Japan - Haruka KIX-Kyoto, Golden Week: Advance reservations *needed*?
Little did we know (at the time), but our quickie visit to Kyoto coincides with Golden Week. (Actually, wondered why most hotels were fully booked a couple of months in advance, but we did get a reservation.) Anyhow, we are US-citizens arriving KIX, mid-afternoon May3, departing KIX, late afternoon, May 5 w/ plans to go to/from Kyoto on the Haruka. Have seen comments that advance reservations aren’t normally needed, but wondering if this might be a problem on our days in question. JR has a website w/ info on multi-day regional passes, but we’re interested only in airport transport. Would appreciate advice on need for train reservations in advance & some idea of how much time to allow for KIX airport/immigration formalities. This would have a bearing on which train departures to shoot for both coming & going. Many thanks in advance
Apr 6, 12, 12:33 am
It probably won't matter whether you should get reservations in advance or not, since you pretty much can't book train tickets in advance from outside Japan. The only way to do it would be if someone in Japan got the tickets and mailed them to you.
Apr 6, 12, 3:55 pm
As Richard implies, almost everyone taking the Haruka will be in your position, i.e. buying a walk-up ticket.
Your arrival falls in the middle of Golden Week, so most residents of Japan will be in the middle of their vacations, not coming or going. If you can't make your first-choice train, you can most likely make the next one. JR may even add extra cars to the trains if the standard configuration sells out.
Your departure is at the end of Golden Week but on a Saturday. The big rush will be on Sunday, but if you are worried, you can reserve your return ticket when you buy your ticket to Kyoto.
Apr 7, 12, 2:50 am
Since you know you will be riding the Haruka round trip in a 3 day period, you can save a lot by purchasing the 3-day JR-West Kansai Area Rail Pass either before leaving or upon arrival at KIX. The cost is much less than the Haruka round trip and you can use the Pass for any other local JR trains during the 3 days. Unlike the Unlimited Rail Pass, the Kansai Area Pass can be purchased in Japan for 5,000 yen. I just used mine to get to Nara today after arriving at KIX.