still ended up spending money on other lines in Tokyo, for the subway in Kyoto, etc. The next trip we just paid for tickets as we went.

  7. Gaurav

    We’re planning a trip to Hiroshima and it seems like RT fare would work out to $364 by itself so the JR pass at $266 seems like a no-brainer. Just wish it could be used on the fastest trains or had the ability to use the fastest trains by paying a fee.

  8. Cal

    It would indeed be nice to be able to use the fastest Shinkansen (nozomi). But i believe Hikari is slower by less than an hour and it is really not that bad. We picked up the green car option when we were there and it was pretty comfortable (and quiet). I don’t know if I would pay for that again but we enjoyed the extra space and relative solitude…

    Tiffany’s point about paying for the point-to-point is a really good one if you only intend to go to Kyoto as it is almost a wash. You would need to do one more segment for it to really pay off. Obviously, your trip to Hiroshima pays off really well.

  9. Gaurav

    [USER=859]@Cal[/USER] any idea if you have the regular pass, are you able to upgrade to a green car by paying the difference for a segment?

  10. Cal

    Kinda/sorta but it is not worth the money. The price of a Shinkansen ticket has two components: the fare and the seat. If you wanted to upgrade, your JR pass would cover the fare but you would have to pay the seat portion for the green car. Unfortunately the seat portion is an absurd percentage of the overall ticket. Ex: a green car ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto is approx ¥18000. The fare is around ¥8000 leaving you stuck paying a ¥10000 upgrade on the seat. Not worth it.

    I think that you will be perfectly happy with a regular JR pass. The green car is nice but it is not like Etihad first apartments to Etihad economy. I would say it is more like a nicer UA E+ (Not quite a domestic first) to UA economy, both being clean and well kept.

  11. Gaurav

    Thanks. One more question: is it possible to reserve seats before getting to Japan and actually getting your hands on the JR pass? I’m just worried the trains we want will be sold out before we get there.

  12. Cal

    I don’t think so but I never tried. are you headed to Hiroshima immediately upon arrival? If not, then you should be ok. If you are worried I think stopping at the JR office 24 hr prior should be alright. There are many Shinkansen per day. I think hikari trains leave Tokyo once an hour.

    That would be a bonus of the green car, which is that you are very likely to be able to reserve your seats at the last second given that fewer people ride the green (unless high season)

  13. Gaurav

    No, we have a few days so hopefully it will be fine. I’m used to Indian trains where if you don’t get a reservation early it can be tough to get one later :). I guess worst case scenario we pay the seat fee and use the green car if the regular reserved seats are gone. Thanks for your help!

  14. Anonymous

    We did the green car when we were there during Golden Week, because we had the same concerns about seat reservations. It still wasn’t that big of a deal, and in general it was the local trains that were more crowded than the Shinkansen. You should be fine 🙂

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