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Japan Rail (JR) Pass questions (consolidated)

Japan Rail (JR) Pass questions (consolidated)

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Old Dec 30, 19, 8:25 am   -   Wikipost
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About Japan Rail Pass
JAPAN RAIL PASS, a joint offering of the six companies comprising the Japan Railways Group (JR Group).
__________________________________________________ _____________

Eligibility
(1) You are a foreign tourist visiting Japan from abroad for sight-seeing, under the entry status of "temporary visitor" or

(2) You are a Japanese national living outside of Japan who has both their Japanese passport and written proof—obtained from the embassy or legation of Japan in the foreign country where they live—that they have been living legally in the country for 10 consecutive years or more.
__________________________________________________ _____________

Validity Period
The validity period of a JAPAN RAIL PASS is the consecutive 7, 14, or 21 days period beginning on the date the PASS is first used.
Within three months from the date the Exchange Order was issued, you must turn in your Exchange Order to obtain your JAPAN RAIL PASS
(for example, an Exchange Order issued on April 15 would have to be turned in by July 14).

more information: http://www.japanrailpass.net/en/index.html
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Old Feb 3, 19, 6:26 pm
  #421  
tt7
 
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Originally Posted by Reindeerflame View Post
I will be needing a Suica card and a one-way trip into Tokyo on the Narita Express. Do I ask for both of these at the JR Counter at Narita, or is there a combined version? Do I need cash to purchase the Suica from JR at Narita?
You should be able to use a card to buy the Suica card at the JR Travel Service Centre at Narita; however, you can only top it up in cash at a ticket machine (and buy it with cash at a ticket machine). I don't think there is currently any bundled NEX + Suica offer; however, you can get a roundtrip NEX ticket (14 day validity) though that may not fit your travel plans? Depending on where you're going in Tokyo, the Keisei Skyliner may be preferable to the NEX. They should be able to sell you a PASMO card (which is functionally equivalent to a Suica).
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Old Feb 3, 19, 9:07 pm
  #422  
 
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We're going to the vicinity of Tokyo station, so the Narita Express will do it.
If we pay for the N. Exp. with the Suica card, how is the required seat reservation handled?
Thanks for the clarification about the likely ability to use a credit card at the JR counter for Suica.
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Old Feb 3, 19, 10:59 pm
  #423  
tt7
 
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Originally Posted by Reindeerflame View Post
If we pay for the N. Exp. with the Suica card, how is the required seat reservation handled?
You can't use the Suica to pay the limited express/seat reservation fee. Just get the NEX ticket (¥3,020, including paying the limited express/seat reservation fee) when you go to the ticket office.

Because you can't use the Suica (at the gate) to pay the limited express/seat reservation fee (¥1,700 for the NEX), you have to pay it separately somewhere. You could - theoretically - go through the ticket gate at Narita with your Suica and then sit in any seat on the NEX .... moving whenever somebody with a reservation for that seat comes along. When the ticket inspector comes along, you'll have to pay the limited express/seat reservation fee of ¥1,700 -- probably in cash. When you exit the gate at Tokyo Station with your Suica, it would charge you the base fare from Narita to Tokyo of ¥1,320 (as it has no way of knowing what train you were on - all it knows is that you took a train from Narita and are exiting at Tokyo). That base fare of ¥1,320 is the same, no matter which trains you take; if you take the 'local' trains, that's all you'll pay. If you take a limited express (or the NEX) then you have to pay the ¥1,700 limited express/seat reservation fee. You can probably do that at a ticket machine, but it will be cash or card only.
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Old Feb 6, 19, 10:12 pm
  #424  
 
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Originally Posted by Reindeerflame View Post
If we pay for the N. Exp. with the Suica card, how is the required seat reservation handled?
The seat reservation will be printed on a paper ticket.

Originally Posted by tt7 View Post
You can't use the Suica to pay the limited express/seat reservation fee. ... Because you can't use the Suica (at the gate) to pay the limited express/seat reservation fee (¥1,700 for the NEX),
To clarify, you can't use Suica to pay the limited express fee at the automated fare gates, but you can use Suica to pay for it at a ticket machine. It will print out a paper ticket with your seat reservation and an indication that your limited express surcharge has been paid.

You could - theoretically - go through the ticket gate at Narita with your Suica [and pay for the limited express fee on board]
There's another nuance to this. When making the seat reservation and paying the limited express surcharge (at either a ticket counter or ticket machine), you can elect to either pay the limited express surcharge and base fare together and get a single paper ticket good for both, or you can pay just the limited express surcharge and get a paper ticket for just that portion. You can use Suica for either option to pay, but will always get a paper ticket for whatever you paid for. If you did the latter, then at the ticket gate, you could use the Suica to pay for the base fare by just tapping at entry and exit. Although you'd have the paper ticket, you will never need to use it, assuming you sit in your assigned seat on the correct train: these days, the conductor has a PDA which tells them which seats have been paid for, and they only stop to check tickets on seats that should be vacant but aren't.

BTW, I don't see any particular benefit of paying for just the limited express surcharge but not the base fare when using a Suica to pay. I mention the possibility because it's easy enough to do this by accident at a ticket machine. The JR ticket machine's English mode is somewhat in "Japanese English," meaning that the terminology and phraseology used sometimes is unclear, especially to someone that's not already familiar with the JR fare system and terms. After selecting your train and seats, it's very easy to accidentally pay for just the surcharge and not the surcharge plus base fare. If your paper ticket has just the surcharge and you insert it into the gate, you'll also have to tap the Suica (or put in a second paper ticket with the base fare) to pay for the base fare or the gates will close on you.

Last edited by Steve M; Feb 6, 19 at 10:38 pm
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Old Feb 7, 19, 11:34 am
  #425  
 
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Can you buy a Haruka ticket at any JR office? Like, could you buy a ticket for a reserved place on the Haruka from Kyoto station to KIX while doing other business at a Tokyo ticket office earlier in the week?
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Old Feb 7, 19, 12:24 pm
  #426  
 
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Originally Posted by lkar View Post
Can you buy a Haruka ticket at any JR office? Like, could you buy a ticket for a reserved place on the Haruka from Kyoto station to KIX while doing other business at a Tokyo ticket office earlier in the week?
Yes, you can buy/reserve Haruka and other JR West tickets from most JR system stations and travel centers. The latter usually have more staff to help foreigners.
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Old Feb 7, 19, 12:26 pm
  #427  
 
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JR ticket reservation can be made and paid for at a ticket counter at any JR station in the country, regardless of departure station.
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Old Feb 7, 19, 1:36 pm
  #428  
 
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JR East Seat Reservation machines are going cashless
https://atadistance.net/2019/01/24/j...oing-cashless/

Did I miss the reserve seating ticket machines which look like regular ticket machines? I've only ever seen a skinny floor standing "seat reserve ticket machine" on the platform for commuter lines with a Green Car. https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/press/20040502/ I don't believe that machine accepted payment from anything but a physical IC Card. Most of the train looked like the one level standard side seating local train except for the Green car which is a double decker with 2x2 limited express style seating.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 2:55 pm
  #429  
 
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JR Pass vs. Simply Buying Tickets

We are a family of four, including two children. We are flying into Tokyo and plan to go to both Kyoto (for two nights) and Kamakura (day trip). I assume a lot of people have done research on whether it’s worth it to get a JR Pass (7-day) or just simply buy tickets. I think we’d plan on Green Class. Appreciate any heads up...
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Old Feb 11, 19, 3:24 pm
  #430  
 
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Originally Posted by Braniff View Post
We are a family of four, including two children. We are flying into Tokyo and plan to go to both Kyoto (for two nights) and Kamakura (day trip). I assume a lot of people have done research on whether it’s worth it to get a JR Pass (7-day) or just simply buy tickets. I think we’d plan on Green Class. Appreciate any heads up...
A JR Pass (7-day) costs roughly the same as a round trip to Kyoto. So it's a money saver if you use it to make roundtrips to Kyoto and Kamakura, and an airport trip. Remember that it's valid for 7 calendar days. Depending on the age of your children, they may qualify for a cheaper pass. As for Green - Ordinary class is quite comfortable and its generally no problem to get reserved seats in advance, except on peak dates.
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Old Feb 26, 19, 6:21 pm
  #431  
 
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To report on our actual experience, we were able to purchase one way tickets on the Narita Express with a credit card, but the JR agent insisted that cash was required to purchase Suica cards. We started with 4000 yen per card, but ended up adding 500 yen to each card, which was possible in Kyoto (some reports speak to a minimum 1000 yen amount for additions).

We found the Suica cards quite useful, and used them on the Tokyo subway, the Kyoto buses and subway, and on the Hiroshima streetcar. We were also able to use the Suica card for the non-JR portion of the rail trip from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko to see Mt. Fuji up close, namely the Otsuki to Kawaguchiko segment on the Fuji Kyuko line. This was a surprise, as the JR agent in Tokyo had told us this was not possible. Finally, we also used Suica on the Tokyu Toyoko/Minato Mirai lines from Kikuna to the Nihon-Odori station for the Osanbashi port pier in Yokohama. At all other times we used our JR passes.

As an observation, while Suica was accepted and easy to use in Kyoto, it would have made more sense to use a Kyoto day pass for the buses, as that is a better value when one uses buses intensively than paying the individual fares via Suica. On the other hand, using Suica in Kyoto meant we did not have to acquire yet another fare payment device. And the total difference was a matter of perhaps $5 or $6.

We ended up retaining our Suica cards for our next visit rather than seeking a refund.
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Old Feb 26, 19, 6:27 pm
  #432  
 
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Originally Posted by tt7 View Post
Yes .... at least, a qualified yes. It certainly does in Kyoto but it used to be that it didn't in Hiroshima - at least on the trams, when we were there in late 2017. However, I believe that has now changed. The Hiroshima local variant is called PASPY and according to this graphic of IC Card interchange functionality, SUICA et al have been useable in Hiroshima since March 17, 2018.
Confirmed. We used Suica in both Kyoto and Hiroshima in February 2019. An excellent product.
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Old Mar 7, 19, 10:06 am
  #433  
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Looks like I'll be buying the 14-day nationwide pass, which is a fantastic deal.

One gripe, though: best I can tell from the JR website and this thread, seat reservations may only be made in person at various locations. Do I have that right? Japan seems to be familiar with the Internet. Is there any reason why they make seat reservations so inconvenient to book?
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Old Mar 7, 19, 1:20 pm
  #434  
 
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Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
Looks like I'll be buying the 14-day nationwide pass, which is a fantastic deal.

One gripe, though: best I can tell from the JR website and this thread, seat reservations may only be made in person at various locations. Do I have that right? Japan seems to be familiar with the Internet. Is there any reason why they make seat reservations so inconvenient to book?
Some do offer seat reservations with JR Pass via internet
JR East https://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-sh...Menu/Menu.aspx
JR Kyushu https://kyushurailpass.jrkyushu.co.jp/reserve/TopPage?3
JR West offers online reservations for JR West regional pass holders. National pass holder reservations are slated for 2019

You will find that some things in Japan are not enabled for easy access via the internet and limited in non-Japanese language support. For example, bus schedules are much easier to get in Japanese than English. At least there are some common highway bus route mandatory reservations available now. Restaurant reservations are another.
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Old Mar 7, 19, 1:24 pm
  #435  
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Originally Posted by freecia View Post
Some do offer seat reservations with JR Pass via internet
JR East https://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-sh...Menu/Menu.aspx
JR Kyushu https://kyushurailpass.jrkyushu.co.jp/reserve/TopPage?3
JR West offers online reservations for JR West regional pass holders. National pass holder reservations are slated for 2019

You will find that some things in Japan are not enabled for easy access via the internet and limited in non-Japanese language support. For example, bus schedules are much easier to get in Japanese than English. At least there are some common highway bus route mandatory reservations available now. Restaurant reservations are another.
Thanks a million yen! You might consider adding that to the wiki in this large thread.
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